History class can become a jumble of years, dates, and odd names of people who have been dead for centuries. Despite this, you’ll still need to write about history. You have no choice!
But once in a while your instructor may let you choose history essay topics. Are you clueless about where to start? If you are, don’t worry. You’ve come to the right place! This article provides 91 top history essay topics.
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Most of this article is devoted to listing history topics that are ideal for essays, but first, it’s important to have a simple process for using a list of possible essay topics like this.
- Before you start writing, brainstorm. Read this list. Scan lists of history essay prompts. Maybe even skim a history essay example or 2 (or 10, or 25). When you find a topic you like even a bit, write it down in your personal list. Add any other topics that come to your mind.
- Pick a topic that will satisfy your instructor and you can write well about. After you have along list, review the assignment instructions. Then, eliminate the most inappropriate topics from your list. Lastly, reread the remaining topics. At this point, decide the topics you know enough about to write aboutwisely.
This 2-step process will make sure you get started on the right foot, but don’t forget the basics of sound writing. Remember these two rules. First, always plan your essay by using an outline. Second, stick to a well-structured essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion (use a 5-paragraph essay ifit’s suitable).
Here’s one further tip that is notably helpful for history essays. Use Wikipedia to explore historical events that you don’t understand well. (But of course use primary sources if you are writing a true research paper.)
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Here’s the list of history essay prompts that you’ve been waiting for.
- An Industrial Revolution in England essay is an excellent Industrial Revolution essay. Use this essay toexplain some Industrial Revolution effects. Or perhaps give a brief but analytical overview of the Industrial Revolution timeline.
- Alternatively, you could write an Industrial Revolution in Europe essay. England was the first nation to industrialize. But it wasn’t the last. In this Industrial Revolution essay, perhaps discuss differences among European nations in industrialization. (This kind of comparative approach yields an especially fine Industrial Revolution research paper as well.)
- Or use a markedly different topic by writing a Martin Luther King essay. This key historical figure still shapes how we think about race, social justice, and the power of nonviolent protest. His death was tragic.
- One way to avoid making your essay a Martin Luther King biography is to focus on a specific event or impact of this man’s life. For example, your Martin Luther King essay could be about a specific Martin Luther King speech or quote. (But if you’re going to write about King’s famous “I Have a Dream”speech, make sure you have something unique to say!)
- Instead, you could write a broader Civil Rights Movement essay. In this, you must go beyond a basic Civil Rights Movement summary and focus on the meaning of this period over time or some specific change caused by it. (Again, don’t let your Civil Rights Movement essay become a Civil Rights Movement research paper.)
- You could write about another period of dramatic change in a French Revolution essay. This violent revolution filled with imprisonments, trials, and beheadings was caused by immense suffering by the poorest people in France. As such, when writing this essay, provide only a brief French Revolution summary, and focus on the impact and triggers of specific events.
- Similarly, you could write an American Revolution essay. Both events involved overthrowing a monarch, but unlike a French Revolution essay, an American Revolution essay is effectively about a war, the build up to war, and the recovery from a war.
- Perhaps your historical essay could focus on a person who was instrumental to the American Revolution. For example, consider Ben Franklin, a famous early American statesman, diplomat, scientist, and inventor.
- The War of 1812 was the conflict between America and Britain directly following the American Revolutionary War. It’s a fine essay topic for those seeking to understand early American history.
- Wars make notable topics for historical essay, but the aftermath can be even more interesting. The Weimar Republic was the terribly failed German government created after World War I. A critique of this government could be a superb essay subject.
- In contrast, post-war Vietnam has been a relative success story. The nation reunified following the defeat of South Vietnam. The modern Vietnamese people possess a higher quality of life than citizens of manynearby nations.
- You could also write about the Post-World War II 1950s. During this time, America exhibited surprising growth and prosperity. However, the United States began to wage a deadly Cold War with the USSR.
- Another quite related topic is the messy late 21st century American foreign policy. You could focus on the rise of terrorism after America’s invasion of Iraq, the worldwide US military bases, or any number of military dictators that the US has supported. These are all very provocative topics.
