Turning Points In American History Essay Topics

In this section, you will find videos that cover major turning points in US History. These could be essay topics that you see on the exam, so make sure you understand the significance of each. Good luck!

APUSH Review: The 7 Years’ War As A Turning Point

If you would like to download the PowerPoint used in the video, please click here: APUSH Review: The 7 Years’ (French and Indian) War As A Turning Point

If you would like to download a Fill-in-the-Blank Guide for the video, click here:

APUSH Review: The Mexican-American War As A Turning Point

If you would like to download the PowerPoint used in the video, please click here: APUSH Review- The Mexican-American War As A Turning Point

If you would like to download a Fill-in-the-Blank Guide for the video, click here:

APUSH Review: The Spanish-American War As A Turning Point

If you would like to download the PowerPoint used in the video, please click here: APUSH Review: The Spanish-American War As A Turning Point

If you would like to download a Fill-in-the-Blank Guide for the video, click here: APUSH Review- The Spanish-American War As A Turning Point

APUSH Review: The Progressive Era As A Turning Point

If you would like to download the PowerPoint used in the video, please click here: APUSH Review: The Progressive Era As A Turning Point

If you would like to download a Fill-in-the-Blank Guide for the video, click here: APUSH Review- The Progressive Era As A Turning Point

By William Chafe

The Cold War seems inevitable, but few things are. Rather, that road diverged in July of 1944, when Harry S. Truman took the place of incumbent vice-president Henry Wallace on the Democratic ticket.

After World War II, President Roosevelt had a secret plan for how he would work things out with Stalin, but he died before sharing it. Truman entered the White House with almost no experience in foreign policy. The State Department told him that action must be taken on the Russian threat. The result was the Truman Doctrine: good against evil, communism against democracy, the Cold War.

Meanwhile, Wallace — named Secretary of Commerce by FDR after the election — became the leading voice of progressive politics in the Cabinet. He thought there was a way of working out an agreement with the USSR. When he made a speech to that effect, Truman dismissed him from the Cabinet. What a different world there might have been if Wallace, not Truman, occupied the position of Vice-President when Franklin Roosevelt died.

William Chafe is professor emeritus of history at Duke University, author of The Unfinished Journey: America Since 1945 (8th edition), and a past president of the Organization of American Historians.

Read 1944 coverage of Truman’s nomination, here in the TIME Vault

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