The Confederate flag and Charleston shooting as your research topic

More than 100 years after the conclusion of the Civil War, some still see the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride, while others are very clear that it is nothing but a reminder of past, and present, racism. The Charleston shooting has people across the nation asking, once again, if the Confederate flag should still be flown over the South Carolina State House.

The Confederate flag waving near the dome of the South Carolina Capitol building. (Credit: Sean Rayford, Getty Images)

The Confederate flag waving near the dome of the South Carolina Capitol building. (Credit: Sean Rayford, Getty Images)

If you are looking for a research paper topic for an American History or African American studies course, consider following the news on this developing debate. Read more

Research topic: 150th anniversary of Juneteenth day in Civil War history

June 19, 1865, is considered one of the most significant U.S. Civil War dates. It’s the day the last of the slaves in the country were freed. Called Juneteenth day, the date is still celebrated, and 2015 marks its 150th anniversary.

Discuss Juneteenth in your next research paper. (Credit: TRGGR Radio)

Discuss Juneteenth in your next research paper. (Credit: TRGGR Radio)

For good research paper topics for your Civil War history, American history or African American culture class, consider writing about the historical significance of Juneteenth and its many ways to celebrate.

History of Juneteenth

The history of Juneteenth makes a good term paper. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that all slaves were free as of January 1, 1863. But as the Civil War raged on, it took two more years for the news to spread. The last slaves to become free in the United States were in Texas, a region further west of the states that experienced the bulk of the war. Texas still had 250,000 slaves. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger, accompanied by thousands of federal soldiers to enforce the new law, arrived in the city of Galveston, Texas where he read General Order No. 3, which declared: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

“Juneteenth” is a combination of the month and date, it’s also known as Independence Day or Emancipation Day. The first official Juneteenth celebration was in Austin, Texas in 1867. Texas later declared the date a state holiday, and the day is now officially observed in 43 states.

Commemorate the meaning of Juneteenth

Another idea for a term paper is to discuss various ways of commemorating the significance of Juneteenth. For example, Texan Sam Collins, chairman of the Texas Historical Commission State Board of Review and member of the board of advisers for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is also a descendent of slaves from Galveston. In 2005 Collins purchased Stringfellow Orchards, a plantation where his ancestors were slaves. He preserved the property and its historical significance. “We must never forget what Juneteenth meant to the former enslaved people,” he said in “Juneteenth: 150 Years Ago, Black America Got Its Own Independence Day,” by Laura Saunders Egodigwe, posted June 19, 2015, on TheRoot.com.

Collins added: “Some people still suffer today in various forms of bondage; Juneteenth is a celebration that may give those people hope that they, too, may one day be free.”

Juneteenth Is for Everyone

Kenneth C. Davis, a prominent American historian, wrote an opinion piece in New York Times saying that we should not think of Juneteenth as an “African American” holiday. “That perception unfairly diminishes the fundamental significance of Juneteenth,” said Davis in  “Juneteenth Is for Everyone,” posted on June 19, 2015. “The day should be recognized for what it is: a shared point of pride in the symbolic end of centuries of racial slavery — a crime against humanity and the great stain on America’s soul. As meaningful as Independence Day itself, Juneteenth completes the circle, reaffirming ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ as the rights of all, not a select few.”

Books about Juneteenth

Many books have been written about Juneteenth. All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom, written by Angela Johnson and illustrated by E. B. Lewis, shows the events of that important day through the eyes of a little African American girl. The book was reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler in “Black History Month Brings Forth Good Books,” posted in Topeka Capital-Journal February 2, 2015. Dobler said, “Beautiful watercolor illustrations depict the day, under the hot Texas sun, that a little girl and the other slaves on the cotton plantation learned of their freedom. Singing, prayer and joyful shouts could be seen and heard in the fields and around the campfire into the night. The next day everyone awoke to a time that would be all different now.” The book includes a list of historical dates, a time line of Juneteenth celebrations, glossary and resources for further research.

For more information, check out Questia’s library on African American History. 

What are some other significant events of Juneteenth? Share with us in the comments.

800th anniversary of the Magna Carta for your research paper

June 15, 2015, is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. What began as a peace treaty has evolved, for many, into the originator of liberal democracy.

