Monday, July 06, 2009

Early American History Paper Topics

Looking for history class paper topics, particularly American history paper topics? You've come to the right place, though we will focus on early American history, especially the founding era.

**If you prefer American history research paper topics beyond the founding era, check out "American History Paper Topics" by Naomi Rockler-Gladen (

Make sure you follow these steps in selecting the right topic...

1. Clarify Assignment Parameters

If your American history teacher has assigned you a paper to write, your first task is to familiarize yourself with the parameters of the assignment. Did your teacher specify a date range (i.e., 17th century, 18th century, etc.), a cultural/gender focus (Native American culture, women in early America), or a political angle (i.e, causes of the American Revolution, causes of the War of 1812, etc.)?

2. Brainstorm List of Topics

Once you've established the parameters of the assignment, it's time to brainstorm a list of about 10-15 topics that fit within those conditions.

Let's say, for example, that your teacher wants a paper on childhood in colonial America, you would then brainstorm all the possible angles to this core subject. A mind-mapping type exercise may be helpful.

Continuing with our example, your list might look something like...

*Infant mortality in the 1700s
*Childhood disease and medical treatment of the 1700s
*Children of Continental Army soldiers in the American Revolution
*Orphanages in Colonial America
*Early Textbooks in Colonial American Education

As you can see, there are a number of possibilities. help get you are a list of broad topics related to early American history that you can then brainstorm sub-topics from....

*The Great Awakening
*Jonathan Edwards
*George Whitefield
*Benjamin Franklin and Poor Richard's Almanack
*Scientific Discoveries and Inventions in the 1700s
*Commerce and Trade in Colonial America
*The French and Indian War
*Causes of the American Revolution
*The Siege at Yorktown
*The Franco-American Alliance of the American Revolution
*The Constitutional Convention
*The Federalist Papers
*The Anti-Federalist Papers
*The presidency of George Washington
*The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
*The Alien & Sedition Acts
*The Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions

Again, we could go on for quite some time. There are so many topics in early American history from which to choose. But the above list should get you started.

3. Conduct Initial Research

Once you've brainstormed about 10-15 topics, do some initial research on the Internet. See which topics strike you as the most interesting and for which you can find adequate information. Don't spend too much time on research yet. Your objective is to narrow your choices down to one or two.

4. Double-check Your Choice(s) with your Teacher

If you can, take the 1 or 2 topics you ultimately select (from the above step) to your teacher and confirm that you're headed in the right direction.

5. Deeper Research

Once you get the go-ahead from your teacher, it's time for more intense research. Look for statistics, quotes, and other information on the topic. Study all angles.

And then you're ready to start your outline and write your paper.

Good luck!


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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Revolutionary War Facts

The war that gave the United States of America its independence is alternately known as the "American War for Independence" and the "Revolutionary War." If you're looking for basic Revolutionary War facts, this article should help. Here, we look at the essential facts of America's War for Independence, focusing on those things every person should know about the Revolutionary War.

Where Did The Revolutionary War Take Place?

The American Revolutionary War was, in many respects, a world war. It impacted four continents and touched the lives of millions of people around the globe. Yet most of the fighting, particularly in the early years of the conflict, took place in North America.

What Countries Fought in the Revolutionary War?

The principal players in the American Revolutionary War, of course, were Great Britain and the thirteen colonies who rebelled against King George III and the British Parliament. On July 4, 1776, those thirteen colonies proclaimed themselves the "United States of America."

Other nations drawn into the conflict included France and Spain as well as Canada (though, at the time, Canada was not a country, but was part of the British Empire).

When Did The Revolutionary War Start?

Tensions were mounting between Great Britain and its North American colonies since the French and Indian War. Rioting, street violence, and rural unrest were not uncommon in the 1760s and early 1770s. Shots were fired and blood was spilled in the streets of Boston in 1770. Some therefore maintain the war began with the "Boston Massacre." However, none of these incidents resulted in sustained warfare. Not until April of 1775.

The first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired in Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.

**For more on what started the Revolutionary War, read "Causes of the American Revolution."

Major Battles of the Revolutionary War

The Revolutionary War was a long and difficult war, but major battles (similar in scope and scale as what would be seen many years later in the American Civil War) were few. More soldiers died in camp than on the battlefield. Perhaps the most significant battles and campaigns include (but are not limited to):

*The Battle of Bunker Hill (1775)
*The (failed) American invasion of Canada (1775)
*The New York / Long Island Campaign (1776)
*The New Jersey Campaign, including the battles at Trenton and Princeton (1776-77)
*The Battles of Brandywine and Germantown (1777)
*The Battle of Monmouth (1778)
*The Battle of Camden (1780)
*The Battle of King's Mountain (1780)
*The Battle of Cowpens (1781)
*The Battle of Guilford Courthouse (1781)
*The Battle of Yorktown (1781)

When Did The Revolutionary War End?

The last major battle of the Revolutionary War was fought at Yorktown in Virginia in 1781. It ended when a besieged British army, commanded by General Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered (via proxy) to General George Washington.

The issues of the war, however, were not fully resolved until 1783, when the British granted American independence with the Treaty of Paris.

Who Won The Revolutionary War?

The American colonies achieved their independence with the Treaty of Paris (1783). Thus, it must be said that the Americans won and the British lost. However...

The British Empire, in some respects, emerged stronger from the Revolutionary War. Their most serious international rival, France, was bankrupted by the war, and its government would collapse in turmoil during the French Revolution.

Britain held onto its other global possessions, and its Royal Navy continued to "rule the waves" for many years to come.

What's more, the United States took a few years to get going. Britain was still able to make money off the United States via trade, and (for a time) even played some states off of others. With the U.S. Constitution and the War of 1812, the United States got its bearings and would eventually emerge as a stronger world player. But in the years immediately after the Revolutionary War, the British remained in a formidable position.

***For more on early American history (particularly with respect to its moral, cultural, and religious heritage), check out "Books on Early America" and visit American Creation.

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Birthday, America! Enjoy your Fourth of July celebrations and time with family, but don't forget HOW we got here - and the sacrifices made by so many to sustain our freedom over the years and into today.

"The United States is the only country with a known birthday." ~James G. Blaine

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Cryptologist Cracks 200-Year Old Code

A 200-year old code has finally been cracked! The recipient of the code was President Thomas Jefferson. The sender: Robert Patterson, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Now, I'm no mathematician, so forget my trying to explain HOW it was cracked. I'm simply provide you with the following link to a Wall Street Journal article that lays it all out...

"Two Centuries On, a Cryptologist Cracks a Presidential Code"

Congress Declares American Independence on July 2, 1776

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, a delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia, moved a resolution for independence.

For the year leading up to Lee's resolution, members of the Congress (and people throughout the colonies) were somewhat divided over whether to officially and formally separate from Great Britain. Britain's ruthless prosecution of the war against the colonial uprising (which included the hiring of mercenary troops) and the publication of Common Sense had resulted in a decisive sea change of popular opinion. More colonists were calling for independence -- a permanent break from Britain.

On July 2, Lee's motion for independence was approved. John Adams predicted that July 2 would be celebrated as America's Independence Day. was not to be.

Two days after voting for independence, the Continental Congress received a document that formally articulated the reasons for independence, including their grievances against Great Britain. This document, known as the "Declaration of Independence," was authored by Thomas Jefferson and was approved on July 4, 1776. And it was that day (July 4) that subsequent generations of Americans have chosen to remember as their nation's birthday.