I’m working on a american studies writing question and need a sample draft to help me learn.
Write a 750-word response to the following prompt:
The period between 1865 and 1918 is known by many names, including Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era. In this essay, you will offer a new name for this period. If you were writing a textbook or teaching a college course, what would you call this era in U.S. history? Your new terminology should be applicable to the entire 1865-1918 period (or at least as much of it as possible).
After introducing your alternative term for the period, the majority of your essay should focus on explaining and defending your choice, using primary sources from class as your evidence. In formulating your answer, you should address the experiences of three different individuals/groups from the first third of this course (modules 1-4). Be sure to explain how your new term for the 1865-1918 period relates to the historical experiences of each of these individuals or groups.
Be as specific as possible and be sure to use the assigned readings to defend your answer. Your answer must quote and cite at least three different primary documents from the required reading for Modules 1 through 4.
- Your answer must quote and cite at least three different documents from the required reading for Modules 1 through 4.
- Be as specific as possible, and be sure to use the assigned readings to defend your answer.
- Answers that are too short or too long (more than 50 words in either direction) will lose points.
- Your answer will be checked for plagiarism using Turn-It-In.
- Your answer should be based on material covered in class lectures and in the assigned reading for this course. DO NOT CONSULT OTHER SOURCES. I do not want to know what Google tells you about this topic. All the information you need to answer this question can be found in the assigned reading and in your class notes.
Some tips on formatting and length:
- 750 words is not much! Its about three double spaced pages (1 margins, 12 point font).
- Be brief, especially in your introductory paragraph. Get right to your argument, dont waste words describing everything weve covered in the course. Theres no need to make sweeping statements like Since the beginning of U.S. history….
- The prompt asks several different (but closely related) questions. You do not need to answer each and every one of them, but you should try to address most of them (at least in passing) in your essay.
- Suggested format:
- 75 words: Introductory paragraph that ends with a clear thesis statement (that is, your argument and your answer to the question asked in the prompt).
- 200 words: body paragraph 1, which should contain your first example and a quotation from your first document.
- 200 words: body paragraph 2, which should contain your second example and a quotation from your second document. A transition paragraph between paragraphs should address the similarities/differences between your first and second example.
- 200 words: body paragraph 3, which should contain your third example and a quotation from your third document. A transition paragraph between paragraphs should address the similarities/differences between this example and your first two examples.
- 75 words: a concluding paragraph that compares your three examples and reiterates (not word-for-word!) your thesis from the introduction.
- You MUST introduce and contextualize your quotes. Weve read dozens of documents this term. You must tell your reader what document youre quoting.
- GOOD: Southern African Americans had their own definition of freedom. We claim freedom as our natural right, black residents of Nashville stated in a petition, and ask that in harmony and co-operation with the nation at large, you should cut up the roots the system of slavery. As these petitioners noted, the work of freedom remained incomplete, even after emancipation.
- BAD: Southern African Americans had their own definition of freedom. We claim freedom as our natural right, and ask that in harmony and co-operation with the nation at large, you should cut up the roots the system of slavery.
- The second example is extraordinarily confusing for your reader. Who are you quoting? Are these your words? Introduce your quotes, and then explain them in your own words.
- You should also try to avoid extended quotations. In almost all circumstances, you shouldnt be quoting more than one or two sentences at a time. When youre trying to quote a longer passage, intersperse your own words as necessary. When I see paragraph-length citations I start to worry that youre just trying to fill up space
Historians use Chicago Manual of Style, Humanities format. Use footnotes, not parenthetical/in-text citations.
Cite the documents from Eric Foners Voices of Freedom as follows:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Home Life, in Eric Foner, ed. Voices of Freedom, Vol. 2, 6th Edition (New York: W.W. Norton, 2020), 14-17.
- You do not need to cite my video lectures. Consider these to be common knowledge shared by the class.
- Submit your document as a Microsoft Word file or a similar word processing file. Do not convert the file to a PDF.
- Late papers will lose 1/3 of a letter grade per 24 hours (i.e. A- becomes B+, C+ becomes C).
- Please include a word count on your paper.
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