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American Political and Social History I



Due September 18 at 9:20AM on Blackboard, 500 words minimum.

This assignment has two parts and you must complete both parts to receive credit for the assignment.  When submitting in Blackboard, these two parts should be submitted as one document/file.

Part 1: The Historic Record

Minimum 250 words

Look through the assigned readings for this week.  What parts of people's lives do they document?  Your discussion questions for this week ask you to think about people's personal lives based on very limited evidence.  Using at least one chart and one text document with at least one quotation and citation from the text document, briefly summarize the purpose of the text document and the kind of information conveyed by the chart.  These summaries should be 1-2 sentences and focus on the kind of translation we did with the Document Translation assignment.  (You do not need to include images of the charts in your paper).

Using the same probate chart and text document, list three why questions which the documents do not answer and explain why these documents cannot answer these questions.  For example: "Why did enslaved people escape?  The runaway ads cannot answer this question because X Y and Z."

Be specific!  Part of the work of a historian is making informed judgements based on limited evidence, so read carefully and make arguments citations to support your argument. 

Part 2: Making an Archive

Maximum 250 words

Historians have to rely on archives of documents to understand the past, and archives are created based on what people think is important enough to document.  The first week of class, we made an archive when you submitted your Primary Source Images.  (If you were not enrolled in the course on August 28, you may submit your two images here:

Look through the Personal items and the Political items and describe what important parts of your life are left out.  What parts of your life aren't included in the archive we created?  What kinds of things would a historian know about you if they had only our archive to work from?

You will be graded on content, argument, organization, grammar/mechanics, citations, and your use of the documents.  Except in Part 2, do not use "I" statements ("I believe that the document is about X"); rather, make declarative statements: "The Discource Concerning Western Planting was written by X and argued that Y."

You must cite in Chicago style footnotes and use quotations to support your arguments.  Citations must be in-line footnotes with complete references in the footnotes.  Parenthetical citations with a works cited at the end will result in a zero for the citation portion of the assignment.  Keep in mind the feedback you received on the previous paper.

Citations to primary source images (including your own) must be specific to the image (ie, MKane, “Buying a house,” American Political and Social History I, accessed August 25, 2015,

Citations to charts should be in this format and refer to a specific chart and url: Maeve Kane, "Average Number of Slaves per Will," American Political and Social History I, accessed August 25, 2015,