History is full of mystery, riddles, and conflicting points. Thus, writing a history paper will certainly be fun, if you just choose a truly interesting history essay topic. Meet our list of top 70 most provocative history questions.
🇺🇸 US History Essay Topics
- Why was America called “a land of opportunity”?
History papers often discuss how people came to America because they wanted to start a new life, and it provided them with resources they needed.
- Has Puritanism influenced modern American culture?
People are often influenced by their past even if they do not realize it.
- If you lived in America in 1776, would you be a revolutionary?
Independence, different political views and new rules make people divide into those who become revolutionary and those who accept new rules.
- Is the American Constitution flexible enough? (e.g., the II Amendment vs. gun control.)
People believe the American Constitution to be somewhat rigid but many changes have been already implemented to it.
- Was slavery the only cause of the Civil War?
As a rule, wars develop because of multiple issues even though one of them seems to be the most critical.
- Could Americans have maintained their neutrality in WWI?
Americans often take part in wars, supporting other countries. They agree to participate even though it is possible to remain neutral, thinking about personal benefits.
- Can the war in Vietnam be justified?
Even though wars lead to great loses, their outcomes may be more significant. However, it does not seem to be right for the Vietnam War.
- Has the world become a safer place since the end of the Cold War?
The world does not seem to become safer because wars aren’t over, and weapons become more destructive.
- Should the United States play the role of the “world’s policeman”, spreading democracy to other countries?
The US is a powerful country that can spread its policy worldwide to develop positive relations with other countries.
- Should a president be impeached for personal moral issues? (Bill Clinton)
It is impossible to avoid personal biases, but the president should focus on the nation.
- Waves of slavery in the USA
A typical history research paper focuses on the fact that slaves were first brought to America in the 18th century and similar practices were conducted in the 19th century as well.
- Alterations in slave laws
While some people believed that having slaves who have no rights is normal, others started speaking about the necessity to provide them with more opportunities, which led to changes in slave laws.
- Native Americans’ opposition to the colonists
Native Americans were not willing to yield to the colonists and fought for their independence.
- The role of the Sons of Liberty in the US history
This organization was created to protect the rights of the colonists. It protested against the Stamp Act and British taxation.
- The influence of George Washington on the outcome of the American Revolution
The president developed a strategy that provided the country with an opportunity to win significant battles.
- What were the reasons for the creation of the Articles of Confederation?
This agreement united the US states, ensuring their independence and sovereignty. It was a significant step towards the creation of the US Constitution.
- Have the Embargo Act provided expected influences on the US economy?
This act affected the relationships between the USA, Great Britain, and France. The US trade suffered significantly, which led to a financial disaster.
- How the North and the South differ in the framework of politics?
They treated political views in different ways. While the North fought for the federal power, the South believed that states should have more independence.
- The role of female politicians in the US history
Even though women were not allowed to be involved in politics for a long time, they managed to provide the USA with numerous benefits.
- American fights for diversity and equality
America has been a melting pot for many years. Being full of minorities, its population often fought for the equality of its rights.
- Can the fact of having an African American President prove that racial discrimination is not a problem for the USA already?
Do not forget about essay quotations when stating that even though racial discrimination does not exist in the USA officially, associated issues can be still observed.
- The history of women’s rights in America
In the past, women were to obey men, and their views were not considered. However, the situation is not the same today.
- Differences in male and female education in the 20th century
As women started to fight for their rights, they emphasized the necessity for girls and boys to have the same access to education.
🌍 The World History Essay Topics
- The Terracotta Army that was buried with Qin Shi Huang.
These warriors were created for the first Emperor of China to reveal his army.
- The Opium Wars in China.
Anglo-Chinese disputes affected trade significantly and weakened China.
- Who was Grigoriy Rasputin, and what were his relations with the Romanovs?
He proclaimed himself as a holy individual. Being tightly connected with the family of Tsar Nicholas II, he turned into a very influential person.
- Communism ideology and the top reasons for its failure in Russia.
During its history, Russia was ruled in different ways. Nevertheless, the idea of shared ownership and equality failed to last for a long time.
- The tragedy of Holocaust.
Intentional murders of millions of people made extreme influence not only on the suffering nation but also on the whole world.
- Margaret Thatcher and her role in world’s history.
Showing that women can become outstanding leaders, the prime minister of the UK made numerous decisions that determined the future of her country.
- The history and global spread of AIDS.
Modern history essay can be connected even with the spread of AIDS. People all over the world know about it for a long time, but the cure is still not found.
- What were the main preconditions for the Arab Spring?
This revolutionary wave started as an opposition to the government and involved several countries.
- The Muslim conquest of India.
Islam’s spread throughout India during several centuries is a good theme for a formal essay.
- James Cook’s discovery of Australia by mistake.
