Topics For History Research Paper Before 1865

The 100 Best American History Research Paper Topics

American history is a complex subject loaded with material. This means that there is a wide range of topics you can select from when writing a research paper on American history. Your paper can about a specific event, person, place, or thing, or a general movement. When writing your paper, also be sure to brainstorm of some different, more thorough ideas like the long-term effects of something. Here are 100 of the best American history research topics:

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  2. The Great Depression
  3. The War of 1812
  4. Peninsula Campaign
  5. Fort Sumter
  6. The Chicago Race Riot of 1919
  7. The Gettysburg Address
  8. Boston Tea Party
  9. Transcontinental Railroad
  10. The Cotton Gin
  11. Samuel Adams
  12. Any of the 50 states
  13. History of Thanksgiving
  14. The Mayflower
  15. Marilyn Monroe
  16. September 11th
  17. War on drugs
  18. Black Panthers
  19. Ku Klux Klan
  20. The Wright Brothers
  21. The Beat Generation
  22. Andy Warhol
  23. Rosa Parks
  24. Underground Railroad
  25. Hurricane Katrina
  26. Salem Witch Trials
  27. California Gold Rush
  28. Feminism
  29. Seneca Falls Convention
  30. Helen Keller
  31. Watergate
  32. Conspiracy theories
  33. The Trail of Tears
  34. Industrial Revolution
  35. The Civil War
  36. Elian Gonzalez
  37. Cuban relations
  38. America’s role in WWI & WWII
  39. Abraham Lincoln
  40. Slavery in America
  41. Equal Rights Movement
  42. Ferguson
  43. Police brutality in America
  44. The Stamp Act
  45. The Indian Removal Act
  46. Women’s Suffrage
  47. The Berlin Wall
  48. Communism in America
  49. The Challenger explosion
  50. Virginia Tech massacre
  51. Columbine
  52. The assassination of JFK
  53. The Panama Canal
  54. Kent State Shootings
  55. The space race and moon landing
  56. O.J. Simpson
  57. Vietnam War
  58. What role did women play in the military?
  59. The Revolution
  60. George Washington
  61. French-Indian War
  62. Alexander Graham Bell
  63. Declaration of Independence
  64. War on Middle East
  65. George W. Bush
  66. Battle of Wounded Knee
  67. Practice of Voodooism
  68. The Louisiana Purchase
  69. American Expansion
  70. Native American religion
  71. The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794
  72. Gold Rush
  73. Immigration
  74. Atomic Bomb
  75. Korean War
  76. Oklahoma City Bombing
  77. Bay of Pigs
  78. Stock Market Crash of 1929
  79. Child labor
  80. Dred Scott case
  81. Manifest Destiny
  82. Oregon Trail
  83. The US Constitution
  84. Lincoln-Douglas Debates
  85. Thomas Nast’s political cartoons
  86. Mississippi River Flood of 1927
  87. Pearl Harbor
  88. Amelia Earhart
  89. Cold War
  90. American Indian Movement
  91. Iran Hostage Situation
  92. Manhattan Project
  93. Major inventions of the 1800s
  94. Labor Unions
  95. The Gilded Age
  96. Marbury vs. Madison
  97. Federalism
  98. Muckrackers
  99. American advertising
  100. Propaganda


13 Originals: Founding the American Colonies The thirteen colonies listed in the order of their founding with links to the state’s homepage, constitution , and colonial history.

Experience Colonial Life What did a gentleman wear in colonial Williamsburg? What did he and his fellow citizens eat? Answers to these questions and many more are on this Colonial Williamsburg site.

Early America Through the Media of the Day Original documents, portraits, maps, newspapers, magazines, and writings of early America.

Liberty: the American Revolution The official online companion to the PBS series about the American Revolution

The Newburgh Conspiracy Read about the conspiracy of the Continental Army officers and how General Washington and his spectacles saved the Republic. Links to documents concerning the event.

The Constitutional Convention Excellent links to biographies of the Founding Fathers, the complete text of the constitution, and questions and answers pertaining to the Constitution.

The Federalist Papers Arguments written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay in support of the ratification of the Constitution. Searchable by word or phrase.

The First Federal Congress 1789 - 1791 Read about this precedent setting Congress that took the Constitution and made a government.

George Washington: First President of the United States Provides president's speeches as well access to his papers.

The Unwritten Constitution Processes of the federal government (many established by the Washington administration) that are not actually in the Constitution but are a part of how the government works.

Antebellum American History Created by Lone Star College-Kingwood Librarians, this guide covers the antebellum and civil war period.

The Corps of Discovery Explore with Lewis and Clark the wilderness acquired by Thomas Jefferson in the Louisiana Purchase.

Democracy in America The book written by a young Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, about his nine month travel through the United States in 1831-32. His observations on that new form of government, democracy, are still relevant today.

John Brown's Raid An ardent abolitionist and eighteen co-conspirators captured the federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia with the intention of arming and freeing the near-by slaves. An incident that inflamed an already volatile atmosphere.

The Dred Scott Case The Supreme Court decision that declared that all blacks – free as well as slave- could not be citizens of the United States.

American Civil War Site From the Univ of Tennessee, this is one of the best collections available.

American Civil A searchable site of information – political, social, military, people – about this conflict.

The H. L. Hunley The first submarine to sink a ship in battle. Salvaged on August 8, 2000 off the coast of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina


Citing Sources Using the Library MLA Style Guide | Lone Star College-Kingwood Library guide. Examples of both paper and electronic citations.

Learning Center | Check our Learning Center hours for in-house tutoring.

Content by Bettye Sutton Oct. 2001.  Rev. JNC 08/10, Updated KMB 08/11.

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