African American History Essay Ideas

Topics: American Civil War, United States, Southern United States Pages: 2 (536 words) Published: February 15, 2014
The USA has a short but busy national history. It’s played a part in most of the world’s great events from the late 19th century onwards, and now has huge influence as the world’s only superpower. Many books have been written about American history and it’s a popular discussion topic, both in online forums and as a subject for essays.

What everyone should keep in mind, though, is that the USA is a nation of immigrants, to a greater extent than almost any other country. This means that as well as a shared national history there are many other, very distinct American histories, belonging to each of the immigrant communities that came together to make the American people. These are also great things to write an essay on, whether it’s about the pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock, the Irish who left their famine-stricken home in the 19th century or the French refugees who became the Cajuns of Louisiana. One of the most poignant histories, though, is that of the African-American community. If you’re doing an essay on this subject there are many things to cover.

African-American Roots

As the name suggests, African-Americans are largely descended from peoples native to Africa. Unlike other ethnic groups they didn’t choose to emigrate to the USA; most were taken there forcibly as slaves. The morality of this has been a contentious issue for almost as long as the USA has existed.

Influence on early American history

The issue of slavery, and the plight of the people oppressed by it, was a major driving force in the early decades of the USA. Disgust for slavery, and a desire to prevent it spreading west into the new US territories, was one of the things that inspired the political career of Abraham Lincoln. Abolitionism motivated the famous John Brown and caused the political split that led to the succession of the Confederate States of America and the Civil War. The USA would be a very different place without these events.

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