The study of history can take you to distant lands and into the lives of the powerful as well as the obscure. Writing a history term paper is like going on an exotic journey. There’s no telling who you will meet or what you will find. Whatever your choice of history research paper topics, there are thousands of sources to guide you along your way.
Where to begin
Unless your teacher gives you a definite topic, the hardest part of your research project may be your choice of subject. Not to worry. You can review dozens of great history topics and the resources to develop them at Questia, the world’s largest online library.
Some History topics include:
- Holocaust films
- History of voting
- History of Education
- Historical Jesus
An example of one of the many history texts at Questia is A History of the Dollar by Arthur Nussbaum. Regarding the use of money in colonial America, Nussbaum said, “While money represents an outstanding factor in American history, it is a curious fact that at the beginning of the colonial period there was perhaps less money in circulation than in any other civilized community of the Western world. The small amounts which the settlers had brought with them from England were soon expended for English imports. Hence the settlers resorted to barter.”
Get the best of history
A gateway website is a central location on the web where you can begin a search and then branch off to other sites. One such site for history buffs is the Best of History Websites. Once you’re there, you can begin to narrow your search according to the period of history that interests you. The many categories include:
- Ancient/Biblical history
- Medieval history
- American history
Within American History you can branch off into periods such as the Civil War and topics such as Women’s history. If you follow the topic of history in the 1800s you can explore the Civil War and the period after the war known as Reconstruction. You will learn about events of the day by reading documents and newspapers published at the time. One such publication, Harper’s Weekly, covered the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.
“Harper’s Weekly portrayed in everyday detail to its readers of 1865-1869 the current events, issues and personalities that were central to Reconstruction and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Among the Harper’s Weekly materials on this Website are 27 political cartoons, as well as 47 news articles, briefs, and explanations of some of the 34 illustrations. There are also 90 editorials and an index.”
Your tax dollars at work
You can’t go wrong with the Library of Congress website. Its vast collections include videos, maps, sound recordings, manuscripts, documents and photos on topics ranging from American History to World History and Cultures. Among its many treasures are the Online Resources Guides, especially the guide to the Presidents of the United States.
Follow the links related to Abraham Lincoln and you’ll reach the section related to his famous Gettysburg Address where you can see an image of the handwritten speech and a photograph of the president as he gave his speech on November 19, 1863. Continue to explore the many links available and you’ll find all kinds of historical tidbits including this note about the Gettysburg Address: “Of the five known manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address, the Library of Congress has two. President Lincoln gave one of these to each of his two private secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay. The other three copies of the Address were written by Lincoln for charitable purposes well after November 19.”
Other resources for history term papers
The Vanderbilt Central Library hosts an entire page of Resources for History that includes Internet directories, libraries, archives, and selected papers related to U.S., Asian, European, African American, and Latin American history.
A Hypertext on American History from Colonial Period Until Modern Times is a work in progress where contributors add documents, essays and biographies related to American history. You’ll find the text of presidential speeches, treaties and other documents such as the Constitution of the Confederate States of America (1861).
Spartacus Educational allows you to plumb the depths of such topics as: slavery, Nazi Germany, The Roman World and famous crimes.
Maintained by Tufts University, the Perseus Digital Library contains collections including Greek and Roman, Arabic, Renaissance and Germanic materials.