research paper prompts

US History XIX Century Term Paper Topics


Regardless of the era, history can provide many topics for students to research for term papers. The subjects below will provide students with some topics about events that occurred in the U.S. in the 19th century in 1803. 

The Louisiana Purchase 

The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition made by the U.S. for France’s claim to the territory of Louisiana. 

  • Students can discuss how much land was acquired and how much the purchase was made for.
  • Discussion can be made about what led the U.S. to acquire the land.
  • Students can look at how long France had the land before it was acquired by the U.S.

The American Civil War 

The Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. The war resulted in a number of repercussions in the U.S., both negative and positive. 

  • Students can discuss what instigated the Civil War.
  • Discuss the outcome of the war and whether it was beneficial to the U.S.
  • Discuss how the war was one of the earliest industrial wars, and what kind of weapons were employed.

Closing the American Frontier 

The superintendent of the U.S. Census announced in 1890 that due to rapid western settlement, there was no longer a frontier line. 

  • Students can discuss what led up to the frontier line coming to an end.
  • Events following the closing of the frontier line can be looked at, such as historian Frederick Jackson Turner’s thesis.
  • Students can also look at how many families settled in the West, and what the outcome of this was (i.e. cultural diversity).

The Mexican – American War 

The war between Mexico and the U.S. took place on April 25, 1846 and lasted for over a year. 

  • Students can explain what the implications of the war were.
  • Discussion points can be made in reference to Mexico giving up the rights to New Mexico and Alta California to the U.S.
  • Students can look at criticisms made in relation to the war and who they were made by.

The Industrial Revolution 

The industrial Revolution took place between the 1860s and 1890s and is thought of as a phenomenon of the Gilded Age, which ran into the 20th century.

  • Students can discuss how industrial products were of greater value than agricultural products.
  • Students can discuss how travel was evolving due to the railroads replacing the canals as a means of transport.
  • Students can discuss how the Civil War accelerated such a revolution, and where the investment for the revolution came from. 

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