his017 essays

You will write two essays. Each essay should have a strong thesis in an introductory paragraph, a clear organization divided into 3 body paragraphs that tie back to your thesis, and at least 2 pieces of evidence for each body paragraph.

1) Your first essay will ask you to design a preparation guide for immigrants to the United States. Your job is to help them understand the history of what becomes the United States to 1865 by reflecting on a central theme. You will write up a four-paragraph essay that argues for the central theme in U.S. history to 1865 and then explores it across three different time periods of your choosing. You might focus on a time period like pre-European arrival, or early encounters, or English settlement in the 1700s, or Revolutionary America, or the early national period of 1787-1820, or the coming of the Civil War, or Civil War and Reconstruction.

What is the most-important theme of U.S. history to 1865? What shaped the country most influentially? How did this theme play out differently in 3 different eras. You will need to draw upon American Yawp and may also use Land So Strange, Infortunate, Harriet Jacobs and other books we read.

2) Your second essay will ask you to think broadly and thematically about the period between the Revolution and the end of the Civil War. It will ask you to try to bring together the three great themes we have focused on—the growth of slavery, the growth of a free labor society in the North, and the settler colonial expansion westward. The question is:

Did the United States at the end of the Civil War represent:

a) the culmination of the Revolution

b) a betrayal of the Revolution

c) an entirely different type of nation than one could have imagined at the Revolution

Incorporate slavery, free labor, and westward expansion into your answer. Your essay should be about 4 paragraphs long. Begin with a clear, arguable thesis. Use examples from lectures and readings to support your points. (You will need to draw upon American Yawp and may also include Harriet Jacobs and any other books we read.)