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Potential Research Topics: HISTORY

This guide will help with settling on a research topic for class.


HISTORY: Germany - A Notable Anniversary
A landmark date was in early February. The Berlin Wall has now been down longer than it
was up. Why was this Wall constructed and what did it hope to prevent? When did it come down
and of what series of events was it the culmination? Where can fragments of it be seen?
SEARCH TERMS: Berlin Wall AND anniversary

HISTORY: Black History
February is the celebration of Black History month in the United States. What are some
recent civil rights movements in the U.S. for African Americans and how are they rooted to our
history? What are the differences between today’s major issues in civil rights for African Americans
and the issues in the 50s, 60s and 70s?
SEARCH TERMS: civil rights AND (black history OR African Americans OR African-Americans)

HISTORY: Siege of Leningrad
It’s the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad. The siege lasted almost
900 days. How did Russia celebrate this anniversary? How does this compare to celebrations last
fall for the anniversary of the Russian Revolution?
SEARCH TERMS: Russia AND siege of Leningrad

HISTORY: Tet Offensive Anniversary
It has been 50 years since the Tet Offensive was deployed by the North Vietnamese
during the Vietnam War. What is Tet and what was the North Vietnamese military strategy in the
Tet Offensive? What was its outcome militarily and politically?
SEARCH TERMS: Tet Offensive AND Vietnam War

HISTORY: Pylos Combat Agate
A 3,500-year-old agate carving has revealed a level of detail and knowledge of human
musculature that is astonishing. The Pylos Combat Agate, discovered in the Griffin Warrior grave in
Pylos, Greece, depicts two warriors battling over the corpse of a third. The carving is only 1.4
inches long. What other items were found in this grave? Are there any theories as to how a carving
this small and detailed could have been made that long ago?
SEARCH TERMS: Pylos Combat Agate

HISTORY: Saudi Arabia Rock Carvings
Rock carvings in Saudi Arabia show men and dogs hunting together and some seemingly
show that the dogs depicted are on leashes. These are possibly the oldest representations of the
relationship between dogs and men. How old is it thought that these carvings are? How were they
dated? What modern breeds seem related to the ones in the carvings?
SEARCH TERMS: Saudi Arabia AND rock carvings AND dogs

HISTORY: Carl Stokes Election Anniversary
In a year when some U.S. cities have elected their first African American mayors, it is
noteworthy that this year also marks the 50th anniversary of Cleveland, Ohio electing the first black
mayor in the U.S. when it elected him. What were his accomplishments before becoming mayor?
SEARCH TERMS: Carl Stokes AND mayor AND Cleveland

HISTORY: Early Trigonometry Revealed
Researchers have determined that a Babylonian clay tablet shows that they knew the
Pythagorean Theorem centuries before the Greek mathematician did and that the tablet is actually
a trigonometric table that could have been used in the division of lands or construction of buildings.
They also claim that these tables are much more accurate than the ones we use today. Why are
the tables considerably more accurate than today’s? What is the Pythagorean theory and who was
SEARCH TERMS: Babylon AND trigonometry

HISTORY: Constitution Day
September 17th is Constitution Day. What are the differences between the U.S.
Constitution and the Articles of Confederation that it replaced? What are some of the most heavily
debated controversial issues of the U.S. Constitution that been interpreted in different ways? Who
are some of its authors, what ideas did they contribute and how did they arrive at those ideas?
SEARCH TERMS: U.S. Constitution AND (history OR meaning OR controvers* OR interpret*)

HISTORY: Canadian Anniversary  
TOPIC: July 1st marked the 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada, when four provinces, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, joined together as a nation. When did the other provinces join the confederation? Which was the last to join and why did it take so long? What are some of the events that have knit Canada together?
SEARCH TERMS: Canada AND confederation

HISTORY: Loving v. Virginia    
TOPIC: It has been 50 years since the Supreme Court declared in the case of Loving v. Virginia that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional. Who were Mildred and Richard Loving and what are the circumstances of their case that ended up in the Supreme Court?  What states had laws barring interracial marriage and why?  What is the reasoning behind the 1967 Supreme Court decision that declared these laws unconstitutional?
SEARCH TERMS: Loving v. Virginia AND Richard AND Mildred

