Interesting History Topics For Essays

A List of Intriguing World History Essay Topics for High School

High school students should prepare for some bad news: history essays are an integral part of their future. Since history is generally taught through ideas and developments, teachers often assign history essays. While a world history may be a student's first experience of this type of essay, it will not be their last. To get started on the essay, students should consider some of the following topics.

  1. How did the Catholic Church lead European governance during the Middle Ages?
  2. How did the art patronage system work during the Renaissance?
  3. Were the Dark Ages actually a time of cultural regression outside of Europe?
  4. How did small pox influence the colonization of the Americas?
  5. How did the role of peasants in western Europe compare to the role of serfs in Russia?
  6. What impact did Buddhism have on the Chinese empire?
  7. How did geography shape Greek history?
  8. How did World War I directly influence the beginning of World War II?
  9. What factors led to the rise of William the Conqueror as the king of England?
  10. What caused the Panic of 1819 and the first economic downturn of the United States?
  11. What was the role of the Tokugawa shogunate in Japanese history?
  12. Why was the generation following World War I known as the “Lost Generation”?
  13. What role did the Golden Age play in developing Western Civilization?
  14. How did Medieval Canon Law influence the status of marriage?
  15. How did the Industrial Age influence Karl Marx's writing of the Communist Manifesto?
  16. What was the Christmas Truce in World War II and why did it occur?
  17. What was the role of slavery and slave rebellions in Jamaica's past?
  18. How did the Bubonic Plague influence drastic changes in European society?
  19. How did the United States play a role in the creation of Panama?
  20. What brought about the end of apartheid in South Africa?
  21. Were pirates viewed as 16th century Robin Hoods or barbarians while they were alive?
  22. How did the Spanish-American War begin the United States' rise as a colonial power?
  23. Why did the United States force Japan to adopt Article IX in their post-World War II constitution?
  24. What caused Britain to stop using the gold standard following World War I?
  25. How did concepts from the Enlightenment and writers like Rousseau influence the start of the French Revolution?
  26. What role did Pol Pot play in creating modern Cambodia? How did he have a negative impact on the country?
  27. How have Chinese and Japanese relations developed over the centuries?

20 Interesting Historical Essay Topics You Should Cover

History is an exciting subject to study. Whether you choose to write about ancient history with the Greeks and Romans, the Conquistadors invading the Americas or something more recent like the wars of the Twentieth Century, there is always a new approach to take in your discussion.

In fact, there is so much history that unless your teacher has given you a set topic it is often difficult to narrow down your choices. The best way is by jotting down five or ten ideas and spending some time researching each idea so you get a feel of how much evidence is available. Too much evidence and you will struggle to keep within the word limit, too little information and you will find it difficult to make a decent argument.

Some idea to set you thinking

  1. What triggered the “Arab Spring”?
  2. Was the Vietnam War justifiable?
  3. What facts encouraged the end of American neutrality and their entry into WW1?
  4. Why does America play “World Policeman”? Is it worthwhile for America?
  5. The historical basis for the Opium Wars in China?
  6. Australia was discovered by mistake. What was James Cook looking for?
  7. What factors, other than slavery, were involved in the Civil War?
  8. How were the Crusades sold to the people of Europe?
  9. Write a profile on an historical person, such as Babe Ruth or Amelia Earhart.
  10. Consider the trials of colonial America. Pick a colony as an example i.e. Plymouth Colony or the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  11. Discuss the lead up to dropping the Atomic Bomb. In the circumstances, was it the right thing to do?
  12. Have any lessons been learned from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina?
  13. The 18th Amendment prohibited manufacture, sale or distribution of Alcohol. What prevented its successful implementation?
  14. Which Chinese Emperor was buried with a terracotta army, and why?
  15. Has the “War on Drugs” been any more successful than Prohibition?
  16. If the US Constitution is so flexible, why were the first 10 amendments required so quickly?
  17. Did you know that Hitler was voted Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1938? What does this say about social values of the period?
  18. The history of Arabic numeration would astound you – it was invented by the Hindus.
  19. Top reasons for the failure of Communist ideology in Russia.
  20. What is the effect of the Puritan Founding Fathers on modern America?


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