three formal mini essays

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You will be writing three formal mini-essays. When I grade your essays, I will be looking for the answers to the following questions:

Has the student in this essay –

1. Demonstrated knowledge of the textbook, documents, and discussion assignments?

2. Applied this knowledge skillfully and persuasively throughout their essays?

3. Inferred from known facts to arguable or “educated” guesses?

4. Cited (given proper credit to) the sources used by using quotation marks to set off the words of others and citing sources?

5. Used no other outside sources other than the assigned readings and discussion assignments?

6. Written a clear, grammatically correct, well-organized essay, free of misspellings and basic writing rules?

The Task

Please answer the three essay questions below below in three formal mini-essays. Be sure that your essays have clear-cut theses, that they logically develop their theses or main points, and that each part of your essays are backed with specific historical evidence – evidence that convinces me that you’ve read the textbook and that you’ve viewed the assigned websites and completed the Discussion assignments. The higher grades will be earned by those who use this evidence most fully and effectively.

Citing Your Source

Be sure to correctly cite the words you borrow. If you borrow another author’s words, data, or ideas, use quotation marks to make clear what you’ve specifically borrowed, then immediately give a parenthetical citation telling me the work you’ve used, the author, and the page number. Using another person’s words or ideas without citing their work or without using quotation marks to identify precisely what you’ve borrowed is plagiarism. Ignorance of the term is no excuse and it will earn you an “F” for the paper and a black mark on your academic transcript – the one that is sent to the college you hope to transfer to.

I — not you — will turn all essays into an anti-plagiarism service. In short, Good Student, do not plagiarize.

Other Requirements

Each of your mini-essays must, at minimum, be 1,000 words long. If you wish to exceed the minimum word requirement per essay, please do so so long as all parts of your essay support your thesis. In calculating your word total, I will not count your bibliography or title pages, only the main body of the essays. Also know that the essays must be double-spaced throughout, typed, and that you must use Times New Roman.

When you are ready to submit your work, all three mini-essays must be put in ONE FILE. Be sure that single file is in one of the three following filetypes: .doc, .docx, .pdf. No exceptions.

If I can’t open the file containing your three mini-essays for any reason, I cannot grade your paper and zero points will be given for it.

Do the best work you can, start early in drafting your essays, and use your own words except when quoting the work of others.

REMEMBER: Your paper must use as much historical evidence as possible from as many chapters and class documents as possible. All of the textbook chapters we have covered so far, up to the assignment deadline, should be utilized in framing your mini-essays so long as the historical information you draw from them is relevant and improves your essay.

Your final mini-essays must be combined in ONE FILE and then submitted on this page by clicking on the “Submit” button on the upper right corner of this page. Please submit your one file containing your essays before 11 pm (PST) on February 7th, 2019, before 11 p.m (PST). Please write that date down.

Late essays will not be accepted.

You will be able to enter and leave and return to this assignment as often as you wish BEFORE the assignment deadline.


Here are the Three Questions. Please answer all three questions in three mini-essays. Good luck!

1. Evaluate this statement: The history of the United States of America between 1607 and 1877 is mostly the history of westward expansion and land – that is, colonizing land, surveying it, buying it, stealing it, cultivating it, warring over it. Be sure to answer all arguments that make against the thesis you adopt in your paper. That is, answer the criticisms of those who might disagree with your chief argument.

2. From the minute Jamestown was established (barely) in 1607, racial conflict has existed in the United States. In our period (1607-1877), discuss the most extreme forms that this racism took, its effect on the economy and political history of the U.S., and some of the notable remedies that reformers put forth to combat it.

3. From 1850 to 1865, the U.S. changed radically in some ways. In other ways it remained stubbornly the same. This question tests your understanding of the changes and continuities in this crucial 17-year period. For this question, please infer intelligently on the possible points-of-view of four fictional Americans at two different points in time – 1850 and 1865. The four fictional persons are:

Hank – a former African American farm-slave from Alabama
Sedley – a southern plantation-owner from Mississippi
Thadner – a radical Republican and abolitionist from Rhode Island
Gradstock – a woman-rights reformer from Massachusetts

Let’s assume it’s 1850. How would each of the four figures, taken separately, answer this question:

Must a Civil War be fought?

Next, assume it’s now 1865 – 15 years later. How would the same four figures, taken separately, answer the following two questions:

What have been the chief successes of the Civil War? That is, what positive changes have arguably occurred in this period from the perspective of each figure?

What have been the chief failures of this 15-year period, from 1850 to 1865 and the end of the war?

In your answers, the better papers will have claims that are supported with historical evidence drawn from the assigned material in our class. That is, from our textbook in particular, but also from the websites and documents assigned in the discussions.

The more you use this assigned material — and the more effectively you use it — the better you will score on this essay question. Be sure to cite what you borrow.

Also be sure in answering each question, to take each figure separately and express what you believe his or her point of view would be based on the evidence, logic, and the historical record. Avoid unsupported speculation!

Good luck!

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