No U.S. History? How College History Departments Leave the United States Out of the Major
Should America’s colleges and universities feel a duty to ensure that the citizens and leaders of the future have a robust understanding of the history of the nation? It would be reasonable to expect that a college education would include a mature and balanced study of the story of our nation. Students who major in history should receive particularly rigorous instruction in the history of the United States and the development of its institutions of government.
However, our findings in this report demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of America’s most prestigious institutions do not require even the students who major in history to take a single course on United States history or government. No college or university can assume that students have even an elementary grasp of the important moments in United States history in the absence of a requirement for its study.
While respecting academic freedom is paramount, good academic governance prioritizes the needs of students to have a meaningful and coherent curriculum. And that means ensuring that United States history is part of the history major’s program.