From the Editor

Welcome to Inquiry History! I’m Jonathan Loomis, the editor. Over the years, I have taught American history at both the middle and high school levels, and currently teach AP US History as well as US History classes for our general population here at McKinley High School in Honolulu, HI.

What is Inquiry History?

Inquiry History is complete course to teach the story of our country. The program is broken into 19 units covering topics from Pre-Columbian America to the present. Each unit is broken into 3-6 lessons.

For courses that cover only part of our nation’s history, such as the high school US History classes here in Hawaii which begin in 1877, there is a short unit of four lessons to review events before that date. After the introductory unit, these classes will use units 9-19 rather than the entire sequence.

Inquiry History is entirely open source, developed from open source materials, and is free for anyone to use or edit, so long as it is not sold.

Where did this project come from?

As a history teacher I was often frustrated by the limitations that traditional textbooks impose. Over the years, I have taught many students who were learning English and could access the story of our country if only they could have read about it in their first language. However, standard textbooks are copyrighted so I was unable to digitize them or derive materials such as translations or videos without infringing on the rights of the publishers. By creating an open source textbook I was able to create multiple versions of the book, and create any materials my students needed.

Why are all the titles questions?

The new C3 Framework created under the guidance of the National Council for the Social studies encourages history teachers to use compelling and supporting questions to help students understand the way historians actually do history. The structure of the course is meant help students get comfortable with asking and answering inquiry questions.


I would like to extend my appreciation to the many colleagues and supporters who have helped me with this project, especially the staff of the Social Studies Department here at McKinley High School.

I would also like to extend a special thank you to my mother, who generously agreed to read and record the entire textbook in her retirement. Her audio recordings have been invaluable.

Thank you as well to my students, who inspire me and have provided valuable feedback throughout the project’s development.





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Sources for Original Text and Images