Term Essay Assignment

Term Essay (Option 1):
Term Essay Assignment
First read Edmund S. Morgan’s classic article, “The Paradox of Slavery and Freedom,” which will be made available on Blackboard and which you can easily download through University of the Fraser Valley databases as well. Then read the primary source documents listed below. All necessary documents will be made available on Blackboard under Term Paper Assignment by the third week of the course.
 
The assignment asks you to write an essay of approximately 10 pages, 12-point font, double-spaced answering the following question:
To what extent do the primary source documents support the argument advanced by Edmund Morgan in his article “Slavery and Freedom,” about the rationale behind English colonists’ turn away from white servitude and toward racial slavery in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries?
 
Edmund Morgan, “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox,” Journal of American History 59:1 (1972), pp.5-29.
 
Primary Source Documents:

  1. The First Blacks Arrive in Virginia (1619)
  2. Slavery Becomes a Legal Fact in Virginia (Statutes 1630-1680)
  3. Virginia Discrimination in the Punishment of Runaways (1640)
  4. Maryland Establishes Slavery for Life (1664)
  5. ***Or any relevant Documents (primary sources) of your choice from Exploring American Histories.

 
**You may also consult sections of the textbook, Exploring American Histories, as a secondary reference source but no other sources are required for this assignment. This is not a research paper. Rather, it is an exercise in critical reading and analysis focused on historical inquiry. You will not receive extra marks for providing additional outside source materials nor are you required to do so.**
 
Criteria:
Your term paper will be graded on the following criteria:

  • Evidence of a clear understanding of the topic/question and the historical issues it raises.
  • Thesis: specific, clear, thoughtful and it has to appear on your first page!
  • Argument: strong, well-organized, thoughtful, logical
  • Use of evidence: appropriate, adequate, effective, critical. It is crucial that you engage substantively with the assigned primary documents in your writing and relate them to the argument(s) advanced by Edmund Morgan in his article.
  • Style and mechanics: grammatically correct, fluent, careful and accurate
  • Conclusion: meaningful, thoughtful

 
Format:
This paper is to be a minimum 10 pages typed, double-spaced pages in length in 12-point fontPlease use black ink, and a plain font that produces about 250 words per page.  You must try to use Chicago Manual of Style footnotes for your citations but other academic reference systems are acceptable (MLA, APA etc…).  Be sure to provide a separate bibliography/sources cited page for all works referenced which you consult or to which you refer (ie. both Morgan’s article and the primary documents consulted). Little or no attempt to document, provide some indication of bibliography or works cited, and/or unacceptable levels of writing will automatically fail your paper. Do not plagiarize! If you are unsure about what plagiarism is, see me and the information below.
Get your assignments in on time! Late papers will lose 1/3 of a letter grade (from a B to a B-, for example) each calendar day after the due date (beginning after class on the due date itself).
 Term Essay (Option 2):
Option two is to write an 8-10 page review essay of David Walker’s The Life of Frederick Douglass: A Graphic Narrative of a Slave’s Journey From Bondage to Freedom (New York: Penguin, 2019).
Part 1:
In this essay, you are asked to write about how Walker’s book relates the life and times of the famous abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass to any major theme you have learned in History 241. For example, how does Douglass’ life story relate to the limitations and promises of “freedom” in America? You might alternatively consider how Douglass’ life story relates to the long history of slavery and racism in America? If you would like to consider another broad thematic question of your own choosing, please consult with your instructor.
Part 2:
In addition to considering a broad thematic question like one of the ones above, be sure to focus your essay as a review of Walker’s graphic form of popular history. Consider how the book’s use of panel layouts, colours, and images help to convey some of the major themes of Douglass’ life and of American history generally. For example, how are pages generally organized in the book? Is the panel order obvious, and how do you know the intended order? Are the panels and borders uniform in shape and size, or do they vary? If there is variation, what do you think is the intended effect of this variation? In terms of images, is the style cartoonish, abstract, photo-realistic, etc.? How does the comic book style help to convey history?
**You may also consult sections of the textbook, Exploring American Histories, as a secondary reference source but no other sources are required for this assignment. This is not a research paper. Rather, it is an exercise in critical reading and analysis focused on historical inquiry and graphic forms of popular history writing. You will not receive extra marks for providing additional outside source materials nor are you required to do so.**
 Criteria:
Your term paper will be graded on the following criteria:

  • Evidence of a clear understanding of the topic/question and the historical issues it raises.
  • Thesis: specific, clear, thoughtful and it has to appear on your first page!
  • Argument: strong, well-organized, thoughtful, logical
  • Use of evidence: appropriate, adequate, effective, critical. It is crucial that you engage substantively with Walker’s book with extensive citation and analysis of content (ie. panels, images, and text).
  • Style and mechanics: grammatically correct, fluent, careful and accurate
  • Conclusion: meaningful, thoughtful

 
Format:
This paper is to be a minimum 8-10 pages typed, double-spaced pages in length in 12-point fontPlease use black ink, and a plain font that produces about 250 words per page.  You must try to use Chicago Manual of Style footnotes for your citations but other academic reference systems are acceptable (MLA, APA etc…).  It can be written in 2 separate Parts as outlined above and/or integrated all together as one singular review analysis. Be sure to provide a separate bibliography/sources cited page from Walker’s book and any other works cited. Little or no attempt to document, provide some indication of bibliography or works cited, and/or unacceptable levels of writing will automatically fail your paper. Do not plagiarize! If you are unsure about what plagiarism is, see me and the information below.
 
Get your assignments in on time! Late papers will lose 1/3 of a letter grade (from a B to a B-, for example) each calendar day after the due date (beginning after class on the due date itself).
 
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