HISTORY: Andrew Johnson
It has been 150 years this February since the House of Representatives voted to impeach
President Andrew Johnson. What were the charges for the impeachment and what were the
political influences involved? How was he spared full impeachment and why?
SEARCH TERMS: Andrew Johnson AND impeach*

HISTORY: Tomb Hunters
Archeologists from four Scottish universities are to team up with the city of Perth to locate
and partially excavate the city’s Charterhouse monastery, which was levelled at the time of the
Reformation. They hope to find the tomb of King James I of Scotland, who was assassinated 580
years ago. What role did the Charterhouse play in the history of Perth? Why was the King
SEARCH TERMS: Scotland AND Perth AND Charterhouse

HISTORY: John Lewis
February is Black History Month and U.S. Representative for Georgia’s fifth congressional district John Lewis played a major role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. What were his main contributions to this movement? What were some of the most harrowing experiences he endured during his civil rights work?
SEARCH TERMS: John Lewis AND civil rights

HISTORY: King George II Archives
The Royal Archives have announced plans to digitize the papers of King George III and have allowed a documentary to be made about the early steps in this process. They think it will take three years to complete the over 350,000 documents. What major events took place during his reign?
SEARCH TERMS: George III AND archives

HISTORY: Pearl Harbor
The United States entered World War II after the Japanese attacked a U.S. naval base at
Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 in what was then the U.S. territory of Hawaii. What were the
motivations of the Japanese for this attack? What were their objectives in WWII and how were
they defeated? What was the significance of the recent visit of Japanese Prime Minister Abe to
Pearl Harbor? What were some of the notable statements made at the joint press conference
there with President Barack Obama?
SEARCH TERMS: Pearl Harbor

HISTORY: Margaret Sanger
It has been 100 years since that Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in
Brooklyn, New York City that eventually evolved into Planned Parenthood. What motivated her to
open the first clinic, what opposition did she face and how did she deal with it? How did this early
Brooklyn clinic eventually evolve into Planned Parenthood?
SEARCH TERMS: Margaret Sanger AND birth control

HISTORY: Battle of Hastings Anniversary
October 14 was the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, at which William, Duke of
Normandy defeated King Harold Godwinson and became the ruler of England. The anniversary
was marked by a re-enactment not only of the battle, but of Harold and his army’s march south
from York to Hastings. What other claimants to the throne did Harold have to fight that year? What
other battles get re-enacted in Great Britain?
SEARCH TERMS: Battle of Hastings AND anniversary

HISTORY: Reunification of East and West Germany
TOPIC:  It is 25 years since the reunification of East and West Germany happened. How has that worked out? Has the economy of the former East Germany grown to match that of the West? Were there social conflicts between the citizens of the former halves? Did East Germany completely purge its former communist officials? Is there a nostalgia for East Germany among its former citizens?
SEARCH TERMS: Germany AND reunification 

HISTORY:  Columbus Day    
TOPIC:  On this Columbus Day it will have been 523 years since Christopher Columbus sailed for America.  Who was America named for and what has been discovered about Europeans that have landed on American soil before Columbus?  What is controversial about Christopher Columbus that has many Americans protesting the celebration of him each year?
SEARCH TERMS: Christopher Columbus AND (history OR discover* OR America)

HISTORY:  Manhattan Project National Historical Park     
TOPIC:  The Manhattan Project National Historical Park has opened in Los Alamos, NM.  What was the Manhattan Project?  What are the features of this park that helps explain it and the time it took place?
SEARCH TERMS: Manhattan Project National Historical Park

HISTORY: Hidden Tomb
TOPIC:  A new theory posits that hidden behind Tutankhamen’s tomb is another tomb, possibly containing Nefertiti, whose famous bust is in Berlin. She was his step-mother and he took power following her death. Radar scans have possibly located this second tomb. How important a discovery would this be if it were true? What was different about religious belief Akhenaton, Nefertiti and Tutankhamen’s reign? What happened after their deaths?
SEARCH TERMS: (Nefertiti OR Tutankhamen) AND tomb