- Or you could focus on a more specific military event, such as the Battle of Hastings.Thisbattle shaped the whole history of England, as kings from continental Europe invaded English.
- The time of the Battle of Hastings was also characterized by the heavy influence of knights and feudal law in daily life. Knights were more than heavily armed warriors. They were also lords that controlled the land and subjugated peasants. This was a major cause of uprisings such as the French Revolution.
- Many medieval knights were also involved in the Crusades. This invasion of the Holy Land by European kingdoms represented a violent period. During these conquests, European nobility pillaged sacred sites and artifacts; with the goal of controlling the birthplace of their Christian faith.
- Following this time, Europe entered a period of Renaissance Humanism. Humans began to think about their humanity a bit more deeply. In doing so, many works of fine art, such as the first realistic paintings and sculptures, were produced.
- Your essay could focus on slightly later events, such as the fall of great empires. At various times in the past, nations such as Rome, China, Portugal, England, and the Holy Roman Empire controlled huge areas of our globe. Your essay could survey the implosion of these once great powers.
- The abolition of slavery is a fascinating and important historical essay topic. You may focus on this process within a single country, or you can write a comparative essay in which you compare and contrast the process of abolition across the globe or between two societies.
- Another highly relevant topic is the impact of Karl Marx. Few historical figures have had as huge an impact on society as Marx. Accordingly, you can consider how his writings were used (or abused) in a variety of nominally communist parties, movements, uprisings, and nations.
- Of course, you should always consider writing an integrative history essay. You can’t pick just one topic? Why not pick two or more! This is a nice approach for selecting compare and contrast essay topics. In this type of essay, you compare or contrast, people, events, or countries. In choosing this path, you make it possible to write a totally unique essay. The sky is the limit!
- A more human-focused approach could be an interesting hook for the paper. A paper based on the writing of the soldiers in World War I could outline what war was like at the beginning of the 20th century.
- A personal look at World War II could be just as interesting and with more available documents.
- One of the possible hooks for such papers may be the plight of the African American soldiers who fought in World War I and II.
- Another topic may be dedicated to soldiers from India who fought for the British in World War I.
- The economics of Europe after World War I may show the causes and effects that led to further conflict.
- You may dedicate your project may to the changes in fashion in the 20th century.
- More obscure topics like the Canadian history of film can make for an interesting thesis.
- American art of the 20th century is a big topic that has many interesting examples.
- History of math can show the timeline of math’s evolution.
- The conclusion of the British rule in India caused many positive and negative effects on the country which can make for an interesting project.
- The history of Roman sport provides fascinating examples of contests through the ages.
- History of architecture during renaissance can show the differences between the eras.
- Life before the invention of photography could be a topic that outlines how people preserved images back in the day.
- You can compare and contrast the history of Roman and British empires.
- Examples of music created for political causes could be an interesting hook for a music history essay.
- The history of medicine can provide some striking facts about the bizarre antique cures.
- "What are the events that led to the fall of Roman Empire?" is one of the more common history essay questions.
- Summary of the achievements of the American civil rights movement can provide an impression of what a dream of one man could do.
- An argumentative essay topic about the value of public communication can be chosen and created by using examples from the world history.
- A paper on the music of ancient civilizations can shine a light on prehistoric cultures.
- Your project can be about the anti-fascist activists in the US before WW II.
- It is possible for high school students to write about the events of the year when they were born.
- A thematic paper answering the question “what started the worst wars in world history?” could compare and contrast different wars to find similar causes and effects.
- The hippie culture of the 1960s can be presented as a response to the events of the era.
- Also, the fashion of hippies can be explored in your project with examples of real clothing.
- The New Wave movement in cinema was revolutionary for its time and can be an interesting essay topic.
- The same could be said about the New Wave genre of music that became popular in the 1980s.
- Another music genre that captured the imagination of the public can be explored in an essay on the history of rock music.
- History of propaganda in films can help explore some pivotal moments in world history.
- Canadian history of sport is an interesting topic to explain why hockey is so popular in the Great White North.
- Economics of sport throughout history may also interest the reader due to the massive commercial expansion of sport in recent decades.
- Education during the renaissance was booming and could serve as a great topic for an essay.
