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National History Day in Massachusetts

Annual Theme

Each year, National History Day selects an annual theme. The broad themes encourage students to research a wide variety of topics. Students should use the theme to frame their analysis and show why a topic is significant in history.

Check out the NHD Theme Page for useful resources like the Communication in History 2021 Theme BookGraphic Organizer, and the Theme Video.

The 2022 theme is "Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences." Projects can be about Massachusetts history, U.S., or world history - but all projects must relate to the theme.

Debates are formal or informal interactions where people argue opposing viewpoints. Some debates involve two sides, while others involve many viewpoints. Diplomacy usually involves negotiating, compromising, and communicating with people or nations to find a nonviolent solution to a conflict. Debate and diplomacy can occur independently or be intertwined. Can diplomacy lead to new debates? Can
debates lack diplomacy? What happens where there is a lack of diplomacy, or when it fails? What do we consider diplomatic success? Whose voices are included in debate, and who might be left out? What does each side gain or lose?

Debates can take place between individuals, organizations, or nations; in governments, courts, or on TV; through newspapers, cartoons, or social media. We often think of diplomacy in terms of international relations, but negotiation and compromise is a part of social movements, science, business, sports, art, and much more.  How do debate and diplomacy play a role in the histories that interest you?

The Massachusetts Historical Society has created a MHS Theme Page for you to explore "Debate & Diplomacy in History" in our collections.  Or check out the theme pages below from local historical sites and archives to get inspired!

Theme Pages

A number of Massachusetts libraries, museums, and archives have created their own lists of resources related to the theme "Debate & Diplomacy in History."  Get inspired by history in your backyard, and contact the librarians and archivists who work there for more ideas:

Check back with us shortly as our partners post their 2021 theme pages! Or check out these NHD Partner Resources Pages to see theme lists from organizations across the country!