Essay shows evidence of an understanding of historical changes.

History 149, Summer 2020: Final Essay


This includes those of you who didn’t read them for the first essay.

WHY YOU need to read the directions: Every semester someone fails to read through the directions and looses credit. DON’T let that happen to you. READ THEM!!

Due Date and How to Submit:

Your final graded essay will be due by Saturday, June 27th at 11:59 p.m. (This is a HARD deadline. Late papers will be penalized a half-letter grade. You may submit early.) You will submit it on Blackboard by clicking on the link above. That will allow you to upload your essay. You will be able to submit and withdraw your essay twice; on the third submission, you cannot remove it.

When you upload your essay, it MUST be in a word document, not a pdf, not a link to Google docs or Microsoft Office or any other platform. Otherwise, I can’t see it and you can’t get the SafeAssign report.

This site uses SafeAssign software to allow you to check for any issues of copying or paraphrasing incorrectly. The software pulls up word groups, and it can’t identify whether those occur in quotations or have proper citations. Make sure that you’ve footnoted or cited material correctly. You’ll have two opportunities to submit and remove your essay; on the third submission, you will not be able to remove it.

CHECK your SafeAssign report. Questions about it? Email me!

Citation Format:

Historians use the Chicago Style for citations, and our department requires all students taking History courses to try to use it as well. You’ll find guidelines under “Course Resources,” but here are a few essentials:

1. Rather than putting the name of the author at the end of the sentence (such as May 2013), Chicago uses Arabic numerals, with the explanation for those numbers at the bottom or the end of your text. (These are sequential – each time you have a citation, it takes a new number –1,2,3, and so on– even it’s the same source you’ve used before.)

2. Citations are in some form of author’s name, book or article, and publisher/journal, year. The reason we have such complete citations is that we use them to follow up on the material other historians have used.

The American Yawp uses Chicago style footnotes, so you can see how it is used there.

Your Directions:

Answer the question below. The essay should be approximately four to five pages, typed and double-spaced with 10 or 12 point type. Use normal margins, and be sure to spell-check and proofread your essay. Be sure that your name is on your paper.

Remember, you must provide a citation for material that is not original to you as a writer. That means (1) a quotation, (2) something that’s paraphrased, or (3) an idea outside of “common knowledge” that is not your own. IF you take material directly from another source, it MUST appear in quotation marks. IF you paraphrase and you’ve included three or more words from the original source in the original sequence, those words should also appear in quotation marks. [If, for example, the Digital Text uses the phrase “dogs, cats, rabbits and pigs” and you write dogs, cats, rabbits and hogs, “dogs, cats, rabbits” should have quotation marks.] You cannot use your own work that has previously been submitted for credit in this or another course. Paraphrasing is typically a dangerous practice, as you may stray into problems, so avoid it.

Also note that you cannot cite material that you have not seen yourself. Don’t use the citations in the American Yawp – or any other source – if you haven’t looked at the original material. You cannot use work of another student.

There are several guides about citations and plagiarism under Course Resources on the content bar at the left of Blackboard. Historians use the Chicago citation style, and the History department requires that all papers written in our courses use that style. You will find a “Quick Guide” to formats on Course Resources, and the Chicago “Quick Guide” as well.

Be sure that your essay is original to you, and that you’ve provided appropriate citations when necessary. The penalty for violations of Academic Honesty is a No Credit on the paper. You will not have the opportunity to rewrite or resubmit the paper. If you have questions about what or when to provide a citation, please email!

Finally — you CANNOT use material beyond those assigned for this course. Any essay which does will receive a one-letter grade reduction. (The reason for this is to focus you on our readings and making an argument. It should also prevent any time-consuming searches for an answer on the web.)

Did you read that? If not, go back and read it! That means YOU!

Some help:

First, think about the question and how you might answer it. You want to make an argument, not simply summarize material from the course. Short history essays such as this can often be written using a simple formula. You should have a thesis (providing the argument and direction for your essay) in the first or second paragraph. Follow that with examples developing that thesis in subsequent paragraphs. The conclusion should do more than restate your thesis. Explain to the reader why this argument/issue is important. Be sure to read over your paper before you submit it.

Plan ahead to use the Writing Center if you need to – their appointments can be limited by demand.

The Question:

Our nation now faces an unprecedented double crisis of a spreading, deadly virus and a crumbling economy. What events, developments, programs, or initiatives in American history since 1865 give us either (choose one, not all of these): (1) solutions; (2) reasons for optimism; or (3) reasons for pessimism as we face these problems?

In your essay, limit yourself to no more than three examples – one is fine, too. Just be sure to make a case using historical evidence for your choices – put simply, explain your examples for an intelligent friend who does not know this history.

Grading criteria:

1. Essay has a clear thesis.

2. Historical facts and information are used to support this thesis.

3. The author considers significant facts or interpretations which may undermine or challenge the thesis. (For instance, if you argue “all Americans are good,” you should think about evidence that contradicts that premise and consider whether and how to include it.)

4. Essay shows evidence of an understanding of historical changes.

5. Citations are in the Chicago format style.

6. Essay is completed on time.

7. Essay contains no significant errors of spelling, punctuation or grammar.

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