The Americans

American History Curriculum Grades 9–12

HMH Professional Services
  • Why?
    Award Winner 2013

    Award-Winning Product

    The Americans iBooks textbook was named a winner at the 2013 Tech & Learning Awards of Excellence in the "New Product" category.

    Exclusive Partnership with HISTORY®

    Together, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and HISTORY® are creating a new arena in the classroom—and an opportunity for students to relive, reflect, and re-imagine the people, places, events, and decisions that have made us who we are today.

    Supporting Common Core with Rigor, Skills, and Document-based Instruction

    With today’s emphasis on Common Core State Standards, it is more important than ever to have a social studies program that meets the rigor these standards demand. The Americans exposes students to a wealth of primary sources and develops critical skills while analyzing a variety of perspectives and investigating key historical topics.

    Experiencing Social Studies with 21-century Tools

    The digital generation of students today is like none before, so another way we help them experience success is to provide the capability to access their The Americans book not only on a computer, but on a variety of mobile devices. In addition, with products co-developed with HISTORY® such as the iBooks textbook, Streaming Digital Media Library and the Multimedia Classroom Packages, you will be meeting students where they already are—online.

    Engaging Students with Accessible Social Studies Content

    From reading support to differentiated instruction, The Americans is filled with a variety of student-friendly features designed to enhance the learning experience. With this support, every student can understand how events in our nation’s history affect how we live our lives today.

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    • Interactive Brochure

      Experience The Americans through an innovative Interactive Brochure! Watch The Americans come alive with embedded interactive links. Sample videos, technology demonstrations, and more are just a click away!

      Interactive Brochures
    • Preview

      Experience The Americans Today!

      The Americans integrates HISTORY® multimedia to make history human through personal voices of Americans. Explore how this program engages students. Watch our HMH & HISTORY partnership introduction video.



    • Common Core

      With today’s emphasis on Common Core State Standards, it is more important than ever to have a social studies program that meets the rigor these standards demand. Holt McDougal Social Studies exposes students to the skills and understandings necessary for college and career readiness and helps them become literate, in all its forms, in the twenty-first century.

      The Grades 6–12 strand in Social Sciences promotes an interdisciplinary approach to literacy by:

      • Including primary source analysis and Common Core informational text   reading
      • Incorporating literature and historical fiction selections
      • Utilizing higher-order thinking skills of text evidence, determining point of view, distinguishing fact from opinion, and more

      College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards

      Reading in History/Social Sciences

      Key Ideas and Details

      Using key skills like analyzing, evaluating, determining main idea from supporting detail, and drawing conclusions, students will actively look for text evidence in support of learning objectives. Complete skill lessons teach these explicitly, and ample assessment opportunities allow for demonstration of knowledge.

      Craft and Structure

      Holt McDougal teaches students how to read social studies-based informational text with particular guidance and practice on understanding historical readings, developing historical perspective, and formulating historical questions. This focus allows students to understand and compare points of view, determine bias, and recognize propaganda as they interpret a variety of primary sources.

      Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

      Holt McDougal Social Studies offers students continuous opportunities to access a variety of sources—print, audio, visual, interactive media, and video—and in turn to analyze and assess them in 21st-century applications. Students can demonstrate their understanding through projects, proposals, presentations, and more.

      Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

      Holt McDougal Social Studies offers students a wealth of text genres in the Student Editions, related support material both in print and online, and related small volumes focusing on primary source collections, historical readings, literary collections, and historical literature.

      Writing History/Social Sciences

      Text Types and Purposes

      Holt McDougal Social Studies is committed to the student writing process with skills and lessons to support them every step of the way with ample and varied writing can be found in formative assessment, informal assessment, formal assessment, and portfolio opportunities.

      Production and Distribution of Writing

      Whether in print or online, Holt McDougal Social Studies offers a variety of writing opportunities and platforms for students to research and publish their writing.

      Research to Build and Present Knowledge

      Holt McDougal Social Studies teaches students how to analyze bias, determine point of view, and recognize propaganda, along with interpret print, visual, and Internet source material. The depth and variety of skills culminates in students critically reading and responding to text and supporting their written argument with critical analysis and text evidence.

