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American History 2112-Long-Fall 2011: Home

This guide will enable the student to find a topic, as well as any pertinent resources, that are germane to the Research Paper requirement for this class.

Research Paper Assignment

Students will complete research on a major event or topic in American History between 1870 and 1973.  After choosing a topic or event to do research on, the student must answer the following questions in their research paper:


How did the United States become involved in the event or topic you have chosen? 

 How did it affect the lives of ordinary Americans involved in it? 

If you had an ancestor or family member who was alive at that time, how did it affect him or her?

Note:  It is vitally important that you choose a topic in American history that will interest you.  At the same time, make sure that you find enough relevant sources so that you will have plenty of information for writing your research paper.

Potential Topics

There are so many great topics within this time frame to choose from.  If at all possible, choose a topic that had an impact on the life of one of your ancestors or a family member. 

Possible topics may include any of the following:

From American economic history, you might want to look at: Agriculture, Industrialization, the Roarin' Twenties, the Great Depression of the 1930s, or even the Post-War Economic Boom from 1945-1973.

From American military history, you might want to look at: the Spanish-American War (1898), the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), the Vietnam War (1963-1973), as well as the Cold War (1946-1991).

From American social history, which encompasses issues like race, gender, and immigration, you might choose any of the following: Jim Crow laws, Segregation and Racial Discrimination, the Great Migration, the Civil Rights Movement (1945-1973), Immigration in America between 1870 and 1920, Asian and Hispanic immigration, the Native American Movement, the Women's Movement, the Anti-War Movement of the late Sixties and early Seventies, the Hippie Counterculture Movement, etc.

Sources Needed

Important Note: You may use your textbook for background information, but you must find additional sources. 

The number and kinds of sources will depend largely on the type of paper you write.  You have two options:

Option 1: You may write a paper that, in part, addresses how a historical event affected, or may have affected, a family member or ancestor.  If you choose this option, you will need to identify the individual you have chosen and state their relationship to you.  In terms of sources, you will need at least one primary source document (i.e., census record, draft or military record, etc.) that shows how your family member, or ancestor, was involved in the said event.  You will also need two secondary sources that discuss the historical event and how it affected the lives of ordinary Americans.

Option 2: If there are no records available for one of your family members, or ancestors, you will need to indicate this in the document that you turn in on November 8.  You will then write a paper on a topic in American History between 1870 and 1973, of your choosing, and will need at least three secondary sources.

Subject Guide

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