US History Final Paper (Clark, Laffey)

History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme. -Mark Twain

Consider this

This LibGuide is designed to help you research US History and is modeled after LibGuides you may find in college.

It's a good idea to begin with broad information on your topic, and move to more narrowly focused books and articles as you develop your thesis and primary research focus. Following the tabs above from left to right will aid you in following this progression.

  1. Use Background Info to help place a topic in context, to define or narrow it, or to clarify a point of confusion. In addition, articles in these books often give list of books and articles for further reading in a section entitled Suggested Reading, Further Reading, Sources, or simply Bibliography. Useful websites are also included on this page.
  2. Use Find Books & Articles to find more detailed information as well as scholarly information about your topic from historians in the field.
  3. Then find and analyze Primary Sources, the historical evidence to support your thesis.  
  4. A list of Internet Portals is provided to help you find additional resources.
  5. Finally a few Assignment Tips are given to help you complete your understand what is needed in a policy brief and help you complete your paper in a timely and ethical manner.

Research an event which we have not yet discussed in class and compare and contrast it with events discussed earlier this year in a traditional paper. You should trace a thread through American history – looking to establish a pattern, and determining how your chosen event helps to inform the evolution of this issue over time.

Most importantly, you will want to answer a question and make an argument throughout the paper.

You can develop your own question based on your topic, but you should consider:

  • What is the event you have chosen?
  • How was it similar to previous episodes in American History?  Why?
  • How was it different from previous episodes in American History?  Why?
  • How has the treatment or response to your event been informed by the history of similar issues in America?

Common themes in US History & Related Historic Events


  • American Indian Movement (AIM)
  • Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
  • Native Sovereignty and Self-Governance
  • Protecting Sacred Sites
  • Treaties


  • The Black Panthers
  • The Children's March
  • Loving v. Virginia
  • Malcolm X
  • Mandatory sentences for drug violations
  • Martin Luther King's Letter From the Birmingham Jail
  • Rodney King's assault & the L.A. riots


  • Brown v. Board of Education
  • Bush / Gore Presidential election
  • Loving v. Virginia
  • Roe v. Wade


  • 1970's gas shortage
  • Affordable Care Act
  • Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
  • Food stamps & welfare
  • Minimum wage & worker's rights


  • The issue of abortion
  • State legalization of marijuana
  • Voter rights for convicted felons
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965


  • Betty Friedan
  • The ERA movement
  • Ms. Magazine
  • Single mothers