      Range of Writing

      Holt McDougal Social Studies offers a variety of writing projects—both short term and long term—to support the different needs of today’s classrooms and schedules. Students demonstrate their knowledge for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework

      C3 Framework Whitepaper

      Research shows us that fewer and fewer students are receiving a high quality social studies education, despite the central role of social studies in preparing them for the responsibilities of citizenship.

      The new College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards was developed with this in mind, and changes the focus of how social studies is taught in the classroom.

      The result of a three year state-led collaborative effort, the C3 Framework has been developed to enhance the rigor of the social studies disciplines, while building the critical thinking, problem solving, and participatory skills necessary for students to become engaged citizens. The C3 Framework also serves to align academic programs to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies.

      To find out more information about what the C3 Framework means for you in your classroom, download a free whitepaper that describes why the C3 Framework is necessary, what the guiding principles are, and how it is organized to engage students in active inquiry.

      C3 Framework Whitepaper (449 KB)

      For more information, or to download a complete copy of the C3 Framework, visit

    • Correlations
    • Scope and Sequence

      Preview the skills taught throughout each unit and chapter.

      Grades K–12 (7.9MB)

      Grades 6–12 (5.8MB)

    • Authors

      Meet the team that has made The Americans one of the best-selling high school programs on the market.

    • Research: Evidence & Efficacy

      Holt McDougal The Americans iBooks Textbook Impact Study (2013)

      Final report from a semester-long study tracking high school students' performance in American History while using the iBooks Textbook version of The Americans.

  • Features

    Meeting the needs of all learners is no easy task. This is why Houghton Mifflin Harcourt created The Americans. Designed to engage students with the narrative while integrating rich multimedia assets, the program brings content to life for students and enriches their understanding.

    Teacher and student resources are available in print, online, and via mobile, providing the kind of anytime, anywhere access to resources that today’s learning environment demands. With leading-edge digital tools, The Americans helps students connect to the content like never before.

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    • Reading Support and Accessibility

      In The Americans, reading support works seamlessly with the content, preparing students to learn with focused success.

      Main Idea and Why It Matters Now

      Main Idea and Why It Matters Now at the section opener establish the purpose for reading and provide relevance.

      Inner-column Reading

      Inner-column reading prompts support comprehension, background knowledge, and academic vocabulary at point of use.

      Section Assessment

      Section Assessments provide scaffolded questions based on Bloom’s taxonomy.

      Reading Social Studies

      Reading Social Studies by Kylene Beers helps students in every social studies course develop content-area reading skills. It includes reading-skill practice, think-aloud strategies, graphic organizers, and practice skill lessons for world history, geography, U.S. history, and civics.

      Guided Reading Workbook

      Guided Reading Workbook (English and Spanish/English) helps all students understand and master the content using a visual summary and critical thinking questions to organize chapter content; section-by-section note-taking to master main ideas; and challenge activities to extend concept learning.

      Reading Toolkit

      Reading Toolkit for Social Studies: The Americans provides student-centered research-based reading support with lesson plans correlated to before, during, and after reading strategies; overhead transparencies; and vocabulary practice.

    • Comprehensive Skill Development

      The Americans develops students’ comprehension skills, critical thinking skills, and analysis skills throughout the text.

      Interact with History

      Interact with History begins each chapter to get students thinking and talking about issues in the context of historical settings.

      Daily Life

      Daily Life shows how young people worked and played throughout American history, while providing some thought-provoking facts about their lives.

      Key Players

      Key Players focus on historically significant people related to the content.

      Geography Spotlight

      Geography Spotlights highlight the impact geography has on our nation’s history.

      Tracing Themes

      Tracing Themes encourages students to connect past events through themes to see the connections to today.

      Difficult Decisions

      Difficult Decisions place students in the situations in which they are studying and ask them to take a position.

      Now & Then

      Now & Then makes history relevant for students by connecting them with the past.

      Historic Decisions of the Supreme Court

      Historic Decisions of the Supreme Court allow students to study the impact of Supreme Court decisions on U.S. history.

      American Literature, Economic Background and Science /Technology

      American Literature, Economic Background and Science /Technology features connect students to other subject areas so they see how history connects to them.

      Thinking About Content Reading

      Thinking About Content Reading helps students develop content-area reading skills in every social studies course using the think-aloud strategy and graphic organizers.

      Interactive Skills Tutor CD-ROM

      Interactive Skills Tutor CD-ROM guides students as they learn social studies skills presented in the program. Each skill is introduced, practiced through interactive student activities, and then assessed for student mastery.

