Closely analyze and describe primary sources using specifics and details

Your essay should normally be chosen from the lists below. Essays should be between 1,500-

2,000 words long, should be footnoted and have an appropriate bibliography. My expectation is

that you will use the readings provided – assigned and recommended – as a basis for your

bibliography. Your essay will be marked according to the Grading Scale detailed in your syllabus.

Pay attention to the rubric: you will notice that to achieve higher marks you will have to read

beyond the literature we have provided, so familiarise yourself with the library!

Essays require that you interpret primary source evidence in historical context, drawing from the

assigned course readings. All of your papers must:

▪ closely analyze and describe primary sources using specifics and details;

▪ use scholarly secondary source texts for evidence about the historical context;

▪ select evidence to prove a thesis;

▪ draw conclusions beyond those that are immediately obvious from the evidence;

▪ write a paper that has a clear thesis, evidence organized into logical paragraphs, and a

conclusion;

▪ use correctly formatted footnote citations.

Essays should also:

▪ Consider different perspectives on a problem or controversy related to Modern US History

and attempt to reach a resolution about it. (Global Engagement)

▪ Appreciate that U.S. history cannot be understood in isolation from people and events from

around the world. (Global Awareness)

▪ Recognize that history is comprised of multiple stories, representing diverse experiences

and perspectives (Global Perspective)

▪ Construct an evidence-based argument that integrates multiple perspectives on an issue in

Modern US History. (Global Perspective)

On the following pages are your essay questions. There are twenty essay questions to choose from

or you can choose one of the alternative questions on page 8.

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ESSAY Questions

  1. “Reconstruction changed Southern society in important but limited ways.” Explain this

quote in the framework of what you know about the South, paying particular attention to

economic and political developments in both Reconstruction & the time period that

followed it.

  1. Discuss the manner in which US Indian policy changed after the Civil War. How had the

US government misinterpreted both the Battle of Little Bighorn and the later Ghost Dance

Movement and what effects did these events have upon US Indian policy?

  1. With the influx of immigrants in the latter decades of the 19th century, American society

changed in fundamental ways. Discuss these changes with regard to any three of the

following: economically, socially, culturally, demographically, and politically.

  1. Examine the economic and ideological roots of American expansionism in the late 19th &

early 20th centuries. Then, on a more specific note, describe the sequence of events that led

to the Spanish-American War and delineate reasons as to why the United States entered

the conflict between Cuban revolutionaries and their Spanish rulers. Finally, analyze the

results of that war, focusing on America’s new imperial position and events in the

Philippines.

  1. The nineteenth century saw the basis of work change dramatically from an artisan-based

system to one based on mass production. Explain this change and its effect upon both

workers and the owners of the means of production.

  1. Labor protest in the United States during the period 1870-1910 developed during a period

of general prosperity. Reconcile this apparent paradox, remaining aware of economic,

social, and political conditions during this time period.

  1. In what ways did President Teddy Roosevelt change the American presidency?
  2. Progressive reformers called on the federal government to be an active partner in reforming

American society. They demanded the government become involved in areas traditionally

left to state or local governments or to private charities and philanthropic societies. In many

respects, the progressives’ approach to government involvement set the tone for

Americans’ increased expectations of the federal government. In what ways did the federal

government expand its powers from 1890 to 1945, and how did this growth affect

American society? Ultimately, did this expansion benefit the country? Explain your

answer.

  1. How revolutionary was the progressive movement? Was it a “triumph of conservatism”,

as some historians maintain or was it a genuine reform movement? Using specific

examples, evaluate the effect of progressivism on American society.

29

  1. Compare and contrast the populist movement and the reforms of the progressive era.

Discuss their goals, their methods, their constituencies, and their successes and failures.

Can it be said that progressivism grew out of the ashes of the populist movement?

  1. Women could not vote in national elections until the passage of the 19th Amendment to

the Constitution. Yet, women participated in politics well before this event. Explain and

analyze the evolution of this movement and the notion of women’s expanded role in the

public arena, taking special care to focus on what “political” meant in the late 19th & early

20th centuries.

