One of the goals of the essay assignments is to ask you to closely reread and examine the evidence we find in primary source documents in Voices of Freedom volume 1. Thinking and writing about that evidence will help you better understand the periods were studying. Essays also help you develop critical thinking and writing skills and develop a practice key to the discipline of historyoffering an interpretation (your thesis) and supporting it with evidence (your analysis of examples from three primary source documents). Finally, I hope youll appreciate the opportunity to be creative, insightful, and engaged; Ill appreciate the opportunity to read your work!
Choose Option A or B
Option A: Slavery and the Civil War
Slavery predated the organization of the United States, and there were longstanding divisions of the country into slaveholding and non-slaveholding states. Yet the issue of slavery became more controversial in the period from 1845 to 1861. Offer an explanation for why slavery became a more divisive issue in these years, igniting political polarization, disunion, and ultimately war. What were the most important developments of these decades that made slavery more controversial?
For your essay to receive credit you must have elements 1 and 2.
1. Write an introductory paragraph that ends with an analytical thesis statement.
Your introduction should end with a thesis thats focused and specific, offering an interpretation youve arrived at after thinking about the relevant class material. An analytical thesis statement doesnt just repeat the essay prompt; it offers specifics and interpretation. Think of your thesis as answering the question posed in the essay prompt with an answer that explains why or because or how. A good thesis tells your reader what to expect; it sets up the argument youll make in the body of your paper. It makes your job easier by providing order and focus.
2. Present and discuss evidence from THREE relevant unit 4 Voices of Freedom documents to support your thesis, and offer a conclusion.
Please fully discuss specific examples from three of our assigned unit 4 documents in Voices of Freedom and explain how they support your argument. Write a substantial paragraph of discussion and analysis for each of your three documents. Do introduce each of your three documents by author and/or title. Do show your reader youve read and thought about the whole document. Do find and discuss specific examples, their meaning, and significance in backing up your overall argument. Do think about relevant posts from your classmates and Prof. B. on our discussion boards. Do make sure your examples come from the documents and not the editors introductions. Dont repeat points the editor made in his introductions to the documents; I want to see evidence of your thoughtful analysis. Dont use material not assigned in class; your focus needs to be on the assigned documents. And obviously, dont plagiarize.
Your essay must be at least five substantial paragraphs in length. Font, spacing, and other formatting choices are up to you. As you will be referencing and citing only from Voices of Freedom, no formal citations are needed. You can refer to the documents by title or author, and cite page numbers parenthetically. Please note that some of our documents do not have authors, and take care not to confuse authors with editors when citing sources.