writing examining the civil war
Your research paper should be an analytical and critical piece of writing examining the civil war.
You will need to do research into primary and secondary sources for this project. Primary sources are first person eyewitness documents, and often consist of letters, diaries, manuscripts, etc. I have compiled a long list of primary source digital archives which you can investigate for primary sources, (see below)
You should plan to meet the following research minimums: 1-3 primary sources, 3-5 secondary sources. There is some flexibility here. For instance, if you do a paper on say, a specific Civil War soldier’s letters, you would cite those letters multiple times and that would be okay. This is where the abstract and proposing the project will factor in.
- please note that the paper should be double spaced and printed in “Times Roman” font at “12 point” size. In addition, the paper should have one-inch margins. In the upper left hand corner, please list your name, the course number, my name, and the date. Please remember to use page numbers and to give your paper a catchy, imaginative title. And be very, very sure to check spelling and grammar. Papers with misspellings will be penalized.
The paper should be minimum 3 pages in length. You are encouraged to go over the page minimum, but students who fall substantially short of the minimum will be penalized
- First, remember that I will mark you down if the paper contains misspellings, grammatical errors, and any other evidence that you either didn’t proofread or can’t write a complete sentence. Sloppiness will cost you dearly. If you can’t take the time to proofread your paper (or get someone to look it over for you) you can rest assured that your grade will suffer. A paper written the night before (whoops lol, you got me tho! Thank you!) will have an excellent chance of earning a “C” or a “D” – if you’re lucky. Don’t disappoint me by handing in shoddy work.
- Second, you must have an argument, other wise known as a thesis.
- Third, you must back up your argument with evidence from the readings. That means that each paragraph should develop an aspect of your argument and then back up your contention with evidence. Whenever possible, you should quote from the sources as well. Each paragraph should have at least one quotation, and several citations.
- Fourth, you must cite the sources you are quoting or drawing from. Do so by using Chicago format. To cite a source in Chicago format: click insertand then footnote.Make sure your footnotes are numbered (1, 2, 3, etc..) When you fill out the sources: start with name, title (place of publication, publisher, year) and then page number. So a good citation looks like this: Eric Foner, Reconstruction (New York: Basic Books, 1997), 142. Once you have cited the source, you are not required to perform a full citation, instead you can use an abbreviated citation: Foner, 34. In a works cited page, cite the full citation of an outside source, ex: author name, title of work, (place of publication, publisher, date). If it is an internet source make sure to cite the full hyperlink so I can track it down and look at it myself. Remember, edu and gov hyperlink’s are the most legitimate. Make sure you critically assess any other website before citing it in this paper.
- Fifth, avoid unnecessary spacing to try and artificially lengthen the paper. Do not put extra spaces between the title and the paper or between paragraphs. Also, avoid long quotations. If you have a quotation longer than 4 lines that is fine, but you must single space the quotation into a block quote. This is so that you don’t have a page of quotes and no actual prose. Contact me with questions about this point.
- Sixth, don’t plagiarize. While some history professor somewhere has undoubtedly assigned questions like the ones I have assigned, the evidence with which you will answer the question is unique to this class. So don’t bother looking for someone else’s words in place of your own. Also, remember if you draw anything from someone else’s work, even if its just an idea, you must cite it. Intellectual property is real, and if you violate it you will be punished. Students suspected of plagiarism will be hauled before the appropriate disciplinary body on campus and punished according to the laws of the university. Plagiarism WILL result in a ZERO for the paper, and could result in an F for the class. I am obligated to do this, I don’t like to do it, so don’t force me to!
- Finally, I will accept drafts of papers before the due date. If you have gotten an early start and want me to proofread your work, please send it to me. I will also accept late papers, they will not receive full credit, but better late than not at all!
Here is the list of primary sources feel free to choose your own tho!
Online, Accessible, Digital Primary Sources
Shared Shelf Commons (consortium of universities’ digital projects-sscommons.org)
World Digital library (LOC)
250+Killer Digital Libraries and Archives (Open Education Database)
Internet Archive (archive.org)
Internet Archive WayBack Machine (History of webpages. It really is there forever! If it has been on the net, it’s here)
http://historymatters.gmu.edu/ (George Mason Univ.)
https://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/ (Univ. of Houston)
Civil War in the American South (Association of Southeastern Research Libraries Digitization Project)
Southern Oral History Program (Documenting the American South at UNC)
The Valley of the Shadow (Civil War Primary Sources/Letters/Newspapers/Diaries & Other records)
The People’s Contest: A Civil War Era Digital Archiving Project (CW Diaries/Paper collections)
Civil War Diaries and Letters (University of Iowa)
Modern Manuscript Collection/Civil War (Newberry Library)
The Crisis of Union: Causes, Conduct, and Consequences of the U.S. Civil War (University of Pennsylvania)
Civil War Digital Collection (State Library of Pennsylvania)
Regimental Histories (State Library of Pennsylvania)
Alabama Civil War and Reconstruction Newspapers (Alabama Archives & History)
Alabama Textual Collections (Digital-Alabama Archives & History)
Wisconsin in the Civil War (Wisconsin Historical Society)
C.S.S. Alabama (Confederate raiding ship-Univ. of Alabama)
Female nurses during the Civil War (Nat. Museum of Civil War Medicine)
Searchable Official Records of the War of the Rebellion (The Ohio State Univ.)