  1. President Harding’s 1920 presidential campaign is perhaps most notable for introducing

the word “normalcy” into the American political vocabulary. What did Harding mean by

“normalcy”, and did he in fact make good on his campaign promise?

  1. The “Jazz Age,” the “Roaring Twenties,” the “Turbulent Twenties,” and the “Dollar

Decade” all describe the decade of the 1920s. Which label, in your opinion, is most

accurate? Justify your answer in an essay describing the decade’s major events and

problems.

  1. Did the New Deal truly represent a dramatic departure from the progressive movement, or

did it represent a continuation of that earlier movement? Be sure to consider aims, results,

motivations, and the reformers themselves.

  1. During the first half of the twentieth century, two major global conflicts shattered the

country’s notions of peace and stability, prompting the United States to send money,

munitions and troops overseas. Consider the ways in which Woodrow Wilson and Franklin

Delano Roosevelt approached foreign war. What were their public stances before the

United States entered the fray? Why did they eventually commit to U.S. involvement? In

what ways did they attempt to mobilize domestic support, and how successful were these

efforts? Ultimately, who was the more successful wartime leader?

  1. The actions of African-American civil rights activists had a broader effect on activists for

other minorities. Agree or disagree.

  1. What role, if any, did the notion of a “balance of power” play in the international relations

of a period you have studied?

  1. From your reading on the Vietnam War, evaluate the American role in Vietnam from 1961

to 1975. Was the United States able to fulfill its objectives?

  1. The cold war had profound implications for U.S. domestic policy and culture. Discuss the

ways in which heightened tension with the Soviets influenced America’s national scene

from 1945 to 1989. What were the benefits and losses of this “great fear” in American

culture?

30

  1. In the two decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has found itself

alone atop the world’s military powers. Yet challenges to the US have seemingly

multiplied. Identify some of those challenges. How did the Clinton administration address

these challenges? How did the George W Bush administration address these challenges?

What differences and what similarities do you notice?

ALTERNATE QUESTIONS

Discuss one of the following with reference to a period you have studied:

  1. Is there a link between economics and culture?
  2. How significant is technology in shaping historical change?
  3. What is the relationship between modernity and urbanization?
  4. “Peace is more artificial and demands more explanation. Wars sometimes just happen;

peace is always caused.” (P. W. Schroeder)

  1. Did ideas matter?

DIRECTIONS ON STYLE, WORD COUNTING, FOOTNOTES, ETC

LAYOUT FIRST PAGE,

The title page should record the essay question, panther id, class code, and the date.

Essay Question: How successful were the Stuarts at creating and projecting the idea of

Britishness in the 17th century?

Course Code: AMH 2020

Panther ID: cjone008

Date: 3/10/2020

▪ All pages, including the title page and bibliography, should be numbered consecutively.

24

LAYOUT OF ASSESSED WORK

▪ All work will normally be word-processed.

▪ The main text should be double-spaced; the footnotes and bibliography should be single-spaced.

▪ Font size for text should be 12pt; for footnotes 10pt. Times New Roman “justified” text layout

is ideal.

▪ 1inch margins.

▪ The title page should record the essay question, panther id, class code and title, and the date.

▪ The bibliography should begin on a separate page at the end of the essay.

▪ Use footnotes rather than endnotes.

▪ Footnote markers should be numerical and superscript (e.g. …as Smith had argued.1); footnotes

should run consecutively throughout the essay.

▪ All pages, including the title page and bibliography, should be numbered consecutively.

▪ A running header containing the essay question only (abbreviated if practical) is useful, but not

essential.

▪ Use quotation marks and correct footnote citations with page numbers to protect yourself from

being accused of plagiarism

▪ Quotations of three lines or fewer should run on in the text and be enclosed in quotation marks.

Quotations of more than three lines should be inset and single-spaced, without quotation

marks.

▪ Matter inserted into a quotation to clarify a point should be enclosed in square brackets, e.g. ‘he

[Lord George Sackville] left the House amid loud cheers.’

