What Are the Most Interesting US History Topics for a Research Paper?

Relevance to the Writer

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when choosing a topic for a History paper is where your interests lie. No matter what the assignment, a writer’s personal investment in the subject matter is always an ideal place to start. To begin your selection process, draft a list of historically significant events that come to mind. Try not to rush the process, if given adequate time; this activity may yield many possibilities for you to choose from. When your list is complete choose your top two favorite ideas.

Research Readiness

An exemplary topic is one that combines the writer’s personal interest along with ample research opportunities. The next phase of your decision making should include a search of credible research resources that are available for your topic. There are few things more frustrating than attempting to write about a subject that lacks sufficient source material. As a writer, you should make every attempt to fully vet the subject matter prior to committing to it. After completing your research readiness activites, it’s time to compare your results and make the final decision.

Selecting the Topic

An efficient, easy and effective way to make your final selection is to assess your personal relevance to the topic and the availability of research sources at your disposal. One suggestion is to rate your interest in your two favorite topics on a scale of one to five (#1 = lowest level interest and #5=highest level interest). Once you’ve done that, now make an objective determination of your source material for each of the topics using the same one to five scale (#1= little to no source material and #5=widest selection of credible sources). To make your final decision, simply add the two scores for each topic together and choose the topic that receives the highest score.

Historically Significant Topic Ideas

Practice using the one-five scale method outlined above on some of the below topic ideas. By executing this exercise, you will begin to hone your topic selection techniques.

  • Christopher Columbus
  • The French and Indian Wars
  • The Birth of the United States Constitution
  • George Washington
  • The Bill of Rights
  • Native American Trials and Tribulations
  • The Louis and Clark Expedition
  • The War of 1812
  • The Erie Canal
  • The Oregon Trail
  • The Gold Rush
  • Supreme Court Cases of the 1800’s
  • The American Civil War
  • The Emancipation Proclamation
  • The First Transcontinental Railroad
  • The Evolution of America's Transportation Industry
  • United States Women’s Suffrage
  • World War I
  • World War II
  • The Korean War
  • The Vietnam War
  • Operation Desert Storm
  • 9/11 and The Threat of Terrorism in The United States