Historians are often asked to write about a topic of which they have no prior knowledge. It is the job of the historian to be able to research the topic, to differentiate between fact and fiction, and most importantly to write, or interpret, their version of the history of that topic.
For your first paper assignment, you are going to write about a topic in American History that occurred on the same month and day (but not same year) as your birthday!
Start by hopping on your favorite internet search engine (ie � yahoo.com, google.com, or whatever), and type in �on this day in history� plus your birthday (just month and day). For example: On this day in history February 19. [***It may be easier to just go to the History Channel Website at HYPERLINK “https://www.history.com” www.history.com and use their �This Day in History� page!]
You should get returns in the ballpark of two or three million sites! But we don�t have time to look thru all those. You want to focus in on ONE historical person, place or event that centers on your date. ALSO the year for your topic has to fall between 1865 to 1980, and it has to be of importance to NORTH AMERICAN history! But those are the only two criteria.
1) My birthday is February 19.
2) So I go to HYPERLINK “https://www.yahoo.com” www.yahoo.com and type in �on this day in history February 19.�
3) Yahoo returns 213,000,000 sites. I look at the first couple of sites and come up with topics including:
1878 Thomas Alva Edison patents the gramophone (phonograph)
1913 1st prize inserted into a Cracker Jack box
1920 Netherlands joins League of Nations
1845: The Congress of the Republic of Texas agrees to join the United States, following the wishes of the republic’s leading figure, Sam Houston
1945: United States Marines storm the island of Iwo Jima. Nearly 60,000 marines went ashore the eight-square-mile volcanic island
4) These are only a few, but which could I choose? Well, one is dated 1845, so that is out. I love Cracker Jacks, but I don�t think that I could write two pages on that. The other three are all good. Although you may question the one about the Netherlands joining the League of Nations, I could write about that since the United States was also a part of the League of Nations, and I could build on that. I would probably pick the last one and start my paper with that specific event, but then broaden the body of my paper out to discuss Iwo Jima�s impact on the bigger picture of World War II in American history.
SO I HAVE A TOPIC, NOW WHAT?
Start your paper by stating your topic. I would start by stating to the reader your date, and then your topic. Feel free to tell me what you already know or don�t know about your topic. The introduction is your chance to make it your paper! Don�t forget to come up with an interesting title! As stated in your syllabus under the section titled �Writing Assignments,� your paper needs to be a full three pages, typed, double spaced, 12 point/Times New Roman font (which is the default in Microsoft Word), and needs to have one(1) inch margins on all sides.
Now, use the body of the paper to dive into the research for your topic. You need a minimum of three sources for this paper, and you can definitely use your textbook as well as internet sources. ***You must use at least one library book (a physical book, not an electronic book) and bring that book with you to class next week!
You will have a last page (after your three pages minimum of text) entitled �Works Cited� where you will list ALL of the sources that you used for your paper.
For the conclusion, personalize your paper once again. Tell the reader why you think that this topic is important to American history, or tell the reader what impact your date in history has had on American society or culture.
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