Posted: January 24th, 2021

American history, civil war paper


This paper should be an essay of 8-10 pages in length, and consist of original research and analysis. The final paper will be graded out of 100 possible points, and it will constitute 30% of your final grade.

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Your paper will take a position on a pre-circulated topic prompt, you will create your own argument to answer the prompt, and you will support that argument with primary- and secondary-source evidence compiled from your own research.

High-quality papers should:

  • meet the 8-page minimum length (title page, bibliography page(s), and restated prompt are not considered part of the 8-page minimum);
  • have an introduction;
  • be double-spaced and written in 12-point, Times New Roman font;
  • have a clear thesis statement at the end of the introduction;
  • provide supporting evidence in the form of well-chosen and concise direct quotes;
  • provide proper Chicago Style footnote (notes-bibliography) (Links to an external site.) citations for all quoted and paraphrased evidence;
  • avoid plagiarizing the work(s) of others;
  • and, end with a solid conclusion that restates your thesis (albeit in a paraphrased form) and addresses some of the broader implications of the topic;
  • Optional (but strongly encouraged): a bibliography.

History Writing Tutoring:

**Remember: You receive five bonus points (5%, or half of a letter grade) for attending a history tutoring session for your final paper, while also improving your paper’s quality for a better grade.**

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The institution of slavery proved a critical force in the creation and development of the United States during the first half of the long nineteenth century, and the racial elements would continue to influence American society long after slavery’s abolition in 1865. It defined the states’ geographical and political boundaries, shaped the society and economy of the Early Republic and Antebellum eras, and brought Americans to blows (both ideologically and militarily). It also determined along racial lines who was entitled to citizenship and liberty within the United States. For this final paper, you are asked to examine the role of slavery, race, and rights in American society during the Early Republic and Antebellum periods. 

Some questions to think about in preparing your paper:

– How did slavery shape perceptions of free and unfree black persons in the United States between 1787 and 1860?

– How did these perceptions become intertwined with race?

– How did free black persons assert their claims to rights and citizenship in the United States?

– How were a free black person’s rights limited, curtailed, and/or undermined?

– In what ways did black persons assert their agency (e.g. free will, personhood) in society? What means did they use to do so (i.e. courts, religion, petitions, protests, careers, etc.)? How successful were they?

– In what ways did pro-slavery advocates deny black people’s agency, and undermine their claims to rights and citizenship?

– In what ways did Abolitionists and anti-slavery crusaders promote black rights? Were there limitations to this advocacy?

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