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Date Created: 08/23/16
The College of William and Mary Fall 2016 Antebellum America HIST 346 Professor: Carol Sheriff, email@example.com, 2213720 Office hours (Blair 314): Tuesday and Thursday, 3:304:30 p.m. COURSE DESCRIPTION In the years after the United States resecured its independence from Great Britain in the War of 1812, the young nation experienced a period of dramatic transformations. Historians have shown a fondness for attaching labels to this particularly volatile period in the nation’s history. Favorites have included “Jacksonian Democracy,” “The Era of the Common Man,” “The Age of Individualism,” “The Age of Reform,” “Antebellum America,” “The Industrial Revolution,” and “The Market Revolution.” These labels do indeed reflect some of the era’s prominent changes: a democratization, for some Americans, of political and social life; the development of a political chasm that would ultimately contribute to civil war; the emergence of an entrepreneurial class; the reorganization of the workplace; and the burgeoning of commercial networks and values. Yet, at the same time, these names mask many of the era’s other significant developments. The period after 1815 also witnessed changes in, for example, slave society, immigration and settlement patterns, Native American communities, family structure, gender roles, religiosity, and leisure activities. The nature and extent of the era’s transformations, moreover, sometimes varied across and within regions. Our main goal in this course is to explore—through primary documents as well as historians’ accounts—what often seemed to contemporaries to be revolutionary transformations in patterns of social, political, economic, and cultural life. We will also debate how we should understand and explain these changes—and how persuasive we find the interpretations offered by the other historians whose works we will read and discuss. REQUIREMENTS 1. Active participation: Thoughtful, wellinformed discussion is a central part of this course. In addition to faithful attendance, the quality of your participation in discussion —based on material covered in reading assignments and lectures—will influence your final grade for the course. 2 2. Quizzes: Eight times during the semester, you will be given an inclass quiz at the beginning of class. These quizzes are meant to assess how well you have grasped the main concepts of the course’s readings, and to ensure that everyone is well prepared for discussion. Except in the case of excused absences (e.g., illness or emergency), quizzes must be completed at the beginning of the relevant class period. Except under extraordinary circumstances, students who arrive after their classmates’ quizzes have been collected will have lost the opportunity to take that day’s quiz and will receive a score of “zero” for it. Your lowest quiz grade will be dropped, and your average score for the remaining seven quizzes will constitute 15% of your course grade. 3. Analytical essay: You will write an essay of no more than ten pages that uses primary and secondary sources to delve more deeply into themes raised in lecture. I have provided eight paper topics, which fall due on five different dates; you should choose the topic that most interests you and/or whose due date fits best with your schedule. Some of the topics require that you draw exclusively on material assigned for the class, while others require that you use additional material. Please see the assignments, which are appended to this syllabus, for details, and please select your topic early so that you can budget your time appropriately if your topic does require additional research. You may also design your own topic based on the assigned course material, but you must receive my approval for the topic at least one week ahead of the deadline. Students may also design a research project that draws primarily on material not assigned as common reading; please see the stipulations on the appended assignment sheet. 4. Midterm Exam: On Thursday, September 29, you will submit a takehome essay exam of approximately seven doublespaced typed pages based on material covered in lectures, readings, and discussion. Specific instructions are appended to the syllabus. No extensions can be granted without permission of a College dean, and all exams must be submitted by the deadline in both hard and electronic copies. 5. Final Exam: A takehome essay exam of approximately eight pages will be due no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7. Specific instructions are appended to the syllabus. No extensions can be granted without permission of a College dean, and all exams must be submitted by the deadline in both hard and electronic copies in order to pass the course. GRADES Quizzes 15% Midterm Exam 25% Analytical/Research Essay 35% Final Exam 25% Participation The quality of your participation will determine your course grade when the final numerical grade is borderline. 3 Use of electronic devices for anything but accessing course readings or taking notes on class material will negatively influence your participation grade. POLICIES 1. Attendance: You are expected to attend class regularly, except when ill. Failure to do so will influence my assessment of your participation. If sickness prevents you from attending class, I will gladly help you to catch up with the material. 2. Electronic devices: While you may use ereaders to access course readings and laptops to take notes, other uses of electronic devices (including, but not limited to, computers, tablets, and cell phones) are distracting to the professor and to other members of the class. As a result, unauthorized use of such devices will weigh significantly in my assessment of your participation. 3. Completing assignments: In order to receive a passing grade in this course, you must complete all essays and exams. All quizzes must be taken at the beginning of the class period when the relevant reading is being discussed, and makeup quizzes will be given only in cases of illness, family emergency, and Collegesponsored travel when appropriate documentation is provided. 4. Scheduling exams: The midterm may not be rescheduled. Exceptions may be made for compelling circumstances, such as illness or family emergency, which will require verification from the proper College authorities. Otherwise, late midterm exams will be penalized one letter grade per day. The takehome final may only be rescheduled at the request of a College dean; otherwise, failure to submit it on time will lead to a failing grade for the course. 