Warren Metcalf, HIST 1493—040
Fall 2017

The first paper is a short essay based on the primary sources in Chapter 1 of Discovering the American Past: A Look at the Evidence, Vol. II. Select any three of the following:

  • Ida B. Wells United States Atrocities, 1892 (excerpt).
  • Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Exposition Address (standard printed version), September 1895.
  • Henry McNeal Turner’s “The American Negro and His Fatherland,” December 1895 (excerpt).
  • E. B. DuBois’s Niagara Address, 1906 (excerpt).
  • Frances E. W. Harper’s “Enlightened Motherhood,” an Address to the Brooklyn Literary Society, November 15, 1892 (excerpt).

Based on your reading of these sources, answer the following question: How did African American men and women feel about their prospects for advancement in American society? What factors account for the different strategies that they proposed and advocated for their people?

Details, Requirements and Deadlines

  • This paper is worth 100 points (out of 1000 for the class grade), or 10%.
  • It must be submitted via the assignment link in Canvas no later than September 18 (week 5).
  • It should be 1,000-1,200 words (around 3-4 pages in 12-point font).
  • Your essay must have a title that reflects your core theme or argument.
  • Proofread your paper carefully to avoid spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Late papers cannot be accepted without extenuating circumstances.
  • You must include footnotes and a bibliography in Chicago Manual of Style format. See the Citation Guide on the ExploreHistory web site.
  • The paper will be returned in discussion in Week 6.

Writing the Essay

The ExploreHistory web site features tutorials to help you with the following essential elements of a strong paper:

Crafting a Thesis: A strong thesis goes beyond simply reporting what you found; it uses the evidence to broaden, qualify, or even contradict our understanding of an important theme in U.S. history. Your thesis may emerge gradually as you wrestle with your documents in early drafts. In your finished paper, however, feature your thesis in the introduction.

Working the Evidence: Most of a history essay should consist of “evidence paragraphs,” which develop and support the thesis with quotations from the sources. Quote when you’ve made an assertion your reader is unlikely to accept without proof. After you quote, always explain: analyze the quoted material carefully to ensure that your quotations support the points you are making.

Structuring the Essay: As your paragraphs begin to emerge from this process of working the evidence, unify each one with a topic sentence, and arrange them in a sequence that builds toward your strongest claims. Your finished essay should thus feature a clearly sign-posted order as it advances from the introduction through your body paragraphs and, finally, to your conclusion.