Most college and university students often find themselves struggling to write essays or research proposal topics in history. With the increasing demands in this area, students are forced to find more sources which they can use for research. The hardship of writing an essay is more complex if you’re writing on a difficult history paper with information that is relatively less known compared to other regions in the world.
Some students also encounter difficulty when it comes to choosing history topics that can be written within ten (10) pages or three thousand (3000) words maximum limit. A lot of scholars have already done their researches and writings regarding certain historical events, however some still do not get enough information about it.
At Tutlance – research paper writing service, we have compiled a list of topics that can get you started when writing your history paper.
If you need to know how to write a history research paper, read our guide on: how to write a research paper.
Historical Events, People and Places that Changed the World To Write About
Here are some historical events, people and places that changed the world which you can use as a starting point when finding a good history topic for your essay or research project:
- The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler
- Life in Nazi Germany
- 10 Facts about Plagues
- Reformation Movement
- Rise and Fall of Ottoman Empire
- The Black Plague
- Hernan Cortes: Conquistador of Mexico
- Genghis Khan’s Empire
- Great Zimbabwe Ruins
- Anne Frank
- Vietnam War
- Saladin – Sultan of egypt and syria
- Middle Ages
- Treaty of Versailles
- Parthenon (Athens)
- Spanish Armada
- History of the English Language
- Port Arthur Massacre
- Nanjing Massacre
- Tiananmen Square Protests
- The Great Depression
- Hiroshima Bombing
- European Union
- Tiananmen Square Protests
- Invention of the Radio
- Nelson Mandela
- September 11 Attacks
- Rise of Modern Guerrilla Warfare
- Famine in China
- Roman Empire
- Aztec Civilization
- House of Tudor
- Apollo II
- King Henry VIII
- Warlord Era
- Berlin Airlift
- History of Islam
- Cold War
- Treaty of Versailles
- Albert Einstein
- Chemical Weapons Convention
- Stuxnet Worm
- The Arab Spring
- Assassination of John .F. Kennedy
- Cuban Missile Crisis
- US history
- American history
- California history
- 20th century european
- Ancient history
- Legal history
- Art history topics,
- African history
- Ancient world history
- Theatre history
How to come up with unique history research topics
Here are some steps in coming up with good topics for your history research paper:
- Create a list of questions you want to answer with your research.
- Look over the list and try to find connections or patterns.
- Once you’ve found those patterns, figure out which one is the most interesting and ask more about that pattern.
- Research that pattern and see if it’s unique enough to make a paper off of. If not, go back and think of another pattern.
When you finally decide on a topic, brainstorm some subtopics within that topic (for example: Fascism in Italy, Germany, and Spain )
What is a qualified history research topic?
- It is unique and original
- A non complex and easy to follow research plan
- The right length of your paper. If you find yourself going over the right number of words, it means that you have a lot of study material but a hard time structuring it in a way that the reader can easily understand your ideas. This is why all information needs to be directly relevant for your history research topic. In other words, don’t try to “stuff” content into an already limited space. It will not work well and might impact the overall quality of your final work adversely.
- A narrow yet deep focus on one particular or problem from history which will give you the scope to go into enough depth. For example, if you want to study history on gun laws during WWII, your topic can be narrowed down to three main phases: Pre war situation, The changing of gun laws after the attack on Pearl Harbor and finally how this is reflected in current laws.
- A broad subject where there are many subtopics, which leaves room for elaboration within your paper.
Writing history research proposal or even an essay is not always an easy task but with these steps you will make it easier!
History Research Topics
Have you run out of ideas for a history research paper? Have you been assigned a research topic and need to start on your paper?
Here are additional 20 illustrated research history topics that can help get you started.
The Role of Women in the American Colonies
Beyond serving as domestic servants, colonial women also worked in important trades such as printing, teaching and farming. For example, Deborah Greenman ran the first dressmaking business in Boston; Mary Glover operated America’s first independent coffeehouse; and Anne Bonny ran a tavern. While some historians argue that these female-run businesses were necessary for survival during times of financial hardships, others contend that it is evidence of increased independence among women. This research question would likely require some primary source analysis using letters or diaries from colonial American life.
The Creation and Implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation
Emancipation was one of Abraham Lincoln’s primary war aims during the American Civil War, but his freedom proclamation did not come into effect until January 1863. Historians argue that this was a strategic move by Lincoln to ensure southern states’ allegiance to the Union. Others contend it was an unnecessary political move since there were already plans in place for freed black men and women to join the Union army. Students could research how and why emancipation took place and attempt to determine what factors influenced Lincoln’s decision. Primary sources such as letters and cabinet meeting minutes might be useful in your research.
