H 271: Document Reviews

Document Review Paper
The purpose of these document reviews is to use textbook information to explain the significance of a document, to give you some depth of understanding, and to help you study the text for the exams. Turn in TWO reviews of documents--the first should be turned in week four, and the second in week fifteen (see our schedule). Please use ONLY ASSIGNED CLASS READINGS--Documents, Book Excepts on Moodle, and especially the text. Please, no other sources, no random websites or wiki.

Your Choices:

Again, students must address the document significance by using the text, so papers should be focused on the document, but also include many references from the text--for example, a student can choose any combination of documents from industrialization to discuss wealth and corporate capitalism to its impact on the increasing numbers of urban workers, and to do so you could include text information on basic economic changes, labor organization, and urbanization. The idea is to apply the historical context supplied by the text to the understanding of a document. In addition, please use the outside reading for your topic, such as Horwitz, Branch, Stegner, or Stowell. Your topics here are Reconstruction, The West, or Industrialization.

It is important that you cite your chosen document/s at the top of your paper, underneath your title. Some of these "documents" are databases, and you can choose among many documents, pictures, posters, etc. Please put your particular chosen document at the top of your paper, and if you are using pictures or posters, include a cut/paste copy at the end of your paper.

Paper #1:
Doc #1: "An address to the Loyal Citizens and Congress of the United States of America adopted by a convention of Negroes held in Alexandria, Virginia, from August 2 to 5, 1865," in Documents 1851-1871, From Revolution to Reconstruction (Linked on Moodle) Web link here: http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/index.htm Document link: http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/1851-1875/slavery/addres

The Winter Count

Doc #3: "Horatio Alger, Who Shall Win, A Story of School Life," Golden days for boys and girls. Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 6, 1880) Published: Philadelphia : James Elverson, 1880. Found at: Northern Illinois Library (online)/ Northern Illinois University Libraries DeKalb IL, 60115-2868 (815) 753-1995 http://www.ulib.niu.edu/rarebooks/alger/DigRepos/whoshallwin.cfm--you can also google up "Alger Who Shall Win"--also, see the Horatio Alger Bio at Northern Illinois University, their Alger Collection, http://www.ulib.niu.edu/rarebooks/alger/index.cfm (linked on Moodle); Doc #4: "Andrew Carnegie note, Wealth, June 1889, " in Documents 1876-1900, From Revolution to Reconstruction (http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/index.htm) Document link: http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/1876-1900/reform/carnegie (linked on Moodle); Doc #5: Mark Twain on Horatio Alger found at "Horatio Alger, Jr. Resources, Washburn University. "Good" & "Bad" Boy Paradies of Horatio Alger, web link: http://www.washburn.edu/sobu/broach/algerres.html (linked on Moodle)

Paper #2: Can be any document from the post Midterm portion of class. (You may also choose a topic from urbanization through the 1920s, this is fine, but you will need to turn in this paper by the first Midterm)


Here is a TWO-STEP GUIDE to developing your paper thesis, and then organizing your thoughts into a coherent essay. History papers should be logically developed, well supported arguments.

FIRST, DEVELOP YOUR THESIS. Study your chosen document, then answer each of the following:

1. DOCUMENT CITATION (Also, see below)

Information about document: Author (s), Title, place and date of publication/ production, website citation (Reference Information: who, when, where, & how was this document produced?--also, include website where document was accessed). Use the following as a rough guide for citation--information you should always try to identify when using a document:


you should always look for a specific author, even if the general "author" is an association oorganization.


Titles of books are usually underlined or italicized, articles are put in "quotation marks" and the journal or book titles in which they are found are underlined or italicized.


PUBLISHER OR PRODUCER--who produced this book, journal, or program (in its physical form).


WEBSITE INFO: Who has put this document on the website & why? Include URL last.


The BASICS about the document--and be both thorough and concise in your identification--include the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY (the apparent why), & WHERE basics of the document.


Using your textbook, explain the significance of the document--given the context of time, how do you explain the importance of the document (representing a particular issue, person, or event)? What other events take place at the same time which might help explain its significance?

Think of this as a PUZZLE, an enigma to unravel using the basic survey tools of ideas, issues, people, and events contemporary to the document being considered. Use these specifics and your historical imagination.

BASED ON EVIDENCE FOUND IN YOUR TEXT, or on the work of other historians/writers, CONSTRUCT a well-supported argument to explain the significance and meaning of the document.


Pull together your argument into an overall evaluation expressed in a careful and clear THESIS.

SECOND, ORGANIZE YOUR IDEAS AROUND YOUR THESIS, and use the following as a guide--include the following in your final draft.


Include an introductory opening to interest the reader--this might be its own paragraph, or you might combine it with your thesis paragraph below. Make the reader want to go further.


Include in this paragraph 1) your thesis; 2) a brief explanation of it; and end with 3) your points of evidence in the order you will be discussing them (i.e. points A, B, & C). This last part should help you to clarify your points, and also, sets up your paper for the reader.


Point A

Point B

Point C

Note: Each section should begin with a topic sentence that sums up the significance of the evidence you will be presenting, and that also ties it to your overall thesis.


Sum up your overall points into a persuasive conclusion.

5. Reference Notes and Citations

Please include FOOTNOTES or ENDNOTES in the text of your paper citing sources for quotes and for significant points. You should also include a BIBLIOGRAPHY which would include our textbook and any sources used to understand your document. You won't have to include the citation for your document because you will include this at the top of your paper.

For both REFRENCE and BIBLIOGRAPHIC citations, historians use the Chicago Style. Please go to the Chicago Manual of Style Quick Guide at: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html . Although you need to subscribe to the site for more information, this "Quick Guide" page is free. All you need to do is to follow this guide--remembering that B is for Bibliography and N is for Note, or the reference notes that you include either at the foot of the page of your final paper, or at the very end (end note)