HISTORY:  Margaret Sanger     
TOPIC: It has been 100 years since Margaret Sanger's first birth control clinic opened up in Brooklyn, New York City. How was this birth control clinic initially treated by the community and the country?  How did family planning centers evolve?
SEARCH TERMS: Margaret Sanger

HISTORY: Prehistoric Bones Found
TOPIC: Bones discovered in Kenya seem to show an example of group-on-group violence and may be the result of prehistoric warfare. There were 12 individuals whose remains were relatively complete and a further partial remains of 15 others. What is the evidence of violence that was found on the bones? Why do they think this is intergroup violence? What type of society were these people from and how do they differ from other old examples of warfare?  
SEARCH TERMS: Kenya and (remains or skeletons or bones) and (violence or warfare or warlike)

HISTORY: The Age of Folklore  
TOPIC: Researchers Sara Graca da Silva and Jamshid Tehrani have used a new technique to date fairy tales and folk tales and have determined that they are far older than they seem. One, The Smith and the Devil, may be 6,000 years old. What type of analysis commonly used in biology underlies their conclusions? Do their conclusions seem plausible?
SEARCH TERMS: fairy tales AND Tehrani

HISTORY:  Delano Grape Strike  
TOPIC:  50 years ago Filipino workers in Delano, California started a strike against California grape growers for wages to match the national minimum wage and were soon joined by Mexican Americans led by Caesar Chavez that ended with a victory for the strikers.  What unions combined during this strike to form the United Farm Workers union?  What was the public’s role in the strike that was instrumental to their victory?  
SEARCH TERMS:Delano AND grape? AND (strike OR boycott)

HISTORY: Sad Anniversary
TOPIC:  Jean-Luc Kister, the French intelligence agent who helped attach bombs to the hull of Greenpeace’s ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbor, has apologized in New Zealand for the loss of life that ensued when the bombs went off. Who died in the explosion? What was Greenpeace setting out to do that made France want to stop it? What were the results of this action on France?
SEARCH TERMS: Jean-Luc Kister AND Rainbow Warrior

HISTORY: Sykes-Picot Anniversary
TOPIC:  The 100th anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement, which dictated post-World War I settlement of the Middle East when it became part of the Treaty of Versailles, has just occurred. One of the goals of ISIS is to completely overthrow the Sykes-Picot. What did Sykes-Picot mandate? How did that differ from pre-existing conditions in the region? How successful was the Treaty of Versailles in keeping Europe out of war?
SEARCH TERMS: Sykes-Picot AND anniversary

HISTORY: Vichy Revealed  
TOPIC:  France will release the archives of the Vichy government, the collaborationist government that oversaw the south of France for the Nazis from the city of Vichy. It will also release the documents from the initial post-war governments as well. Who formed this government and what happened to them after the war? How did Vichy deal with its Jewish citizens? What was their policy about the French Resistance?  
SEARCH TERMS: France AND Vichy AND archives

HISTORY:  Rosa Parks     
TOPIC: It has been 60 years since Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give her seat to a while man on a bus in Montgomery, AL.  What kind of boycott went into effect in reply to the arrest and how effective was it?  How did these events inspire a national civil rights movement?  

HISTORY: Battle of Verdun Anniversary
TOPIC:  The Battle of Verdun was one of the largest and longest battles of World War I. When did it take place? Where was the battle located? Who were the opponents? What was the desired outcome? What were some of its more pivotal events? What are the notorious aspects of this battle?  
SEARCH TERMS: Verdun AND anniversary

HISTORY:  Black History     
TOPIC: Black History Month celebrates the dignity and contributions of African Americans throughout history as well as reflects on the hardships and injustices endured.  In what years of U.S. history was slavery a legal institution and what states had adopted it?  When was the abolitionist movement and what are some of its early successes? What are some events in the 1950s that started the mid-20th century civil rights movement?
SEARCH TERMS: (black OR African American) AND history

