History Essay Topics

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This list of history essay topics is divided into 6 thematic subcategories: American History, Art History, Cultural History, European History, Military History, and Social History.

American History Essay Topics

Abraham Lincoln
American Empire
American Revolution
Christopher Columbus
Eleanor Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Fur Trade
Hudson’s Bay Company
Latter-Day Saints
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mississippian Culture
Native American Religions
Pentecostalism
Slave Trades
Sugar
The Americas
Thomas Jefferson
W. E. B. Du Bois

Art History Essay Topics

African Art
Ancient Greek & Roman Art
Architecture
Central Asian Art
Chinese Art
European Art
Japanese Art
Music
Native American Art
Paleolithic Art
Pre-Columbian America Art
Renaissance
South Asian Art
Southeast Asia Art
The Enlightenment
West Asia Art
World Art Studies
World History and Art

Cultural History Essay Topics

Barter
Birth control
Colonialism
Columbian exchange
Consumerism
Culture
Education
Ethnicity
Ethnocentrism
Food
Hygiene
Leisure
Mercantilism
Migration
Nationalism
Navigation
Social Darwinism
Sports

European History Essay Topics

Adolf Hitler
Holocaust
Christopher Columbus
Alexander the Great
NATO
Julius Caesar
Winston Churchill
Fascism
Imperialism
Industrial Revolution
French Revolution
Napoleon
Joan of Arc
Charlemagne
Ottoman Empire
Ancient Greece
Roman Empire
Feudalism

Military History Essay Topics

African Warfare
Air Warfare
Bows and Arrows
Chinese Warfare
Cold War
Crusades
European Warfare
Firearms
Islamic Warfare
Logistics
Military Engineering
Military Strategy and Tactics
Military Training and Discipline
Naval Warfare
Religion and War
War and Peace
World War I
World War II

Social History Essay Topics

Communism and Socialism
Consumerism
Decolonization
Environmental Movements
Feminism
Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement
Globalization
Human Rights
Labor Union Movements
Music and Political Protest
Nonviolence
Peace Projects
Peacemaking
Red Cross
Religious Fundamentalism
Women’s Emancipation
Women’s Reproductive Rights
Women’s Suffrage

History Essay TopicsDeveloping solid skills in research, analysis, and writing are fundamental to a successful education, as well as to many future job prospects. These skills are particularly relevant to the discipline of history, and essays or research papers are often one of the most important components of any history course. It is vital that you set aside enough time to do it properly. A historiographical essay or history research paper is not just a compilation of facts that you cut and paste into a report. A good essay needs to explain something important about the past; it requires you to think critically about the topic, to draw on different sources, to sift through and analyze competing claims.

Defining a History Essay Topic

Defining your history essay topic is arguably the most important, and often the most difficult, task in writing a college paper. An ill-defined topic will never produce a good result. A history paper is much more than a list of facts about events that happened in the past: it must explain. It is also more than a repetition of what other historians have already concluded: it must include your interpretation. A good history paper is focused on a limited topic. To narrow your topic, ask the questions who, what, where, when, and/or why something happened as it did.

Steps for defining a topic:

  1. Identify a topic of interest. If your professor has provided a list of history essay topics, identify one that is interesting to you. If you do not have a list from which to select a topic, think of something related to the course content about which you would like to know more.
  2. Review the work already done on the topic (historiography) and familiarize yourself with the basic facts and events: find out what is known about the topic in textbooks, historical encyclopedias, or other general and specialized works.
  3. Narrow down your topic. Select one that is narrow enough to be feasible and manageable. An ill-defined or too-broad topic will never produce a good paper. Even if your professor provided the topic, you will probably still need to refine it.

History is full of mystery, riddles, and conflicting points. Thus, writing a history essay or a research paper will certainly be fun, if you just choose a truly interesting history topic.

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