Professor Shelden, Fall 2016
This paper will be an approximately 2000-word essay based on your own original research of primary sources. Working with your TA, you will use your skills as a historian to identify a topic, construct a research question, examine primary sources on that question using the selected databases on the Exploring U.S. History website, and develop a strong argument that places what you learn from the documents in historical context. Imagine your audience as intelligent readers craving new knowledge about the past, but unfamiliar with these documents. What can you tell them about the sources that will surprise them—that will deepen their understanding of American history?
Requirements and Deadlines
- The paper is due to your TA in lecture on Tuesday, November 22 (the 14th week of the semester).
- Submit the paper on Canvas and as a hard copy.
- The paper should be 1800-2100 words long (about 6-7 pages) and include a word count at the end.
- You should use one (or more) of the databases listed on the Exploring U.S. History website to find primary sources.
- Use 7-10 primary sources as a target figure. Depending on the kind of sources you use, you may need to go over (or under) this range. Check with your TA for approval in that case.
- You will also be required to turn in several preliminary assignments (a topic and research plan and an annotated bibliography) in preparation for writing the research paper.
- The research paper is worth 150 points; the preliminary assignments are worth a total of 100 points (out of 1000 for the class grade).
- All papers must include footnotes formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style. See the Citation Guide on the Exploring U.S. History web site or at the back of Mary Lynn Rampola’s Pocket Guide to Writing in History.
Writing the Essay
Success in this assignment will depend on careful reading and clear writing. Work closely with your TA and use the resources available in Rampolla’s Pocket Guide and the Exploring U.S. History website to include the following in your paper:
- A strong thesis in your opening paragraph
- Body paragraphs that begin with clear topic sentences and support your thesis with quotations from the primary documents
- Historical writing that carefully guides the reader through your argument
Select a paper topic from the list below (or work with your TA to create your own topic):
Salem Witch Trials
The Colonial Experience in Virginia
Anglo-Native American Relations in the 17th & 18th Centuries
Native American Culture in the Colonial Period
Intellectual Foundations of the Revolutionary Era
Women in the Early Republic
Foreign Policy in the Early Republic
The Slave Experience/Slave Resistance in the U.S.
Creating African American Culture
Andrew Jackson’s Vision for America
Native Americans and U.S. Expansion
The Cherokee Nation
The Secession Crisis
Women/Families in Wartime (Revolution or Civil War)
Soldiers/Black Soldiers in War (Revolution or Civil War)