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HIST 2010: United States History to 1865: Topic
Selection

A survey of the political, economic, social and intellectual movements and institutions of the United States from colonial times to 1865.

Picking a Topic

Selecting a specific topic helps you eliminate hundreds of potential results that would come back in a more broad search. For example, if you search for books based on this string of words - American history until 1865 - the results will give you way too many options, and a majority of them won't meet Dr. Fox's criteria. If you aren't sure what topic you want to research, browse the tabs for inspiration.

Check out these two quick videos that show the difference in search results when you narrow something down!
 
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Some topics covered during this era (approx. pre-1492 - 1630): 

  • Native American Early Civilizations
    • Iroquois League of Nations
    • Mississippian culture
       
  • Native American Historical Figures 
    • Metacomet​
    • Pocahontas
    • Samoset​
    • Squanto

  • European Explorers/Conquistadors  
    • Christopher Columbus
    • Hernando De Soto
    • Ponce De Leon
    • Hernan Cortes
    • Vasco Nunez de Balboa
       
  • ​​Impact on Native Americans from European Contact
    • Biological - chicken pox, small pox, etc. 
    • Slavery/Captivity 
    • War/Combat 
    • Loss of Land/Cultural Impact

Some topics covered during this era (approx. 1630-1763)  

  • Reasons for European Colonization 
    • ​Financial Opportunities
    • Social Advancement 
    • Indentured Servants/Criminals
    • Religious Freedom (Baptists - RI, Puritans - MA, Catholics - MD) 
       
  • Early European Settlers/Settlements
    • Lost Colony/Roanoke 
    • St. Augustine, FL  
    • Jamestown &  
    • Plymouth & Pilgrims 
    • Key Figures: 
      • Myles/Miles Standish
      • William Bradford 
      • Captain John Smith 
      • John Rolfe 
         
  • Creation of and Life in the Thirteen American Colonies 
    • Colonial governance & infrastructure
    • Women's Role in Colonial America 
    • Slavery in Colonial America  
      • ​First arrival 
      • Triangular Trade
    • Economic Development in Colonial America
      • ​Tobacco
      • Agriculture-based vs. Manufacturing/Industry-based
      • North & South Division 
    • Religion
      • Puritans & State Religion
      • Roger Williams & Religious Freedom
      • The Great Awakening 
    • Salem Witch Trials  
    • Enlightenment in Colonial America 
    • American Colonies Key Historic Figures 
      • William Penn
      • Anne Hutchinson 
      • Peter Stuyvesant
      • Peter Minuit
      • James Oglethorpe
         
  • War in Colonial America  
    • American Indian Wars
      • ​Anglo-Powhatan War & Jamestown Massacre
      • Peach Tree War
      • King Philip's War 
    • The Seven Years' War Impact on Colonial America 
      • French & Indian War
      • Geographic Restructuring 
      • Military technology advancement
      • Training of Colonial military leaders
         
  • ​​Misc. 
    • Colonial American Culture, Music, Literature
    • Medical and Science in Colonial America 
    • Education in Colonial America

Some topics covered during this era (approx. 1763-1783) 

  • Causes for the American Revolutionary War  
    • ​Economic & Legislative Issues
      • French & Indian War 
      • Stamp Tax Act
      • Quartering Act
      • Tea Tax
      • Declaratory Act
      • Quebec Act
         
    • Evolving Views of Freedom, etc.
      • Enlightenment Philosophy impact on Colonial Leaders
      • Geographic separation from England
      • Westward migration into Tennessee Wilderness 
  • Events Leading to War
    • Formation of ​Sons of Liberty 
    • Boston Massacre 
    • Boston Tea Party 
    • Intolerable Acts
    • British Occupation of Boston
       
  • Key Historic Figures
    • King George III
    • Daniel Boone 
    • Benjamin Franklin
    • Abigail Adams 
    • John Adams 
    • Benjamin Rush 
    • Paul Revere 
    • James Madison 
    • Thomas Jefferson 
    • Phyllis Wheatley 
    • Patrick Henry 
    • Thomas Paine
    • John Hancock 
    • George Washington
    • Alexander Hamilton 
    • Samuel Adams 
    • More here! 
       
