1. Select one of the essay topics below in the Essay Options section. There are a total of four possible research options, please read each one to decide which you feel you would like to pursue. 2. Create you

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General Information and Instructions:

The purpose of this assignment is to use different historical methods you have learned about during this course to complete a historical research project. Your research project should start with your developing a historical question, that you then research, and then attempt to answer using both primary and secondary sources to support your research.

How to proceed:
1. Select one of the essay topics below in the Essay Options section. There are a total of four possible research options, please read each one to decide which you feel you would like to pursue.
2. Create your specific historical question within the broader essay topic you select.
3. The examples under each essay option are by no means the only topics that you can write about, they are merely provided to help you think about how you might approach this topic. You should select your own topic, however you can choose one of the examples.
4. Begin researching primary and secondary sources to gather information that support your discussion of your historical question.
5. Review the paper requirements for both the research portion and the writing portion of your assignment.
6. Review the grading rubric to ensure that you have met all of the paper requirements before making your submission.
Essay Options (select one of the following options):
Research Option #1: History Turning Points
General Overview: Select an event, incident, a legislative action, or related marked historical moment in the years from Reconstruction until today that marks an important transition in American History. This historical event can lead to a social, economic, or political transition that shaped the country’s history. Additionally, you will conclude this research project with a supposition of how history might have been shaped had this event never occurred or of another possible outcome could have been possible.
Examples: How did the new technology of WWI change modern warfare? What could have been the possible benefits and problems if the Freedman’s Bureau continued beyond Reconstruction?

Research Objectives & Questions to be Discussed in Your Essay: (Incorporate these questions in the writing of your essay.)

• Why did you select this event?
• What were both the short- and long-term effects of this historical event?
• Who all were impacted/affected by this historical event?
• How was history changed by this event?
• If you were to imagine a different outcome or reaction to your event, what do you suppose might have been a different outcome in the short- and long-term?

Research Option #2: Oral History and Historical Memory
General Overview: You will read two historical personal accounts in relation to life in the past or tied to a specific historical event. Then your research will compare these personal accounts with the “factual” or “documented” history of the era. Next, proceed to compare the personal account against the historical record, and then analyze the value of oral history in enriching our understanding the historical period/event.

Example: a government investigator and an observer of the JFK assassination

Research Objectives & Questions to be Discussed in Your Essay:
• What was the personal background of the two individuals you chose?
• How are the individuals specifically tied to the specific historical event?
• What are the similarities and differences in the accounts of the individuals?
• What elements in their narratives do you feel influenced (if it applies) the way we teach/learn that history today?
• How do you feel personal accounts either enhance or possibly detract from our understanding of the historical past?

Research Option #3: Impacts of Reform
General Overview: This research project will examine the impact of reform and/or civil rights movements of the 19th – 21st centuries. Your research will examine should place your selected movement/reform in both the historical and modern context, choosing to focus on either their causes, achievements, struggles, and/or stances of your selected reform movement and/or civil rights movement. This essay should additionally analyze the contributions these movements have made in the overall fight for freedom and equality in United States history.

Examples: The history of the temperance/prohibition movement and the impact on the ratification of the 18th amendment; the origins of the African American civil rights movement and the issues of equality under the law in the modern context; the women’s struggle for suffrage and the relation to issues of equal opportunity; the recognition of the rights of the disabled and legislative moves to provide accommodation and access to opportunity.

Research Objectives & Questions to be Discussed in Your Essay:
• What are the most significant organizations formed for your movement that have had the greatest impact historically and/or modernly?
• What are the sources of division amongst reformers/activists? Is there disagreement on approaches on how they should present their desired reforms to the public/government?
• What has been the greatest challenge for this movement/reform in terms of achieving equality, either historically or modernly?
• What is the modern status and/or legacy of these movements today?
• How do you feel that you have directly benefitted, or are influenced by, the reform movements in the past or modernly?

Research Option #4: History Yesterday & Today
General Overview: This research project will start with you examining a recent news story (reported within the last year) that reveals new information about the historical past, OR a recent news story that contributes to the longer dialogue/history of the relationship between Africa, the Americas, and Europe.The goal of this essay should be to emphasize the idea that history is a continually developing story that evolves with new information, discoveries, and/or changes in political, social, and or economic conditions. Important note: the news story should be directly tied to an event that this course covers (Reconstruction until today).

Examples: The question/concern about unequal treatment under the law; a discovery of a new artifact that tells us something previously unknown about the historical past; the nature of protest in a modern democratic America.

Research Objectives & Questions to be Discussed in Your Essay:

• What is the topic of the news story, and what does the reporter highlight as the current historical significance?
• What is the historical context of the news story? What does it specifically relate to?
• How does the news story either add new information, expand, and/or change what we know about the historical past?
• In your assessment, should this story/discovery/research fundamentally change the way in which we teach history of this event/period?
• Overall, using your news story as an example, how do recent events and discoveries illustrate that history is a dynamic and evolving study?

 

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