Great discoveries often happen unexpectedly or turn out to be made by chance.
- The influence of the Catholic Church on European leaders
An essay on history can reveal that starting from the Middle Ages, religious leaders had enormous influence on the government. Many countries believed that the Church’s laws were more critical than the King’s ones.
- The characteristics of the patronage system and its effects
This system presupposes that an influential individual can use their power on behalf of another person.
- Why are the Dark Ages called this way?
This term is used to reveal that there were many wars and deaths at that time. Moreover, people faced the lack of resources and were not educated enough.
- How religious views affected the Chinese empire?
Historical analysis essay can discuss how Chinese people, including their emperors, highly valued ideas revealed by Buddhism and Confucianism, which affected all their decisions.
- Why Roman soldiers spent years in baths?
Romans soldiers fought for years, and it was not safe to let them live with the rest of the population as soon as they came home.
- What is the connection between the two World Wars?
Dissatisfaction with the outcomes of the WW I lead to the development of the WW II.
- Why is William the Conqueror an outstanding historical figure?
He managed to invade England and held it under control for years.
- Was it possible to avoid the Industrial Revolution?
Manufacturing is critical for the current society, and its transition to the use of machines is the most significant event in its history.
- Why is the gold standard not used by the UK?
The gold was used as the primary type of money in Britain in the 19th century. However, this standard was withdrawn in the 20th century.
- How was the spread of the bubonic plague addressed?
With the spread of the bubonic plague, many people died all over the world. Fortunately, it was over in several years.
- How had Ancient Greece affected Romans?
A historical research paper can investigate this topic because Romans are known as a well-developed nation that affected the world with its innovations. However, many of them were obtained from Greece.
- Whose influence on the world’s history is more critical?
Writing a term paper, you can say that both Greeks and Romans created concepts that are used in the modern world.
- What is unique about the Chinese Empire?
The Chinese Empire is known for its dynasties, centralization, and development.
- Was it possible to end the Cold War before 1991?
Writing a historiographical essay, you can presuppose that the collapse of the Soviet Union ended the war, but there is a possibility that this process could have been facilitated.
⚡ Shocking History Essay Topics
History is full of unbelievably interesting facts, and some of them can be used as good history essay questions:
- In Ancient China doctors received payment only if they managed to cure a patient.
People always have paid for services they receive, but the costs and associated regulations differ significantly.
- The 1896 Anglo-Zanzibar war lasted 38 minutes only.
Wars usually last for years and are associated with dramatic loses. However, this very war was the shortest in the world’s history. It ended because one party lost 570 people, while the other one remained in the same line-up.
- In 400 BC, Sparta had only 25,000 inhabitants, but over 500,000 slaves.
Slavery is considered to be a critical problem today, but centuries ago people showed their status buying more and more slaves.
- Leonardo Da Vinci was dyslexic.
Even the most significant personalities who amazed societies with their works have never been ideal people put in perfect conditions. Da Vinci had to cope with dyslexia on the everyday basis, but it had not prevented him from the creation of masterpieces.
- Arabs didn’t invent the Arab numerals. Hindus did.
History knows many mistakes associated with the discovery of various parts of the world and tools. Numerals are not an exception. They are called by the name of the nation that used it widely and spread throughout the globe, but not of those who invented them.
- Hitler was the man of the year in 1938 according to the Time magazine.
Even the most terrible people can turn out to be outstanding leaders and professionals.
- In Middle Ages, the average life expectancy of peasants was about 25 years.
Innovations provide people with an opportunity to live longer. Unfortunately, our predecessors had almost no protection from the dangers of the world.
- Margaret Sanger was imprisoned for starting the first birth control clinic in 1917.
People still argue whether abortions should be prohibited or not. That is why it’s not surprising that the general public did not support the first intention to control birth.
- Before 1660, clocks had only one hand showing an hour.
Many things that are ordinary for us today used to look different in the past.
- Andrew Jackson’s parrot had to be removed from his funeral for swearing.
Parrots repeat the words they hear from their owners. However, people could not have allowed a bird to swear during the funeral because particular behaviors are not acceptable.
- Romans used baths as rehabilitation centers for their soldiers
Roman soldiers had an opportunity to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder after the war, spending time in baths.
- During the Battle of Stalingrad, the control of one railway station changed more than ten times in six hours
Soldiers of the Soviet Union and Germany would not give up and did their best to take control of the railway because it could be used to transport various goods.
- Out of the last 3500 years, only a little bit more than 200 years were peaceful
While people are willing to live in peace, there are always tensions between various nations.
- Norway women were forced to have children from Nazi officers during the occupation period
The Levensborn program supported the expansion of German race this way.
- British people believe tea time to be so significant for their culture that they include tea-making facilities in tanks
It is essential to provide soldiers with an opportunity to comfort themselves in stressful conditions.