The North-South Schism of 1845
This schism separated the northern and southern Presbyterian churches in America over the issue of whether slave owners were eligible for membership. While most northern churches agreed that owning slaves was incompatible with Christian teachings, southern churches believed that God had sanctioned slavery in The Bible (Foster). Students could research why this schism occurred and how it led to further division between the North and South before the Civil War. Primary source analysis might be particularly useful when researching this topic.
The Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act was passed by Congress under president Andrew Jackson in 1830, leading to the expulsion of Native Americans from their lands east of Mississippi River to present-day Oklahoma (Washburne). This act is often cited as the “single most devastating event in Native American history” (Washburne). Students could research how the U.S. government came to pass this controversial piece of legislation and consider whether or not it was fair and just. Primary sources such as letters, diary entries, and speeches might be useful when researching this topic.
The Reconfiguration of Gender Roles at Jamestown
When the first English settlers arrived at Jamestown in 1607, they were led by Captain John Smith who promoted the idea that men and women both worked for survival (Dolan). However, historians argue that these gender roles shifted sometime between 1619 and 16; by the latter date there was an increasing emphasis on male-only farmers and female domestic servants (Dolan). Students could research how gender roles changed at Jamestown throughout the 17th century and consider why these changes occurred. Primary source analysis such as journals or letters might be helpful when conducting your research.
The Business of Slavery: Tobacco Production in Antebellum Virginia
In Antebellum Virginia, professional slave traders would purchase black men and women from owners who no longer needed them and sell them to southern states where their labor was needed for cotton and tobacco cultivation (Marszalek). Historians argue that this “business of slavery” led to a growing resentment among slaves, leading some owners to replace field work with more specialized tasks (Marszalek). Students could investigate the role of slave traders in Virginia and consider how this industry impacted slaves’ lives. Primary source analysis might be useful when conducting research on this topic.
The Stono Rebellion (1739)
The Stono Rebellion was one of the earliest large-scale slave uprisings in American history, led by 20 black men who escaped from a Spanish plantation near St. Augustine Florida (Davis). Historians speculate that these rebels had planned to escape to Florida where they would then establish their own colony (Freehling). Students could investigate the causes of rebellion and what measures were put forth after its defeat. Primary sources such as diaries or letters may be helpful when researching this topic.
Disenfranchisement and the Emergence of Jim Crow
Following the defeat of Reconstruction, many southern states passed constitutions and laws that restricted black voters from participation in politics (Perry). Historians argue this was a move by white southerners to retain political power and solidify Jim Crow laws (Heard). Students could research what strategies were used to keep blacks out of politics and consider how these practices affected their day-to-day lives. Primary sources such as letters or speeches might be helpful when investigating this topic.
The Green Corn Rebellion (1917)
This rebellion occurred during World War I in Oklahoma when draft resisters attacked local towns after rumors spread that they would be drafted into battle (Hirsch). Twelve white men and 172 Native Americans were charged with insurrection (Oklahoma Historical Society). Students could investigate the causes of this rebellion and consider why it occurred. Primary source analysis might be useful when researching this topic.
Lynchings in Oklahoma: 1890-1930s
Discuss how “thousands of black men and women” were lynched in Oklahoma during these decades, with that number representing roughly a quarter of all such murders in the U.S. that occurred between the 1880s and 1930s (Hirsch). Furthermore, many of these victims had been accused of transgressions such as rape or murder but were often not given fair trials to face their accusers (Hirsch). Students could research lynching and consider how this form of public murder affected black communities. Primary sources such as letters or diaries may be useful when conducting research on the topic.
The Tulsa Race Riot (1921)
In 1921, a white mob attacked black citizens in what is now known as the “Tulsa Race Riot,” killing 300 people and destroying more than 1,000 homes (Opera). Historians argue that this attack was fueled by rumors that a young black male had assaulted a white woman (Phillips). Students could investigate the causes of the riot and its aftermath. Primary source analysis might be helpful when researching this topic.
The Oklahoma Outrage: A Lynching at Milfay (1921)
This paper primarily discusses how a mob of white men killed Will N. Hill and his wife after they were accused of setting fire to a white man’s home (Hirsch). 13 people were charged with the murder but only two were convicted (Hirsch). Students could research this incident and consider why it occurred. Primary sources such as photographs, newspapers, or letters may be helpful when researching this topic.
The Exodusters (1879-1880)
This movement was largely influenced by the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and led many black citizens in Kansas to migrate to Oklahoma (Phillips). Students could research what conditions prompted this movement and how it impacted the region’s economy. Primary source analysis might be helpful when researching this topic.