5. Extensions on essays: Extensions on analytical and research essays will generally be granted if requested at least fortyeight hours before the due date or in cases of genuine emergency or hardship. Normally, the maximum extension will be for fortyeight hours, and—out of fairness to the rest of the class—students with extensions will not be able to seek advice from me about their papers at any point after the original due date. (Exceptions will be made in the case of illness or emergency.) 6. Late essays: Without an extension, a late paper will be penalized a third of a letter grade for each day it is late. You may not submit a paper more than one week after its due date. (Please see above for policies regarding submitting takehome exams.) 7. Page limits and formatting: Out of fairness to your classmates, upper page limits must be adhered to within half a page. Failure to do so will result in your work being 4 penalized by a third of a letter grade for each additional page. All work must be typed, doublespaced, have margins of 1 to 1.25 inches, and use a 12point font. It must also include page numbers and a title, and it should be stapled. 8. Documenting sources: All of your essays and exams must include footnotes (rather than parenthetical references or endnotes) and a bibliography. (Footnotes do figure into the page limit, but bibliographies do not.) Footnotes that cite Major Problems must include the author and title of the specific document or essay; bibliographies may simply cite the entire Major Problems book without separate entries for each document and essay. For rules about proper formatting, consult Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, which is available both at the bookstore and on reserve at Swem; The Chicago Manual of Style, which is available in both electronic and paper formats at Swem; or the handouts available at the History Writing Resources Center or on its website: www.wm.edu/hwrc. 9. Using outside sources: All of this course’s assignments, with the exception of the optional research paper, are designed to rely exclusively on assigned readings, including the database sources identified in the paper topics appended to the syllabus. If you would like to use any sources besides those specified on the syllabus, either in print or electronic form, you must secure my permission in advance via email. Failure to do so will result in a failing grade for the assignment; in cases that involve academic dishonesty, the matter will also be handled under the provisions of the Honor Code. 10. Submitting work: All exams and essays must be submitted both in hard copy and to the Safe Assignment function (under the tab called “Assignments”) on Blackboard. You must also keep a hard copy of all work that you submit. In the unlikely event that something happens to both the hard and electronic copies of your papers, you will have twelve hours in which to provide me with a new copy of your work. Failure to do so will result in a failing grade for the course. Please note: When you submit a paper to SafeAssign, it becomes part of a national plagiarismdetection database. ACADEMIC HONESTY It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the College’s Honor Code (printed in the Student Handbook) as well as the section on “Avoiding Plagiarism” in Mary Lynn Rampolla’s A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (available both at the College bookstore and on reserve for this course at Swem). The History Writing Resources Center (HWRC) also has a handout on proper documentation, called “Documentation Rules,” available on its website, www.wm.edu/hwrc. If you have any doubts at all about the intellectual integrity of your work, please confer with me before submitting it. Academic dishonesty on any assignment will result in a failing grade for the course. 5 OFFICE HOURS, APPOINTMENTS, AND ADVICE I am happy to talk with you during office hours about course material, assignments, or other matters of concern. If you have a class during my office hours, please email me to arrange another meeting time. I respond to all student email inquiries. If you have not heard back from me within twentyfour hours (not including weekends), please assume your message has gone astray and resend it. READINGS Assigned books have been placed on reserve at Swem. Two additional documents, which are indicated with an “(X)” next to them in the Course Outline below, are on Blackboard (blackboard.wm.edu). Please print them out and bring hard copies with you to the relevant discussion. Books are also available at the campus bookstore and from online vendors. If your budget permits, you should seriously consider purchasing the books because class discussion and assignments depend on your careful reading of these works. Required readings available for purchase: Melvin Ely, Israel on the Appomattox Paul Johnson, A Shopkeeper’s Millennium Richard Sewell, A House Divided Anthony F.C. Wallace, The Long, Bitter Trail Sean Wilentz and Jonathan Earle, eds. Major Problems in the Early Republic, 2nd edition. (Please note: You must use the second edition; the first edition does not include many of the assigned readings.) Recommended reference book available for purchase: Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (If you feel as if you need a United States history textbook to provide context and do not already own one, I would be happy to provide recommendations.) COURSE OUTLINE All readings for each of the course’s thematic subdivisions are listed immediately under the subdivision heading. The readings to be discussed on any particular day are listed in abbreviated form in parentheses next to that day’s lecture title. Such parenthetical references are given just once; we may continue our discussion of any particular reading during subsequent class meetings as well. You should begin the 6 readings well in advance of the day on which they will be discussed, as they are often too long to be completed in one evening. SETTING THE HISTORICAL AND HISTORIOGRAPHICAL STAGES Thurs., Aug. 25: Introduction to Antebellum America Tues., Aug. 30: Why 1815? ♦WPA ExSlave Interviews (X) (read, but no quiz) T HE SOUTH : A LAVE SOCIETY Thurs., Sept. 1: The Worlds of Slavery ♦Major Problems, chap. 8 (Quiz) Tues., Sept. 6: Slave Rebellion and Resistance Thurs., Sept. 8: Free Southerners ♦Melvin Ely, Israel on