Previous Annual Themes

Why Teach a Theme?
Every year National History Day frames students’ research within a historical theme. The theme is chosen for the broad application to world, national or state history and its relevance to ancient history or to the more recent past.

The theme provides a focused way to increase students’ historical understanding by developing a lens to read history, an organizational structure that helps students place information in the correct context and finally, the ability to see connections over time.

Previous Themes:

1980– The Individual in History
1981 – Trade & Industry in History
1982 – Work & Leisure in History
1983 – Turning Points in History
1984 – Family & Community in History
1985 – Triumph & Tragedy in History
1986 – Conflict & Compromise in History
1987 – Liberty: Rights and Responsibilities in History
1988 – Frontiers in History
1989 – The Individual in History
1990 – Science & Technology in History
1991 – Rights in History
1992 – Discovery, Encounter, Exchange in History
1993 – Communication in History
1994 – Geography in History
1995 – Conflict & Compromise in History
1996 – Taking a Stand in History
1997 – Triumph & Tragedy in History
1998 – Migration in History
1999 – Science & Technology in History
2000 – Turning Points in History
2001 – Frontiers in History
2002 – Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History
2003 – Rights & Responsibilities in History
2004 – Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History
2005 – Communication in History
2006 – Taking a Stand in History
2007 – Triumph & Tragedy in History
2008 – Conflict & Compromise in History
2009 – The Individual in History
2010 – Innovation in History
2011 – Debate & Diplomacy in History
2012 – Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History
2013 – Turning Points in History
2014 – Rights & Responsibilities in History
2015 – Leadership & Legacy in History
2016 – Exploration, Encounter & Exchange in History