HISTORY RESEARCH PAPER
TOPICS TO CHOSE FROM
· Did the Chinese Discover America?
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· African Contact with the New World Prior to Columbus
· Columbus: Hero or Villain?
· Magellan: Greatest Navigator Ever?
· Impact of the Great Awakening
· The Boston Massacre: Was It a Crime?
· Causes of The American Revolution: A British Perspective
· Objective: The assignment is to write a historiographical research paper. In a nutshell, historiography is the “history of history.” Rather than subjecting actual events, such as the Emancipation Proclamation, to historical analysis, the subject of historiography is the history of the history of the event, meaning the manner in which scholars have written about the subject, that is, the sometimes-conflicting objectives pursued by those writing about the event over time and the way in which such factors have shaped our understanding of the event.
Of course, there should be a brief summary of your topic to provide context for the reader. However, this is NOT a narrative essay on a historical topic. The objective of this assignment is to explore the specific opinions of at least three scholars on the topic of your paper. These opinions may or may not be contradictory but more a matter of emphasis. For example, there are varying views among historians concerning Lincoln’s motivation behind issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Some assert that Lincoln’s executive order was primarily a wartime measure specifically designed to cripple the Southern economy by encouraging slaves to run away. Others see it as a means to take the war to a higher moral plain, that is, a war of liberation as well as to save the Union. Others see the proclamation as a strategy to reduce the possibility that Great Britain and/or France might enter the war on the side of the Confederacy by making it politically impossible to do so in light of both nations’ firm positions on slavery. Then again, there are those who accept all these arguments as clear motivations behind the measure while emphasizing one factor more than others.
· Sources: Minimum of Three Secondary Sources (books, periodicals, and Internet sources are acceptable; however, all web-based sources must be pre-approved by the professor.)
· Style Guidelines/Formatting/Citations: APA Note: For detailed information on APA formatting, visit https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html.)
· Structure: The paper should be comprised of an Introduction (100-150 words) that contains both a topic sentence and a thesis statement; Main Body (1700-1800 words) that parallels the Introduction; and a Conclusion (100-150 words) that summarizes the Main Body and also parallels the Introduction. In addition, your Introduction should include a brief explanation of three specific historical perspectives on your topic. Most importantly, your introduction must include a clear and concise thesis statement. However, you do not have to embrace one of the three perspectives in your thesis. The purpose of this assignment is to encourage an objective study of a historical topic. Thus, an acceptable introductory paragraph thesis for a historiographical research paper on the Emancipation Proclamation could be as follows:
The Emancipation Proclamation was one of the most important milestones in American history. Issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863 in the midst of our nation’s bloodiest conflict, this historic act continues to spark controversy among leading scholars of Civil War history. The debate focuses on the primary motivation behind Lincoln’s decision. This paper will examine three of the most popular theories and present each in a clear, concise, and objective manner.
· In the Main Body, you will explain the three arguments, citing the various scholars and key supporting facts behind each.
· In the Conclusion, you will briefly summarize each argument. You may wish to confirm the historical significance of your topic and the importance of looking at all scholarly opinions to better understand its complexity.
· Works Cited: In accordance with MLA formatting, the paper should include a Works Cited page at the end that contains all source material.
General Comments: Your work should be thoroughly proofed with careful attention paid to proper punctuation, grammar and paragraph structure. You should avoid colloquialisms, contractions and writing in the first-person. In addition, there should be no block quotes in a paper of this length. Use your paraphrasing skills.