American history textbooks for grades K-12 often begin with the area's prehistory before moving on to units on the colonization of America by European powers, contemporary history and the challenges that America currently faces. They typically cover major wars and social movements as well as their causes.
Textbooks typically provide chapters on The Revolutionary Era, the birth of the nation and the writing of the Constitution. Chapters on 19th-century American history include material focusing on the Jeffersonian era, Federalism, the concept of Manifest Destiny, slavery, and the regional conflicts and issues that led to the Civil War as well as the war itself and the post-war era of Reconstruction. Westward expansion, life on the frontier, the impact on Native Americans, and immigration and the Progressive era are also frequently covered topics.
Units on the 20th century focus largely on the two World Wars, the Cold War and the Vietnam war. The Jazz Age, the Great Depression, Roosevelt and the New Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society, and the Civil Rights era are also common areas of focus. Many textbooks also address more contemporary issues and events, including the rise of conservatism, the Persian Gulf war, immigration and diversity, globalization and the new global economy, and the War on Terror.