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20th Century U.S. History - Prof. Bishop- Fall 2018: Your Assignment

Your Term Paper

Write a 750 (or more) word paper on a chosen event in 20th Century U. S. history. This paper must be submitted with a cover sheet, IN-TEXT citations and a “works cited” page according to either MLA or APA formatting. For the purposes of this assignment, students must choose from a list of possibilities that will be provided by the professor. Use of the library services in research (including an embedded librarian if one is available)  and of the Academic Support Center in writing skills is expected for anyone requiring those services. This paper will be graded for both content (information provided) and style (how the paper conforms to good communication skills)


You can get help with your research project from a librarian either by going to the library in person or emailing the librarian who taught your research session (see under Help tab).


For additional information on your assignment and due dates ask your professor.

Topics for your paper

I)   20th Century achievements:


  1. Building the Panama Canal - how did it come about and how did it’s completion change the course of events in the 20th century? Who were some of the principle players in gaining the rights to build the canal and it’s construction.
  2. Landing a Man on the Moon – Starting with President Kennedy’s commitment, describe the process that led to two Americans stepping on the moon’s surface in July, 1969.
  3. The Television – How did the idea come about? Who were the scientists and pioneers who produced the first video transmissions?
  4. The Computer – Who had the idea for the computer first? Trace the development of computer technology from its birth to the creation of the personal computer.

II) World War I Battles (describe the battles, the major leaders on both sides and the outcomes):

  1. The naval battle of Jutland
  2. Verdun
  3. Ypres
  4. The Somme

III) World War II Battles  (same as for WWI):

  1. Coral Sea

     10) Guadalcanal

     11)  Leyte Gulf

     12)  Iwo Jima

     13)  Pearl Harbor

     14)  Battle of the Bulge

     15)  D-Day at Normandy Beach

     16) The invasion of Sicily and the Italian Campaign

     17) The North African Campaign

IV) World War II Allied Conferences (who were the participants, what was the purpose of each one and what were the outcomes?):

     18) Casablanca (January, 1943)

     19) Tehran (November, 1943)

     20) Yalta (February, 1945)

     21) Potsdam (July-August, 1945)

       V) The New Deal (examine the agencies or programs below in detail):

     22) Works Progress Administration

     23) National Industrial Recovery Act

     24) Civilian Conservation Corps

     25) National Relief Agency

     26) National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (“The Wagner Act”)

     27) The Social Security Act.

VI) Twentieth Century U. S. Presidents and issues they faced.

28) Theodore Roosevelt - Earning a Nobel Peace prize for settling the war between Japan and Russia.

29)  Woodrow Wilson - What mistakes did he make in attempting to get         the U.S. to join the League of Nations?

30)  Franklin Roosevelt – How did FDR change America’s expectations for its government?

31) Harry Truman – did he have any choice except to employ the Atom Bomb against Japan?

32) Harry Truman – examine the elements of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. What roles did these two have in creating the Cold War? In what ways did they thwart the intentions of the USSR and prevent the loss of more of the “free world.” to the Soviets?

33) John F. Kennedy - Examine the issues involved in the Cuban Missile crisis

34) John F. Kennedy – Examine the circumstances surrounding his assassination, as outlined in the Warren Commission report and the various “conspiracy” theories that arose from the assassination.

35) Lyndon Johnson – What were the elements of his “Great Society” and “War on Poverty?” What were the goals of these programs and were they practical?

36) Lyndon Johnson – examine in detail his role in the Vietnam War. What mistakes did he make? What effect did the “Tet Offensive” have on his political career and on America’s view of the war?

37) Richard Nixon – give a detailed examination and evaluation of the Watergate crisis and of his role in it. Was he targeted for actions that many previous presidents had gotten away with?

38) Jimmy Carter – examine in detail the Iran hostage crisis and President Carter’s role in it. What alternative choices could he have made ti resolve the situation?

39) Ronald Reagan – what was his role in ending the Cold War? Examine, in particular, Reagan’s relationship with other world leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Pope John  Paul II and Lech Walesa in the demise of the Soviet Union.

40) William Clinton – Give the circumstances of his impeachment. Who were the major characters involved? What ethical issues were involved? Was the impeachment appropriate? Was the acquittal the correct decision?

41) George W. Bush - 9/11: Describe the events and the aftermath. How did it change the course of American history?

Harry Truman

[Harry Truman, half-length portrait, seated at desk, facing front, holding pencil]. 19 April 1945. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. PRES file LC-USZ62-70080.