- In the middle of the 20th century, the whole British royal court got sick because of improperly cooked potatoes
When potatoes were brought to Great Britain for the first time, people did not know what part of a plant should be cooked.
- Potatoes were banned in Britain, Spain, France, and Italy
People managed to bring new products to their countries. However, they were not aware of the way they should be cooked. The absence of this information led to numerous poisonings.
- A schoolboy designed the current US flag and received B- for it
A college paper can prove that even the most fabulous creations may be developed by children and fail to be recognized from the very beginning.
- More than 3500 hours were recorded in the White House during Nixon’s presidency, but only 63 of them became accessible to the public
The representatives of the general public do not have an opportunity to receive access to all political information. Their ideas are based on the data that is selected by the authorities.
- The wars with the most considerable losses took place in China
An excellent history essay topic. China has the most significant number of people killed during its wars.
- The number of Soviet soldiers died in the World War II is over 20 times greater than the number of American ones
Different strategy and motivation affect the outcomes of the war.
- A part of the Roman Empire existed even 1000 years after the Fall of Rome
A college research paper can reveal that many people believe the whole Roman Empire collapsed at the same time, but it is not true.
- The pyramids were not constructed using slave’s labor
Movies often show slaves who build pyramids for pharaohs. However, people were hired and paid for their work.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably not only chosen an excellent history paper topic for you but also learned a couple of interesting and fun history facts.
And what if these history paper topics do not appeal to you? Or if you are fascinated about some of them and cannot make the right choice? Keep reading!
👍 How to choose a topic for a good history essay
Choosing the right essay topic can sometimes be rather difficult. But it is crucial if you want to write a good essay or a research paper and get a high grade for it. Here are some useful tips which will help you to make the right choice and write a great history essay.
- Select something you are interested in. It is impossible to write a good history paper if you write about something you find boring and do not care about at all. If you like the topic of your history essay, you will enjoy doing research for it. The writing process will be a pleasure, and your reader will enjoy reading your piece of academic writing.
- If you want to write a good history essay you’d better choose a topic which is familiar to you. It is always easier to write about something you know. It will make the history essay writing process faster and easier, and you will not need to spend a lot of time doing research.
- Narrow your topic down to a realistic size. Ask yourself frankly if you will be able to explore the topic for your history essay and prove your ideas on just several pages. The majority of history essay topics are too big for a few pages. Your first idea is almost always likely to be too big. Refine it to a manageable size.
- Find an interesting way to approach your college history essay topic. It will help you to control your writing, give it structure and define your thesis.
- Start doing research for your history essay. If you have some vague idea of what you want to write about, but do not know how to start, or need to clarify it, take some history books from the library and look them through for ideas. Look for the global history essay topics in the news or online.
- Brainstorm your ideas. Write a list of ideas you have or a list of things you are interested in. Make your list as long as possible and take a short break. Look through the list and find the idea you like most. Take another sheet of paper and brainstorm the idea you have chosen. This way you’ll narrow down your topics to the one that is best for you.
- Reuse the topic you’re already acquainted with. Think about the topic of the history essay you have already written before. You may reuse the research or just look at a related topic.
- Stay realistic and choose a topic you can research. What sources are available? There is no point in choosing the idea if you can’t find enough resources to do thorough research.
- Get help from a classmate or a friend. What if you have too many ideas and find it difficult to choose the one you like most of all? Tell your friend about the ideas for history essay topics you have. When you look most excited while speaking about a topic—that could be the one you should choose.
- Read more and find your inspiration. Maybe you just do not know the subject well enough, and that is the reason you cannot find the idea for your history essay.
- Ask your teacher to help you to make a choice or look for interesting ideas online. Use Google search to find ideas for your history essay or a research paper. There’s plenty if useful information on the Web.
- Don’t lose your precious time and get started! If you can’t find anything you would be excited to write about, just pick any topic and start writing, or look for writing help online.
❓ How to write a good history essay
Remember: It is a hard practice that makes perfect. The way to success takes a lot of time and effort. Here are some history essay tips that are worth thinking about.
- Be relevant! Think thoroughly about the meaning of the history essay title and make a plan before you start writing
- Be direct and explicit and give a relevant argument.
- Write about real facts and evidence. Do not give just historians’ opinions.
- Keep the correct balance. Do not leave your most important ideas to the end of your history paper.
- Give proper references to all your quotations and avoid plagiarism.
- Check your spelling and grammar.
- Always revise and edit your history essays. Correct grammar and spelling mistakes, rewrite irrelevant paragraphs and sentences, reorder the material.
If you like these amazing ideas for history essay topics and history essay prompts, do not forget to share them with your friends.
Good luck with your writing!