Research paper topic: State of the Union Address

On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union Address. In the speech the president listed the accomplishments of his presidency so far and outlined his agenda for the next two years. According to the president, the nation had overcome years of war and economic crisis and is now ready to “turn the page.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) watch as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address. (Credit: Larry Downing, Reuters)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) watch as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address. (Credit: Larry Downing, Reuters)

Future endeavors aimed at reviving the middle class include continuing efforts to raise the minimum wage, achieving gender pay equity, and closing the income inequality gap. Political history and strategy are always evolving, making them good research paper topics. Read more

Research topic: Facebook privacy hoax raises copyright issues

Once again the infamous Facebook privacy hoax has raised its ugly head. Since its first emergence in 2012, it has invaded social media like some cyber zombie that will not die. What has people worried is the fear that somehow Facebook is stealing their photos and other creations posted on the Facebook timeline.

A false message spread on Facebook about copyright law and ownership. (Credit: Joanna Stern/ABC News)

A false message spread on Facebook about copyright law and ownership. (Credit: Joanna Stern/ABC News)

These copyright issues are genuine concerns but are misplaced in this case. Facebook policy is not aiming at stealing photos and creative writings. But perhaps it is time for a review of Facebook privacy rules, for reasons that might surprise you. Read more

US government policy toward Cuba for your research paper

Since 1962, the U.S. has maintained a Cuban embargo in an attempt to force the government of Cuba to adopt a representative democracy for the Cuban people.

Protestors wave Cuban and American flags in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Fla. on April 25, 2000. (Credit: Charles Trainor Jr, Miami Herald)

Protestors wave Cuban and American flags in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Fla. on April 25, 2000. (Credit: Charles Trainor Jr, Miami Herald)

On Wednesday, December 17, 2014, President Obama issued a statement saying that U.S. government policy would change toward Cuba and diplomatic relations would expand. The unfolding events will make a great subject for a research paper. Read more

Elections and voting rights research paper topics

Elections and voting rights provide many good research paper topics. Just a few are political campaign strategies for modern times, the definition of gerrymandering and its effects on democracy, and a history of voting rights.

The first “gerrymandered” voting district looks like a salamander. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The first “gerrymandered” voting district looks like a salamander. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Evolution of campaigning

One topic you can write about elections is the quickly changing environment of campaigning and ways to gauge the voting public just over the past few years. Read more

Discuss politics and pigs in your next research paper

Republican New Jersey governor Chris Christie recently vetoed an animal rights bill that would prohibit the use of gestation crates for factory farmed pigs.

Gestation crates are heavily debated in politics. (Credit: Karolin, animal activist)

Gestation crates are heavily debated in politics. (Credit: Karolin, animal activist)

The veto made political news because Christie has presidential ambitions, and Iowa, the state with the first presidential caucus for the 2016 election, is a major pork producer. A good research paper topic may be to discuss politics and political decisions. Read more

Impeachment of Bill Clinton is a good topic for a research paper

Are you searching for a good topic for a history or political science research paper? Would you believe that Questia, your online research library and paper writing resource, contains more than 900 books and over 6,000 magazine, newspaper and journal articles on the impeachment of Bill Clinton?

The case of the impeachment of Bill Clinton. (Credit: imgarcade.com)

The case of the impeachment of Bill Clinton. (Credit: imgarcade.com)

Now, William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States (1993–2001), is a good topic for a history research paper all by himself. Read more

Research topic: Dark money and the midterm elections

Voting results in the midterm elections were likely affected by the shear amount of ads placed before the eyes of the voters. In the midterm elections 2014, an estimated $3.67 billion was funneled into media ads. When you’re deciding how to cast your vote on an issue it often helps to look at who supports and who opposes that issue.

Learn how dark money and the midterm elections are related. (Credit: The Westwire)

Learn how dark money and the midterm elections are related. (Credit: The Westwire)

But when issues are funded by dark money, you don’t know for sure who the players really are. Whether you’re a student of economics, political science, or business you might consider looking at the issue of campaign finance for your next research paper.

Capitalism v. democracy

According to author Timothy K. Kuhner, as of 2014 it costs approximately $1 billion to become president, $10 million to become a senator, and $1 million to become a member of the House. When so much money is required to gain elected office, can corruption be far behind?

