Symbol for Continuity

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Symbol for Change

Continuity and Change


This theme is important for showing how the past can affect the present. Although individuals only live a relatively short time, institutions, ideas, and problems can endure for long periods of time, even thousands of years. This is known as continuity. Although continuity is important in the study of history, historians also recognize that society is constantly undergoing change.

The following is an example of a historic passage that focuses on the historical theme of Continuity and Change.

As a reaction to the often difficult transition that occurred between governmental leaders, the founders of the United States Constitution wrote in provisions for an executive branch of government headed by the president. The Constitution delegated the powers of the presidency, the length of time in office, and the process for choosing a new president. These provisions, basically unchanged, have been in place for the two hundred-plus years that the United States has been established. During this time there have been 43 different presidents, from the first, George Washington, to the present, George W. Bush. Each of these 43 presidents has brought his unique personality and ideas into the office. Often these presidents changed the course of the nation with their policies. These presidents have ranged from the very strong to the weak and ineffective. No matter what the presidency for these individuals was like, the procedures governing the transition between presidencies have never been broken, a lasting legacy of the Constitution of the United States.