American history textbooks, for the better part of the twentieth century, have focused on war as the primary actor. This article investigates the pervasiveness of war in textbooks and considers the e ect of such on students and their role as future policymakers. In the past decade, history textbooks have undergone a total transition toward an emphasis on social history. An examination of what this entails, and what impacts this may have on schoolchildren and society as a whole, lends insight into the e ects the study of history can have. Finally, I argue that a historian must not only choose events that illustrate the past, but also determine how those choices may a ect the future.