Topic ideas

Civil War and Reconstruction

South Carolina Volunteers

Fort Wagner

Draft Riots

Sanitary fairs

George B. McLellan

Andrew Johnson

Gen. William T. Sherman

March to the Sea

Stephen A. Douglas

William Seward

James Buchanan

Jefferson Davis

Fort Sumter

Anaconda Plan

Border States

Upper South

States rights

Benjamin Butler

First & Second Confiscation Acts


Peace Democrats



Robert E. Lee

Dred Scott

“Black Republicans”



Gradual/compensated emancipation

Corwin Amendment

Lincoln’s First inaugural

Theory of perpetual union

Better angels

South Carolina Volunteers

Fort Wagner

Draft Riots

Sanitary fairs

George B. McLellan

Andrew Johnson

Gen. William T. Sherman

March to the Sea

Robert E. Lee

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural


Radical Republicans

Andrew Johnson


Black Codes

Thaddeus Stevens

Civil Rights Act of 1866

14th Amendment

First Reconstruction Act


President Grant

William T. Sherman

Special Field Order No. 15

Land reform

SC House of Reps

Freedman’s Bureau

National Women’s Rights Convention

New Departure

Lost Cause Narrative

Lost Cause legend

Total War


Hard War

Fire eaters

William T. Sherman

Directed Severity

War in earnest

Sherman’s sentinels

Seven Days battles


Horace Greeley

Peace contagion

William H. Seward


George B. McLellan

Blind memorandum


Election of 1864

Hampton Roads

Alexander H. Stephens

President Andrew Johnson

Black Codes

Massachusetts 54th

13th Amendment

First Reconstruction Act of 1866

14th Amendment

Radical Reconstruction

James Pike

The Prostrate South

Civil Rights Act of 1875

Ku Klux Klan

Mississippi Plan

New Orleans & Memphis Riots

Enforcement Acts


Vagrancy laws


Stalwart Republicans

Crash/depression of 1873

Compromise of 1877


G.W. Duke and cigarettes

Plessy case/ legal segregation

Du Bois and/or Washington

Brownsville Incident

Wounded Knee

Rockefeller, Samuel Dodd, and the Standard Oil Trust

Carnegie and Steel

Edison and “invention factories”

Muller v. State of Oregon/ Louis Brandeis

Henry George

Immigration restriction/ Chinese Exclusion Act

Radical labor movements: “The Wobblies” or Molly Maguires

Powderly and the Knights of Labor

Railroad Strike of 1877

Haymarket Affair

Debs and the Pullman Strike

Sumner and Social Darwinism

Horatio Alger and the American Dream

Theodore Dreiser and naturalistic fiction

Jacob Riis/muckraking

Ashcan School of painters

Roosevelt and Japanese immigration

G.W. Plunkitt and boss politics

Jane Addams and Settlement House movement

Mahan and theories of sea power

Spanish American War: naval battles, land war, and disease

Philippine Insurrection

Panama Canal


John P. Watson and behaviorism

Margaret Sanger and birth control


National Parks movement

O’Shaughnessy Dam/Hetch Hetchy Valley

Trust Busting


Potential topics,

Election of 1912

Election of 1916 (Wilson “kept us out of war”)

Nativism/immigration restriction

Anti-German sentiment

Prohibition and the war (Germans and brewing industry)

Women and the antiwar movement (Addams, Gilman, Lillian Wald)

Women’s suffrage/ Silent Sentinels/ Alice Paul

Women and wartime work

Randolph Bourne/ Eugene Debs (sedition case 1918)/ opposition to the war

American volunteers before U.S. entry (Hemingway, e.e. cummings)

Homefront diversions: baseball/Black Sox scandal (1919)

Cultural life of the era (Provincetown Players, Greenwich Village)

U.S. in Mexico/Pancho Villa (1916)

Zimmermann telegram

British Blockade/ U.S. response

Unrestricted submarine warfare/Lusitantia/Sussex Pledge

Bryan and “true neutrality”

Wilson & U.S. entry

Congressional opposition to the war resolution

U.S. war aims

Military preparedness campaign of 1916

Selective Service Act (the draft)

African-Americans and the war/ volunteering/ segregated units

Racial violence in the army

Northern migration of African Americans

War Industries Board/ government management of the economy

Committee on Public Information/ George Creel/ war propaganda/Four-minute men

“One hundred percent Americanism”

War and civil liberties/founding of the ACLU

Espionage and Sedition Acts

American Expeditionary Force/ independent U.S. command


Chateau-Thierry (battle)

Belleau Wood (battle)

St. Mihiel (battle)

Argonne Forest (battle)

Wilson’s 14 Points

Versailles/ failure of the treaty

Flu epidemic of 1918

Red Scare of 1919

Red Summer of 1919

Palmer Raids

U.S. intervention vs. Bolsheviks (Archangel expedition)/ Abrams v. the U.S

International Workers of the World (“Wobblies”)

Steel Strike of 1919

Wilson’s health/Mrs. Wilson takes charge