-Were the British colonists who opposed the revolution being pragmatic or were they anti-liberty? 

The core assignment of this course is a documented research paper (approx. 4 – 5 pages double spaced, 12-point font).

  • The paper should support a thesis statement with information gained from research or investigation.
  • The paper will not be just a report presenting information, but will be a paper that carefully examines and presents your own historical interpretation of the topic you have chosen and your interpretation of the information you have gathered.
  • The paper may include consideration of problems and solutions, define key terms, or refute arguments against your thesis statement.

It will be important to choose a topic of interest to you.

  • Approach this assignment with an open and skeptical mind, then form an opinion based on what you have discovered.
  • You must suspend belief while you are investigating and let the discoveries shape your opinion. (This is a thesis-finding approach.)
  • Once you have found your thesis, write the paper to support it.

You will use some of the following critical thinking skills in this process:

  1. Choosing an topic (from the list below)
  2. Gathering information, summarizing sources
  3. Analyzing and evaluating sources
  4. Defining key terms
  5. Synthesizing information, comparing and contrasting sources
  6. Testing a thesis, making a historical argument, using refutation
  7. Amassing support for a position
  8. Documenting sources

Because this may be a longer paper than you have written before and a complex process is involved, it is recommended that you complete this paper using the following steps:

  1. Choose a topic from the list of preselected topics related to U.S. History up to 1877 (Chapters 1-15) below that you would truly like to explore and that you are willing to spend some time on. Your chosen topic should be focused. Choose a question that you really want to answer. You may want to begin with more than one topic in mind.
  2. Do some preliminary reading on the topic(s). You may begin with the textbook, then further explore the information available. Refine your topic. Summarize your topic, your interest in the topic, the questions you want to answer, and a hypothesis you want to test.
  3. Gather information from a variety of sources. Use a minimum of four sources for your paper, and at least one must be a primary source.
    1. Examples of primary sources are ones that are used in our discussion forums 2 – 8.
    1. They are sources that are contemporary to the times under investigation.
    1. An example of a secondary source is our textbook, though the textbook also contains excerpts of primary sources, which you may use as a source in your paper.
  4. Outline the results of your research and the plan for your paper (you are not required to submit the outline).
  5. Write the final draft and be sure to cite your work in either APA or Turabian (Chicago Manual of Style). Footnotes are preferred. No cover sheet required nor desired.

Topics:

– Bacon’s Rebellion is viewed as the turning point in the expansion of slavery. What did the rebellion do in order to motivate the wealthy planter class?

-Why did the “Era of Good Feelings” come to an end?

-Were the British colonists who opposed the revolution being pragmatic or were they anti-liberty? 

-Was the War of 1812 “necessary”?

-The Civil War can be considered a “class” based war (a rich man’s war but a poor man’s fight). How did social class affect the willingness to secede? 

-What was the relationship between US domestic expansion and the Civil War?

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