the Appomattox, excerpts (Please see the final page of the syllabus for specific page assignments.) (Quiz) T HE RESTLESS N ORTH Tues., Sept. 13: The Transportation Revolution Thurs., Sept. 15: The Industrial Revolution ♦Paul Johnson, A Shopkeeper’s Millennium (Quiz) Tues., Sept. 20: Urban Boom Thurs., Sept. 22: Migration, Immigration, and Nativism ♦Major Problems, chap. 7 (Quiz) N ORTH S OUTH COMPARISONS Tues., Sept. 27: Daily Life Compared ♦Review all the course readings to date Thurs., Sept. 29: Midterm Examination due Tues., Oct. 4: Archival Workshop Class will meet at Special Collections on the main floor of Swem Library. PERFECTING THE NATION : RELIGION , POLITICS,AND R EFORM 7 Thurs., Oct. 6: The Second Great Awakening ♦Major Problems, chap. 6 (read but no quiz) Tues., Oct. 11: Break! Thurs., Oct. 13: Domestic Revolutions ♦No reading Paper Option #1 due Tues., Oct. 18: Birth of Modern Party Politics Thurs., Oct. 20: Jacksonian Democracy? ♦Major Problems, chap. 11 (Quiz) Paper Option # 2 due Tues., Oct. 25: The Second Party System Thurs., Oct. 27: The Reform Impulse ♦Major Problems, chap. 12 (Quiz) Paper Option #3 due Tues., Nov. 1: Woman’s Rights Thurs, Nov. 3: Organizing Against Slavery ♦Major Problems, chap. 13 (Quiz) Tues., Nov. 8: Proslavery Arguments T HE C ONTESTED W EST Thurs., Nov. 10: Western Myths and Experiences ♦Wallace, The Long, Bitter Trail (Quiz) Tues., Nov. 15: Southwestern Borderlands Thurs., Nov. 17: War with Mexico and the Compromise of 1850 ♦Major Problems, chap. 15 (read for background only; no quiz) Paper Option #4 due T OWARD SECTIONAL CHISM Tues., Nov. 22: The Overland Trail Thurs., Nov. 24: Thanksgiving Tues., Nov. 29: A House Dividing Thurs., Dec. 1: The Road to War ♦Sewell, A House Divided, xi83 (read for background only; no quiz) 8 Paper Option #5 due 9 ANALYTICAL ESSAY I. THE ASSIGNMENT The goal of the assignment is to articulate and substantiate an analytical argument based on material from lectures, readings, discussions, and (if appropriate for your topic) additional primary documents that you locate on your own. You may choose among seven topics, which fall due on five different due dates; some of the topics require additional research in online databases, while others involve no research beyond the assigned readings. Because my assumption is that you have done all of the assigned readings, I will expect that your papers, even those that require database research, will draw appropriately on any readings that relate to your topic; failure to draw on relevant readings will significantly influence my overall evaluation of your essay. You are not limited to the seven topics that I have provided. If you would prefer to create your own topic based on the assigned readings, you are welcome to do so, but you must confer with me in advance so that I can offer guidance on the topic’s appropriateness for the assignment. (Failure to confer with me in advance will lead to a failing grade for the assignment.) Or, if you would prefer to design your own research project, which will involve locating secondary and primary sources on your own, you may do so provided that your topic is approved by me by the end of October; research papers will be due no later than our final class meeting of the semester. When you meet with me to discuss a topic for an independent research project, please bring with you (or email to me in advance) a preliminary bibliography of primary and secondary sources as well as a paragraphlong statement of your topic and why you think it is significant. Although this option is available to any member of the class, students who have taken The Historian’s Craft (Hist. 290 or Hist. 301) will generally be better prepared to undertake an individual research project. This assignment will count for 35% of your final grade. You must write one paper; if you submit a paper on the first or second due date, you have the option of writing another paper on a different topic for a later due date, in which case I will average the two grades. Papers are due by the beginning of class, in both paper and electronic formats, on the relevant due date. They must be no longer than ten doublespaced pages with a 12point font and margins of between 1 and 1.25 inches. Be sure to include a title, page numbers, and properly formatted footnotes. Please staple your papers. II. CHOOSING A TOPIC 10 You should select a topic that interests you, while also keeping in mind whether its due date falls at a time during the semester that is convenient for you. (Due dates are coordinated with our classroom coverage of topics and themes related to the paper’s focus; due dates fall at least two weeks after our last discussion of the related material. More time is allotted for topics that involve research beyond assigned readings.) Paper Option #1 (due October 13): Write a scholarly review—drawing on material from readings, lectures, and discussions—of the motion picture “Twelve Years a Slave,” which is based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 account of being kidnapped into slavery. (A DVD of the movie is available freeofcharge at Swem’s reserve desk, or you may rent or purchase a copy on your own. Please be advised: This film depicts graphic violence, including sexual violence. No student is required to watch the film; please select another essay option if you do not want to watch such depictions.) Your review should contain an overarching thesis that addresses how well the movie captures the complexities of slavery’s experiences for the variety of people whose lives became entangled with it—free and enslaved, male and female, young and old, northern and southern, supporters and critics. Your thesis should emphasize the historical aspects over the cinematic ones—that is, it should articulate an argument about slavery itself and then address how well the film captures your scholarly understanding of the institution and its ramifications. Would people watching the film get an accurate sense of slavery’s complexities? Does the film do a better job of portraying some aspects of slavery than others? Your review should draw heavily on all relevant readings (including, for example, Major Problems, chapters 6 and 8; Ely, Israel on the Appomattox; and—for a consideration of the northern scenes and characters—A Shopkeeper’s Millennium and possibly Major Problems, chapter 7). My expectation is that you will not use sources beyond those assigned in class. If you would like to use sources that