20 Topics for a Thesis on the History of American Business

Writing guide
Posted on January 17, 2017

In the previous guide, we discussed 10 facts for a thesis on the history of American business. It provided you with an adequate amount of information on the subject, thus laying a solid foundation for your thesis statement.

In our second guide, 20 Topics for a Thesis on the history of American business, we discuss 20 relevant topics you can take inspiration from to start writing your thesis statement. We have also included a sample essay at the end that would aid you in better understanding how a thesis statement is written.

We highly recommend you go through our third and final guide, how to write a thesis on the history of American business, right after reading this one. Even if you know how to write a thesis statement, reading this guide would nicely polish off your current knowledge and allow you to write even more flawlessly.

Without further ado, here are 20 Topics on the history of American business:

  1. How the Vision of an Industrial Nation Became a Reality in the 1790s.
  2. The Initiative of a Privately Owned Bank in the United States that Provided a Uniform Financial System for 13 States
  3. The Bank War of 1832 and How it Led to the Destruction of the Second Bank of the United States
  4. The Importance of Railroads in America and How it Led to American businesses Sprouting in Five Dimensions
  5. The Transformation of Retail, Wholesale, Manufacturing, Finance and Agriculture Economy Due to a Highly Efficient Network of Shipping Freight and Passengers
  6. How Railroads were Able to Finance the Private Financial System When the Construction of Railroads Was Too Expensive than Canals or Factories
  7. How Railroads Helped Design a Complex Managerial System that Allowed the Local Factory Owners to be More Productive and to Do More in Less Time
  8. The Evolution of Retirement: Rise of the American Pension System to Discourage Employees from Leaving
  9. Love-Hate Relationship with the Railroads: The Empowering Realization that Everyone Could Buy a Ticket for a Thousand-Mile Trip
  10. How Railroads Helped Unify, Dignify, Expand and Enrich the Nation of America
  11. How Railroads Become a Part of Public Celebrations of Republicanism
  12. The Era of a Cheaper, Easier and More Common Traveling System in America that Changed the Entire Course of American Business and its History
  13. Love-Hate Railroads Relationship: Why Poets and Novelists Fretted Over How Railroads Would Destroy the American Landscape
  14. The Dominators of Rural America before the post-1910 Dawn of the Automobile
  15. Why Rural General Stores and Itinerant Peddlers Were the Main Sources of Supply
  16. How Retail in Towns and Small Cities Become a Success and How it Appealed to the Middle-Class Women (Better Educated) Who Did Most of the Shopping
  17. The Era of Big City Department Stores: How Alexander T. Stewart Became the Founding Father of Big Department Stores that Sold Everything from Dress Goods to Toys and Sports Equipment
  18. Self-Service: An Early 20th Century Innovation which Flourished Supermarket Grocery Chains and Other Varieties of Chain Stores
  19. How Advertising on American Soil Became a Successful Marketing Regimen to Promote Businesses
  20. The Golden Age of Black Businesses: Role of The National Negro Business League in Promoting Black Business

Perfect! Now you have 20 topics to choose from and you can start writing your own thesis statement based on any one of them. Read on to the sample essay below that would serve as your eyes and ears during the thesis writing process. We have chosen a topic from above to help you get accustomed to writing a thesis statement. Here it is:

Sample Thesis: The Importance of Railroads in America and How it Led to American Businesses Sprouting in Five Dimensions

The railroad industry became a pioneer in helping American businesses thrive and flourish. In fact, it was so significant that it had a dramatic large-scale impact on American businesses in five dimensions. In my opinion, the railroads were the founding fathers of the American business we see today ― from automobiles to consumer products, everything came into fruition due to the dawn of railroads in America.

Railroads provided an excellent network of freight and passenger shipments across a big national market. This led to a major carryover effect on major some sections of the economy such as but not limited to: manufacturing, finance, agriculture, wholesale and retail. Due to the addition of telegraphs, the national market of the United States became as big as the Europe’s market, which was supported by one common, unified financial, language and legal system.

Railroads were also behind the materialization of private financial systems which paved the way for investments coming from private investors. Over the course of several years, total railroad bones and stocks went from $1.8 billion to $10.6 billion, whereas the total debt at that time was merely $1.2 billion. New York became the dominating financial market which led to the emergence of the financial system based on these railroad bonds. Eventually, Boston officially became the first financial center in the US.

Following a fatal accident, the Western Railroad of Massachusetts became the leading force in taking responsibility to place an accountability system. This allowed the dispatchers and district managers to keep an eye on all train movements. To prevent further accidents from occurring, a disciplined rulebook had to be followed by everyone, creating a much better managed environment in the railroad industry.

Railroads opened opportunities for young men aged between 18 to 20 years to spend their entire lives working in the railroad industry which was both innovative and inspiring. These men first started out as workers on tracks, and in time, were promoted to an engineer position owing to their hard work and dedication. However, women who were interested in becoming a part of the railroad industry were never hired. To discourage employees from working for someone else, railroad companies invented the American pension system that promised pensions right after the employees were retired ― usually following 40 to 50 years of service.

Eventually, railroads became a profound proponent of a love-hate relationship in America. Although many American societies embraced the rise of railroads and saw it as a new way to travel thousands of miles, which also seemed to empower the nation, novelists and poets thought otherwise. Railroads received a damaging blow due to the dark side of this love-hate relationship, but it also flourished exponentially due to the all the positives it brought to American society.

In my opinion, railroads were the big investors in making American businesses rise and thrive. It opened career paths for young men, promised them pensions, became a pioneer in the invention of a proper railroad management system, and greatly impacted the main sectors of American economy. Even though it was the center of controversial talk between novelists and poets, it also became anodyne among American societies which did help railroads flourish.

You’re just one step away from gaining complete skill and mastery over writing a flawless thesis statement for your paper. Read our final guide, how to write a thesis on the history of American business, and call it a day!


  1. Bray Hammond, Bank and Politics in America: From the Revolution to the Civil War (1957)
  2. David Cowen, 1791-1797 ‘The origins and economic impact of the First Bank of the United States, (Garland Pub., 2000).
  3. Andrew Shankman, (2003) “‘A New Thing on Earth’: Alexander Hamilton, Pro-Manufacturing Republicans, and the Democratization of American Political Economy.” Journal of the Early Republic 23.3 : 323-352
  4. Dora L. Costa, 1880-1990 “The evolution of retirement.” in Costa, The Evolution of Retirement: An American Economic History, (U of Chicago Press, 1998), pp 6-31
  5. Leland H. Jenks, (1944) “Railroads as an economic force in American development.” Journal of Economic History 4#1 : 1-20.
  6. An 1827 report shows the motivations of early boosters: Wooddy, William (1827). “Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Proceedings of sundry citizens of Baltimore, convented for the Purpose of Devising the most efficient Means of Improving the Intercourse between that City and the Western States”. The North American Review. Boston: Frederick T. Gray. 25 (56): 62–73.
  7. Alfred D. Chandler and Stephen Salsbury. (MIT Press, 1965) “The railroads: Innovators in modern business administration.” in Bruce Mazlish, ed., The Railroad and the Space Program pp 127-62
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