Due Date: December 6, 2020
Assignment: You will locate three secondary sources, scholarly articles that deal with a common topic relevant to the American Civil War era. You will write an 8-10 page paper that summarizes these sources, analyzes their different approaches to their common topic, and considers how they help us understand that topic better.
This assignment is designed to give you practice finding secondary sources and analyzing them. Part of your paper will involve summary of your sources: their topic, arguments, and the evidence they use. But there is an interpretive element here that involves your assessment of your sources’ arguments and what they contribute to our knowledge of their particular topic. The best papers will combine these descriptive and interpretive elements.
The articles you choose to write about should be of appropriate length (at least ten pages), should be published relatively recently (no earlier than 1960), and published in a reputable academic journal. You should check these sources with me, to ensure that they meet these requirements and that you have picked an appropriate topic. Should you choose inappropriate articles, and fail to check them with me, your grade will suffer accordingly.
In your analysis, you should pay attention to questions like:
- What did your authors argue?
- Does either give a clue why they wrote their article? Were they perhaps seeking to cover an aspect of their topic other historians had neglected or trying to revise an interpretation they considered flawed?
- When did your authors publish their articles? What concerns current at the time they published might have impacted their arguments?
- What kind of sources did your authors use? Did they analyze any non-literary sources?
- How do your authors’ arguments look when you put them into conversation with one another? Are their arguments complementary, contradictory, or do they display some other relationship?
- Do their claims match the evidence they cite? Is one argument more convincing or compelling than the other? If so, why?
- How does putting these articles into conversation with one another help us understand their topic better?
Your paper should be properly documented with footnotes done according to the Chicago Manual of Style. All papers must be written in Microsoft Word, in Times New Roman font, and be double-spaced with 12-point font and 1-inch margins. Footnotes should be 10-point font, single-spaced.