10 Hot Topics for a History Research Paper

Many instructors are adopting newer methods of teaching by encouraging their students to develop their own research paper topics. While this is quite progressive and often met with support from administrators, instructors and students alike, there are times when finding a good and interesting subject seems an impossible task.

Here are 10 hot topics you can use as inspiration when choosing your own history research paper topic:

  • Slavery in America: Slavery was practiced throughout the first colonies in the U.S., but it was in the southern colonies that slavery played the biggest role in developing a specific economy upon which human trafficking was a way of life. How would history of slavery in the U.S. be different if the South had developed a different type of economy from its start?
  • Jamestown Colony: The colonists who founded Jamestown, Virginia, suffered a number of hardships en route to the new world. Their survival depended heavily on the slavery, which later became a staple of the Southern economy. How would the landscape of the U.S. south have been different if the Jamestown colonists had no need for slavery in those first few years?
  • 9/11 Attacks: Most people recognize these attacks with the images of two planes flown into the towers of the World Trade Center, but a third plane crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. What can be learned by researching the two latter plane highjackings?
  • Joseph Stalin: Joseph Stalin’s rule over the Soviet Union is best-known for its ruthlessness, violence and cruelty. But Stalin also played a pivotal role in WWII as one of the Allies’ strongest forces against the Axis powers in Europe. Will Stalin ever be given his proper credit in the eyes of Westerners?
  • War of 1812: Sometimes called the second American Revolution, the War of 1812 placed the U.S. against Britain again, but this time the stakes were smaller and the fight a lot more even. Could the U.S. have reached a peace earlier on and conceded some shipping rights?
  • Bubonic Plague: The bubonic plague devastated Europe and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. How would such a plague that lasted so long affect the world today? Do we have enough measures to stop something like this from happening again?
  • Marie-Antoinette: This queen was the closest thing to today’s celebrity. She lived in excess, loved media, and her fall, along with that of her husband’s – Louis XVI – was one of the most highly publicized executions in France. How would her crimes against her country be viewed today? Did she deserve to be executed or was there a more appropriate punishment? French Revolution: Though the French Revolution came after the American Revolution, it is said to have a larger impact across Western Civilization. What did the young U.S. learn from the events that occurred in Europe in the 1790s?
  • Abraham Lincoln: The US’s 16th president is often considered the nation’s most beloved and most important. He self-taught lawyer and politician, he presided over the nation’s only civil war and played an integral part in the nation’s healing that came after the war. Could any other president have accomplished such a feat? Civil War: The Civil War is one of the nation’s saddest moments as it pitted brother against brother, cousin against cousin over the question of slavery and the sovereignty of states. To secede from the Union was shocking but technically not illegal. Does history show that the U.S. can again split in any way?