were not assigned in class, you must receive my written permission (via email) to do so, preferably at least three days before the deadline. Failure to do so will lead to a failing grade for the assignment. Paper Option #2 (select one of two topics, each of which is due October 20): How did southern and northern workers’ efforts to control their work and living environments compare to one another—and how can we account for the similarities and differences? What does this comparison tell us about the regions’ overall similarity and dissimilarity? Be sure to consider differences among workers within each region as part of your response. (Your discussion of southern workers may focus largely on slaves but must include free blacks as well.) Your response to this question should draw on A Shopkeeper’s Millennium, Israel on the Appomattox, and Major Problems (chapters 7 and 8). or How did northern and southern employers’ (or masters’) efforts to control their workers compare—and how can we account for the similarities and differences? What does this comparison tell us about the regions’ overall similarity and dissimilarity? Be sure to 11 consider differences among employers/masters within each region. (Your discussion of southern employers may focus largely on slave masters but should not do so exclusively.) Your response to this question should draw on A Shopkeeper’s Millennium, Israel on the Appomattox, and Major Problems (chapters 7 and 8). Paper Option #3 (due October 27): Using the primary documents available on the website Mill Life in Lowell [Massachusetts], 18201880 (http://library.uml.edu/clh/mo.htm), write an analysis of how mill life (during both work and leisure time) in Lowell compared to early industrial life in other parts of the northern United States, as seen in Paul Johnson’s A Shopkeeper’s Millennium and Major Problems, chapter 7. (In order to allow for a comparison that falls within the same time frame covered by the course’s assigned readings, you should use documents from the web site that cover the period from 1820 to 1850 only.) Your essay should contain a thesis that not only identifies what made Lowell mill life made distinctive and what made it similar to life throughout the northern states, but also why Lowell mill life developed as it did. You should also consider how mill life in Lowell changed over time. Be sure to identify and to analyze all of your sources within your essay itself, and to provide full citations for them in footnotes. Paper Option #4 (due November 17): Select a contested political issue (e.g., internal improvements, a nationalized bank, the tariff, land policy, Indian removal, Texas annexation) and—using nineteenthcentury newspapers, broadsides, and ephemera that are available on one (or more) of the electronic databases to which Swem subscribes— write an analysis of the nature of the socalled second party system. (You must email your topic to me two weeks in advance of the deadline so that I can offer advice on its feasibility.) Your analysis must draw also on course readings (Major Problems, chapter 11, and A Shopkeeper’s Millennium) and lectures, and it should articulate a clear overarching thesis about the nature of the era’s political disagreements. How did they reflect ideological differences (e.g., over the nature of republicanism), and how did they reflect cultural differences (e.g., over religion, morality, or masculinity)? How do the political disputes reflect the broader transformations of American society during the era between 1815 and 1850? Be sure to identify and to analyze all of your sources within your essay itself, and to provide full citations for them in footnotes. Please note: If you choose to write about Indian Removal, then your essay should also draw on A Long, Bitter Trail, and it will be due at the same time as Paper Option #5. The following databases will help you to locate relevant sources: American Periodical Series, America’s Historical Newspapers, American Broadsides and Ephemera (Series I), and NineteenthCentury U.S. Newspapers; the links to all of these databases can be found by visiting this general list of historyrelated electronic databases at Swem: https://swem.wm.edu/databases/bysubject/16 If you wish to use additional sources, you must receive my written permission (via email) to do so, preferably at least 12 three days before the deadline. Failure to do so will lead to a failing grade for the assignment. Paper Option #5 (select one of three topics, each of which is due December 1): Were the religious and reform movements of the antebellum period advocating or resisting change in American ideals and ways of life? (Your response should also consider proslavery writings even though they were not part of an organized reform movement.) Rather than arguing simply that the movements were either progressive or conservative, you should develop a nuanced, wellbalanced response to this question that explains how and why the movements were a response to the era’s social and economic developments. You might consider, too, whether some groups advocated change while others tried to stifle it—and how we might explain their different attitudes and goals. Your response should consider as wide an array of movements as possible while maintaining a tight thematic focus. It should draw upon Major Problems (chapters 6, 12, and 13); A Shopkeeper’s Millennium; The Long, Bitter Trail; and Israel on the Appomattox. or Historian Daniel Feller has written: Americans of the Jacksonian era felt change everywhere, in every part of their lives. What they perceived, however, was not an inexorable process grinding toward a fixed result, but an onrush of concrete, novel, exciting (and sometimes perturbing) events. How those events would cohere, and what they would lead to in the end, no one knew. But one thing everyone assumed: human energies, not mere abstract forces, were at work. Americans understood history as something wrought by human hands. That understanding gave them faith in their capacity to shape themselves, their society, and their world. They may have been wrong. But that was what they believed, and to slight that conviction is to render them, their actions, and their era inexplicable. How did Americans see the world as theirs to shape; what (if any) were the limits to their sense of human empowerment; did all Americans feel the same sense of empowerment; why did they feel empowered (or not); and how can we understand any differences among