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Essay Prompt/Directions attached as a pdf file and clipped below
First Discussion Essay Prompt- Analysis of two primary sources
“Reconstructing America, 1865-1877” and
“Forging a Transcontinental Nation, 1877-1900” from Schaller’s ch.’s 15 & 16
Discussion Board Essay: this is a two-part essay. After having read both chapters and the primary sources for each chapter, as well as having seen and taken notes on our short films, choose two of the primary sources from those listed below- one from ch. 15 “Reconstruction” and one from ch. 16 “Forging a Transcontinental Nation” to analyze deeply in this Discussion forum. You will be providing historical context for each using our text and your film notes and discussing the importance of each of these documents for our understanding of modern U.S. history. (Full directions are below the list of primary sources and films)
*15.1 Jourdan Anderson, Letter to P.H. Anderson (August 7, 1865)
*15.2 Visual Document: Thomas Nast, Andrew Johnson’s Reconstruction (1866)
*15.3 Jose Inacio Barros Cobra, Excerpts from Speech in the Brazilian Parliament (1871)
*15.4 Ku Klux Klan, Letter to Mrs. I. A, Baldwin (1868)
*16.1 Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Turner Thesis” (“The Significance of the Frontier in American History”, 1893) [If you analyze this one, you must bring in historical context from “To Conquer or Redeem”]
*16.3 Southern Workman and Hampton School Record and Edna Dean Proctor
*“Colombia’s Role Call” (1892) and “The Indians’ Appeal” (1892)
*16.4 Frank H. Meyer, “The Buffalo Harvest“
These are the short films that you’ve seen and taken copious notes on- all are in Blackboard:
“The Western Tribes”
“The Dispersal of the Tribes”
“500 Nations: Wounded Knee- the Darkest Hour (Links to an external site.)”
“Myth of the Cowboy and the Culture of Violence”
“Mine Workers Face Discrimination and Exploitation”
“The Mexican-American Experience”
“We Shall Remain: Geronimo” (American experience, episode 4 of the series, ~56 min’s)
“To Conquer or Redeem: Manifest Destiny” Act I (1st 30 min’s on significance of
Frederick Jackson Turner’s “Significance of the Frontier in American History)
“Emancipation and Reunification”
“Challenges of Rebuilding Southern Society”
“System of Sharecropping”
“Emergence of the Ku Klux Klan”
“The Horror of Lynching”
“Reconstruction: the Civil War in Broader Perspective”
“The Southern Economy”
Essay directions for this two-part essay (you’re analyzing two different documents- one from each chapter):
Write a well-developed and well-supported essay in which you analyze the importance of two of those primary sources (one from ch. 15 and one from ch. 16), and discuss the multiple ways those documents are important for the study of the United States from Reconstruction to the latter part of the 19th century (and why that might matter for the 20th century).
For each primary source, provide us with the historical context necessary to fully understanding that document- tell us the history behind that document (bring in knowledge you’ve gained from Schaller’s ch’s 15 and 16 and from your films).
For example, if writing about the sources about native peoples: tell us about the history of U.S. policy towards native peoples during the latter part of the 19th century- what was the relationship? How did native peoples fare as the English-speaking population was expanding West during the course of the 19th century? How did Indian peoples respond to the systematic expansion of Whites onto territories they had lived on for generations?
Then, tell us all about that document- who wrote it? When? To whom? For what purpose? What does it say? What are some assumptions behind it? Why is it historically significant? Discuss all of the ways this document is important for our understanding of American history during the second half of the 19th century.
For example, when analyzing Frederick Jackson Turner’s “Significance of the Frontier in American History,” what are some assumptions behind this grand statement? What are some consequences of it? How does it relate to Manifest Destiny? Be sure to bring in knowledge you’ve gained from our film “To Conquer or Redeem: Manifest Destiny.”
When analyzing Primary sources from our textbook that are photographs and/or political cartoons – provide deep historical context and analysis that goes beyond a mere summary and first impressions.
Be sure to provide historical context from our textbook and from our films on this topic- show us that you’re making connections to our readings and the films that you’re watching and taking notes on. Providing historical context is absolutely essential to this essay.
Length of this essay: about two well developed paragraphs with specific examples for each document. Total length of this essay: 4-5 well developed paragraphs (800-1,200 words).
Citing evidence: Because we are all reading the same documents from the same books, when citing a document, you can just give us the title of the document and then the page number in parenthesis. When bringing in a quote from Schaller, you can simply cite it as: (Schaller, p. 541), for example. When bringing in a quote from one of our required films, you can simply cite it as: (“The Dispersal of the Tribes,” or “500 Nations: Wounded Knee”), for example.
RESPONSE ESSAY: You are also required to respond to at least one other student’s original essay during the same time period. You can amplify on a point made, raise a related point, discuss the issue in relation to other documents, agree or disagree with supporting evidence, and/or raise new informed questions that we should all think about. Length of response essay: at least one thoughtful, well-developed, and well-supported paragraph. These are response essays, not “good job” notes- show us that you’re thinking deeply about this material and that you’re making additional connections to our material. Be aware of the due date for your response essay as well. To reply to a classmates’ posting, click “reply” to that particular posting.
Write your essay in a word processing program so you can always have a copy. After you’ve proofread itand spell-checked it (this is formal writing- please no “text-ese” and capitalize when appropriate), select all of your text, “copy” it, then click “Reply” to the Discussion Essay prompt and paste your essay in there, and click “submit”. (Use a 12 pt font).
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