We think of historical events as relics of the past, but these events continue to play out over time, affecting our political, economic, and socio-cultural lives. As you begin to learn about the foundations of modern American history, you will investigate how past attitudes, conditions, and experiences can help you understand both the past as well as current attitudes and perspectives. Looking at primary resources will also help form your own opinions rather than relying on talking heads who might not have read or understood the full context of events, ideas, or the sources that they discuss. Ultimately, this assignment reaffirms the tools of democratic citizenship by promoting the skills necessary to be an aware and active citizen. Skills:
Write an essay in which you support a thesis statement with evidence from primary sources. Interpret primary sources alongside their historical contexts.
Demonstrate critical thinking by examining the influence of historical events over three decades. Knowledge:
Major historical events of the 1860s-1910 as described in Chapters 16-19 of The American Yawp
Trace the spread, impact, or influence of a socio-political movement over time. (Possible topics might include questions about industry, empire, race, gender, class, justice, freedom, or equality.)
Use of Chicago or APA-style citations whilst complying with the History Department’s Critical Response (DBQ) rubric. Task:
Choose a 30-year period between 1860s and 1910 that you want to learn more about (e.g., 1870-1900). Then, choose a socio-political movement you want to learn more about over your chosen time span.
Review the relevant chapters (16-19) of the AMERICAN YAWP READER and select five primary sources (at least one from three separate chapters) that you can draw from to describe your chosen movement and its effects on the decades that followed. o Example: Western expansion in the 1830s fundamentally reshaped the political and economic fortunes of both native and competing settler populations and arguably positioned the United States to succumb to the Civil War.
As you read the sources, ask yourself how they affected, reflected, and informed various groups’ expectations of industry, empire, race, gender, class, justice, freedom, or equality. o I recommend you use the ACAPS worksheet to analyze each primary source. If you completed an ACAPS earlier this semester that is relevant to your chosen topic, you may use that source for this assignment so long as it dates from the 1860s to 1910.
Then, write a 3-5 page essay that describes the effects of your chosen issue/ event/ topic over three decades of American history. Be sure you include a thesis statement, reference at least five primary sources from the class reader, and incorporate appropriate historical content and context.
Before drafting your essay, review the Critical Response (DBQ) rubric and create an outline to help ensure you organize your essay effectively. Criteria for Success I used Chicago- or MLA-formatted citations. The essay has 12 pt., double-spaced Times New Roman font. I discussed historical events from three consecutive decades. I cited at least one primary source from three related chapters of the American Yawp Reader. I cited 5 or more primary sources. I read my essay and rated/ assessed my work according to the Critical Response (DBQ) rubric.