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History Day

Suggested resources based on topics sent to us.

Turning Points in History

50th History Day theme Turning Points in History logoAccording National History Day email of April 4, 2023, the 2024 theme will be:

Turning Points in History 


In this section and subpages, you will see examples of topics with some resources.

It is up to you to discover the "turning point".

  • Pequot War
    • 1638 Treaty of Hartford
    • Court cases - up to 20th century
  • Fundamental Orders
  • Space
    • African American women who calculated the math for space flights.
    • Space race between USA and USSR
    • Apollo Program
    • Shuttle Program
    • Sally Ride as first U.S. woman in space
    • Examples of resources
  • Legal cases impacting education
    • There were several significant legal cases that impacted education.
    • Examples of resources
    • Sheff v. O'Neill
      • Sheff v. O'Neill is a 1989 lawsuit and the subsequent 1996 Connecticut Supreme Court case that addressed de facto school segregation in Connecticut.
  • Amistad Trial
    • In 1839, fifty-three African captives, illegally sold into slavery and being transported off Cuba, revolted and took La Amistad north. Near Long Island, they were seized by a U. S. Navy vessel and brought to Connecticut.  Spain pressed for the return of the ship and its cargo, including the Africans.  Over the next two years, their story and the legal case that ensued captured the imagination of the public, and abolitionists, churches, townspeople and college students mobilized in their support.  Roger Sherman Baldwin and former President John Quincy Adams won a landmark United States Supreme Court case freeing the Africans, who were eventually able to realize their wish to return to Africa.
  • Betty Hudson
    • "Hudson was one of the first women elected to the Connecticut State Senate. Her political career began in 1972 when she staged a protest in Madison after having teetered "on the edge of a [bus] seat while chaperoning her son's class trip to a Shakespeare play in Stratford" (Roessner, 1979). The protest brought media attention and led to her successfully getting the school bus seating capacity for secondary school students reduced from 66 to 44.     In 1974, Betty Hudson received the Democratic nomination to run for State Senate from the 33rd District. She won against her Republican opponent in an overwhelmingly Republican Senatorial District (Roessner, 1979). As a State Senator from 1975-1979, she served as chairwoman of the Human Services Committee and the Human Rights and Opportunities Committee. She was also a member of the Appropriations Committee, Regulations Review Committee, and Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW). During her four years in office, Hudson helped "rewrite the state's rape laws, expand the powers of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, enlarge state day care services and establish an office of advocacy for the handicapped" (Roessner, 1979). She was pro-choice and an active supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Under her guidance, the state passed laws strengthening court-ordered child support with automatic wage attachment, a law requiring police intervention in domestic violence to protect women from retribution, and the establishment of a statewide program of shelters for battered women. She also initiated laws for affirmative action and Medicaid funding for abortion. In 1975, Hudson introduced a bill guaranteeing equal rights to gay people. The Senate passed the bill, making it the first state legislative chamber to pass such a bill in the United States. However, it did not pass in the House, and equal rights for gays did not become law in Connecticut until 1991 (Love, 2006)."
  • Comstock Law 17 Stat. 598 
    • Federal government regulation of morality.  "An Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, obscene Literature and Articles of immoral Use."  Contraception was included.
  • Reproductive Rights
    • Law: 1879 CT law Banned birth control in Connecticut; Comstock Law 17 Stat. 598 "An Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, obscene Literature and Articles of immoral Use." Contraception was included.
    • Court Cases:
      • Griswold v Connecticut November 1, 1961, Estelle Griswold and Dr. C. Lee Buxton opened a birth control clinic in New Haven. 1965 - case reached U.S. Supreme Court. June 7th, 1965 decision said Connecticut law violated constitutional right to marital privacy.
      • Roe v Wade ; Doe v Bolton ; Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) ; Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016) Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014)    
  • New Deal, CCC, WPA
    • Changing Role of government. To counter Great Depression, FDR had federal gov't creating jobs.
    • States or towns had to match federal funds, so state and municipal documents may be a place to look - especially for specific projects
  • Colt - Samuel & Elizabeth
    • Sam Colt is well known for his advancements in firearms - but he and Elizabeth Colt also set the stage for companies creating communities for employees.
    •   this link may change in near future
  • Sept. 11
  • Hartford Circus Fire
    • CT State Library, CT Historical Society, CT Explored, Hartford History Center
  • Kelo v New London
    • eminent domain
  • Benedict Arnold
    • His name is now synonymous with traitor. Before he joined the British and burned New London, Benedict Arnold was a hero in the Battle of Saratoga.

Other Institutions

These are only a few examples.

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