2014–15 Suggested Topics

The examples below offer a starting point for brainstorming about topics related to this year’s National History Day (NHD) theme, "Leadership and Legacy in History." Choosing one of these suggestions will not increase or decrease your chances of doing well at a National History Day contest.

Although you can select a topic dealing with any time or place in history, excellent subjects often are found by investigating local or statewide history. The availability of nearby scholars, firsthand informants, historic sites, and documents and records provides many research options, although your search for information about any topic should extend far and wide. Be sure to look at Research Resources on the FHF website for repositories in Florida, In addition, staff at the State Library and Archives of Florida have identified online resources in their collections that relate to Florida topics. Check out this site! http://www.floridamemory.com/onlineclassroom/history_fair.

Florida Topics

  • Juan Ponce de León: Opening the Door to La Florida
  • Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: Leadership after a Disaster
  • Hernando de Soto and the Quest to Conquer La Florida
  • Tristán de Luna y Arellano: Starting a Colony in La Florida
  • René de Laudonnière and the Settlement of La Caroline
  • Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and the Establishment of St. Augustine
  • Francisco Menendez: Leadership at Fort Mose
  • Spanish Colonial Policies Toward Escaped Slaves
  • Anna Jai Kingsley: A Woman Ahead of Her Time
  • Andrew Jackson and His Brief Role as Florida's Governor
  • Osceola: Seminole Leader
  • Alexander McGillivray: Statesman for the Creek Indians
  • William Augustus Bowles and the State of Muskogee
  • William Pope Duval: Setting the Course for a New Territory
  • Richard Keith Call: From Territory to Statehood
  • Florida and the Civil War: The Enduring Legacies
  • Stephen Mallory: A Naval Leader
  • Edward A. Perry: A Leader in War and Peace
  • Josiah T. Walls—Congressman, Lawyer, Mayor, and Publisher
  • Andrew Turnbull and the New Smyrna Experiment
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Woman of Powerful Words
  • Jonathan Gibbs: Black Power during Reconstruction
  • Chloe Merrick Reed: Public Education for all Floridians
  • Abraham Lincoln Lewis—Entrepreneur and Patron
  • Mary McLeod Bethune: A Life Devoted to Education
  • Henry Flagler: Leader with a Vision
  • Henry Plant: Transporting Florida into the Future
  • Clara English White's Mission to Help the Poor
  • Thomas D. Tucker: Higher Education for African Americans
  • Napoleon Bonaparte Broward—Florida's Flamboyant Leader
  • Eartha M. M. White—Philanthropist, Businesswoman, and Humanitarian
  • Zora Neale Hurston: A Florida Chronicler
  • May Mann Jennings: Florida's Renaissance Woman
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: A Leader in Literature
  • Spessard Holland: Florida's Leader during World War II
  • Jackie Cochran: Opening the Skies for Women
  • The NAACP: Leading Florida's Fight for Civil Rights
  • James Weldon Johnson—Educator, Writer, Composer, and Leader in the NAACP
  • Harry T. Moore: In the Forefront of Florida's Civil Rights Movement
  • Rev. C. K. Steele: Tallahassee's Civil Rights Leader
  • Patricia Stephens Due: An Icon of Florida's Civil Rights Movement
  • The Tallahassee Bus Boycott of 1956: A Collective Stand against Segregation
  • LeRoy Collins: A New View of Civil Rights in Florida
  • Florida Teachers' Strike of 1968: Demanding Change in Education
  • Gwen Cherry: A Pioneering Legislator
  • Virgil D. Hawkins: Desegregating Florida's Law School
  • Marjorie Stoneman Douglas and the Quest to Save the Everglades
  • Claude Pepper: A Leader for Seniors
  • Florida's Role in the Space Race
  • Roxcy Bolton: A Voice for Women's Equality
  • Betty Mae Jumper: A Life in Service to the Seminole People
  • Carrie Meek: A Leader for South Florida
  • Reubin Askew: A Legacy of Leadership
  • Bob Graham: A Lifetime of Service to Florida
  • Florida and the Equal Rights Amendment
  • Lawton Chiles: Walkin' Lawton's Legacy of Leadership
  • Florida and the 2000 Presidential Election

National Topics

National History Day has created a list of topics that deal with national and global themes.

