The United States is so rich in history and culture making it very interesting to study and consequently one of the top research paper topics for college students. Research papers on recent events though, especially in the 20th century, can be quite hard to write with the lack of perspective and the differing opinions of experts with regard to the events.
On the abandonment of restrictive fashion of previous eras in favor of more comfortable clothing in the modern era;
On the Hiroshima bombing in 1945 which was considered to be a year of beginnings and endings;
On the Anthracite Coal Strike in 1902 and the effects of the coal mines on coal miners;
On the Black Power Movement and the fight for civil rights;
On the Chicano Movement in the 1960s for the Spanish-Californians and their fight for civil rights;
On the factors that led to the Great Depression in the late 1920s;
On establishing Veteran’s day to commemorate the end of World War 1 which was declared to be the war that ended all wars;
On the rise of organized crimes in the 1920s after the 18th amendment made it illegal to manufacture, transport, or sell alcohol;
On the War Power Act which limited presidential military authority; and
On the Women’s Christian Temperance Union regulating the consumption of alcohol at the time when women had limited legal rights.
Writing research paper topics about United States history or even writing a research paper, in general can get really tedious. This is why students often hire professional writers to do the dirty work for them – from doing the research to writing it down accordingly into a cohesive and comprehensive piece of research work.
Thesis. Pick a topic that is relevant to the general public and actually calls for an answer to real world questions. Avoid writing down summaries and narratives. Instead, argue your point and substantiate them accordingly with credible references in research papers.
Bibliography. A research paper requires a lot of research which means you will have to go through relevant primary and secondary sources.
Outline. It can either be a broad general guide or a very detailed plan, whichever works better for you. This allows you to check easily your progress and re-order parts as needed. This will also help you manage your time and ensure you submit on or before the deadline, with enough time to finalize and perfect the research paper.
Title. The title obviously has to give the readers an idea of what the paper would be about. Choose a title that suggests a question or a debate that you will be addressing in the paper.
Introduction. Start strong to convince your readers to read on. The introduction should introduce the argument and present some historical context of the issue.
Argument. Arguments without evidence to prove them are hearsays and will not hold water. Make sure that each argument you make is substantiated with appropriate and credible references that are properly cited. Again, do not just summarize and narrate the data and information you have gathered. Make sure to analyze the facts.
Conclusion. Summarize the entire argument at the end and add the value or reason of your research paper. It should reinforce the relevance of your research paper and convince your readers to actually act on the matter.
Style. Write in clear, concise English and avoid colloquial English or slang. In writing about history, make sure to use the past tense all throughout the paper.
Paragraphs. Each paragraph should contain one major point that will advance your argument.
Quotations. Keep all quotes short because what is important is your analyses and your thoughts on the subject matter. Remember to acknowledge the source of all direct quotations in the footnotes. Check with your instructor on which citation style guide to use. Otherwise, there are several style guides you can choose from.
Annotation. You can use either footnotes or endnotes, but never both. As already mentioned, you would have to check with your instructor on which citation style guide to use. In any case, the standard guides are M.L.A. or the Chicago style.
Revisions. Make sure to edit and proofread your first draft more than once. You can also ask other people to edit your work for fresh eyes. Make sure to look into your spelling, grammar, and writing style. These are the little details with big effects.
Technical desiderata. Research paper assignments usually go with instructions but absent these instructions, do provide a cover sheet and number pages.
Let’s see, for your Ancient History 101 course, your topics so far look like this:
- The history of the landline phone
- Life before the Internet
- A world without Snapchat
Even though these topics might seem like ancient history, they’re probably not what your course is about or what your professor had in mind when she assigned the paper.
But what is there to write about in any history course? That stuff is so old and boring, right? Not necessarily. Here are 13 history essay topics to bring your essay to life.
But wait…I don’t know how to write a history paper
Maybe you’re not even at the point where you should be picking a topic just yet. Maybe you still need to understand more about how to write a history paper.
If that’s the case, check out How to Write a History Paper That Will Go Down in History. Then finish reading this post to learn more about finding a topic and see those 13 history essay topics you came here for.
