Note: Before beginning this assignment, read through  information contained in the Scholastic Dishonesty link in the course  menu to the left.


The core assignment of this course is a documented research paper  (1500-2000 words in length = approx. 6 – 8 pages double spaced, 12-point  font).




The paper should support a thesis statement with information gained from research or investigation.

The paper will not be just, but  will be a paper that carefully examines and presents your own historical  interpretation of the topic you have chosen and your interpretation of  the information you have gathered.

The paper may include consideration of problems and solutions,  define key terms, or refute arguments against your thesis statement.

It will be important to choose a topic of interest to you.




Approach this assignment with an open and skeptical mind, then form an opinion based on what you have discovered.

You must suspend belief while you are investigating and let the  discoveries shape your opinion. (This is a thesis-finding approach.)

Once you have found your thesis, write the paper to support it.

You will use some of the following critical thinking skills in this process:




Choosing an appropriate topic, limiting the topic

Gathering information, summarizing sources

Analyzing and evaluating sources

Defining key terms

Synthesizing information, comparing and contrasting sources

Testing a thesis, making a historical argument, using refutation

Amassing support for a position

Documenting sources

Because this may be a longer paper than you have written before and a  complex process is involved, it is recommended that you complete this  paper using the following steps:




Choose a topic related to U.S. History up to 1877 (Chapters 1-15)  that you would truly like to explore and that you are willing to spend  some time on. Your chosen topic should be focused. Pose a question that  you really want to answer. You may want to begin with more than one  topic in mind.

Do some preliminary reading on the topic(s). You may begin with  the textbook, then further explore the information available. Refine  your topic. Summarize your topic, your interest in the topic, the  questions you want to answer, and a hypothesis you want to test.

Gather information from a variety of sources. Use a minimum of four sources for your paper, and at least one must be a primary source.


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