  • Benjamin Franklin and the Library Company of Philadelphia: A New Intellectual Nation
  • Charlemagne's Conquest and its Impact on European Architecture
  • Mikhail Gorbechev: Leading a Struggling Nation out of the Cold War
  • The Euro: How the European Union Led the Movement for Economic Integration
  • William Howard Taft and Dollar Diplomacy
  • The World Health Organization: Leading the Fight to Eradicate Communicable Disease
  • Yoga Bonita: How Brazil Led a Soccer Revolution
  • Globalization of McDonalds: American Corporations Leading the World's Economy
  • Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev: Leading the World Out of the Cold War
  • The Legacy of King Leopold's Vision in the Congo
  • Pierre de Coubertin and the Rebirth of the International Olympic Committee
  • Eleanor Roosevelt and the UN Declaration of Human Rights
  • Drawing Boundaries: Thomas Jefferson's Land Ordinances and the Settling of the American West
  • Pancho Villa: Leading Northern Mexico
  • Toussaint L 'Overture: Leading the World's Only Successful Slave Rebellion
  • Nelson Mandela and the Fight for Equality in South Africa
  • Eva and Juan Peron: Leaders of the Argentinian People
  • Woodrow Wilson and the Organic Act: Creating the National Park Service to Protect America's National Land
  • Nora Zeale Hurston and the Harlem Renaissance
  • Simon Bolivar and Gran Columbia: Leading the Fight for Independence from Spain
  • Lilly Ledbetter: Leading the Charge for Equal Pay
  • Emiliano Zepata: Leadership for "Reforma, Libertad Ley y Justicia"
  • Olaudah Equiano: Exposing the Horrors of the Middle Passage
  • Emmeline Pankhurst: Leading a Militant Struggle for Suffrage in Great Britain
  • Alexander Dubček: Leading the Prague Spring
  • Vladimir Lenin: Leading the Russian Revolution
  • The Three Leaders: Mazzini, Garibaldi, Cavour and the Unification of Italy
  • The International Space Station: Leading an International Effort to Unite Space
  • The Iran Hostage Crisis: Defining the Leadership of a Presidency
  • Thomas Paine's Revolutionary Writings
  • Bacon's Rebellion and the Growth of Slavery in Colonial Virginia
  • The Bloodless Revolution of 1800: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the Legacy of a
  • Peaceful Transition of Power
  • Andrew Jackson: The Legacy of the People's President
  • Invoking the Power of the Federal Government: Grover Cleveland and the Pullman Strike of 1894
  • Alice Paul: Leading the Movement for Equal Rights
  • Leading the Charge to Legislate Equality: Lyndon B. Johnson and the Voting Rights Act
  • Philip Randolph: Leading the Way to Integrate America's World War II Labor Force
  • Steve Jobs and the Apple II: Bringing Silicon Valley to America's Homes
  • Hammurabi's Code: The Legacy of the World's First Legal Code and the Man who Made It
  • Linking Europe, Africa, and Asia: Ferdinand de Lesseps and the Construction of the Suez Canal
  • Otto von Bismarck and the Unification of Germany
  • The Napoleonic Code: The Legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte's Remarkable Leadership
  • The Congress of Vienna: Legacy of Napoleon's Downfall
  • Eugene V. Debs' Leadership of the American Socialist Movement
  • Realpolitik : A New Form of Leadership
  • The Marshall Plan: The Economic Legacy of World War II
  • The Truman Doctrine: Setting American Foreign Policy in the Cold War
  • The Veterans Administration: Leading the Fight for Veterans Rights
  • Finland and Norway: Leading the Resistance to the Soviet Invasion in World War II
  • Charles V and the Peace of Augsburg: Leading to a New Map of Europe
  • Leading a Communist Island: Marshal Tito and YugoslaviaScan for Additional Resources
  • Confucianism: Leading the Way to a Chinese Civil Service
  • Ravi Shankar: Blending Eastern and Western Music
  • The Mercator Projection: Leading How We View the World
  • Theodore Roosevelt: Leading the Charge to Build the Panama Canal
  • Ulysses S. Grant: Leading the Campaign to Take the Mississippi River
  • George Washington: Leading the US to Independence
  • Leading Higher Education in America: Harvard, Yale, and William & Mary
  • Using Television to Promote Religious Ideals: The Legacy of Billy Graham
  • Cato and the Legacy of the Stono Rebellion
  • Opha Mae Johnson: Leading the Way for Women in the Marine Corps
  • China's Terracotta Army: The Legacy of Qin Shi Huang
  • General Anna Mae Hayes: Leading the Army Nurse Corps
  • Leading the Fight Against Communism: Matthew Ridgway and the Korean War
  • Following the Catholic Church's Lead: The Crusades
  • Isabella, Ferdinand, and the Spanish Reconquista
  • Roger Bacon: A Renaissance Man in Medieval Times
  • Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prize
  • St. Thomas More: Resisting King Henry VIII
  • Tecumseh and the Western Confederacy: Leading the Battle Against Westward Expansion
  • George Whitefield and the Great Awakening: Preaching Christianity to America's Slaves
  • Robert Wapole and the Legacy of Salutary Neglect
  • The Hudson River School: Leading an American School of Art
  • Elizabeth Bisland and Nelly Bly: Leading the Way for Female Journalists by Racing Around the World
  • The Southern Christian Leadership Conference: Leading the Civil Rights Movement
  • General Billy Mitchell and the Development of the American Air Force
  • Berry Gordy and Motown: Creating the Sound of America and a Legacy of Opportunity
  • George Crile, Harvey Cushing, and the Ambulance Americaine: The Legacy of Wartime Medicine