In his book, Capitalism v. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution Kuhner explains how the Supreme Court has been instrumental in allowing politically powerful companies to gain control of the political system and turn the practice of economics to their favor. As a result, he sees the U.S. gradually changing from a democracy into a plutocracy where society is governed by the wealthy and not the people.

“Much of American democracy as we know it today can be explained by the fact that there is no limit to the total amount of money that candidates and parties can raise and spend, and that virtually all of that money comes from private sources, not the state,” Kuhner said.

Rules of the game

Kuhner isn’t the only one who is raising the alarm about the role of money in politics. Russ Choma provided his own analysis in his November 5, 2014, post for OpenSecrets.org, “Money Won on Tuesday, But Rules of the Game Changed.”

Choma pointed out that in the House races the candidate who spent the most money won 94.2 percent of the time while in the Senate races the figure was 81.8 percent. In many cases Democratic candidates raised more money than their Republican opponents but their funds were primarily from small donors whose identities were disclosed.

“Republicans made the most of their fundraising advantage and routed Democrats in Tuesday’s midterms, but they seized the majority in the Senate and built their lead in the House even as fewer donors participated in the process and more of the dollars came from secret sources,” Choma explained.

Dark money

If you think that none of this affects you then think again. Lee Fang exposed how this dark money can corrupt the political process and affect your financial future. Fang described the process in his November 5, 2014, post for PublicReport.org, “Sallie Mae Lobbyists Control Midterm Election Dark Money Groups.”

First a little background. Historically federal law has placed limits on how much individuals and organizations can donate to political campaigns and political organizations. But ever since 2010 those limits have been eroded.

In 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that the government could not restrict independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation.

This decision opened wide the door for super PACS (political action committees) to accept unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and individuals without disclosing their identities or the amounts contributed.

How this affects you, a college student loaded with students loans, can be seen in Fang’s article.

“Crossroads GPS and the American Action Network, according to filings, were two of the largest dark money groups in America. Both are organized under the 501c4 section of the tax code, meaning they do not have to disclose a dime of donor money,” Fang said.

According to Fang, these two donor groups are led by lobbyists who work for Sallie Mae, the nation’s largest student loan servicer.

Fang questioned the extent that Sallie Mae supported the Republican candidates who gained the House majority in the midterm elections. Many of these candidates oppose efforts to rein in student debt, lower student loan interest rates and making it easier to discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy.

Currently an estimated 40 million Americans are carrying a total of $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. That is an average of $29,000 per person.

You can read more about politics and government at Questia where you have access to millions of full-text books, articles, newspapers and research tools.

Are you concerned about the role of dark money in politics? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Reveal attacks on press freedom for your research paper

Jon Stewart unveiled his directorial debut, Rosewater on November 7, 2014, at the Telluride Film Festival. Best known as a political satirist and star of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Stewart chose to tackle a very serious subject, press freedom, for his first film.

Gael Garcia Bernal  deals with press freedom attacks in 'Rosewater.' (Credit: Jenny Nuff)

Gael Garcia Bernal deals with press freedom attacks in ‘Rosewater.’ (Credit: Jenny Nuff)

The Rosewater movie is based on the true story of journalist Maziar Bahari who was held at Iran’s Evin prison for 118 days. The script, also written by Jon Stewart, was adapted from Bahari’s memoir, Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival. Look to the Rosewater film for inspiration for your next research paper on journalists and press freedom. Read more

Criminal justice topics for your research paper

With all the fervor over the recent shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in the news, college students in criminal justice class should be able to find good research paper topics.

Criminal justice reform ad rejected by the City of Philadelphia. (Credit: NAACP.org)

Criminal justice reform ad rejected by the City of Philadelphia. (Credit: NAACP.org)

One topic for your term paper is the perceived racial bias in the criminal justice system. Other possible topics are the positive link between criminal justice and the Affordable Care Act, and Pope Francis’ condemnation of the death penalty. Read more

Midterm elections 2014 for your research paper

Taking place every two years between presidential elections, the midterm elections voting results can shape the future of the presidency. It is at this time that all members of the House of Representatives are up for re-elections and the 2014 Senate races will determine the membership of one-third of the Senate.

Expect to receive your voting sticker at midterm elections. (Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Expect to receive your voting sticker at midterm elections. (Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Midterm elections 2014 will also decide the fate of 36 governors as well as many important policies. Voting day 2014 is on Tuesday, the fourth of November. Read more