The Pottawatomie Massacre (1856)
This paper would discuss the history of the Pottawatomie Massacre, which resulted in the deaths of five white men who had settled on land belonging to Native Americans (Hirsch). Historians suggest that pro-slavery settlers committed these crimes due to fears that abolitionists would mobilize against them if they did not have a large enough population (Hirsch). Students could research what factors contributed to this massacre and consider why it occurred. Primary sources such as letters or diaries may be useful when conducting research on this topic.
The Chisholm Trail
This trail led black cattle drivers to transport their livestock from Texas to the railroad in Abilene, KS. The trail was short and lucrative, but difficult for cowboys to manage (Sibley). Historians argue that this trail led “to a massive infusion of African American culture into the entire Southwest” because these cattle drivers were often more skilled than white cowboys (Sibley). Students could investigate this topic and consider how it impacted the region’s economy. Primary sources such as photographs or letters may be helpful when conducting research on this topic.
Slavery in Indian Territory
This article discusses how many Native Americans owned black slaves (Hirsch). Furthermore, there is evidence that suggests that some Native American owners treated their slaves poorly while others did not (Hirsch). Students could research this topic and consider the significant role that slavery played in Indian Territory. Primary sources such as letters or diaries may be useful when researching this topic.
Black Seminole Scouts
This academic paper primarily discuss how the Seminole Wars of 1817 and 1835 inspired black slaves to fight on behalf of Native Americans (Smith). These scouts were often feared by white soldiers because they had been trained with weapons unlike many other slaves (Smith). Students could research what conditions led these men to fight on behalf of Native American tribes. Primary sources such as letters or diaries may be helpful when researching this topic.
A Declaration of Independence: African-American Slave Narratives (1865)
This paper discusses how during Emancipation, many former slaves began to write their life stories (Hirsch). These narratives often described the history of American slavery and the unique experiences that black men and women faced while enslaved (Hirsch). Primary sources such as manuscripts or letters may be helpful when researching this topic.
Black Women’s History in the West
This historical analysis essay primarily discusses how black women have played a significant role in shaping farming communities through their work as both laborers and domestic laborers (Jones). Students could research what conditions prompted black women to leave the South for western territories.
Exodusters at Nicodemus, Kansas
This paper discusses how the passage of the Homestead Act led many African Americans to consider moving West (Hirsch). Many black families moved to Nicodemus, Kansas in order to seek greater economic opportunities (Hirsch). Students could research what factors prompted African American communities to migrate westward.
What are good topics for a history research paper?
Here are some of history research paper topics that you can write about when you have been tasked with writing a history research paper, term paper, history essay or dissertation.
Use the research topics listed below to come up with great history research paper topics for college, high school, or even graduate school.
- Which historical event were you most affected by, and how did it affect you?
- What was a key moment of political or social change in the United States, and what caused it?
- In your opinion, who are some of the most influential people of all time? Why have they been so greatly admired over time?
- How has technology influenced the world we live in today? Give examples of specific ways.
- Describe a significant life experience from childhood that helped shape who you are today.
- What is your favorite historical invention? How has it affected our world?
- How has the United States contributed to worldwide peace through its culture, technology, or international relations?
- How has life for women changed throughout history? What are some notable contributions made by women to society over time?
- Who are some of the most important figures in American history and why do they hold that title?
- If you could change one thing about the past, what would it be and how would this change affect today’s society?
- Some people believe climate change exists while others do not. Research both arguments on this topic and write a paper that clearly states your personal opinions on the topic.
- What is the most interesting thing you have learned in history class?
- Research one of these historical figures and write a brief biography about them: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, or Mahatma Gandhi
- How has social media affected our relationships in modern society? Do you think it has had more positive or negative effects? Why?
- What are some milestones in history that impacted everything after they occurred? (ex. landing on the moon, 9/11)
- Describe how your family’s background influenced who you are today. Talk about your culture, traditions, values etc.
- What important laws have been passed in the United States to protect its citizens? How were these laws a result of a historical time period or a reaction to a historic event?
- In what ways has technology influenced how you live your daily life? Give specific examples.
- Which wars have had an impact on both current day America and the world as a whole, and how did they do this?
- Why was there such tension between Native American tribes and European settlers in North American History, and who do you think was mostly at fault for this conflict?
- What is a significant timeline in US history, and what makes this time period so important?
- What impact has Martin Luther King Jr. had on America’s history, and what steps did he take to become such an influential figure? Who were some of his contemporaries, and how were they different from him/what did he do that helped make him stand out from others of his time?
