People to Know in American History for Elementary Students

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The elementary Common Core Standards are in Language Arts and Math. At this point in time, individual school districts write their own history and social studies standards. Students learn about American History and about important figures from Christopher Columbus to Barak Obama. Students living outside of the U.S. and attending international schools often do not have organized American History classes and must fill the learning gap at home. This is relatively easy to do with books, websites, and movies. This is my list of people in U.S. History that children in the upper elementary grades should be familiar with. This list is, of course, entirely based on opinion and in the interest of keeping it short and manageable I agonized over many critically important people that did not make the list. But, the beauty of elementary school is that you still have middle school, high school, and college to fill in gaps in knowledge. Elementary is for forming the framework for future learning. This is my list: 

People to Know in American History*

1450 – 1506 Christopher Columbus

1584 – 1656 Miles Standish

1706 – 1790 Benjamin Franklin

1732 – 1799 George Washington

1735 – 1826 John Adams

1743 – 1826 Thomas Jefferson

1751 – 1836 James Madison

1755 – 1804 Alexander Hamilton

1765 – 1825 Eli Whitney

1774 – 1809 and 1770 – 1838,  Lewis and Clark

1796 – 1859 Horace Mann

1800 – 1830 Nat Turner

1800 – 1859 John Brown

1803 – 1882 Ralph Waldo Emerson

1807 – 1870 Robert E. Lee

1809 – 1865 Abraham Lincoln

1809 – 1884 Cyrus McCormick

1811 – 1896 Harriet Beecher Stowe

1817 – 1862 Henry D. Thoreau

1817 – 1895 Frederick Douglas

1819 – 1892 Walt Whitman

1820 – 1906 Susan B. Anthony

1835 – 1919 Andrew Carnegie

1835 – 1910 Mark Twain

1839 – 1937 John D. Rockefeller

1847 – 1922 Alexander Graham Bell

1847 – 1931 Thomas Edison

1856 – 1924 Woodrow Wilson

1858 – 1915 Theodore Roosevelt

1860 – 1935 Jane Addams

1863 – 1947 Henry Ford

1865 – 1915 Booker T. Washington

1867 – 1959 Frank Lloyd Wright

1871 – 1948 and 1867 – 1912 Orville and Wilbur Wright

1879 – 1955 Robert Einstein

1880 – 1959 George Marshall

1882 – 1885 Ulysses S. Grant

1882 – 1945 Franklin Delano Roosevelt

1888 – 1963 W.E.B. Dubois

1895 – 1948 Babe Ruth

1899 – 1961 Ernest Hemingway

1901 – 1971 Louis Armstrong

1901 – 1966 Walt Disney

1908 – 1993 Thurgood Marshall

1911 – 2004 Ronald Reagan

1914 – 1995 Jonas Salk

1919 – 1972 Jackie Robinson

1928 – James P. Watson

1929 – 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr.

1935 – 1977 Elvis Presley

1955 – Bill Gates

1961 Barack Obama

*This is a list of people in American History but is not inclusive, not exclusive, and leaves out many incredibly important names. However, for younger children it is helpful to have a shallow survey of people known for a variety of reasons. As they grow and progress through the grades they can fill in this flimsy framework with additional information, additional names, and an understanding of the many connections to be made in history. 

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