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The LBJ Library and Museum is hosting the 2003 Central Texas History Day Competition on Saturday, February 15, 2003.

The public is invited to attend.


Get the Entry Form in PDF Format Here

Get the Entry Form in MS Word Format Here

Resources at the
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
for National History Day Projects, 2003

Rights and Responsibilities in History


The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum provides rich primary source documentation for your National History Day project.  Visiting the Library to conduct your research would obviously provide the most information and documentation.  However, many of the oral histories as well as a selection of telephone recordings, photographs, and streaming media are available on-line.  Visit the LBJ for Kids section of the website at www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/lbjforkids/main.htm to access information about the Selma to Montgomery march, the Mississippi murders of three civil Rights workers, voting rights, and the environment.

There are several topics that can be developed using resources from the LBJ Library and Museum.  Some suggestions might include:

Government’s Responsibility to Promote the General Welfare through Education, Health Care, and Housing

  • Head Start

  • Medicare

  • Urban Renewal/Model Cities

  • Job Corps

  • Community Action Program

  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 1965

Government’s Responsibility to Ensure the Civil Rights of Its Citizens

  • Civil Rights Act, 1964 (public accommodations)

  • Selma to Montgomery March

  • Mississippi Murders of three Civil Rights Workers

  • Voting Rights Act, 1965

The Rights and Responsibilities of Participants in the Viet Nam Anti-War Movement

  • Protests; anti-war movement; civil disobedience

  • The military draft; selective service

  • Anti-Communism

The Rights and Responsibilities of the United States in World Affairs*

  • The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964 (Vietnam)

  • The decision to send U.S. combat troops to Vietnam

  • The Non-Proliferation Treaty (arms control and disarmament)

  • U.S. response to to the seizure of the USS Pueblo by North Korea

*Students may wish to consult the Foreign Relations Of the United States, a multi-volume documentary publication of the Department of State which includes materials from the holdings of the Johnson Library.  These volumes are available on-line at the Department of State web site  http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus   .

America’s First Ladies:  Rights and Responsibilities

The Responsibility to Save the Environment

  • Water resources

  • Land resources

Rights and Responsibilities in History

During the 2002-2003 school year, National History Day invites students to research topics related to the theme, "Rights and Responsibilities in History." The theme is broad enough in scope to encourage investigation of topics ranging from local to world history. To understand the historical importance of their topics, students must ask questions of time and place, cause and effect, change over time, and impact and significance. They must ask not only when events happened but also why they happened and what impact they had. What factors contributed to their development? Regardless of the topic selected, students must not only present a description of it, but also draw conclusions about how their topic affected individuals, communities, nations, or the world.

People live their lives in a web of connections with other human beings. Within that web they have rights and responsibilities as members of families, as participants in politics, as producers or consumers, or in any of the other myriad roles human beings assume during their lifetimes.

Historically, rights have taken many different forms. America's founders believed that individuals had certain fundamental rights, simply by virtue of being human. In other societies, rights depended on membership in a group or class, such as the castes of Brahmin India. Throughout history, human institutions-governments, churches, corporations, and other entities-have enjoyed rights as well. With rights come responsibilities, whether it is to exercise rights within limits or to ensure rights for others. While students may be tempted to focus on rights, the theme includes both rights and responsibilities and students should address both aspects of the theme whenever possible.

Students may explore

  • the origins and impact of key documents related to rights

  • specific rights

  • the rights and responsibilities conferred by citizenship

  • the rights and responsibilities of family members

  • examine the experiences of different groups

  • the denial of rights and the struggle to gain rights

  • the rights and responsibilities of nations and governments

  • topics related to religion and churches

  • the economy

  • science and technology

The theme is a broad one, so topics should be carefully selected and developed in ways that best use students' talents and abilities. Whether a topic is a well-known event in world history or focuses on a little-known individual from a small community, students should be careful to place their topics into historical perspective, examine the significance of their topics in history, and show development over time. Studies should include an investigation into available primary and secondary sources, analysis of the evidence, and a clear explanation of the relationship of the topic to the theme, "Rights and Responsibilities in History." Then, students may develop papers, performances, documentaries, and exhibits for entry into National History Day competitions.

Related Links

National Archives and Records Administration


For Program Rules and Information, contact:
National History Day
0119 Cecil Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
(301) 314-9739
National Contest: June 9-13, 2002