You may choose the topic of your short paper from within the time frame of the course since the last paper (1820-1877). You can write on anything that you find interesting as long as it is a broad enough subject for you to find sources on and a narrow enough subject to fit into 3 pages. And as long at it is an American history topic. Your paper should not be a chronological narrative, but, instead, it should have an argument that is expressed in a thesis statement at the end of your introduction. Your thesis statement is basically one sentence that reveals the main topic of your essay AND what you will be arguing about your topic. For example: a topic would be “The Civil War;” and a thesis could be: “The Civil War was not only a fierce battle between the North and South, but it also played a significant role in the lives of African American slaves and the poor of the South.” An essay with this thesis would have to discuss all three aspects of the war.

This short paper must be at least three double-spaced pages of text (Times New Roman, font size 12), and you must consult a minimum of two academically credible sources. Please use the Chicago Manual of Style format for your bibliography and citations. Click here for a short guide to Chicago citation styles: www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

The short paper must include a cover page with your name, course number and course title, instructor’s name, and date. You must also include a bibliography at the end of your paper. While composing your paper, use proper English. Do not use abbreviations, contractions, passive voice, or first/ second person (I, you, we, our, etc). Before submitting your paper, check your grammar and use spell check. Remember, the way you talk is not the way you write a paper.

If you use any of the information from your sources word-for-word, you must put quotations around the quoted material and cite the source by using end notes or footnotes. If you read the information and write it in your own words and it is not common knowledge, then you must also cite the source because you are paraphrasing someone’s information. Failing to cite your sources will lead to inadvertent plagiarism.

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