The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Sample Topic #1: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

On April 14, 1865, five days after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox effectively ended the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln was fatally shot as he and his wife were watching a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC.

Depiction of John Wilkes Booth leaning forward to shoot President Abraham Lincoln as he watches Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. (Click button for citation) 

Lincoln’s assassin was John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor and Confederate sympathizer. Booth headed a conspiracy that aimed to decapitate the Union government; Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward, the next two figures in the line of Presidential succession, were also marked for death that night, but both survived.

Lincoln’s death had profound implications for post-Civil War America. In elevating to the Presidency Andrew Johnson, a poorly educated Southern populist Democrat who clashed repeatedly with Congressional Republicans over the course of Reconstruction, it set the stage for another century of political and legal conflicts over the civil rights of African Americans.

The following sources will give you some background on Lincoln’s assassination and its aftermath. Read them over—along with any other articles on this subject that you might like to consult—and then formulate research questions that would be appropriate for an analysis of some aspect of this historical event:

Module 1 Short Responses – Question 5

If you had to write a paper on the Lincoln assassination, what would you like to know more about? Create three research questions that would be appropriate for a historical analysis essay, keeping in mind the characteristics of a critical research question. The three questions can be related, or they can address different aspects of the topic.

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Sample Topic #2: The Passage of Title IX

On June 23, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon signed into law a bill called the Education Amendments of 1972. One little-noticed section of that bill—called, in accordance with standard legislative terminology, Title IX (Nine)—addressed the issue of gender discrimination in higher education:

Senator Birch Bayh exercises with Title IX athletes at Purdue University. (Click button for citation) “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Although hardly anyone foresaw it at the time, those 37 words would trigger a revolution in women’s athletics. The principal intent of Title IX’s sponsors was to prohibit sex discrimination in programs and activities at any college or university that received federal funds, but the law’s long-term effect has been to foster the explosive growth of women’s sports.

Back in 1972, only about 300,000 girls played high-school and college sports; in 2010, more than three million did. The clear reason: Title IX and the dramatic expansion of college-level athletic opportunities that it brought about.

The law has created its share of controversy. Critics claim that, by requiring a proportional increase in the number of women’s sports programs, the law has forced some schools to compensate by eliminating non-revenue producing men’s programs, such as wrestling and swimming. Others argue that, as women’s sports have “gone big time,” more coaching positions have gone to men rather than to women.

What cannot be argued is that Title IX radically changed the nature of women’s athletics in America. The following sources will give you some background on Title IX; read them over (along with any other articles on this subject that you might like to consult) and then formulate research questions that would be appropriate for an analysis of some aspect of this topic:

What cannot be argued is that Title IX radically changed the nature of women’s athletics in America. The following sources will give you some background on Title IX; read them over (along with any other articles on this subject that you might like to consult) and then formulate research questions that would be appropriate for an analysis of some aspect of this topic:

Module 1 Short Responses – Question 6

If you had to write a paper on Title IX, what would you like to know more about? Create three research questions that would be appropriate for a historical analysis essay, keeping in mind the characteristics of a critical research question. The three questions can be related, or they can address different aspects of the topic.

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