History Essay

Dr. Young HIST 1378 Fall 2020

First Essay Assignment Option

Due Date: Monday, October 5, at 11:59 p.m. Submit your paper to the Turnitin.com link in the Week Seven folder on the course Bb page.

Worth 150 points/15 percent of the course grade. Required length: three to five pages (900-1500 words).

PURPOSE: The purpose of this assignment is for you to “do history” by researching a topic related to reform: race rioting. After researching in the primary document PDFs regarding this topic (found in your Bb Week Five folder) you will use your insights and knowledge to craft a response to the question listed below under “task” (top p. 2). SKILLS: The purpose of this assignment is to help you practice the following skills that are essential to your success in this course, in the university, and in professional life beyond the university.

• You will begin by searching out primary source evidence that addresses the problem.

• Be sure to give these documents a close reading so that you can pull as much meaning as possible from them. See the Primary Source Reading Guide handout in your Week One folder for more details on how to undertake a close reading.

• When you are reading the primary documents, you will gain experience in evaluating the views and claims contained in each document. Do the statements made accord with what you’ve read in the other documents? With what you’ve read in your textbook? With what you’ve heard in the podcasts? Considering these questions will help you discern how much credibility to give to each document.

• From this primary source evidence, you will discern the most important facts, historical actors, and events associated with the problem.

• Next, you will compare what you have learned from the primary sources with your textbook and the podcast lectures, which are your pertinent secondary sources.

• Next, you will outline and plan the narrative of your answer.

• Next, you will start writing by describing and interpreting the evidence in a manner that allows you to answer the question posed of you. As you write remember that you are telling a story. The writing should be crisp and compelling.

• All information in your paper will be properly cited. See criteria for the success below for details.

• Finally, you will develop an analytical thesis that is detailed, substantive, and debatable. You will present this thesis in your introduction, develop it throughout the body, and restate it in your conclusion.

KNOWLEDGE: By doing this assignment you will better understand the range of views about post World War I race relations. Be prepared to think about the following questions as you sort through this material. What problems caused the rioting that reached epidemic proportions in the postwar years? Why did society not solve this problem? As you read the primary documents about race rioting, you will need to critically examine each and form your own conclusions. The work you produce will add to the scholarly conversation about race and violence against people of color in the 1920s.


TASK: Jim Crow style segregation is typically understood as a southern phenomenon. Using the assigned Primary Document PDF, explain how the Chicago riots of 1919 both fit within this paradigm and challenge this paradigm. How did social attitudes about race in Chicago shape the conditions in which the riot occurred? Finally, assess what sort of reforms were needed in Chicago and why so little change happened. Defend your answer. Be sure to draw heavily on the primary documents for Week Five. Use the Podcasts and textbook readings only as supplement in developing your answer. Remember that the majority of your examples need to come from the primary documents and that they need to be the basis for your argument. Do not use outside, unassigned sources. Doing so will result in a reduction of your grade. CRITERIA FOR SUCCESS:

1. Document usage requirements: Be sure that you use at least six primary documents from the assigned PDF for your essay. For each body paragraph there should be at least two or three substantive points developed from the documents.

2. Permissible and impermissible sources: Completion of the paper assignment requires consultation of no additional sources. You must not use Wikipedia or any other Internet source. Use only your assigned materials: the primary documents, e-book, and podcasts. I instruct the TAs to ignore material derived from unauthorized sources, so using such material will only hurt your grade.

3. Outlining your paper: As you are developing your answer, use the question to help establish your outline. This is not an assignment that can be completed with the five- paragraph paper with introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion that you probably learned in high school. The structure of the question will likely require more body paragraphs than the five-paragraph paper allows.

4. Formatting: Make sure that your paper is typed and double-spaced, has standard one-inch margins, 12-point font, Times New Roman. Put page numbers on your document.

5. Late work: Late work will not be accepted. Plan accordingly.

6. Citation guidelines–quotes: All quotes must be placed in quotation marks and cited using the parenthetical method, i.e. the following example. According to the People’s Party Platform of July 24, 1896: “We recognize that, through the connivance of the present and preceding Administrations, the country has reached a crisis in its national life” (Week 3 doc. readings). You will note that the example contains the following elements: a description of the document in the text and an indication of which week’s reading contains the document in the parenthesis. The expectation is that you will follow this model or something very similar with all of your quotations. All other material must be rendered completely in your own words.

7. Effective quoting: Simply quoting a primary document is not necessarily making effective use of it. You also need to explain what the document means and how that meaning advances your argument. Doing this requires that you draw inferences and synthesize information from multiple sources. In other words, be selective in quoting from the primary documents, and only quote very colorful and compelling language.


8. Quotes and the textbook: Do not quote from the textbook. Save your quotes for the most

provocative concepts contained within the original documents!

• Since it is the documents you are analyzing, you are better off spending time with them.

• Use the text and lectures to make sure you understand the larger historical context.

