Primary Sources

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Historians use both primary and secondary sources to learn about history. For Vermont History Day, YOU get to be the historian who develops a thesis, analyzes primary and secondary sources, and uses evidence to support your argument.

For a topic connected to the theme of “Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas,” you could explore the 1970s counterculture movement in Vermont. During the 1970s, some ‘hippies’ quit their jobs in larger cities to move to Vermont. To ‘take back the land,’ many turned to farming and other sustainable life practices. They also formed communes and cooperatives in order to share new ideas with one another. You could explore not just the people, but also the ideas they stood for. What ideas did individuals fight against? What did they hope to accomplish? What was the short term and long term impact of the counterculture movement?

For a larger overview, you could start your research with secondary sources about the movement:

As you read these sources, you might uncover information about the 1970s and a discussion of the impact of that era on Vermont today. What frontiers were crossed? What new ideas or places did people share or create?

You could learn more about people, places, and ideas by examining primary sources from the era:

Why is this topic significant in history? That's for you to determine and to demonstrate using evidence from the primary and secondary sources that you can find online and in libraries and archives. Good luck choosing a topic and conducting your research!

See other Vermont history topic ideas: Frontiers in VERMONT History

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