Did the Civil Rights Movement or the Vietnam War have a more significant impact on U.S. history? Essay Assignment: Vietnam/Civil Rights
Utilize the in-text citation format, examples below:
“Weapons, they have none” (Christopher Columbus)
“Government of New Plymouth” (United Colonies)
If you need to cite the textbook, use in-text citations with the author’s last name and page number, example below:
“The Jamestown deathtrap” (Brinkley, 54)
- No online or outside sources are to be used in these writing assignments. Please only use the information from the textbook, videos, and source readings in assessing this question.
- Keep citations to a minimum - when using quotes, no more than 3 lines, and 4 total citations.
Textbook : Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation, Volume II, 8th edition (McGraw Hill, 2014).
Chapter 28-33 ( Civil Rights and Vietnam)
All essays require a thesis statement.
A thesis statement is a brief (1-2) sentence(s) that provides a clear and direct answer to the question/essay prompt.
A good thesis does a few things…
- A thesis statement is always an argument and NOT a simple statement of fact
A thesis makes a claim that other people can potentially dispute, in other words, can someone argue with you about it?
A thesis statement is NEVER a statement of historical fact
- A thesis statement provides a “roadmap” or “outline” for what the rest of the paper will include
The reader should have an idea of what to expect in the rest of the essay from reading the thesis statement alone
Re-wording the question to answer it is not enough, the writer must bring their answer to the question
- A thesis statement appears in the BEGINNING of the paper, it is the last 1-2 sentences in the first paragraph
Tips for writing a good thesis statement
- Use the language of the question so that the question is being addressed in a direct manner
- For some, it is easier to write the thesis statement after you start working on the paper, or even after you finish. Don’t get stuck at the start trying to get the perfect 1-2 sentences.
- Answer all parts of the question, some prompts have more than one question.
Using proper evidence
It is important that specific historical evidence make it into the essays. In general, the more relevant evidence that is included the better - there is no minimum/maximum requirements what it comes to the incorporation of evidence.
Even though a statement/sentence is true, that does not necessarily mean that it is evidence.
What is evidence?
Evidence is the things that happened
Evidence cannot be disputed by others, it is the historical facts
Evidence is very specific
What constitutes proper evidence?
Events (Battle of Little Big Horn)
People (Samuel Gompers)
Places (The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory)
Statistics (In 1880, less than 1000 Buffalo remained)
Documents (How the Other Half Lives)
What are some examples of good and bad evidence?
Here is an example using the Spanish conquest of the New World, though factual, the below is not evidence:
The Spanish treated the Native American population very poorly, many of them were killed and forced to work for the Spanish.
Instead, incorporate the specifics. Below is a better use of evidence:
The Spanish implemented a labor system called encomienda, which allowed Spanish landowners to use Indians as slave labor. In 1495, the Spanish rounded up 500 Arawak Indians and sent them to Spain as slaves, 200 died on the voyage. In 1519, an army of 400 men led by Hernan Cortez ravaged the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan.
Using proper analysis
In addition to a proper thesis, and historical evidence, all papers require analysis.
What is analysis?
Analysis explains how the evidence answers the question and relates to the thesis.
- Ties things that happened (evidence) to the argument (thesis)
- Listing evidence is not enough to stand alone
- Explains what the evidence means
Analysis transforms an informational essay - one designed to inform - into an argumentative essay - one designed to prove a point.
Analysis (in addition to the thesis) is your unique contribution to the paper - the textbook, videos, or primary sources do not give you the analysis, it is for you to figure out and contribute.
Analysis is not necessarily right or wrong, but there is good analysis, bad analysis, and no analysis.
Writing tips (rules)
When writing formal academic essays there as tips and rules that need to be followed.
- No first or second person
First person includes (I, me, my, our, we) Second person is “you”.
- No contractions
Didn’t = did not, couldn’t = could not, wouldn’t = would not
Contractions are for speaking, never for formal writing
- Use active voice
Use fewer word to effectively communicate your point. Get rid of unnecessary words.
“A man that goes by the name of Chief Joseph”
“Workers started to fight back against…”
“Workers fought back against…”
- Do not include questions, be direct with the reader, tell them…
- The essay should stay within the historical time period in question, avoid using modern day examples/references
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