Learn more about the Magna Carta. (Credit: Mums do travel)

Learn more about the Magna Carta. (Credit: Mums do travel)

The historical event is a good time to look back at what the Magna Carta meant when it was first written and what it means to us today. Read more

Research topic: Tackling gun violence in America

Gun control is a topic that is very divisive in our country. No matter where you stand on the issue, for the families and friends of those who die from gun violence in America, the topic is deeply personal.

Learn more about gun violence for your research paper. (Credit: HBO.com)

Learn more about gun violence for your research paper. (Credit: HBO.com)

The HBO documentary, Requiem for the Dead: American Spring 2014, personalizes the statistics by profiling eight of the estimated 8,000 people who died during that time period. Read more

Republican Party drops Iowa straw poll as your research topic

Political news was abuzz this month when the Republican Party officially dropped the Iowa straw poll. Due to the political poll’s non-binding results and continued irrelevance, the GOP political party decided not to hold the poll in August 2015, ahead of the 2016 Presidential election.

Learn more about the dropping of the Iowa straw poll. (Credit: CNN)

Learn more about the dropping of the Iowa straw poll. (Credit: CNN)

A good research paper topic can be to discuss the history of the Iowa straw poll, its relevance and its dissolution. Read more

Research paper topic: Famous historians

The topic of “historians” for a term paper is daunting because it’s so vast. You could write about famous historians, historians of a certain era throughout history, historians who specialize in a certain topic, problems faced by historians, or debate about historical facts from one historian to another.

Learn more about famous historians. (Credit: Goodreads)

Learn more about famous historians. (Credit: Goodreads)

Here are some interesting research paper topics you can find on history websites or in history books. Read more

Will United Nations’ peace talks solve the Yemen conflict? Discuss it in your next research paper

The current Yemen conflict is extremely complicated. The initial fighting started between the country’s President, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and allies of the Houthis, a group of Zaidi Shia rebels. However adding to the conflict is the opposition by al-Qaeda to both groups and an offshoot of ISIS that’s trying to gain a foothold in the country.

The Houthi rebels used tear gas against demonstrators in Taiz, Yemen. (Credit: Reuters)

The Houthi rebels used tear gas against demonstrators in Taiz, Yemen. (Credit: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia is leading a military operation that backs Yemen’s president. After a recent cease-fire, bombing has begun again, while the United Nations is hoping to sponsor peace talks in Geneva on May 28. Read more

Journalism and the Fourth Estate for your next research paper

In a course on mass communication you’re likely to cover topics such as broadcast journalism, news media and investigative journalism. Journalism is also known as the fourth branch of government, or the Fourth Estate, because it plays such an important role in our democracy. In order for the public to make decisions when voting, they must be well informed on the issues.

Learn more about the history of journalism. (Credit: Wannabe Reporter)

Learn more about the history of journalism. (Credit: Wannabe Reporter)

The news media wields great power in its ability to shape public opinion. For this and many other reasons, the history of journalism would make for an interesting research paper topic. Read more

Gustav Klimt artwork Woman in Gold term paper topic

Elements of the movie Woman in Gold would make good research paper topics. The true story is about an elderly Jewish survivor of World War II who sues the Austrian government for the return of the Gustav Klimt artwork “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” also known as the Woman in Gold, which was stolen by the Nazis.

Learn more about the Woman in Gold artwork for your research paper. (Credit: BBC Films)

Learn more about the Woman in Gold artwork for your research paper. (Credit: BBC Films)

For your art history or history class, consider writing a term paper on the legal and historical aspects of the famous painting. Read more

The many facets of the war on terror — research paper topics

ISIS. Al Qaeda. Taliban. All three groups represent various tenets of Islamic fundamentalism, and all have been prominently featured in the news in terms of the war on terror.

Discuss the 9/11 attacks for your research paper on the war on terror. (Credit: limitstogrowth.org)

Discuss the 9/11 attacks for your research paper on the war on terror. (Credit: limitstogrowth.org)

Research paper topics on these groups, as well as on counterterrorism efforts against them, are just some of the ideas you could cover if you are writing on the war on terror for a history or political science class. Read more