- Education during the middle ages was rare and could contrast the previous topic.
- The justifications that the US used for the drop of the nuclear bombs during World War II is a controversial topic but an interesting one.
- American involvement in the Korean War is an often overlooked topic, but it deserves attention.
- To show how turbulent history of a single country may be, the causes and effects of the military coups in Nigeria could be fascinating.
- The war between Iran and Iraq could be seen as one of the most critical proxy wars of the modern history.
- The space race was an iconic element of the Cold War, and it is related to many history essay topics.
- Events that led to the rise of the Saudi Arabia can show how fast a country can develop when money is not an issue.
- The British music invasion into the US market has had a significant effect on American music and can be an interesting topic.
- History of American worker unions could serve as a topical essay in today’s political climate.
- The process of reparations for the Maori people in New Zealand in a rare success story of an ex-British colonial country making up for the discrimination its natives endured.
- Roman graffiti is a lighthearted topic that describes a less discussed aspect of Roman culture.
- The gender roles of Roman society can be compared and contrasted with the gender roles of the people of Gaul that often fought each other.
- The prominent figures of the American Revolution include a great variety of people who would later compose the most important documents of the US.
- A compare and contrast essay about the similarities of American and Bolshevik revolutions can show how the most prominent opponents of the Cold War had similar beginnings.
- The history of Japanese isolationism could be interesting to explore as a unique moment in world history.
- The Millerites believed that the world would end on a specific date, but it only led to the events known as “The Great Disappointment” which could make for a great history topic.
- The Carnation Revolution of 1974 was an almost bloodless coup and represents one of the few examples of peaceful transitions to democracy.
- The golden age of piracy is an interesting topic about an era that is often glamorized in fiction.
- The Copper Country Strike was one of the most tragic cases of death due to anti-strike action, and its events are still discussed today.
- The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was a gruesome murder committed in broad daylight and emblematic of the gangster activity of the era.
- The Yalta Conference was one of the most important events of World War II with British, Soviet, and American leaders discussing post-war plans.
- British colonization of Africa was one of the most tragic; the causes and effects of it could be interesting to examine.
- A paper on the evolution of flight could provide a timeline of marvelous engineering throughout history.
- Operation Paperclip was a secret plan to integrate scientists of Nazi Germany after the end of World War II which events lead to the beginning of the space race.
- Historical events that were predicted in fiction can be one of the more exciting history essay topics.
- African American music history can be explored to show how oppression influenced culture.
- Biography of Julius Caesar is filled with dramatic events and is one of the most exciting history essay topics.
- Aztec life before the arrival of the colonists was filled with horrible sacrifices and deserves examination.
- The causes and effects of Manifest Destiny are bizarre and tragic by modern standards but were considered righteous in their day.
- You could compare and contrast the life of the Roman leader Julius Caesar and Nicholas II of Russia because they were almost mirrored images of each other.
- The actions of Churchill led to some of the worst defeats for the British forces during World War I, but are overshadowed by his later leadership.
- The transition from the 50s to 60s fashion can be explored to show the drastic change in the culture of those years.
- The events that led to the emergence of teenage culture after World War II can be outlined.
- The economics of international trade during the Renaissance period can be described to show the complex relationships of Europe.
- American Revolution in film rarely receives accurate portrayals. A look at its depictions can be interesting.
- A paper on the causes and effects of Cold War paranoia could show how quickly people can be overwhelmed by fear.
- Ronald Reagan’s policy of a winnable nuclear war launched a chain of events that could end the world.
- The diversity of the Roman Empire is a rarely explored topic and could lead to an interesting paper.
These are a tiny handful of the wide array of topics that you can write about for history class. When in doubt, always solicit opinions from your professor. (The worst case scenario is that they say no.)
Remember, the analysis of historical events is subjective. Two scholars may have vastly unique explanations for a series of historical events unfolding the way they did. Accordingly, try to write from the perspective that your instructors most likely hold.And if you’re unsure, ask them to review a first draft of your essay,or at least talk to them about your thesis statement!
There’s a point when rough draft essays are unhelpful. Maybe this list of history essay topics is useless becauseyour essay is due in 3 days.
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