individuals’ sense of control over the course of history? Your thesis should go beyond simply agreeing or disagreeing with Feller’s statement; rather, it should articulate your own explanation of Americans’ sense of empowerment, its causes, its limits, and the way it changed over time. Be sure to consider the experiences of as many different people as possible: Jacksonians and Whigs; Southerners, Northerners, and Westerners; men and women; rural dwellers and city folks; EuroAmericans, African Americans, and Native Americans; immigrants and nativeborn Americans; slaveowners and non slaveowners; free and unfree people; upper, middle, and working classes. You may not 1Daniel Feller, The Jacksonian Promise: America, 18151840 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), xiv. 13 be able to touch upon all of these people, but the more comprehensive you are, the more persuasive your argument will be. Your essay should draw upon Israel on the Appomattox; A Shopkeeper’s Millennium; The Long, Bitter Trail, and Major Problems (all assigned chapters contain relevant essays and documents). or How did cultural, ideological, and policy considerations work together to shape party politics from the 1820s1840s, and what do they tell us more generally about the nature of antebellum society? Your analysis must draw on A Shopkeeper’s Millennium, The Long Bitter Trail, and Major Problems, chapters 11 and 15. You are free to draw on any other chapters in Major Problems, including ones not assigned in class. III. ARTICULATING AND SUBSTANTIATING AN ARGUMENT These topics are meant as jumpingoff points: It is up to you define the contours of your own argument. A good argument will be nuanced and will take into account contradictory evidence. It will also be analytical rather than descriptive in nature. A descriptive argument tells what people did; an analytical essay explains why they did it and why it was significant. In other words, for example, you should go beyond arguing that "antebellum reform movements tried to preserve existing American ideals.” Instead, you should explain why and how they tried to do so as well as the significance of their doing so, while also taking into account any important exceptions. Please confer with me if you have any questions about the appropriateness of your argument. No matter what you write about, be sure to substantiate your argument with specific evidence and to analyze your sources critically. Think about the questions that arose in relation to the WPA interviews discussed during the semester’s first week. 1. Who were their authors/creators? What do we know about these people? 2. What was the author's purpose in creating the document? 3. Who was the intended audience? 4. When and where was the document created? What else was occurring at the same time? 5. How should we interpret particular terms in the document? (i.e., be careful to recognize that language has evolved over time, and some words might have held different meanings in the nineteenth century than they do now.) 6. What presuppositions of our own do we bring to the document, and how can we try to better understand the document on its own terms and in its own context? IV. GUIDANCE ON WRITING I am happy to talk with you individually about your ideas for papers during office hours. Please come to such meetings having already given substantial thought to your topic, for otherwise I will not be able to offer specific guidance. 14 I also encourage you to seek advice (about your ideas and/or prose) from the consultants at the History Writing Resources Center (HWRC), which is located in Blair 347 and which is staffed by advanced Ph.D. candidates. Although the HWRC has drop in hours, you are encouraged to make an appointment in advance by visiting its website (www.wm.edu/hwrc), calling (2213756), or mailing (firstname.lastname@example.org). The consultants will review completed drafts if you make arrangements well in advance of the deadline. For additional guidance on writing, please refer to “Writing Tips” (section V, below), as well as Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, which is available for purchase in addition to being at the HWRC and on reserve at Swem.) At the HWRC and on its web site (www.wm.edu/hwrc), you will find many useful handouts about topics such as documenting sources, writing an introduction, analyzing primary documents, and using commas. For guidance on providing proper footnote citations, consult Rampolla's book; the HWRC handouts; Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writing of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations; or The Chicago Manual of Style. (The latter two books are at the HWRC as well as in the reference section of Swem. The Chicago Manual is also available in electronic format at Swem: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org.proxy.wm.edu/15/contents.html V. WRITING TIPS 1. Make sure that you have a clearly articulated thesis statement that appears early in the paper. Many writers do not fully develop their own ideas until they have completed a draft of their work. If you write this way, you will need to go back and rewrite the essay so that the argument is both stated concisely and developed logically. 2. Stay focused. It is better to provide a comprehensive treatment of one argument than to introduce more arguments than you can substantiate within your space limitations. 3. The organization of your paper should be logical and clear to the reader (and not just to you!) A good way to test the strength of your organization (and argument) is to try to outline your paper after you have written it. Do the ideas flow naturally? Or do you rely upon false or weak transitions (such as "also," "in addition," etc.) 4. Be precise in your descriptions. Go through your paper and make sure that the antecedents to each of your pronouns is clear. Does each "he," "it," "their," etc. have a clear referent? Pronouns like "most," "many," and "some" usually need to be followed by a noun. For example: "Many thought slavery was a positive good." It is not clear to which group "many" refers. Instead, you should write, "Many elite, white Southerners thought...." 5. Although the passive construction is sometimes useful, it is generally better to avoid it. It can obscure the meaning of your sentence. For example: "Because of religious 15 appeals, many slaves were emancipated." It is unclear who set them free—abolitionists? the government? their masters? Instead, you could write, "Persuaded by religious appeals, some masters emancipated their slaves." 