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National History Day: Theme

Resources for NHD


Taking a Stand in History

United States History SampleTopics

United States HistoryTheme Topics 

 • Taking a Stand Against the British: The Reorganization of the Continental Army at Valley Forge

 • Roger Williams’ Stand Against Exile: The Establishment of Rhode Island

• Thurgood Marshall: Taking a Stand in Court Against Segregation

 • The Power of Words: Thomas Paine’s Fight Against Tyranny

 • The War on Poverty: Johnson Stands for “The Other America”

 • Taking a Stand in Art: Copley’s Artistic Fight Against the British

 • Horace Mann and the Fight for Quality Education

• Protecting the Environment: The Establishment of the National Park Service

• Protestants and the Fight for Temperance: The Founding of the American Temperance Society

• William Jennings Bryan: Standing Against Evolution

• Nat Turner: Taking a Stand Against Slavery

• Standing for Separation of Church and School: Engel vs. Vitale

• Muhammad Ali: Taking a Stand Against the Vietnam War

• Andrew Jackson’s Stand Against the Bank

• Betty Friedan: Taking a Stand For Women’s Rights

• The Pullman Strike of 1894: Taking a Stand for the Workers

• Standing Against Federal Authority: The Plight of the Farmers During the Whiskey Rebellion

• Standing Against the British: The Boston Tea Party and Its Consequences

• Rosa Parks: Sitting Down to Take a Stand

• The Fight for Social Equality: Jane Addams and Hull House

• William Lloyd Garrison: Taking a Stand with Words

• Fighting Unemployment: The Journey of Coxey’s Army

• Taking a Stand Against Kingship: George Washington’s Denial of Power

• Standing Against the President: Congress’ Victory in Radical Reconstruction Against Johnson

• Taking a Stand Against the Trusts: Teddy Roosevelt as a Trust Buster

• Standing Against Big Business: The Sherman Antitrust Act

• Defiance in Leaps and Bounds: Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin Olympics

• Claudette Colvin and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

• The Astor Place Riots: Taking a Stand for Theater

• Standing Against Conquest: Chief Osceola and the Seminole Indians 



European History Sample Topics

• Taking a Stand at Bosworth Field: Henry Tudor’s Triumph

• The French Impressionist Movement: Taking a Stand Against the Salons

• Galileo’s Stand Against the Church

• Standing Up to the Little Corporal: The Duke of Wellington’s Win at Waterloo

• The Establishment of Cubism: Picasso and Braque’s Stand Against Realism

• Kilmainham Gaol and Ireland’s Fight for Home Rule

• Standing Against the Enemy: Sir Francis Drake at Cadiz

• Standing Against the War: Siegfried Sassoon’s Use of Pacifist Poetry

• Martin Luther: The Stand That Started the Reformation

• The Easter Uprising: Taking a Stand for Freedom

• A King Stands for Unity: King Henry IV and the Edict of Nantes

• Lech Wałęsa’s Stand for Workers’ Rights: The Establishment of the Gdansk Agreement

• The Pope Versus a King: Henry VIII’s Stand Against the Catholic Church

• What Happens When No One Takes a Stand? Neville Chamberlain’s Appeasement of Adolf Hitler

• Taking a Stand for Artistic Freedom: The Defection of Soviet Ballet Dancers to the United States

• Standing Against the Monarchy: Oliver Cromwell’s Parliament Versus King Charles

• Standing Up to the King: The Peasant’s Revolt to End Serfdom in England

• Sophie Scholl and Her Stand Against Hitler

• Taking a Stand Against the Monarchy: The Birth of the Magna Carta

• Standing Against Capitalism: The Soviets’ Refusal of the Marshall Plan

• Standing for the Right of Free Health Care: Aneurin Bevan and the National Health Service

• Sir Thomas More: The Scholar Who Stood Up to a King • Storming the Bastille: Standing Against the Excesses of the Monarchy

• The Velvet Revolution: Standing Against Communist Rule in Czechoslovakia

• Emmeline Pankhurst: Militancy for Women’s Suffrage

• The Italian Unification Movement— Standing Together

• Germany’s Atlantic Wall: A Military Stand

• The Yalta Agreement: Taking a Stand on a Post-War World

• Standing Against Slavery: Lord Mansfield of England

• Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Standing Against Hitler

Understanding the Theme Graphic Organizer


Taking a Stand in History. 

What does it mean to take a stand? To take a stand, one must take a firm position on an issue. 

When looking at different individuals and groups who took a stand, there are examples of those who used force, words, and economic power to make their voices heard. These people are remembered because they had an impact on history and inspired others to follow them. Remember that there is a difference between opposition and truly taking a stand.

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Mrs. Mouradjian's Suggestions

  • Title IX and Women Coaches /University of Rhode Island Connection
  • 1960's Folk Singers taking a stand against the Viet Nam War
  • Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
  • Musicians taking a stand for Free Speech, How Frank Zappa, John Denver and Dee Schneider railed against censorship.
  • or
  • How Tipper Gore took a stand against inappropriate content in music 
  • Oskar Schindler taking a stand against the Nazis

Taking a Stand Worksheet

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