13 History Essay Topics That Will Bring Your Essay to Life
Here are 13 history essay topics to help you find the perfect subject for your paper. I’ve also included a few links to example essays for even more historical inspiration!
1. How did Homer influence history (and literature), and did he really exist? No, I don’t mean Homer Simpson. I mean the ancient poet, Homer. But if you’re really creative and your professor allows some flexibility in assignments, maybe you can write a compare and contrast paper about how both Homers have influenced history.
2. Examine Hitler’s rise to power. You might consider several elements of Adolf Hitler’s childhood and early adulthood that influenced his desire for power. You might also write about larger, societal influences and what allowed Hitler to become so powerful.
3. Compare and contrast religions. Examine two (or more) religions and compare and contrast various elements, such as how they treat death, the afterlife, or marriage. I’d suggest picking two to three topics and examining them in-depth. Don’t try to compare the religions as a whole without any specific criteria.
You might also examine one religion more closely (such as Buddhism, Confucianism, or Christianity) and examine how the religion is different in various parts of the world. Again, pick two to three criteria to compare and/or contrast.
Read Compare and Contrast Essay Tips from a Kibin Editor to learn more about writing a compare and contrast essay.
4. Were the Dark Ages really that dark? The Dark Ages were long before the days without cell phones and Internet. During this time, millions died from war and sickness, but this was also a time of great ideas and discoveries. Thus, is the name “Dark Ages” an appropriate title for the time period?
5. Examine historical myths and legends. Did people like Count Dracula or Robin Hood exist, or were they simply subjects of great legends (and movies)?
Remember, if you’re writing an argument about whether they really existed, you’ll need to present evidence to support your argument but will also need to address the counterargument.
Read How to Write a Winning Argument Essay to learn more about argument writing.
6. Examine the causes and effects of the Cold War. What were the underlying causes of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union? What were the effects of the Cold War on the United States, the Soviet Union, or other parts of the world?
If you want to write about the Cold War, you could also write about the events that precipitated the ending of the Cold War.
Read this tip sheet on cause and effect papers for more help with this type of essay.
7. Examine the causes and effects of China’s one-child policy. Why did China implement a one-child policy, and what effect did this have on the country and its citizens? (Note: In 2015, the government began to phase out the one-child policy. Why was this necessary?)
8. Argue that there are positive effects of war. Most argue that there are only negative results of war. However, some argue that war produces positive changes in culture and encourages patriotism. (You might examine war in general or focus your argument on a specific war.)
9. Compare the Salem Witch Trials to another historical event. The era of the Salem Witch Trials was a time of fear and paranoia. Compare this time period to other times of hysteria, such as The Red Scare or the months following the September 11 terror attacks.
10. Examine the war on drugs throughout history. The war on drugs isn’t a recent phenomenon. Examine the use, influence, and prosecution of drugs throughout history.
You could chronicle the more recent developments of the war on drugs (the past 20–30 years), or you might try another angle and consider opium use and trade in China or the use and cultivation of spiritual and medicinal plants in Native American culture.
11. Argue how a specific invention changed history. This type of paper might examine inventions, such as electricity, television, the phone, or the personal computer. Or the paper might focus on medical discoveries, such as the polio vaccine or penicillin.
12. How has feminism either positively or negatively changed society? This type of paper might present both positive and negative aspects or examine only positive or only negative influences. You might focus your discussion on one society or compare and contrast different regions or countries.
13. Examine the historical significance of the number 13. Why is 13 considered an unlucky number in the United States? Some trace the unlucky origins back to the Bible. Others point to mythology. You might examine the number’s origin and why the number is still considered unlucky today (think Friday the 13th).
But wait…I don’t know anything about any of these history essay topics
You probably know something about some of these history essay topics, but maybe not enough to write a successful paper. This simply means that you’ll need to do some research.
Locating a variety of resources, including primary and secondary sources, will help you turn the boring textbook stuff into a more lively and interesting read.
If you need even more help with research, check out these posts:
Ready to share your draft and have the Kibin editors provide feedback? Send it our way!
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