Western Civilization

Research Paper Topics and Instructions
o the rise of European trade
o The rise of capitalism in Renaissance Europe
o Luther and the Reformation
o Calvin and the Reformation
o King Henry VIII and his Six Wives
o The Thirty Years War
o Queen Elizabeth I
o The impact of the printing press
o The French Revolution
o The rise of Napoleon
o Metternich and the Congress of Vienna
o The Jack the Ripper case
o Resistance during the Holocaust
o Propaganda in WWII
o Gulags, Show-trials and Terror under Stalin
o The impact of the Enlightenment
o Women of the Scientific Revolution
o The trial of Galileo
o Trench warfare in WWI
o The Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1919
o The British Suffragettes: Women fighting for the right to vote
o Women of the Renaissance
o Explorers: Columbus / Cook / Drake / Magellan
o Spanish conquest of the Aztecs and Incas
o Medicine and disease during the Renaissance / Victorian Period
o Voting rights for women in England
o Murder, Money and Power: the Medici of Florence
o Art heists in recent European history
o The Great Fire of London
o The causes of the French Revolution
o The Communist Revolution in Russia
o Child labor during the Industrial Revolution
o The Irish Potato Famine
o The Puritans of England
o The Troubles of Northern Ireland
o Surviving the Blitz: The Battle of Britain
o The siege of Stalingrad
o Beethoven
o Napoleon: Tyrant or Hero Emperor?
o Communism in theory vs. Communism in practice (USSR)
o The Rise of Fascism in Italy / Nazism in Germany
o Crime and punishment in the 1800s
o Berlin Wall (putting it up and the fall of the wall)
o Daughters of Charity in France in late 1600’s became first nurses
o The Treaty of Versailles
o European exploitation of Africa

Research Paper Instructions
-Research Paper Assignment
Assignment: Research Paper
Style: MLA
Length: 4-7 Pages from Intro to Conclusion
Font Size: 12
Font Style: Times New Roman
Margins: 1 Inch
Assignment must be handed in during Module 8

Source Requirements

Students will need at least 2 primary sources for their research paper (exceptions may apply). Overall, you will need at least 5 sources. You are encouraged to use academic journals and books. Do not use material from any internet website unless I approve.

Below are some helpful links you should use to assist you in writing this paper.


Failure to comply with these policies and instructions will result in deductions of points from your final grade. Not submitting this assignment may result in a failing grade for the entire class. In addition, the colleges plagiarism policy applies to this assignment 100%.

In addition to establishing a good topic, you will need a thesis statement. The information below is designed to help you better understand how to develop a proper thesis statement.
Developing Strong Thesis Statements
The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable
An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.
Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:
Pollution is bad for the environment.
This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution means that something is bad or negative in some way. Further, all studies agree that pollution is a problem, they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is good.
Example of a debatable thesis statement:
At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution.
This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation’s money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.
Another example of a debatable thesis statement:
America’s anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars.
In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.
The thesis needs to be narrow
Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.
Example of a thesis that is too broad:
Drug use is detrimental to society.
There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category “drugs”? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by “society”? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.
Example of a narrow or focused thesis:
Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence.
In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.
We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:
Narrowed debatable thesis 1:
At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on helping upgrade business to clean technologies, researching renewable energy sources, and planting more trees in order to control or eliminate pollution.
This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.
Narrowed debatable thesis 2:
America’s anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars because it would allow most citizens to contribute to national efforts and care about the outcome.
This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.
Qualifiers such as “typically,” “generally,” “usually,” or “on average” also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.