6. Attribute any quotations you use. Do not just stick a quotation in the middle of your prose. Instead, you need to identify the speaker or author (e.g. Historian Jane Smith argues, "#4@&*.") Also, be sure to provide a citation that includes a page number. 7. Err on the side of simplicity. It is generally a good idea to vary your sentence structure and to use precise language. But it is always better to write a simple, straightforward sentence than to create a convoluted structure that obscures your meaning. Remember, you are writing for an audience, not for yourself. A good way to test your prose is to have a friend, especially one who is unfamiliar with the subject matter of your paper, read your essay for you. Another good method to check the clarity of your writing is to read your paper aloud to yourself. If some of your wording sounds weird or wrong, it probably is weird or wrong—and so it should be changed. 8. Proofread carefully. Many punctuation and spelling mistakes are really proofreading problems. Among the most common mistakes are missing and misplaced possessive apostrophes (the "slave's" rather than "the slaves'") and confused homonyms ("there" instead of "their"). These are the sort of mistakes that will not be caught by a "spell check" program on your computer. Be sure to read a hard copy of your paper before submitting it; it is often easier to catch such mistakes on paper than on the screen. 9. When in doubt, look it up. If you do not own a grammar book, make use of Swem's reference collection. VI. FORMATTING GUIDELINES Please make sure you can answer “yes” to all of the following questions about your essay: Is its text (not including the bibliography) no more than ten doublespaced pages? Are its margins at least 1 inch and no more than 1.25 inches? Does it use a 12point font? Are its footnotes properly formatted? (Endnotes and parenthetical references may not be used.) ♦Do you identify the author and title of any documents or articles cited from the Major Problems book? Does it include a properly formatted bibliography? Does it include a title that reflects the paper’s argument? 16 Are its pages numbered? Is it stapled? IMPORTANT: Please refer to the course policies (on pages 3 and 4 of the syllabus) for additional regulations about papers, including adhering to page limits, documenting sources, requesting extensions, and submitting work late. VII. GRADING GUIDELINES: ANALYTICAL AND RESEARCH ESSAYS Because my assessment of your work relies on a holistic evaluation, it is impossible to offer a precise grading scheme that breaks down my criteria into component parts. What follows, therefore, is meant to give you a basic articulation of the sorts of qualities I will look for in your polished essays (as compared to essays you write for takehome exams). A: Excellent essay in all regards Argument is analytical in nature, ambitious, well articulated, and thoroughly substantiated. Paper is well organized. Prose is smooth and virtually free of technical errors. B: Good fulfillment of the assignment Argument is clearly articulated and fully persuasive but more descriptive than analytical or Argument is analytical but falls somewhat short of “excellent” in terms of persuasiveness, degree of substantiation, organization, or prose. Prose is easytoread but may contain some minor technical errors. Essay is otherwise “A” quality but contains citation errors. C: Adequate fulfillment of the assignment Argument is not clearly articulated, is only partially substantiated, or is not borne out by evidence presented. The essay does nonetheless reflect a good familiarity with the material under discussion. Essay may contain some substantial organizational problems. Prose contains a large number of technical errors and/or is difficult to comprehend. Essay is otherwise “B” quality but contains citation errors. 17 D: Only minimally satisfies the assignment’s requirements No discernible argument. The essay does nonetheless demonstrate enough of a proficiency with the course material to merit a passing grade. Largely diverges from assignment guidelines and/or includes unrelated or irrelevant material. Prose is riddled with technical and/or organizational problems. Essay is otherwise “C” quality but contains citation errors. F: Unacceptable Does not follow assignment guidelines. Does not demonstrate command of the material being discussed. Uses outside sources without permission of the instructor. Displays academic dishonesty (in which case the situation will also be handled under the provisions of the Honor Code). **Within each of the grade ranges, pluses will be assigned when the essay exceeds the expectations for that grade yet falls short of the expectations for the next higher grade. Minuses will be assigned for essays that do not fully meet the criteria for that grade but that exceed the expectations for the next lower grade. MIDTERM EXAMINATION On Thursday, September 29, at the beginning of our class period, you will submit a takehome exam that offers your own interpretation of daily life (society, economics, and ideology) in antebellum America based on a synthesis of materials from lectures, readings, and discussions. This synthesis will then provide the foundation for understanding the course material covered after the midterm break, and it should also help lay the groundwork for your analytical essays, due during the second half of the semester. The exam will be governed by the following rules: •You may not design your own topic; you must respond to one of the questions provided below. •You may use any class materials—e.g. notes and readings—to work on the exam. •Failure to make full use of course readings will have a significant negative impact on your grade for the assignment, though how you balance your use of individual readings will depend on your thematic focus. •You may assume that I am the lone audience for your paper; thus, while your essay must demonstrate a command of the course material, it should not summarize class notes. •You may not use any nonclass materials, and you may not consult with anyone outside the class, including, but not limited to, consultants at the History Writing Resources Center or the Swem Writing Center. Doing so will be considered a violation of the 18 Honor Code unless you have received written permission (via email) in advance from the professor to consult additional