9. Citation guidelines–paraphrasing: Paraphrasing well is an art, and paraphrased passages must be cited just like quotes. When you paraphrase you need to substantially change the wording of the original source. It is not sufficient to change a few words and retain the original sentence structure. That approach leaves you open to charges of plagiarism. Instead, you must take the idea from the original source and put it in your own words, which means a new sentence structure and significantly different word choices. See the examples below:

• Original passage: “Work-sharing festivals such as house raisings, log rollings, and quiltings gave isolated farm folk the chance to break their daily routine” (p. 359).

Unacceptable: Work-sharing opportunities including house construction, log gathering, and sewing gave detached farmers an opportunity to change their routine (p. 359).

Acceptable: Farmers merged their social lives with their work lives to gain relief from the monotony of an agrarian existence (p. 359).

Use the same citation format noted above in number 6.



Grades Thesis and

Argument Evidence Quotations Body

Paragraphs Organization and Style


A’s The introductory paragraph contains a detailed, substantive, debatable, and clearly defined thesis statement. The argument is original and insightful, and is developed throughout the assignment. The paper has a cogent conclusion that restates and expands on the thesis.

Substantial evidence is derived from all assigned sources— especially the primary document PDFs. Typically students will draw from a minimum of two different documents for each body paragraph. The evidence is contextualized, evaluated, and analyzed.

Compelling quotations are taken from the primary document PDFs—and cited per the assignment guidelines. Quotes are not longer than a sentence (four typed lines in a paper). Quotes are analyzed and used to help develop the thesis of the paper.

The body paragraphs are coherent. Each body paragraph begins with a topic sentence that introduces the particular focus of that paragraph. Each body paragraph contains a thorough description and explication of the evidence presented in the paragraph. Said interpretations and analysis are linked back to the thesis.

The essay has a logical and thoughtful organization wherein each paragraph flows naturally from the previous paragraph. Clear connections are made among the different pieces of evidence so as to better understand the thesis. The prose is cleanly written and free of mechanical errors.

The paper meets the required length of the assignment.

Grades Thesis and

Argument Evidence Quotations Body

Paragraphs Organization and Style


B’s Paper typically contains all or most elements of the “A Grade” for thesis and argument, but is not fully developed.

Paper contains satisfactory usage of the primary document PDFs, but does not meet all the requirements of the “A Grade” paper.

Paper contains quotations from the primary document PDFs, but perhaps they are not well-selected or placed, perhaps they are too long, or perhaps they are not satisfactorily analyzed.

The body of the paper contains all or most elements of the “A Grade,” but perhaps minor issues exist with the paper’s body: topic sentences might be weak, there might not be substantial development of evidence, or there might not be additional development of the thesis.

Perhaps the paper has minor grammatical and/or stylistic errors.

Paper either meets the required length or is within half a page of it.


Grades Thesis and Argument

Evidence Quotations Body Paragraphs

Organization and Style


C’s Typically, “C Grade” papers have a weak or inadequate thesis. Often the thesis statement, if there is one, does not extend beyond a restatement of the question or a factual statement about the topic of the paper.

Typically, “C Grade” papers provide simple, factual summaries of content and are devoid of analysis, interpretatio n, and context. Summaries may or may not be drawn from the primary document PDFs. A “C Grade” is the highest possible grade a student can earn if the primary document PDFs are not engaged.

Quotations are either minimal or are not contextualized, evaluated, and analyzed.

Topic sentences are either weak or non-existent. The evidence likely is not developed or interpreted. Often paragraphs lack coherent themes.

Perhaps there are significant errors of grammar and/or organization.

“C Grade” papers may meet the length requirement but have substantial weaknesses regarding argument and thesis; use of evidence and quotations; body paragraphs; and organization and style. Alternatively, “C Grade” papers might be solid but too short by a page or more from the minimum length requirement.

Grades Thesis and

Argument Evidence Quotations Body

Paragraphs Organization and Style


D’s Typically, “D Grade” papers lack a thesis or if one is attempted it is nothing more than a weak generalization.

The evidence presented typically is not concrete and specific but instead is overly generalized. Typically, there is little or no use of the primary document PDFs.

There are likely no quotes or the quotes have little connection to the problem being studied.

There are no topic sentences. There are no interpretations or evaluations of the evidence. The paragraphs lack coherent purpose.

Perhaps there are significant errors of grammar and/or organization.

“D Grades” may or may not meet the length requirement.


Grades Thesis and Argument

Evidence Quotations Body Paragraphs

Organization and Style


F’s “F Grade” papers do not have a thesis or an argument.

Little or no understanding of the problem being studied is demonstrated. Moreover, there is little or no attention to assigned sources. Often, the paper is off topic or full of factual errors.

Quotations are minimal or are off topic.

There are no topic sentences. There are no interpretations or evaluations of the evidence. The paragraphs lack coherent purpose.

Often there are significant errors of grammar and/or organization.

“F Grades” may or may not meet the length requirement.

  • First Essay Assignment Option