15 Powerful Illustrative Essay Topics about Important Historical Events

Whether you are writing an informational or argumentative paper, you will always need to hone your skills in planning and composing an illustrative response. Any writing prompt will require a strong thesis statement supported by illustrations or examples. This could not be more pertinent than in the case of writing a composition on historical events.
However, what if you’re stumped as to what to write about? Here are 15 great illustrative essay example topics to get you started:

  1. The Impetus Behind the Revolutionary War
    This topic is a time-honored favorite for information would be easy to obtain. There are many sources either in your local library or on the web that discuss “taxation without representation” and more specific details of each Act and its economic impact that led up to the 13 Original Colonies declaring their independence from Britain and thus, going to war.
  2. “Brexit.”
    Whether you agree or disagree with Britain’s latest move to break away from the European Union, you will definitely find a wealth of information about the union’s economic and political trends that did not sit well with the voters. Likewise, you can also take the perspective of illustrating the effects of Britain’s historical vote that rocked the globe.
  3. The Civil Rights Movement
    Again, this topic has been revisited time and again…but in relation to specific methods of protest and their effectiveness? Many other illustrative essay topics can evolve from this area of study.
  4. The Holocaust or other Events related to Genocide
    Whether you are researching the Holocaust in Europe or the conflicts of Sudan, one possible perspective to take is the role of other countries in stopping or even preventing such horrors. Also, you can look at the economic, political, and/or social effects that genocide has in the country where it is occurring.
  5. The Influenza Pandemic of 1918
    Imagine illness that killed more Americans than World War I! The obvious direction to take would be to illustrate factors that lead to the spread of the Influenza virus; however, you can also look at changes in the medical field as a result of this pandemic.
  6. The Great Plague of 1665
    Approaches similar to the topic mentioned above can be taken. In the instance of effects on medical practices, in the village of Eyman, citizens used vinegar to “disinfect” coins, and how a brave rector managed to keep an area quarantined.
  7. The Civil War
    You can explore the causes and factors that led up to states breaking away from the Union. Also, you can look at the Reconstruction and its political and economic effects
  8. September 11, 2001
    This event in history had such an enormous, worldwide impact, not to mention changes to TSA, NSA, and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.
  9. The Cold War
    From economic sanctions to profound effects on major athletic events (The Olympics), to the idea of how much privacy one has (The McCarthy Era), this topic offers many ideas for research and analysis.
  10. The Fall of the Roman Empire
    You can examine how this series of events changed art, politics, and many city-states in Europe and beyond. And let’s not forget to explore the factors that led up to it.
  11. The Great San Francisco Earthquake 1906
    What was a devastating tragedy became quite the learning experience in relation to infrastructure, architecture, and of course, the main reason why we pay close attention to the San Andreas Fault.
  12. Watergate
    Presidential impeachment is never a pleasant topic, but dissecting this event, the roles of the key players and the changes that came about as a result (not to mention the impact on vocabulary with the “gate” suffix added to added to other nouns that name unpleasant events) would be worthwhile to study.
  13. The Invasion of Normandy
    The planning and execution of the invasion that led to the beginning of the end of WWII makes for fascinating research, but little is known about the lasting impact on French culture. That is one approach to consider.
  14. Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    Of course, looking at the end of WWII and how this solution has set off a chain of events and eras is both interesting and thought-provoking.
  15. Pearl Harbor
    What led us into WWII? This first hit on American soil involves research into congressional approval for declaring war, change brought about by American society in general, etc.

So the next time, you are addressing a prompt that requires examples related to a major historical event, consider one of these topics. For those that may seem rather general, do not forget to narrow down to something more specific, as noted in each description. You will find that each of these ideas will lead you in many directions, but all perspectives would hold the interest of your reader.