research paper tips

What Is A Good Topic For A Research Paper On The US Civil War?

The U.S. Civil War is one of the most widely discussed topics in American History. Even after all of this time, Hollywood absolutely adores it and if you ask someone from overseas about American history then chances are they will mention the Civil War. No pressure then when it comes to writing your research paper! Before you dive in there are a few important considerations to bear in mind.

IF this is your first paper DON’T step too far out of your comfort zone. Clearly, if you have written several in the past you might want to be a little more experimental with your remit. However, if this is your first ever foray then I would suggest that you aim to stick to safe ground and do it well.

A good topic is also one that:

  • Resonates with both the author of the research paper and their audience. If you are bored, or disinterested in the subject that you are writing about then unfortunately this will be reflected not just in the outcome but in your grade.
  • Captures the essence of a particular aspect of the war, whether that be its origins or the broader themes associated with it.
  • Has an emotive pull to it. Slavery is the most obvious candidate here, but you could also look at the treatment and violation of women during the war
  • Explores the wider repercussions and impact of the war.

If you are struggling for inspiration, here’re my suggestions for some good topics relating to the American Civil War:

  • The history of the confederate flag. Draw parallels between the civil war and the present day
  • The background to the war. Why did it start?
  • Did one side have a stronger moral justification than the other?
  • Slavery in the civil war versus modern day slavery in America. Have the lessons of the past been learned?
  • How has Hollywood portrayed the American Civil War?
  • Why was this particular war so divisive for ordinary families? For example, brother fighting brother, a father fighting his sons. Why did it invoke such passion?
  • Was Margaret Mitchell’s portrayal of the civil war through the eyes of her heroine Scarlett O’Hara a realistic one?
  • Explore some decisive battles. Epic victories for either side during the conflict.