How to Write Good Papers for this Class
With this paper, the goal is to master some basic historical skills—Analyze historical sources as well as to have a thesis and support it with evidence.
►For this paper, the prompt asks you to place an event in its context, as follows:
WRITING PROMPT: Read Melton McLaurin’s, Celia, A Slave (1991), (available in the bookstore).
Answer the following question: When Celia committed her crime in 1855 Missouri, there were prior federal as well as state policies that had passed and would affect Celia’s trial. Explain the federal and state policies that were an advantage to Celia and her case as well as those that were a disadvantage to her and her case. Why were these particular policies either advantageous to Celia or disadvantageous?
Try to cover both parts of your answer in a balanced, logical way:
The federal and state policies: What federal policies had passed since 1819 that would affect Celia? What state policies had passed since 1819 that would affect Celia? Why were these policies created?
Their Impact: How do the federal policies affect her trial, verdict, and disposition? Are they an advantage or disadvantage? Why? How do the state policies affect her trial, verdict, and disposition? Are they an advantage or disadvantage? Why?
► Be prepared to discover your central claim while you write, and as you mine the book (and other course materials) for evidence. Then, revise your paper to reflect that claim, and title it in a way that tells your reader what you want to say.
These papers will be graded on their organization, balance, and source support rather than on the author’s opinion. Make sure that you ascribe adequate time and space to both parts of the paper. Be sure to discuss all matters that the prompt instructs. Always strive to use evidence from all sources available to you (from class): primary source readings (in Reader & on eCampus), Celia, a Slave, and lectures. Do NOT use internet sources nor any sources outside of course materials (if outside sources are used a ‘0’ will be given).
Make sure you give every paper a central claim or thesis. It is most important that you have a claim to make and a thesis to argue, and that you support this claim with evidence, using proper citation forms.
Formatting: Each paper should be three-four pages long (800-1000 words), printed in double-spaced twelve-point Times New Roman typeface, with 1″ (Word should already be set at this marker) left and right margins, and numbered pages. Put your name on the first page, along with a title for the paper that expresses its central claim. State this claim and support it with evidence drawn primarily from the reading under consideration. Feel free to utilize other class material, but keep your focus on the reading. Be sure to have citations. See citations page on eCampus.
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