  • Revolutionary War Government & Society - GOOD ARGUMENT OPTIONS HERE 
    • The evolution of Americans view of themselves (from Englishman to American)
    • 1st and 2nd Continental Congress - Responsibilities, authority, etc. 
    • Forming military, building foreign alliances, etc.
    • Creating the Declaration of Independence 
    • Contradictions of Freedom  
      • Women's lack of Equality in Revolutionary America
      • Inequality for Freedmen  
      • Continued Existence of Slavery 
    • Loyalists in Revolutionary America 
    • The Radical Nature of the Revolutionary War (Dr. Gordon Wood - history scholar)
       
  • Revolutionary War Battles 
    • Bunker Hill 
    • Lexington & Concord 
    • Monmouth
    • More here
       
  • Outcomes of the Revolutionary War 
    • "A World Turned Upside Down" - the worldwide impact of American colonists becoming the United States of America 
    • "What Comes Next?" - what would fill the political power vaccum
    • Medical and Science Advancements from the War 

Some topics covered during this era (approx. 1783-1815) 

  • Early Republic Attempts
    • Articles of Confederacy - too weak, too strong, or appropriate? 
    • Shays Rebellion
    • Elimination of primogeniture
  • Continental Congress - GOOD OPTIONS FOR ARGUMENTATIVE TOPICS 
    • Creating the Constitution
    • Strong Centralized Government vs. Strong States Government 
    • Hints at the first political parties - Federalists & Anti-Federalists 
    • Tension between Southern/Slave States and Northern/Free States 
  • Key Historic Figures
    • Alexander Hamilton 
    • Abigail Adams 
    • John Adams 
    • Benjamin Rush 
    • John Jay
    • James Madison 
    • Thomas Jefferson 
    • George Washington
    • Henry Knox 
    • More here! 
  • Early Republican Government & Society - GOOD ARGUMENT OPTIONS HERE 
    • The Electoral College & George Washington's Election 
    • The first Presidential Cabinet - Hamilton, Knox, Jefferson, and Edmund Randolph
    • Westward Expansion 
    • Alexander Hamilton (National Bank, and centralizing state/national debt) 
    • Whiskey Rebellion 
    • Women in the Early Republic 
    • Free Blacks - their activities and impact on the Early Republic  
    • The United States & the French Revolution - Statement of Neutrality
    • Thomas Jefferson's Presidency 
      • Contradictory Life of Thomas Jefferson - GOOD OPTION FOR ARGUMENTATIVE TOPIC
      • Lewis & Clark Expedition 
      • ​Louisiana Purchase 
    • Slave Revolt in Caribbean islands (specifically French-owned Haiti)
    • John Adams' Presidency (XYZ Affair, Alien & Sedition Acts)
    • The Democratic-Republican Party, and the establishment of a two party governmental system  
    • War of 1812 (1812-1815) - Battle of New Orleans, Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Burning of D.C., Star Spangled Banner/Fort McKinley
    • Era of Good Feeling 
  • Economy & Industry in Early Republic 
    • Agriculture - primarily in the Southern states 
    • Financial, shipping, etc. - New York, etc.
    • Industry & Manufacturing - mainly mid-Atlantic states up to northern States 
      • Industrial advancements' role in the continuation of slavery
      • ​First Cotton Mill - Rhode Island
      • The impact of the cotton gin - Eli Whitney 

Some topics covered during this era (approx. 1815-1840) 

  • Economic & Industry Growth
    • Clay's American System 
    • Robert Fulton - Canals, Erie Canal Construction, Water Travel  
    • Industrial Revolution grows in the Northern States; cotton is king in the Southern States 
    • Market Revolution and the growth of the working class
    • Panic of 1837
    • John Deere & Development of Farm Machinery 
    • Samuel F.B. Morse & Morse Code 
  • Geographic Expansion
    • Manifest Destiny and American Growth 
    • Monroe Doctrine 
    • "Trail of Tears" - Native American Removal
    • Black Hawk War 
    • Westward expansion - Oregon Trail and Pioneers
      • Missouri Compromise of 1820
      • Westward Expansion impacted the growing debate between free/slave states
    • Texas War for Independence
      • Governance, Republic, and Statehood 
    • Mexican American War
      • Development of the future military leaders of the Civil War
         
