American History - Browse by Topic (Library of Congress)

Get the Inside HISTORY newsletter for in-depth historical articles and videos.

Thesis Statements - History and American Studies

Explore potential thesis topics that revolve around significant issues or causes, especially those that positively or negatively affected humanity. For example, former Duke University history thesis topics include the role AIDS played in reformed sex education classes, Operation Pedro in Cuba, the church's role in slavery, and black women's resistance to Jim Crow laws. Historical causes typically have emotional ties, so they can be quite heart-wrenching or heart-warming to study. As you craft your thesis, use a specific time line, historical event or historical figure to show how a particular cause shaped history, both then and now.

A thesis statement states the argument of that paper

Suggested topics for Master of Arts and PhD theses in history

Choose a history thesis topic that has a definitive answer, solution or outcome. According to the Harvard University History Department, you shouldn't choose a topic that's unanswerable or your research won't be conclusive. Your proposal must have sustainable evidence to back it up -- otherwise, it's just an opinion paper. Once you decide on a topic, use your resources to help develop and prove your thesis. Don't try to answer or resolve the issues without relying on research or you might make false assumptions. According to Harvard, you must "let your sources talk to you."

How have History & American Studies majors built careers after earning their degrees?

Choosing a topic for a history thesis can be a challenging task because the subject matter is so broad. Start by thinking about historical events that interest you. How did those events affect society? Why are they meaningful? An effective history thesis topic must be concise and detailed, or the subject matter will be too extensive to cover in a single analysis. Before you finalize your topic, research it thoroughly to ensure there's sufficient background information to support your work.

Almost every assignment you complete for a history course will ask you to make an argument

If you are still struck for inspiration there are different sources which can stimulate your imagination. You can go online and search for contemporary history thesis topics. You can go to your college library and see what topics previous students have chosen. Try anything which broadens your knowledge of potential topics.