Essays: General Guidelines OVERVIEW You are required to submit two essays for th

Essays: General Guidelines
You are required to submit two essays for th

Essays: General Guidelines
You are required to submit two essays for this course. In the essays, you will put the skills that you have developed in this course and in other classes to prepare a research paper on a topic of your choice. These assignments will require you to consider secondary sources and the arguments presented by other historians; you then will refashion that information and evidence to support your thesis (argument). You may choose to analyze and use primary sources too, but this is not required. By conducting research, analyzing sources, evaluating the work of other historians, and formulating and supporting your own thesis, you will be contributing to our understanding of the past. These assignments will also allow you to polish your academic writing style and, using the comments provided when the essays are returned to you, strengthen how you approach future research papers.
Upon completion of this assignment you will be able to:
empathize with historical actors and their situations while also remaining critical and objective;
connect the information that is contained in the class text and in the course modules with how Americans may have experienced the past;
locate appropriate secondary sources relating to an assigned topic;
analyze and critique historical arguments made by other authors and use those analyses and critiques in your own argument (thesis);
write concisely and effectively to prove your argument (thesis) using the information that was found in the located source materials;
properly cite secondary source material using the Chicago Manual of Style Notes-Bibliography format.
Each essay is worth 25% of the final grade.
You will be graded on:
Style: grammar; punctuation; organization; presentation.
Research: the quality of the evidence and sources used; the applicability of the research to your topic; how convincing are the points that you are making? 
To receive a ‘good’ grade for this component it is recommended that you utilize at least 4 scholarly works (books and/or articles – not popular histories or broad surveys).
Utilizing fewer than four scholarly works indicates a lack of preparation and in all likelihood an unbalanced reading of the topic.
For a paper of this length, you should look to have between 15 and 30 citations: fewer than that and your paper might be more of a discussion paper than a research paper; more than that and you risk having your argument and analysis being lost in the points that are made by your sources.
If you are not sure what qualifies as a scholarly works, the following might help:
look for books published by university presses.
look for articles linked through JStor, Project Muse, America History and Life or similar databases.
avoid website ‘histories’, avoid surveys like the class textbook, and avoid encyclopedias for anything other than general background.
These are general comments and there are exceptions to the above, but sticking to these guidelines should help you to avoid using inappropriate works. If you are not sure about a source, contact your instructor.
Analysis: the clarity of the thesis, your analysis of the information presented in support of your thesis, the lack of any obvious flaws in logic, and the ability of the reader to follow the argument being made.
Each essay is to be between 2000 and 2500 words in length (not including the cover page or the bibliography and citations). Please double space, use page numbers at the top or bottom of the page, and type in a 10-12 common font.
As with all of your assignments, this assignment must be submitted in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format; submitting in a different document format may result in your assignment being returned and late penalties being assigned.
Part of the responsibility of a historian is to convey and prove an argument in a clear and concise manner; part of your responsibility as a student is to work within the guidelines of assignment instructions. Consequently, essay submissions that are over the upper limit of the word count may be returned unmarked. You have a 500 word range for the submission length, so that gives you some flexibility.
You must include a bibliography of the works cited and the bibliography and any footnotes or endnotes (footnotes are preferred) must be cited appropriately in the Chicago Manual of Style’s notes-bibliography format. 
The notes-bibliography format is the standard for history; citing in a different format will result in penalties for the style component of this assignment.
For a paper of this length, it is recommended that you cite from at least 4 articles and/or books dating from 1980 onward. Among other things, citing from fewer than four secondary sources or from dated sources might indicate a lack of effort, flawed or incomplete research, an argument based on interpretations that have been challenged or disproved. At this level of historical analysis, you are relying on what other authors have written to formulate and prove your argument so your paper should integrate the evidence from a variety of other works into a cohesive presentation. It is permissible to use older works, but it is highly recommended that you contact your instructor first.
Also, because this paper is an integration of arguments and evidence from several other authors, you should avoid citing one author repeatedly. If you cite one author over the course of five or six footnotes in a row, all you are doing is relating what that author said and odds are that there is little in the way of analysis or integration. Your instructor wants to see what YOU are arguing.
Essay #1 (Due after Module 4)
For this assignment, you will review and analyze scholarly sources, and use the information in those sources to support an argument of your own about a particular topic (of your own choosing) in American history (up to 1877). The end result will demonstrate your knowledge of this particular topic and some of the readings in the field.
This assignment is due at the end of Week 6. See the course Calendar for exact dates.
This assignment is worth 25% of the final grade.
Following the Instructions set out in “Essays: General Guidelines”, you will write a 2000-2500 word essay on a topic relating to the History of the United States before 1877. You will select your own topic for this assignment and, while it is not required, you are advised to submit a proposed topic and bibliography to your instructor. Submitting a proposed bibliography and topic will allow your instructor to advise you about possible difficulties in terms of research and approach as well as formatting issues with your citations.