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A library guide for US History to 1877
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Terri Smith
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Research Assignment:

You will write a 6-7 page persuasive/argumentative essay on any topic in early American history up to the Civil War and the end of Reconstruction in 1877. You may also write on Pre-Columbian Native America. You will incorporate readings, lectures, and class discussions on your topic of choice. You must also use library resources to find 3 to 4 outside sources.These sources can be books, articles, primary sources, etc. You must also include at least one contemporary source, such as a current or recent news article, etc., to discuss issues (social, political, economic) that relate to Early American history. Use these article to argue why your topic is relevant today.

Research and Topic Selection:

Choose a topic within the timeline of 1492 to 1877, including Pre-Columbian Native America, the Civil War and the end of Reconstruction in 1877.

  1. How does the topic of your choice illustrate an important part of Early American history?
  2. How were people, institutions, or the economy impacted within your topic?
  3. What historical context is there behind your topic? Think about historical events that tell the reader about the contributions or experiences of people.
  4. Why is the topic important for understanding American history?

Conduct Scholarly Research

Review this library guide for topic ideas and resources. You must use a minimum of 3 sources for Taft College Library databases. Use primary sources and secondary source, such as books (print or electronic), primary documents, and articles written about your topic.

NOTE: Do not use book reviews as a source. Book reviews may help you determine if the book is appropriate for your topic, but the review itself will not count as one of your sources. Additional sources but be approved prior to use in your paper. No Wikipedia articles will be accepted.

Contemporary Source

Use a minimum of one contemporary source. This can be a current or recent news article that discusses the social, political, and economic aspects of your topic. The articles should be within the last 5 to 10 years--2012 to 2022/2023. The library has databases that will have news articles on most of the topics covered in this course. If you need assistance with this source, please contact your librarian, Terri Smith.

Citation Style

Use Chicago Style formatting for in-text citations and the bibliography at the end of the paper. The bibliography consists of the sources you find on your topic--the books and articles. Use the Chicago/Turabian tab on this guide for details on in-text citations and formatting the bibliography.

Basic Formatting

  • 1 inch margins
  • 12 pt. Times New Roman font
  • Entire document is double space
  • Name and Date
  • Page numbers
  • Footnotes are NOT required.
  • Use quotation marks for direct quotes
  • All references require parenthetical citations (author's last name, page number)
  • Include a bibliography in Chicago Style.