sources. •You may confer with members of the class, including the professor, for clarification of facts, but you may not confer with anyone (including the professor) about matters of argument or interpretation. •Your response must be typed, use a 12point font, and not exceed seven doublespaced pages. (Responses that exceed the upper page limit by more than half a page will be penalized per the policies indicated under “Course Policies” on the syllabus.) •There are no time constraints for how long you can spend on the exam. •Editing errors will not figure directly into the evaluation of your essay; however, clear and tight prose always enhances the strength of your argument and substantiation. •Include a title, page numbers, and footnotes (at the bottom of the page). If you footnote a source from the Major Problems book, please identify the author (when given) and title of the particular document or article to which you are referring. (See “Course Policies” for more information on documenting your sources.) •Your cover sheet should indicate which question you have answered •Your essay must be submitted to our Blackboard site no later than 11 a.m., and you must submit a hard copy of the exam by that deadline as well. To submit your exam to Blackboard, go to the “Assignments” tab, choose “Midterm Exam,” and then follow the onscreen instructions for uploading a paper. If you encounter trouble with Blackboard, then you may email the professor a copy instead. (Be sure to keep a backup copy of your exam in the unlikely event that both your electronic and paper copies go astray.) The goal of this assignment is to articulate and substantiate your own interpretation of the course material covered during the first half of the course. While it is important to demonstrate a mastery of the course material, you should not simply recite facts. Rather, you should marshal relevant facts to support your interpretative argument. Your exam must show a strong familiarity with the course readings as well as material from lectures. If appropriate, you should provide a brief analysis of the readings (both primary and secondary) as well—that is, explain why you’re interpreting them as you are. You must provide footnotes to any references you make to course readings, but for the purposes of this exam, you will not be penalized for technical formatting errors. You should choose ONE of the following questions to answer. Whichever topic you select, you should have a clearly stated thesis that is analytical (rather than merely descriptive) in nature. (A descriptive argument tells what people did; an analytical essay explains why they did it and why it was significant.) The best arguments will consider the issue of change over time in addition to the diversity of human experiences. Rather than overlooking any exceptions to your thesis, try to account for them. 1. In terms of society, economics, and ideology (e.g., paternalism, republicanism, and honor), did the North and South become more or less similar between 1815 and 1850— and why? Be sure to talk about the experiences of as wide a variety of people as possible: “white” and “black”; free and unfree; immigrant and nativeborn; male and female; rich, middleclass, and workingclass; young, middleaged, and elderly. 19 2. Historians sometimes refer to the antebellum period as an “era of revolutions.” Based on what we have learned about society, economics, and ideology (e.g., republicanism, paternalism, and honor), how well do you think this characterization holds up? Be sure to consider regional differences as well as the experiences of as wide a variety of people as possible: “white” and “black”; free and unfree; immigrant and nativeborn; male and female; rich, middleclass, and workingclass; young, middleaged, and elderly. Grading guidelines for the midterm exam appear after the instructions for the final exam. FINAL EXAMINATION Your takehome final exam—an essay of approximately eight doublespaced pages (with nine pages as the upper limit)—is due no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7. (Per College policy, this due date corresponds with the examination period scheduled for this course by the University Registrar.) By the deadline, you must submit a hard copy to me at my office (Blair 314) and an electronic copy via the “Safe Assignment” function of Blackboard. (Go to the “Assignments” tab, choose “Takehome Final,” and then follow the onscreen instructions for uploading a paper. If you are unable to load your exam to Blackboard, then you may email it to me instead.) If I am not in the office when you submit your paper, please leave it in the box affixed to my office door. Be sure to keep an extra copy! The exam will be governed by the following rules: •You may not design your own topic; you must respond to one of the questions provided below. •You may use any class materials—e.g. notes and readings—to work on the exam. •Failure to make full use of course readings (and, if appropriate, the video on the Oregon Trail) will have a significant negative impact on your grade for the assignment, though how you balance your use of individual readings will depend on your thematic focus. 20 •You may assume that I am the lone audience for your paper, so while your essay must demonstrate a command of the course material, it should not summarize class notes. •You may not use any nonclass materials, and you may not consult with anyone outside the class, including, but not limited to, consultants at the History Writing Resources Center or the Swem Writing Center. Doing so will be considered a violation of the Honor Code unless you have received written permission (via email) in advance from the professor to consult additional sources. •You may confer with members of the class, including the professor, for clarification of facts, but you may not confer with anyone (including the professor) about matters of argument or interpretation. •Your response must be typed, use a 12point font, and not exceed nine typed pages. (Responses that exceed the upper page limit by more than half a page will be penalized per the policies indicated in the syllabus.) •There are no time constraints for how long you can spend on the exam. •Editing errors will not figure into my evaluation of your essay; however, clear and tight prose always enhances the strength of your argument and substantiation. •Include a title, page numbers, and footnotes (at the bottom of the page). If you footnote a source from the