Welcome to American History Central

American History Central is an online digital encyclopedia. It has been developed as an educational resource for teachers and students. It is also a showcase for the Encyclopedia Content Management System (eCMS). The encyclopedia is currently focused on content related to the American Revolution and Civil War.

Exploring the Founders from Revolution to the Constitution

Selected biographies of Founders who were involved with the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

American History Central Update

We are in the process of updating American History Central from the old version of eCMS to the new WordPress plugin. We have a massive backlog of articles and quick facts that have been written and will be added to the system over the next few months.

Online Digital Encyclopedia Development

Since 2005, we have been working on the design and development of online digital encyclopedias. This site was originally developed as a demo for a presentation that we gave at an annual meeting of the American Association of State and Local History.

This site was originally built with the first version of the Encyclopedia Content Management System (eCMS), a framework that we developed specifically to power online digital encyclopedias. Over time, eCMS has been used by the Ohio Historical Society, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, University of Tennessee Press and the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C.

When we first built eCMS, open-source solutions like WordPress were not mature. WordPress was not much more than a blogging platform. Over time, WordPress has matured and grown into a feature-rich content management system. Now, we are working on a new version of eCMS, which is a plugin for WordPress.

The University of South Carolina is the first to implement the WordPress version, as part of the South Carolina Encyclopedia project.

American History Central is the most recent project to use WordPress and the eCMS WP plugin.

eCMS Projects

More Founders

Selected biographies of men and women that helped shape the principles and ideals that gave birth to America.

abigail-adams

Abigail Adams was the wife of John Adams, second President of the United States and the mother of the sixth President, John Quincy Adams. Her letters and memoirs of the Revolutionary era are considered to be major historical documents.

benjamin-rush-portrait

Benjamin Rush was a Founding Father, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Member of the Continental Army, and advocate for the ratification of the United States Constitution. Rush was also a prominent physician, educator, and proponent of women's rights and the abolition of slavery.

Portrait-of-Samuel-Adams

Samuel Adams was a Founding Father, member of the Continental Congress, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a leading proponent of colonial independence from Great Britain. After the Revolution, Adams served four terms as Governor of Massachusetts.

thomas-paine-portrait

Thomas Paine was a Founding Father, the philosopher of the American War for Independence, and a true revolutionary. His essays and pamphlets, especially Common Sense, noted for its plain language, resonated with the common people of America and roused them to rally behind the movement for independence. Following the American Revolution, Paine immigrated to Europe where the British government declared him and outlaw for his anti-monarchist views, and where he actively participated in the French Revolution.

Recommended Reading from the Journal of the American Revolution