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HIST 2231 - O. Gonzalez: Home

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

You will write a 7-8 page persuasive/argumentative essay on any topic in early American history up to the Civil War and the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Dates to consider for this timeline are 1492 to 1877. Note: Topics may also include Pre-Columbian Native America. 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 articles to argue why your topic is relevant today. You might also reflect on how the views on your topic have changed over time.

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

For this step, you will use the library guide to find Scholarly Research. This may include but is not limited to secondary source books, articles from academic journals, and Primary Sources. Note: Do not use book reviews as sources for the topic. You can use them to understand book sources, but these reviews will not fulfill the research requirementNo Wikipedia articles will be accepted.

Contemporary Source

You must also include at least one contemporary source (current or recent news article, etc.) to discuss issues (social, political, economic) that relate to American history. Think about publications within the last 5-10 years. Use these articles in your research to illustrate your understanding of America derived from historical experiences and/or figures. There will be links to example web articles on Canvas for this step. If you need assistance with this source, please contact your librarian, Terri Smith.

Citation Style

For this paper, you must also include in-text citations and a bibliography page in Chicago Style. For formally cited sources, no Wikipedia sources will be accepted. These should be scholarly sources. Think of this as a mini-research project in which you will need to access scholarly sources to write your narrative. There will be a Library Orientation and other resources available to you to accomplish proper citation practices. 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
  • Paraphrase in your own words with correct citation
  • All references require parenthetical citations (author's last name, page number)
  • Include a bibliography in Chicago Style.