  • Government & Society in the Age of Jackson, or "Era of the Common Man"- 
    GOOD OPTIONS FOR ARGUMENTATIVE TOPIC  
    • Rise of populism in politics
    • "Corrupt Bargain" of 1824 - John Quincy Adams 
    • Andrew Jackson vs. the National Bank - "Bank War"
    • Universal white manhood suffrage 
    • Jackson's Spoils System - political favors for friends, family, and favorites
    • Development and Formation of the United States Public Education system
    • Public education and social services for physically impaired Americans
    • Jackson's Spoils System - political favors for friends, family, and favorites
    • Reform movements - abolitionism, temperance, 2nd Great Awakening  
    • Slave Insurrection & Nat Turner's Rebellion 
    • Early women's rights movement
  • Key Historic Figures
    • John Q. Adams 
    • Frances Wright - early champion of birth control, women's rights, abolition 
    • Nat Turner 
    • Martin Van Buren
    • John C. Calhoun 
    • Andrew Jackson
    • Daniel Webster 
    • Henry Clay
    • Robert Fulton
    • Thomas Gallaudet - Founder of first public for hearing impaired students
    • Stephen F. Austin
    • Samuel Colt - inventor of the 6 shooter
    • Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna 
    • Sam Houston 

Some topics covered during this era (approx. 1850-1865) 

  • Slavery, Abolitionism, & the United States 
    • Possible reasons of slavery (economic reasons, racism/white supremacy, religious - "saving the savage"? 
    • Abolitionism  
      • Cultural Portrayal of Slavery & Abolitionism 
      • Frederick Douglass & Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave 
      • Harriet Beecher Stowe & Uncle Tom's Cabin  
    • Underground Railroad & Harriet Tubman
  • General causes of & events leading to the Civil War - GOOD OPTIONS FOR ARGUMENTATIVE TOPIC  
    • The conclusion of a 70-80 yr. simmering tension between agrarian/industry, slave/free, strong central government/weaker centralized government ("states rights")  
    • Was slavery necessary for healthy Southern economy, or was it necessary for continued enrichment of Plantation system? (good insight found here: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=2&psid=3558) 
    • Kansas-Nebraska Act & "Bleeding Kansas" 
    • John Brown & Harper's Ferry   
    • Compromise of 1850 
    • Fugitive Slave Act
    • Dred Scott v. Sandford - 1857
    • Creation of the Republican Party 
    • Caning of Charles Sumner by Preston Brooks
  • Northern possible arguments? 
    • Congress has to consent to new states forming within old states; thus making secession unconstitutional 
    • Motivated by abolitionism? Or motivated by economic reasons?
  • Southern possible arguments? 
    • Anger over Abraham Lincoln's election; "not my President" mentality
    • Justified based on Declaration of Independence - "when in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with one another..." 
  • Government during the War 
    • Secession of Southern states - internal debate and argument 
    • Creating the Confederacy ​(for more http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=2&psid=3056)
      • Jefferson Davis & his cabinet 
      • Montgomery, Alabama - first capital 
    • The Homestead Act - gave land to settlers to go west
    • The Morrill Act - established agricultural & technical colleges
    • Legal Tender Act - created the system of paper money
    • National Bank Act
    • Union and Confederacy Military Drafts & Public Opinion
    • The Homestead Act - gave land to settlers to go west
    • Emancipation Proclamation & 13th Amendment
    • Creation of the Freedmen's Bureau
    • The Homestead Act - gave land to settlers to go west
  • Military in the American Civil War 
    • The composition of armies; rich/poor, slave owner/poor white; white/black?
    • Prison camps - Andersonville
    • Medical and nursing practices on the battleground 
      • American Red Cross
      • Nursing practices established
      • Advances in medical treatments, and technology
    • Military technology advancements
    • Photography on the battle field
    • Black solders in both armies
      • The Union and the Militia Act 
      • Did black soldiers fight for the Confederacy?
      • What were the opinions and feelings of Union commanders who lead black solders?
    • Naval developments - the ironside ships 
    • Unionist Southerners revolt - Free State of Winston 
    • Important battles
      • Bull Run
      • Antietam
      • Vicksburg
      • Shiloh
      • Gettysburg
      • Sherman's March to the Sea 
         
  • Key Historic Figures (1850 -1860)
    • Abraham Lincoln 
    • Frederick Douglass
    • Stephen Douglas
    • Preston Brooks
    •  
  • Key Historic Figures (1860 -1865)
    • Jefferson Davis 
    • Robert E. Lee
    • Ulysses Grant  
    • Clara Barton
    • Louisa May Alcott
    • Stonewall Jackson
    • Joshua Chamberlain 
    • George Meade
    • George B. McClellan
    • Robert Gould Shaw
    • Thomas Bragg
    • Alexander Stephens