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Knotted Line LogoThe Knotted Line is an ambitious effort to build a timeline of American History that brings to light complex relationships and parallels between and among seemingly unrelated events. Knotted Line manages to pull off this work of art by viewing history through the related prisms of freedom and power. To use this timeline is to examine themes through history, relating events hundreds of years apart chronologically, yet fresh and relevant to each other when examined side by side.

For example, upon clicking on the “Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882” link one is presented with a brief overview of Chinese exclusion and self-empowerment that begins with a failed attempt by Chinese workers to agitate for better working conditions on the railroads in 1867 to the Chinese Progressive Association’s successful work on supporting the increase in San Francisco’s minimum wage above the state’s mandate in 2003. A discussion question directs viewers to examine a primary source painting commemorating the completion of the trans-continental railroad asking, where are the Chinese? Brief audio and video clips, and still images, support learning. Additional links tie to the broader themes of power and freedom through examining Afro-Asian and Asian struggles in the United States. I love it!


The Knotted Line has a definite point of view concerning American History. That is rather clear when one looks through the material. As long as you know this going in, then have fun!

Sample Uses

This resource cries out for use in US History and APUSH courses. The thematic approach and non-linear treatment of history is refreshing.

Do I plan to use it?

If I teach US History or APUSH next year, then I am in!

Commitment and Learning Curve


Best for ES MS or HS?

HS teachers



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