Primary Source Historical Research Paper

For this assignment you will use the tools of historical research to write a paper on a topic of importance for the time period covered in this history course.  You will need to incorporate a primary source document (source from the time period) as well as secondary source documents (modern history books written after the fact) into your research paper.  To help with this process I will provide a link to a variety of primary source documents from American History.  This is not the only link to primary sources you may use, but will help you if you do not want to search all over the internet.  In addition you will need to conduct research using additional “actual books” book that you might find at a library or bookstore about your topic.  This should be a book or two you can hold in your hand.

  • Begin by choosing a topic of relevance to our history course (Something on the American Revolution is irrelevant to this class)
  • Find a primary source document relevant to your topic (speech by a president about a war or important event, article on civil rights, women’s rights, or life in the cities, etc…)
  • Find 1 or more secondary sources about your topic (books from a  library or book store)
  • If topic is mentioned in the textbook, use this information as well.
  • Draft a 3-5 page paper about your topic using quotes from all sources.
  • Cite your paper using MLA, APA or Chicago Manual style.  Ex: (Smith, 47) (Smith, 1865, p. 13) or footnotes for all citations
  • Include a Works Cited page
  • Your paper should include the following sections
    • Introduction to the topic of relevance to American History
    • Paragraph explaining how the paper will explore the topic and about the author’s perspective on it (your perspective)
    • Paragraphs outlining the key issues, events, writings, and/or impact of the event on American history
    • Conclusion once again telling importance of the event and how the paper proved its significance.  Additionally how the primary source document sheds light on the topic and puts it in historical perspective.   
  • Paper should be written formally and not contain “I,” “me,” etc….
    • Instead of “I feel like the president didn’t fully understand the situation the country was in…” use “The president didn’t fully understand the situation the country was in…”
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