Survey of United States history
Historians work with two types of sources: primary and secondary. Primary sources are letters, diaries, films, photographs, newspaper articles, and any other artifacts that were produced by people living through the events of a historical period. Historians study and draw on these sources in order to recreate the past for the current generation. These recreations are called secondary sources. Secondary sources are books, articles, and websites that historians and other authors write about the past—A People and a Nation is an example of a secondary source.
The analysis of primary sources is an important part of understanding both the culture of the past and the meaning of current events. Primary sources reveal the different perspectives that groups of people and individuals had on contemporary debates as well as the variety of responses historical actors can have to the same event. By investigating how people responded to their situations in diverse historical contexts, we can learn how individuals felt about events as they unfolded and can appreciate their divergent perspectives. This appreciation builds empathy that assists us as we approach individuals with different perspectives in our workplace and daily lives.
In this assessment, you will work with one of the following four time periods in United States history:
• English Colonization and the Road to Revolution
• The Early Republic and the American Civil War
• Reconstruction and the Age of American Imperialism
• The Making of Modern America
For each of these periods, you will have a pair of two primary sources. For your chosen historical period, you should use your knowledge and analytical skills—in addition to relevant readings from the A People and A Nation text—to provide context for these primary sources and to explain how they relate to one another. In this assessment, you will select one historical period and then analyze the corresponding two primary sources.
A. Write an essay (suggested length of 2–3 pages) on one of the historical periods from the list provided in the introduction, using the corresponding primary sources. In your essay, do the following:
Note: You can refer back to the information and worksheets in the Course of Study for HIST 1010, and the text, A People and A Nation, for additional information about these time periods.
1. Analyze the point of view of primary source A by doing the following:
a. Describe the major characteristics of primary source A (e.g., the author’s background, the main ideas presented, the reasons it was created).
b. Explain how primary source A reflects the major events of the chosen historical period (e.g., social movements, developing ideologies, international conflicts).
2. Analyze the point of view of primary source B by doing the following:
a. Describe the major characteristics of primary source B (e.g., the author’s background, the main ideas presented, the reasons it was created).
b. Explain how primary source B reflects the major events of the chosen historical period (e.g., social movements, developing ideologies, international conflicts).
3. Discuss how the two primary sources relate to each other within their historical context
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