- What are some misconceptions about your favorite historical figures (ex. Mozart was not actually very good at playing the piano) that you wish more people knew about them? If you could change these misconceptions or add to them, what would you say?
- How has the United States historically contributed to worldwide peace through its culture, technology, or international relations?
- What is a significant event that occurred during your lifetime thus far, and why was it so influential on you personally?
- Research one of these historical figures and write a brief biography about them: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, or Mahatma Gandhi.
- Who are some of the most important figures in American history and why do you think they are important?
- How have sports contributed to American culture? How have they impacted the way Americans live their lives?
- How has science impacted society throughout history so far, and why is it important that we continue advancing in this area?
- Why was there such a great divide between the North and South in the United States during the Civil War?
- Introduction to Historical Research : Home
- What is History Research?
- A Step by Step Guide to Doing Historical Research
- Primary Sources for Historical Research – Randall Library
- Websites for Historians | Fordham
- History: The Research Paper
- A Brief Guide to Writing the History Paper – Harvard University
- Writing a Good History Paper – Hamilton College
- History Study Guides – Carleton College
- Research & Writing Guide | Department of History
- Historical Research, Methods and Writing: Choosing a topic
- Oral History Research and Resources – Library Guides
History Research Paper Writing Help
While history may make for an excellent academic topic, students often find the task of gathering the necessary information and locating credible sources difficult. If you are one of these students, then this article is for you.
Here, we will explain how to conduct research on various topics related to American history by providing five key steps that every student should follow when writing a history paper.
We believe that following these suggestions can help any student produce an excellent history research paper by making it easier for them to locate high-quality sources and use them in their work effectively.
The first step towards effective research is finding the right subject matter to study. Many students struggle with this because they lack focus or know where to begin.
- Decide on broad research area: One way that students can make this process easier is by first determining what they want to learn about. Consider your academic or personal interests before conducting research. This helps narrow down the topic you will write about and makes it easier for you to choose documents that may be useful when conducting your project.
- Does your topic require historical context? Another thing that students need to consider is whether or not their topic requires historical context. History is the study of the human past, so many of your topics will inevitably explore something that occurred in a particular time period.. Some students neglect this important detail, which means they frequently struggle at the drafting stage because they lack an understanding of what took place during their selected time periods. Thus, if possible, try to find at least a general time period to study so that you have a clear idea of what occurred at that point in history.
- Decide on the type of history project to write: Another important factor that students should consider before starting their research is the type of project they will write. History projects can vary greatly, depending on your class and instructor’s preferences, but many questions require similar types of research. If you are unsure about how to answer a common question, try reading the assignment carefully or asking your teacher for clarification. In general, though, most history papers require students to integrate primary and secondary sources while also offering some kind of historical analysis.
- Locate credible sources: The next step is to locate credible sources from which you can gather information related to your topic. Many students struggle with this because they do not know where to begin. If you are in this situation, then the best way to start your research is by asking yourself the following question: Which sources are considered “the most authoritative” when writing history papers? One of the best ways that students can locate reliable primary sources is by consulting an academic or scholarly database.. You can search these databases using terms that pertain to your topic in order to locate articles, documents, and other types of historical evidence. Additionally, you should check with your library for specific books on related subjects because many libraries include references in their collections.
- Read and summarize sources: The next step is reading through your selected sources so you can accurately summarize them in your paper. The key here is to carefully analyze each document in order to determine its significance. If you are having trouble doing this, then ask yourself the following questions: What does this source say? Who wrote it and why was it written? How do these answers relate to my research question or paper topic? After answering these questions, make sure to paraphrase or summarize your sources in your own words (Routledge).
- Write and cite resources: The final step is using your sources effectively by properly citing them in your work. This may seem like a daunting task for some students, but if they carefully read through their research papers or assignment instructions they should not have any problems referencing their work correctly. Make sure that if you use direct quotes from primary documents that you give credit where it is due. Additionally, be sure to consult your school’s academic or bibliographic style guide for more information on proper citation formats.
Conclusion: By asking yourself critical questions before conducting your research and by referencing your work correctly, you will be able to effectively complete a history paper. Remember that many common questions require similar types of historical research. Try starting with a scholarly database if you do not know where to begin. If possible, try to narrow down the time period in which you are investigating so that you have a good understanding of what happened at that point in history. Finally, make sure to carefully analyze each document and summarize them in your own words before incorporating them into your work.
- How to start and Write a History Essay
- How to write a personal history essay
- How to Write An Analytical History Essay (Topics & Examples)
- How to write a personal history statement for graduate school