▪ Word limit: Word limits include footnotes and appendices, if any, but not the bibliography.

▪ Review for errors of spelling and grammar—this is a formal written report! I recommend using

the advanced spelling and grammar check functions in MS Word.

▪ Submit the paper online using the appropriate Turnitin link on Blackboard Learn by the deadline.

STYLE AND PRESENTATION:

Paper Organization – Your paper must include an introduction, several distinct body paragraphs,

and a conclusion. Your introduction should not begin with broad, overly general statements, but

instead should introduce the specific time, place, and topic you are writing about. Do not assume

that your reader knows anything about the history you are describing. Your introduction should

also include a) a thesis statement that interprets your primary sources within the historical context,

and b) an overview of how the remainder of your paper will be organized (a “roadmap” for your

reader).

Your body paragraphs should each be organized around a main idea and should offer evidence to

support that main idea. Be sure that your paragraphs each have a topic sentence. Check to be sure

that all of the evidence you offer in the paragraph relates to and supports that topic sentence. Your

conclusion should summarize your ideas and suggest connections to course themes.

25

Please use the “justify” text function in Word. It will make a world of difference to your

presentation, as you can see below:

Aim for this:

What resulted from the Congress of Vienna, and was expanded upon at Aachen in 1819,

was a continental system of checks and balances presided over by a pentarchy of monarchical

Great Powers acting co-operatively. The European Concert system functioned as a combination of

court appeal and peacekeeper for the states of Europe. Any disputes between nations that could

not be resolved at state level, were presented before the European Concert for mediation, with or

without the solicitation from the parties involved. Decisions were made collectively by the five

member states.

Not this:

What resulted from the Congress of Vienna, and was expanded upon at Aachen in 1819, was a

continental system of checks and balances presided over by a pentarchy of monarchical Great

Powers acting co-operatively. The European Concert system functioned as a combination of

court appeal and peacekeeper for the states of Europe. Any disputes between nations that could

not be resolved at state level, were presented before the European Concert for mediation, with or

without the solicitation from the parties involved. Decisions were made collectively by the five

member states.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

▪ The bibliography should list all material which has informed the content of the essay.

▪ All works which appear in the footnotes will also be listed in the bibliography, but the

bibliography may also contain additional works which do not appear in the footnotes.

▪ Additional books which have not directly influenced the essay must not be included in the

bibliography; in other words, do not ‘pad’ your bibliography.

▪ The bibliography should be divided into manuscript, printed primary, and secondary sources.

Some undergraduate essays will contain only one section for secondary sources.

▪ Internet addresses in the bibliography can be given under the author’s name if appropriate.

Otherwise, list them under a subheading of ‘Internet sources’.

▪ In all sections the works should be listed alphabetically by author. Works by the same author

should be listed alphabetically by title under his/her name.

26

FURTHER INFO AND GUIDES:

▪ Examples on how to format your bibliography and footnotes – Chicago Manuel of Style:

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citation…

▪ For information regarding when to cite sources:

https://www.princeton.edu/pr/pub/integrity/pages/c…

▪ Tips on how to avoid writing in first person:

https://unilearning.uow.edu.au/academic/2div.html

▪ How to read a Primary Source:

https://courses.bowdoin.edu/writing-guides/reading…

▪ How to read a Secondary Source:

https://courses.bowdoin.edu/writing-guides/reading…

Getting Help on the Assignment – Unless you happen to live with a history professor or graduate

student, you probably won’t be able to get good help at home. Your cousin, uncle, mom, or best

friend might be able to tell you whether you have spelling and typographical errors. They may be

able to help you pinpoint places where your organization could be improved.

Remember that a good history paper does not necessarily look like a good paper for an English,

Criminology, Philosophy, or Psychology class. Every discipline has its own conventions. To be

successful with your writing assignments, you should familiarize yourself with what history papers

are like. For further descriptions of how to approach assignments like this, see Mary Lynn

Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, excerpts from Chapter 4 (available on

Blackboard).

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