Major Problems book, please identify the author (when given) and title of the particular document or article to which you are referring. (See “Course Policies” for more information on documenting your sources.) •Your cover sheet should indicate which question you have answered •Your essay must be submitted to our Blackboard site no later than 5 p.m., and you must submit a hard copy of the exam as well. To submit your exam to Blackboard, go to the “Assignments” tab, choose “Final Exam,” and then follow the onscreen instructions for uploading a paper. If you encounter trouble with Blackboard, then you may email me a copy instead. (Be sure to keep a backup copy of your exam in the unlikely event that both your electronic and paper copies go astray.) •No late exams can be accepted without an excuse from a College dean, and I cannot grant any extensions without a request to do so from a College dean. Be sure to contact the Dean of Students office if you encounter issues (e.g. health problems) that prohibit you from submitting the paper on time, and please notify me that you have done so. Except when an extension is authorized in consultation with a College dean, a student’s failure to submit the exam on time will result in failing both the assignment and the course. Please choose ONE topic from the questions listed below. No matter which topic you choose, your essay should have an overarching, welldeveloped thesis that is analytical in nature. 1. How did the opportunity for westward expansion help shape the nation's political, economic, and social development during the period from 18151860? Be sure to consider the experiences of as broad a range of people as possible, and be sure that you articulate an overarching thesis about the importance of westward expansion for the antebellum period. 21 2. What was the basis of sectional tension during the antebellum era, and how well did the political system address such tensions? The bulk of your response should address the period from 1815 to 1850 (and should draw on the full array of course material available on that period), but you should also include a brief consideration of the politics of the 1850s, based on materials from lectures as well as Sewell’s A House Divided. 3. You have been commissioned by Sheriff Publishing, Inc. to write a textbook on the antebellum period. But your publisher dislikes describing the years between 1815 and 1860 as the "antebellum period." She also does not like the other labels that historians have assigned to the period—terms such as "Jacksonian Democracy," "The Era of the Common Man," "The Age of Individualism," "The Market Revolution," etc. Her personal favorite is the "Erie Canal Era," though even that label may have some minor limitations. Write your publisher a memo in which you propose a new name for the period, and explain why your label provides an effective umbrella under which to understand the era's major themes and topics. Be explicit about which themes and topics are the most important, and be sure that your response considers material from the entire semester. (Feel free to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the other terms that have been applied to the period, but focus your response on your own proposal.) GRADING GUIDELINES: MIDTERM AND FINAL EXAMS These guidelines may not anticipate all situations, and the instructor will use her discretion in assigning grades that adhere to the spirit of these guidelines. These guidelines, unlike those for the analytical and research papers, do not require polished prose. Still, clear prose reflects clear thought, and writing problems—e.g., tangled prose, poor organization, and wordiness—may impede the effectiveness of your argument and substantiation. “A” An essay in the “A” range will articulate a strong analytical argument, will develop that argument persuasively, and will substantiate it with material drawn from both lectures and readings. When necessary, it will analyze the evidence it presents in support of its argument, and it will also grapple with potentially contradictory evidence. Rarely will an “A” essay contain any factual inaccuracies. “B” An essay in the “B” range will either: 1) have a strong analytical argument but will fail to develop it fully (see above) or 2) have a descriptive argument that is developed fully in terms of providing 22 substantiating evidence from lectures and readings. When necessary, it will analyze the evidence it presents in support of its argument, and it will also grapple with potentially contradictory evidence. A “B” essay may contain a few minor factual inaccuracies that do not influence the persuasiveness of the argument. “C” An essay in the “C” range will either: 1) have a clear argument that is developed only partially (e.g., it is lacking in substantiating evidence) or 2) have an unclear argument that nonetheless demonstrates a good grasp of the course material from lectures and readings. A “C” essay may contain some factual inaccuracies but overall will demonstrate a good understanding of the course material. Essays that do not draw on readings in any substantial way will receive no higher than a C. “D” An essay in the “D” range will have either no argument, an untenable one, or an unsubstantiated one. It will, however, demonstrate a general familiarity with the course material. “F” An essay will fall in the “F” range if it does not demonstrate a minimal grasp of the course’s main themes and topics, whether or not it has an argument. Any exam that displays academic dishonesty will receive a grade of “F” and will be dealt with under the provisions of the Honor Code. **Within each of the grade ranges, pluses will be assigned when the essay exceeds the expectations for that grade yet falls short of the expectations for the next higher grade. Minuses will be assigned for essays that do not fully meet the criteria for that grade but that exceed the expectations for the next lower grade. PAGE ASSIGNMENTS FOR ISRAEL ON THE APPOMATTOX Below are the page assignments for Israel on the Appomattox. These excerpts, which total 197 pages, were suggested by the book’s author, Professor Melvin Ely, and are meant to give you the essence of his prizewinning book while lightening your reading load. (If you prefer to read larger chunks of the book, you certainly may do so.) References of the type 24/2 mean, "page 24, paragraph 2." Partial paragraphs are included in the count, so t
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