Essay Using Primary Sources, #1
You will write a short paper (4-5 pages) on ONE of the following TWO possibilities. The paper should be typed or word-processed, double-spaced, with reasonable margins, and should contain 4-5 pages worth of text. You may conduct outside research for this paper, but it is not necessary – all the material you need can be found in the textbook materials required for the class. Be sure to address every part of the question. It should be a thesis-driven essay, a product of your own work, using properly cited sources for evidence. The paper should follow a logical structure and have appropriate supporting evidence or examples. The thesis should appear in the introductory paragraph, and there should be a concluding paragraph at the end.
Information about how to produce a good thesis and good essay is available from the Paper Assignments Module pages. It would also be very helpful to pay attention as you read and research in class for any historical information that would help you in writing your paper. As always, I am available through class e-mail if you have any questions about the assignment. I also will accept and comment on as many rough drafts as you are willing to send me to make the best final product possible.
1. Compare and Contrast Primary Sources – Choose TWO primary source documents from the first half of the course (any of the “Sources From the Past” documents from Chapters 2-11 of the Bentley book). The two sources should have some issue or thread in common. (For example: the rule of law, sources of political authority, religious beliefs, social relationships, gender values, etc.) Compare and contrast them in terms of an important issue they have in common. What do the two have in common? How do they approach the issue in different ways? What is the reason for the difference between the two sources? Explain how the similarities and differences in the two cultures that produced the sources are revealed by comparing and contrasting the two documents.
2. Putting a Primary Source in Context – Choose ONE primary source document from the first half of the course (any of the “Sources From the Past” documents from Chapters 2-11 of the Bentley book) Explain what that source reveals about the society that produced it. What is the historical context of the source – the background to the document –who produced it, and what is its function? What ideas and values does the source reveal about the culture that created it? Using the rest of the textbook as a source of information, explain how the source relates to larger historical developments. For example, what does the source tell us about the power relationships, gender relations, social structure, or religious values within that particular society?