Eighth grade history textbooks typically cover topics such as U.S. History from the colonial period through the Civil War. In-depth topics from this period include westward expansion, slavery and encounters with the Native Americans.
Textbooks generally begin covering U.S. history by examining the Revolution. Students learn the reasons behind the war, why the colonists protested against the English and how the war was won. The 19th century commonly includes the Civil War and the reasons behind why the war broke out. Because slavery was a critical factor in driving the states to war, its role, as well as its impact on people, is studied in-depth. Racial tensions are a focus during this latter half of the 19th century, so students typically learn about other ethnic conflicts, such as those with the Irish and Native Americans.
During the course of their history courses, a foundation for other classes, such as U.S. Government, is laid down. Students learn about the branches of the government and the roles they play while they are studying the creation of the Constitution. Generally, students learn foundational principles of the United States during this period. These principles include the balance of individual rights against state and federal powers.