    • Differentiated Instruction

      The Americans provides a variety of teaching strategies and activities designed to reach all learners. The Teacher’s Edition and ancillary materials fully support differentiated instruction.

      Differentiated Instruction and Enrichment Activities

      The Differentiated Instruction and Enrichment Activities of the Chapter Planning Guide target program resources to address the needs of struggling or reluctant readers, English language learners, special education students, and advanced/GATE students.

      Teacher’s Edition

      The Teacher’s Edition provides point-of-use Differentiating Instruction activities for English language learners, special education students, learners having difficulty with the content, and advanced learners.

      Guided Reading Workbook

      Guided Reading Workbook (English and Spanish/English) helps all students understand and master the content using a visual summary and critical thinking questions to organize chapter content; section-by-section note-taking to master main ideas; and challenge activities to extend concept learning.

      Multi-Language Glossary

      The Multi-Language Glossary includes important terms and brief definitions in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Khmer, Laotian, Haitian Creole, Russian, and Portuguese.

      Modified Lesson Plans for English Learners

      The Modified Lesson Plans for English Learners include section-by-section lesson plans with teaching tips on adapting lessons and activities.

      English Language Learner Strategies and Activities

      English Language Learner Strategies and Activities by Julie Chan provides support for social studies teachers who have English language learners in their classrooms. The activities and strategies have been designed to be used with English language learners at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced proficiency levels. It includes Skill Building Activities, Social Studies Theme Activities, and Graphic Organizers.

    • Document-Based Instruction

      What does it mean to read like a historian? The Americans teaches students to analyze written documents, photographs, political cartoons, documents, art, and more. By engaging students, the program motivates them to learn with a variety of primary sources to bring history to life.

      Primary Sources and Personal Voices

      Primary Sources and Personal Voices encourage students to study primary source documents and think critically to answer the document-based questions.

      American Literature

      American Literature features present students with excerpts of significant literature of the period.

      Analyzing Political Cartoons

      Analyzing Political Cartoons deconstructs political cartoons, highlighting the symbolism and controversies of historical events.


      Point/Counterpoint encourages students to use critical thinking skills by comparing and evaluating opposing viewpoints on important issues, such as using the atomic bomb.

      Experiencing American History

      Experiencing American History involves students in their learning with interactive, collaborative activities featuring biographies, literature selections, historic documents, and map transparencies.

      Primary Source Activity Kit

      The Primary Source Activity Kit is a compilation of primary and secondary sources designed to provide students with opportunities to examine historical, geographical, and government records; to analyze a variety of points of view; and to use critical thinking strategies to interpret historical documents. This engaging Activity Kit includes:

      • Laminated placards featuring the documents and accompanying activities
      • Primary and secondary source documents that cover United States history, world history, geography, and civics and government
      • Teacher’s Guide with lesson plans and answer keys

      Reading Like a Historian Toolkit

      Reading Like a Historian Toolkit for American History teaches students to think critically and analyze primary and secondary sources in a variety of formats. Students learn questioning strategies that help them dig into history to create a richer understanding of the past. The toolkit includes professional essays, teaching strategies, and collections of primary sources, transparencies, and online presentation resources.

      Document-Based Questions Strategies and Practice

      Document-Based Questions Strategies and Practice offers students effective strategies and tests such as constructed response, extended response, and multiple-choice questions similar to the items found on state and national exams.

      Library of Primary Sources CD-ROM

      United States History Library of Primary Sources CD-ROM includes famous documents, speeches, letters, personal accounts, and literary excerpts.

      Historic Supreme Court Cases

      Historic Supreme Court Cases covers 27 important Supreme Court cases, from Marbury v. Madison to Korematsu v. United States. Each case includes a Teacher Lesson Plan with rationale, goals, directions, and lesson evaluation and extension.

    • Interactive Online Editions

      When is a book not a book? When it’s an online edition! Our online programs contain the same student edition that you find in print, but with a host of additional resources and features.


      TextHelp is a text-to-speech feature that allows for a section of the text to be read aloud at either slow, medium, or fast speeds. Student can also select a word to be translated into Spanish.

      Multimedia Connections

      Multimedia Connections, developed in partnership with HISTORY®, provide in-depth coverage of key concepts and people brought to life in the Online Edition with interactive features, primary source documents, and engaging activities.

