Possible Topics for English 3 Research Papers
Events and Issues in American History Which Involved Controversy:
Zoot Suit Riots—(1943) Riots in
Women’s’ Suffrage Movement—choose particular leaders, events, legislation
Child Labor Laws in the U.S.-- Child labor law reform began in the 1910s
Sacco and Vanzetti—two anarchists who were convicted of a robbery and two murders ( many felt unfairly) in the early 1920s
Raza Unida—(United Hispanic People’s Party) Chicano political party founded in 1971
The Julius and Ethel
Rosenberg case—a court case involving an American couple who were executed in
1953 as spies for the
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)—What would it have provided? Why did it not pass?
Prohibition—during the 1920s, the law prohibiting the sale of alcohol
Jim Crow Laws—refers to the laws that required racial segregation
trial of a high school teacher in
The Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war—very topical today in light of Abu Ghraib allegations
The Internment of
Japanese Americans during WWI: Why did
President Truman bans race bias in military and Federal Civil Service (1948)
railroad—a secret network of people who helped slaves from the South escape to
The Black Sox
Scandal--The 1919 World Series resulted in the most famous scandal in baseball
history. Eight players from the
Reservation System--The U.S. policy of creating reservations for
Native Americans was established during the Presidential administration of
Ulysses S. Grant in the late 1860s in response to the perceived "Indian
problem" of growing conflicts between
The Scottsboro Trials --No crime in American history-- let alone a crime that never occurred-- produced as many trials, convictions, reversals, and retrials as did an alleged gang rape of two white girls by nine black teenagers on the Southern Railroad freight run from Chattanooga to Memphis on March 25, 1931.
The Shootings at
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire—fire in a NYC factory in 1911 in which all 146 factory workers were killed—led to the passage of many improved
municipal building codes and the enactment of stricter state factory inspection acts
Benedict Arnold: The most infamous traitor in American History, Benedict
Arnold was willing to betray
Haymaker Riot: The
Haymarket Riot occurred in
Fashion in various decades—how did the fashion reflect the time period?
The Amish, Menonite, or Quaker religions in the U.S.
Various Native American Tribes—concentrate on a tribe’s culture, e.g. religion, family life, arts, etc.
Peace Corps- established in 1961 by the U.S. government to send American volunteers abroad to help meet the needs of developing countries for trained manpower
Pulitzer Prize—Named after? When created? Who is honored? Any controversies?
National Organization of Women—NOW
Rosie the Riveter—role of women on the Home Front during WWII
Code talkers of WWII--The Navajo code is the most famous unbroken code in
the history of secrecy.
Harlem Renaissance- during the 1920s a great upsurge in Black literature, music and theater which centered in Harlem, a neighborhood of Manhattan, NY—choose key figures to investigate
WPA—a program of the
New Deal in the 1930s and 1940s which provided jobs for many people who could
not find work building sidewalks, government buildings
and other similar public works projects throughout the
The Triple Crown in horse racing: The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, Belmont Stakes
The Ford Foundation or the Carnegie Foundation—When and why created? Who benefits?
The Sullivan Law- When and why passed? Use today?
Project Head Start- When established? Purpose? Future?
Founding of the
Founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
The Cotton Club (a
famous nightclub in
The Apollo Theatre in
Various Political Parties through American history:
e.g. The Green Party, The Whigs, The Populist Party, the Reform Party, Independent Party etc.
Focus on when and why
party originated, people affiliated with the party and the impact of the party
U.S Astronauts land on the moon (1969)
Social Security Act (1935)
The Fulbright Program ( an educational exchange program): When created? Purpose? Participants?
The 1903 first World Series of baseball
Founding of the National Baseball League or the American Baseball League
Baseball Parks: e.g. Shea Stadium, Fenway Park
Development of labor unions:
International Ladies’ Garment
Industrial Workers of the World
United Auto Workers
Taft-Hartley Act restricting strike activity
Creation of Credit
National Minimum Wage Law of 1938
Great Depression “Shanty Towns”
Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” Broadcast of 1938
Food Rationing during WWII
National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
The Ziegfeld Follies: famous theatrical production of songs, dance and skits from 1907 to 1930s
Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circuses
Roger Maris sets the single-season home run record with 61 homers
Hubble Space Telescope sent into space—what is current status of the Hubble Telescope?
The birth of suburbia in the U.S.
Places and Structures
The White House
Trail of Tears
People: Concentrate on the person’s contribution to society
Louis Armstrong—famous trumpeter who was one of the first great jazz improvisers
Baldwin—American author noted for books on racial conflict in
Irving Berlin—famous American songwriter
Mary McLeod Bethune—a leader in Black education, a founder of black women’s organizations, and a civil rights leader
Margaret Bourke-White-- a pioneer in photojournalism.
