Does history bear out nordhoff s claims?

Published by Jeannie R. Ferrell

Nov 17, 2022


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Paper requirements:
1) 5 double-spaced pages.
2) All papers must be typed, have page numbers, stapled and use standard computer settings for margins and font (10 or 12 point).
3) You must use appropriate evidence from class materials to construct your argument.
4) You must use citations (end-notes or foot-notes)
5) Please do not include a cover page; put your name and date on the top of the first page.
6) You may use outside sources (books, articles, the Web etc.) however; you must include complete citations for these materials. Furthermore, the inclusion of non-class material should not be considered a substitute for in-class readings. A paper constructed entirely from external sources will not meet class requirements and will be graded accordingly.
For the paper assignment select one of the primary source documents from primary sources on D2L (the ones we have been reading all semester) construct an essay where you examine the author’s thesis and then put the document in its historical context. This will require that you successfully integrate the primary source you select with material from the main course text, lectures notes and class discussions. Finally at the end of your paper you should critique the argument raised in the document you selected. While your paper should focus on only one of the primary source readings you should feel free to use evidence from other readings as support for your conclusions. You should also feel free to write on any of the documents which were not assigned but that you found interesting.
To give you an example of how you might think about the assignment. If you selected Charles Nordhoff s The Cotton States, 1875 you might want to begin by providing Nordhoff s background. Who was he? What was his position on Reconstruction? What was his thesis (in this case the solution to the lingering problem over reconstruction)? What evidence does he give to support his conclusions? Once you have provided an overview of Nordhoff s argument you need to place his statements in context. What is the state of Reconstruction in 1875? What factors might be playing into the position Nordhoff is taking on the process? Why is it significant that he describes himself as a Republican? The paper should end with a discussion of Nordhoff s argument. Is he correct that now that African Americans have the right to vote they will have the same chance as any other American to improve their lives? Does history bear out Nordhoff s claims?
In a few cases, such as that of the textile laborer Thomas O Donnell s testimony before the Senate, individuals are not advancing an argument of their own but are providing a testimonial about general conditions and quality of life issues. If you select one of these documents you will need to fit it into the arguments of the day. How would Carnegie and Gould respond to O Donnell s statements as opposed to union organizers like Samuel Gompers or social reformers?
No matter which document you choose to write on you need to carefully organize your material, proofread your final draft and above all include citations for any sources you use. You are welcome to look at outside sources for assistance in analyzing the document however; the essay should not be a report on the person or group who created the document, or the period in which it was created, or even on the document itself. Instead, it should be a close reading and analysis of what the document says, and how it makes its argument.
Notes on Writing
1) Choose a Topic: Start by picking a reading that you are interested in or feel strongly about. If you choose a topic that you do not understand or that bores you the writing process will be extremely tedious.
2) Think about your evidence. Much of the challenge involved in writing a good paper comes in this step. Can you place the material you selected in context? What background will you need to provide to your reader about the time period? How much detail is necessary?
3) Organization: Take the time to make a list of the class materials that are connected with the topic you are going to discuss and then put them into an outline. This process will help you determine what texts relate to the topic and possible arguments you might want to consider.
5) Write the Paper
6) Revisions: When you have finished your paper set it down, do not think about it for a while and then later read your paper out loud. When you are revising the paper always keep in mind: is my thesis clearly stated, do I do a good job supporting my argument, does my evidence fit the argument and does the paper flow? When you have finished the final revisions go back and check the grammar, spelling and citations one last time. Proofreading and the elimination of simple mistakes and poor writing is often what separates good papers from mediocre ones.
7) Avoid the use of the word I or we. You are composing a piece of formal academic writing about historical events that you were not directly involved in. There are many other ways to build an argument that do not involve the construction of awkward sentences that start with I think or I feel.


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