Checklist: Do not use a standard essay format. Provide each component clearly and distinctly.
Two paragraphs comparing two selected documents.
One thesis statement
One discussion question
Step ONE: Identify the nature of the source material. Which readings are primary or secondary sources? Are they fictional works or do they present any evident bias?
Step TWO: Choose TWO READINGS from the assigned documents to perform a compare/contrast analysis. Video material is not acceptable in this assignment.
If you choose a primary and a secondary source, then think about how the primary source fits into the narrative/position of the secondary source.
If you choose two primary sources, then compare how they represent different viewpoints or perspectives on important issues.
If there is only one assigned reading, then extract two meaningful examples instead of comparisons.
Step THREE: Draw TWO meaningful comparisons between the two documents that reveals important insight into the historical period/topic of the week. The comparison may be any similarity or difference, but should focus on explaining how it helps historians understand the past. Think about how and why things happened the way they did. Figure out what you think is the most significant SIMILARITY between the two passages.
Consider the author’s perspective (national origin, class, ideology etc) for each document.
STEP FOUR: If these documents were the source material for your research project, what would your preliminary research question or thesis statement be? This should be no more than two sentences and cover the main idea that you would try to argue.
Ex. Using the works of Robespierre and St. Just, this paper will argue that the violence of the French Revolution was created by their interpretation of the needs of the French nation rather than their philosophical beliefs.
Be ambitious but with limits. Lay out a provable case that makes a strong a point, regardless of whether you are fully convinced that it is the case. You will be evaluated on the composition and effect of the ideas rather than the perfectness of the answer.
Step FIVE: Create one discussion question that you can propose to the class during seminar. It should be a why problem that poses an issue for debate rather than demanding a specific factual answer. Ex. Why didnt Frankenstein name the Creature? instead of Did Frankenstein name the Creature?
Do NOT use quotations or paraphrase the document. You may refer to specific passages but do not summarize the document. ex. Where Thomas Paine talked about hereditary right, he was focused on the legitimacy of an absolute monarchy. The paper should consist entirely of your own ideas and opinions about the sources using a compare/contrast approach. Therefore, citations should never be required. If you do quote/paraphrase then include citations.
WORD LIMIT 400
READING 1ST- Internet History Sourcebooks Project (fordham.edu)
reading 2nd – below in pdf
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