Paper Topics

A paper topic should be a question with specific content and room for argument.  Any history paper will be an argument for an answer to the topic question.  A short paper (eg. the one for this class) requires a specific enough topic that one can give the necessary information and make an adequate argument within the page limit.  This means that a topic of ‘the Union during the US Civil War’ would be way too broad.  ‘Union Generals’ during the same time-frame would still be too broad.  Even a topic such as Ulysses S. Grant would be too broad.  The topic time and subject specific, so Ulysses S. Grant’s plan for a specific battle could be a valid topic area.  Then one would have to come up with a question to answer, and the thesis of the paper is the sentence or two answer to that question.

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