Topic: Based on your analysis of “Origins of the Constitution”, do the primary sources support or contradict Holton’s conclusions about the motives of the authors of the Constitution?
These papers will be your attempts at answering a question specific to the sources that we will read. The
purpose of these assignments is not to have you regurgitate the information back to me, as many of us are
accustomed to doing, but to analyze the information, synthesize your analysis and develop an argument in
answer to the question. In other words, I am not looking for a review of the material. Instead, I expect that
you will take the facts gleaned from your reading and thoughtfully present your assessment of the events we
will study. You will be doing the work of historians, and the conclusions you reach will differ from one
student to another.
1. Papers must be typed, dbl spaced, 12pt font, Times New Roman with 1 in. margins and a cover sheet.
2. Must be between 2.5-3 pages in length (and 800-1000 words).
1. Thesis: The thesis (1 or 2 sentences) should be underlined and clearly state the perspective/direction
of your argument. It does not have to be the first sentence(s) of your paper, but it does need to be in
the first paragraph. It is not a question!
2. Argument: Use your analysis of the facts to support your point of view. The goal here is not to get
the “right” answer, but to have a well supported argument.
3. Quotes: Use them to add validity to your argument. You don’t have to cite the sources like you
would a research paper (MLA end/footnotes, etc.). Instead, you should introduce a quotation by
giving the historical context of the quote. Example: George Washington, in his first inaugural
address, claimed “…”; President Lincoln’s view, as presented in his Gettysburg Address, stated
“…”. Quotes must not exceed 2 typed lines.
4. Conclusion: This includes a summary of your argument and it is the place for any personal
“opinions/editorials” about the subject.
Do’s and Don’ts:
1. Be Succinct! – 2.5 pages is not a lot of room so get to the point quickly and stay there!
2. Be Relevant! – Don’t spend time on information that doesn’t directly relate to your argument.
3. Pick a Side! – While evidence may point to various conclusions, you should choose one and develop
it. This is an exercise designed to assess your writing/communications skills, it is not a forum to
express your personal beliefs.
4. Analyze, Don’t Review! – Give meaning to the evidence. Convey your own ideas about the events as
opposed to merely retelling the story.
5. Answer the Question! – Make sure that your paper/thesis speaks directly to the question that is being
6. Proofread your work!
7. No I, Me or My Statements! – These statements weaken your argument. Don’t use them! Example; “I
feel…”, “In my view…”, “I think” or “It seems to me…”
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