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Focus of the Final Paper
Understanding history can be more difficult than many people imagine. Historians concern themselves not only with what happened but with why it happened. They analyze and assess a variety of sources, including primary sources (ones created during the time period the historian is examining) and secondary sources (ones written by other historians after the period), to create their own interpretations of the past. For the Final Paper, students will not only learn about the past, but also experiment with the interpretive, analytical methodologies of the historian.
Choose from one of the topics below and review its history from 1865 to the present day. To focus the research, select six subtopics (specific events or developments related to the topic, separated in time); three from before 1930 and three from after. Describe the basic information of each subtopic, and then analyze the subtopic to show how the broader topic changed over time. For instance, a paper about African Americans might choose the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Power Movement as two of its subtopics. In that case, the paper would provide basic information about the two movements; explain what each one revealed about the place of African Americans in broader American society in, respectively, the 1920s and the late 1960s; explain how and why the place of African Americans in the 1920s differed from their place in the late 1960s; and explain how events in the 1920s may have contributed to developments in the later decade.
Choose one of the following topics:
a. Native Americans
b. African Americans
e. Foreign affairs
f. Civil liberties
g. The economy
h. The role and powers of the presidency
The paper must be eight to ten pages in length and formatted according to APA style. The coverage of each subtopic should be about a page long; the paper should also include an introduction and a conclusion which synthesizes and summarizes the findings of the body paragraphs, and develops a thesis—or interpretive argument—from them. You must use at least eight scholarly resources other than the textbook to support your claims. You must use at least one scholarly source for each subtopic. You must use at least two primary sources, and at least two scholarly secondary sources from the Ashford Online Library’s databases. Many great sources have provided for you in the recommended readings section for each week; feel free to use those in your paper. Cite your sources within the text of your paper and on the reference page. For information regarding APA, including samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center, located within the Learning Resources tab on the left navigation toolbar, in your online course.
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