In this assignment, you will begin the preliminary work for your term paper (description here), which is due at the end of the class. If you have questions on how to write your term paper, please see

In this assignment, you will begin the preliminary work for your term paper (description here), which is due at the end of the class.

If you have questions on how to write your term paper, please see the How To Write In History Module. In the Module, you will find a Brief Guide To Writing a History Paper and video links for Advice and Tips, Forming an Introduction, Structuring the Main Body of your term paper, and Forming a Conclusion for your paper.

Choose a topic for your paper–it can be anything that interests you from the place (America) and period (the beginning of time through Reconstruction) that this class covers!–and find 2 primary and 2 secondary sources.  At least one of the secondary sources has to be a real book (not a web site).  Moreover, your textbook is not a valid source for this assignment; you can  certainly use it for your paper, but you must have two secondary sources besides it.  Also, your online sources must be from reputable, scholarly sources, such as universities, museums, historical journal, or others along those lines; do not try to use the History Channel’s website (history.com), or biography.com, for example.  Please use this template to help you format this assignment.

If you need a review of what primary and secondary sources are, check out the “What Are Primary and Secondary Sources?” page.

Remember, you need a narrow topic, not an incredibly broad one.  For example, don’t write about the American Revolution.  Think about one of these instead:

  • A specific person’s experience of the American Revolution.
    • A woman?
    • A loyalist?
    • A businessman?
    • An ordinary soldier or militiaman?
    • A redcoat?
    • A general?
    • A slave?
  • Revolutionary War medicine.
  • Knitting for the troops in the American Revolution.
  • The tactics of a specific battle.
  • Why the Americans were able to win, when they were very much the underdogs.
  • Revolution-era political cartoons, poems, satire, etc.
  • Another topic of your choice!

If you need other ideas for your topic, check out the Help Choosing a Topic page.

Why choose a more specific topic?  Two reasons.  One: you can go into much more depth in a short paper.  Two: more specific topics are generally more interesting!

Rubric Term Paper Topic and Sources Assignment Term Paper Topic and Sources Assignment Criteria Ratings Pts This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Topic Choice Did you choose an appropriate topic? Does it make sense within the course’s timeline and geographic range? Is it specific enough? s

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Sources Did you choose appropriate sources? Are they properly labeled as primary and secondary? Do they make sense with the topic? Are they credible?

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Following Instructions Did you follow the basic instructions for the assignment?

please read chapter 2 in the textbook, The American Yawp

2. Colliding Cultures







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