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This
assignment is designed to develop critical thinking and writing skills by
asking the student to craft an argument based on specific evidence.
The specifics of the
assignment are as follows:
Write
a 600-650-word essay (about two pages double spaced) addressing the following
question: By 1877, did democracy in the
United States look different than it did in the aftermath of the American
Revolution? You might consider here how or if democracy
changed from the Market Revolution through Reconstruction (chapters 9-15). Don’t
try to get everything in here (this is a short essay). Rather, answer yes or no,
then focus on one or two topics to help you make your argument. What evidence
do you have (see below) and from there what does it tell you?
To answer this question, you can use any
information from class (textbook and additional readings) from chapters 9-15.
You might want to consider the document excerpts included in the Foner, Give
Me Liberty textbook under the headings “Who is an American” and “Voices of
Freedom” simply because they are meant to directly relate to such a question,
and they are all primary source material (don’t try to use them all in such a
short essay). You may also use the two additional readings (also primary source
material) by Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. No sources outside of
class material are to be used.
The
essay should have a thesis statement (your response to the main question), a short
introduction and conclusion, and quality paragraphs with topic sentences and
transitions. You may only use two short quotes in the essay
(follow the quotation sandwich example). You must give specific examples
from your evidence to support your argument and provide citations for that
information. No title page is
necessary, simply put your name at the top of page one.
Evidence
must be incorporated thoroughly into your essay to support your argument.
Throughout the course you have been reading and discussing the concepts of
freedom, liberty, and democracy. That information can provide good context for
your essay. Please keep in mind, that simply pulling a quote from a primary
or secondary source is not sufficient evidence to support an argument in an
essay. The best way to use evidence is to talk about it thoroughly—For
example: What specific evidence supports your argument? How does the evidence
relate to the question and your answer to the question? How does it “make your
point”? Is the relationship between the evidence and the argument explicit for
your reader (write for someone who is not your history professor)?
For citations, you
may use parenthetical citation. An example of how to cite is provided below.
The essay should be free of grammatical and spelling errors.

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