HISTORY: ‘We Can Do It!’
TOPIC: Rosie the Riveter, the cultural icon representing American women who worked in factories and shipyards while the men were off at war, was honored in Washington DC. These women produced war supplies and bombers used in World War II. What does Rosie the Riveter symbolize in American history? What does the well-known image of Rosie flexing her muscle with the words ‘We Can Do It’ meant to evoke in the viewer? How did women feel about shifting from working in factories to going back home after the war ended?
SEARCH TERMS: Rosie the Riveter

HISTORY: An Anniversary
TOPIC: The 100th anniversary of the Easter Uprising has recently occurred. This was an armed attack on the British garrison in Dublin and the takeover of several key points in the city during World War I. Who led the uprising and what did they hope to achieve? What happened to the Irish forces? What happened to their leaders? What was the ultimate outcome of this event?
SEARCH TERMS: Ireland AND Easter Uprising

HISTORY: Historic Visit
TOPIC: Seventy-one years after the bombing, President Obama visited Hiroshima, issuing a call for nuclear disarmament. He is the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site where the world’s first atomic bomb was used. What reasons have been given for the bomb’s use? Why was a second city, Nagasaki, bombed? Should Obama have also visited that city as well?  What former President visited Hiroshima? Does the atomic bombing allow Japan to minimize their actions in the Second World War?
SEARCH TERMS: Obama AND Hiroshima

HISTORY: Revolutionary War Artifacts
TOPIC:  Several dozen artifacts have been unearthed during an archeological survey near Chatham Township, NJ that are believed to be evidence of a previously undiscovered Revolutionary War camp left by George Washington’s troops in 1777 while on their way toward Valley Forge.  What were the discovered artifacts and what is the evidence being studied by historian William Styple suggesting that they are from the Revolutionary War?  What are some of the other aspects that archeologists look for when determining the time and purpose of an artifact?
SEARCH TERMS: Revolutionary War AND William Styple AND New Jersey

HISTORY: Dating the Scripture
TOPIC: Recent research on the writings on shards of pottery found in Israel support the idea of somewhat widespread literacy in the region. These mundane texts date to around 600 BCE. How were the texts translated? How could knowledge of this literacy at that date reframe arguments about when the Bible was written? What were the texts about and how do they support the idea of literate population?
SEARCH TERMS: Israel AND literacy AND Bible

HISTORY: Harriet Tubman
TOPIC: Harriet Tubman will become the first woman and first African-American on printed money when she replaces Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Who was she and what did she do to advance the cause of civil rights for African Americans? What role did she play in the U.S. Civil War?
SEARCH TERMS: Harriet Tubman AND Andrew Jackson AND bill

HISTORY: Tudor Warship
TOPIC: The Tudor warship the Mary Rose has completed its very long conservation process and is finally fully open to the public. It was sunk in 1545 and raised from the Solent in 1982. What was the conservation process used on this ship? How much was learned about life in on board in Henry VIII’s time?
SEARCH TERMS: Mary Rose and Tudor

HISTORY: Independence Day
TOPIC: It was 240 years ago that the Declaration of Independence was signed at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. What was the purpose of the document and what principals does it hold? What is the May 15th preamble, what was the Lee Resolution and why was each one considered necessary?
SEARCH TERMS: Declaration of Independence

HISTORY: Human Sacrifice Discovered
TOPIC: Mount Lykaion was traditionally seen as the birthplace of Zeus. Excavations there have found the 3,000-year-old skeleton of a teenager amid the remains of sacrificed animals. This could be proof of human sacrifice. What ancient writers associated Mount Lykaion with human sacrifice? Has other proof of it been found in sites in Greece or in the areas ruled by the Greeks?
SEARCH TERMS: Mount Lykaion AND human sacrifice

HISTORY: National Women’s Equality Day
TOPIC: On August 26, 1920 women in U.S. won the right to vote. The anniversary is known as National Women’s Equality Day. Which constitutional amendment guarantees American women the right to vote? How has this impacted opportunities for women? Who were the key organizers and trailblazers in 1920, and how did they advocate for the rights of women and girls? What are some of the equality rights that women today are discussing?
SEARCH TERMS: anniversary AND women AND vote