Mathew Brady—one of
dominant figure in the
Charlie Chaplin—one of the most brilliant comic actors in movie history
Annie Clemenc—leader in the struggle for workers’ rights
Roberto Clemente—Born in
Joe DiMaggio—baseball player and one of the most popular of all American athletes
Frederick Douglass—former slave who became an orator, writer, and leader in the anti-slavery movement of the early nineteenth century.
W.E.B. Bois—Black author and teacher of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, founder of the N.A.A.C.P.
Isadora Duncan--a pioneer of modern dance, she devoted her life to creating new dances that expressed the beauty of nature and the mysteries of the human spirit
Bob Dylan—his songs about the need for social change sparked a folk music revival during the 1960s and 1970s and left a lasting influence on many types of music in the decades that followed
Roy Campanella-- the award-winning catcher whose baseball career was cut short by an accident which left him partially paralyzed.
Miles Davis-- noted
jazz trumpeter who got his start with Charlie Parker's quintet and gained fame
performing at the first
Ella Fitzgerald—well-known jazz singer
Clarence Birdseye—founder of frozen food industry
James Farmer—civil rights leader
Lou Gehrig—baseball player of the 19th century who set a world record for the major leagues by playing in over 2000 consecutive games
Woody Guthrie--a folk singer and songwriter who represents the quintessential folk poet
William Randolph Hearst—journalist and newspaper publisher in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was a pioneer in the kind of sensational reporting often called Yellow Journalism.
Alger Hiss—an official of the State Department who, in 1948, was accused by a former Communist of having been a secret agent for the soviet Union during the 1930s
Grace Hopper—Navy admiral and computer pioneer
Langston Hughes—a poet and writer whose extensive literary output realistically depicted the life of black Americans.
Jesse James—an outlaw of the 19th century
Mother Jones--A widowed dressmaker who
lost her possessions in the
Dorthea Lange—famous photographer
Charles Lindbergh—Aviator who flew alone from NYC
Ocean nonstop in The
Joe Louis—reigned as heavyweight boxing champion of the world from 1937 through 1949
Julia Morgan--the architect whose projects
included designing the
Edward R. Murrow—legendary radio and television newspaper reporter
Carrie Nation—a social reformer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who argued for the abstinence from alcohol
Robert Oppenheimer—led the World War II project to build the first atomic bomb
Georgia O’Keefe--the noted American artist who found much of her artistic inspiration in nature, especially the desert landscape of the Southwest.
Jesse Owens-- the track and field star who won three gold medals in the 1936 Summer Olympic Games.
Linus Pauling—one of the most important American scientists of the 20th century
Wilma Rudolph--the woman who overcame crippling polio as a child to become the first woman to win three gold medals in track in a single Olympics.
Jonas Salk—The microbiologist who developed the first vaccine effective against polio.
Charles Schultz—creator of “Peanuts” comic strip: where did he get his ideas? importance of the “Peanuts” strip to the world of comics?
Magaret Sanger—coined the term
birth control and was a pioneer of the birth control movement in the
Sitting Bull—a great Sioux leader of the Hunkpapa Lakota group who helped defeat Gen. George Custer at the Little Bighorn
Ida Tarbell—called “Joan of Arc” of the oil regions for her expose of the monopolistic business practices of Standard Oil Co.
Sojourner Truth—first Black woman to reach large audiences with her abolitionist and feminist messages
Madam C.J. Walker--Afro-American businesswoman whose invention of facial creams and other cosmetics led to great financial success and who, throughout her life, devoted herself to many social and political causes.
Frank Lloyd Wright—world famous American architect
Babe Didrikson Zaharias-- widely considered the greatest woman athlete of the 20th century.
Famous Indian Chiefs
Jim Henson and the development of the Sesame Street Muppets
1927—The Jazz Singer—1st talking film
Lindberg’s solo flight across
History of the Draft/Selective Service
1960-Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-ins
1965—Race Riots in
1909—Beginning of NAACP
1957—Little Rock Nine
History of the Teddy Bear
1894—Development of the corn flake/ W.K. Kellog Co.
Development of Morse Code
History of the Post Office
History of Coca Cola Company
Development of billboard advertising
Assassination of John Lennon
Riots after Rodney King verdict
Athletes: Moe Berg, Satchel Paige
Mickey Mantle, Jim Thorpe
Elizabeth Arden, Mary Kay,
Western heroes/badmen: Wyatt Earp, Jesse James,