Trans continental railroad

This assignment is designed to foster skills in critical, historical thinking
through researching and analyzing a primary source in history. You will
also practice writing clearly and effectively. For this assignment choose one primary source (photo, artifact, political cartoon, text, letter, diary, map, newspaper article, song, memoir, etc.) from one of the following online collections or another collection of your choice. (You must get your primary source from a reliable, documented collection. Check with me when in doubt.) The primary source can relate to your choice of any topic, event or period in American history between 1790 and 1877–examples include music, slavery, Manifest Destiny, women’s’ rights, the Civil War, fashion, etc. See me if you need help picking a topic. anintroductionthatincludesyourthesis(numbers3and4belowwill help you determine your thesis)
2. adetaileddescriptionofyouritemthataddressesthefollowing questions (NOTE: depending on your source you might not be able
This assignment is designed to foster skills in critical, historical thinking
through researching and analyzing a primary source in history. You will
also practice writing clearly and effectively.
1

to answer all of the questions):
a. What type of item do you have? (Photo, speech, newspaper
article, letter, song, political cartoon, advertisement,
government record, etc.?)
b. What is it about and/or what does it portray/illustrate?
c. When and where was the document or item created?
d. Who created the document or item? This could be an
individual, a group or a business, etc.
e. What perspective/point of view does it illustrate or reflect?
(EX. Housewife? Politician? Abolitionist? Multiple
perspectives?)
f. What were the motivations for creating the document or
item?
3. adescriptionofthehistoricalcontext.Whatwashappeningatthe time and in the place/region that the item was created? (Ex. If the item was created during the early 1800s in NYC, then you would give the general characteristics/trends of the early 1800s in NYC.)
4. asectiondiscussingwhattheprimarysourceillustratesaboutthe event or topic it relates to and/or the period and region within which it was created
5. asectiondiscussingwhether/howtheprimarysourcesupportswhat you already knew/learned in your research about the event or topic and/or time period and region that it comes from or whether it offers new information or a different perspective
6. aconclusion
7. areferencepageorbibliographylistinganysources,includingthe primary source, you use. Include in-text citations in your essay for quotes or paraphrasing of a source.
Make sure that each section uses specific evidence from the primary source.
*NOTE: Except for the introduction, conclusion, and bibliography, the above sections don’t have to be separate sections/paragraphs. Use your judgment and organize the essay in a way that flows well and works best for you.
(Cont’d next page) The essay must be double-spaced, use a 12-point font such as Times New
Roman or Arial and have 1-inch margins. Include page numbers and a
2

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heading with your name and the date. You must cite your sources, including the primary source, using the citation style of your choice (MLA, APA, Chicago Style). Primary source citations must include the collection name and location. Remember to proofread for spelling and punctuation

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