      HISTORY® Videos

      High-quality bellringer HISTORY® videos are included with each chapter opener and indicated at point of use with various biographies and features. Where applicable, we’ve included links to the full-length videos as well.

      Essential Question Podcasts

      The Essential Question at the beginning of each chapter engages students by connecting people, places, and events and by setting a main purpose for reading. The Americans takes it one step further with Essential Question Podcasts that go into greater detail, providing additional support for all learners and continuing to set them up for success.

      Current Events Website enriches your classroom with subject-specific information from world history, world geography, American history, economics, psychology, sociology, civics, government, and African American history. It also spotlights today’s headlines with blogs, quizzes, activities, and web links.

      Additional Student Resources

      Students find chapter and section resources here, including reading support, enrichment activities, skill development activities, and section and chapter review assessment.

      Additional Teacher Resources

      Everything teachers need to plan, present, and assess is available online through the Teacher Resources section of the Online Edition, as well as the Teacher One Stop™. Teachers will find the Interactive Teacher’s Edition, ExamView® Test Generator, enrichment activities, assessments, answer keys, and much more.

      For a free 120-day preview of the Student and Teacher Online Editions, please contact your Account Executive.

    • Available Digital Formats

      iBooks® Textbooks

      Visually engaging Multi-touch textbooks for iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch® allow today's digital learners to truly interact with content. The rich, magazine-style design includes embedded interactive features to maximize learning engagement and promote higher order thinking skills. Embedded chapter videos, multimedia interactive features, easy-to-use interface, and interactive section quizzes are just a few of the features that keep students engaged.

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      HMH® eTextbooks

      eTextbooks include all of the content from the print textbook and are available across all grade levels and discipline areas. Suitable for most tablets, eTextbooks are portable and easily accessed, with some interactivity depending on the device.

    • Trade Libraries

      Trade Libraries

      Award-winning titles for content-area reading!

      These social studies trade book libraries provide engaging, award-winning trade books to help students build content-area reading skills and learn more about key social studies topics. Use them to introduce content-area concepts, for additional background, or for independent reading.

      Recommended by the National Council of Social Studies

      Premier Collections include selected popular, award-winning, and classic titles that endure year after year, such as Caldecott® Honor books, Newbery® winners, and other best-selling classics like Johnny Tremain, Jubilee, and Castle.

      NCSS Recommended Collections include notable social studies trade books for young people as selected by the Book Review Committee of the National Council for Social Studies.

      Multicultural Collections highlight the diversity of the American experience through the stories of individuals. Through these collections, students will learn about the rich and diverse experiences of African Americans, Latinos, women, and others, and gain insight into the cultures from which the authors came.

      Curriculum Collections supplement common courses in secondary social studies with engaging trade titles that bring social studies to life. Course collections include U.S. history, world history, and world regions/world geography.

      Caldecott® and Newbery® are registered trademarks of the American Library Association.

  • Resources

    Explore Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s social studies resources that further develop students’ comprehension skills.

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt & HISTORY® Partnership Website

    Updated monthly, you will find valuable resources you can incorporate into your classroom, such as teacher’s guides to relevant HISTORY® show airings and related links. Also, you can explore all of the products and sponsorships that link HMH & HISTORY® together, including the brand new Custom Solutions service. Come here often to take advantage of what this site has to offer.

    Current Events Website enriches your classroom with subject-specific information from world history, world geography, American history, economics, psychology, sociology, civics, government, and African American history. It also spotlights today’s headlines with blogs, quizzes, activities, and web links.

  • HMH Professional Services

    Our Mission Is to Advance Yours

    HMH Professional Services forges student-centered partnerships with schools and districts in the belief that all learners deserve a quality education and the opportunity for lifelong success.

    HMH Professional Services includes teachers, leaders, and technologists. Our Professional Learning Consultants become part of your team, working right beside you to build and implement professional learning plans that respect the unique needs and culture of your school or district community. Through program, practice, and technical services, we work collaboratively to unlock the full potential of every student, teacher, and leader.

    Comprehensive Services for K–12 Educators

    We offer teachers and instructional leaders a full suite of learning and support to deepen their mastery and hone their teaching skills throughout the school year.


    Visit us at to learn more.

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