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American History Essay

American History Essay. I have attached the essay prompt below.  Complete your essay by answering ALL the questions in the prompt.  I am not expecting essays to be more than 3-4 pages double-spaced, 12 point fontYou must use at least THREE primary sources of your choosing in your essay!I strongly encourage using direct quotes in your essay.  You will use only a parenthetical citation for the primary sources.  I have provided an example below.

Example: Eugene Debs described when he became a Socialist.  He noted that after the strike failed, “the Chicago jail sentences were followed by six months at Woodstock and it was here that Socialism gradually laid hold of me in its own irresistible fashion” (Debs).

If you have further questions on citations, see me.

Do not use block quotes in your essay!

Do not provide a works-cited page or cover page.

Do not use first person.

Do not use a header.  Put only your name on the essay!

Do not use outside sources!  Only use your background reader, class notes and the primary sources.  If you cite something in the background reader, use the authors of the book as a citation.  EXAMPLE: (American YAWP, 314).  Please use quotes from the background reader sparingly.  Quotes used from the background reader do not count as a primary source! Textbook:

What is a primary source?  It can be a letter, a newspaper article, a photograph, an oral history, a diary entry, government document, or archaeological evidence that gives us a first-hand account of an event that happened in the past.  Primary sources are the “building blocks” historians use to interpret and analyze the past.

First, think about who wrote the piece you are reading, why they wrote it, and who was the intended audience.  Second, put the source in its historical context.  For example, what event or time period was the author discussing?  What is their position or argument pertaining to a certain event?  Third, why was this source written?  What kind of factual information is provided?  Why is this source important to our understanding of the past?  Do you find the source credible or not?  These questions are some of the many you can use when reading primary sources.

Refresh your memory on plagiarism!  DO NOT TURN IN WORK THAT IS NOT YOUR OWN! All essays will be scanned to see if you have copied from other sources.  If you turn in an essay that uses other sources, I will know.


Explain the changing urban landscape in America’s fastest growing cities from 1877 to 1920.  Why were cities appealing to millions of native born Americas and immigrants?  What were conditions like in American cities at the turn of the century?  What were the pros and cons of living in a city?  How did the working class live?  How did workers organize against big business?  What methods did workers use to address the  terrible working conditions they faced in U.S. factories? Were these efforts successful?    How did Progressives work to address the massive inequality of the Gilded Age?  What were some of the success and failures of the Progressive movement?

For your essay, be sure to include at least three primary source readings in completing your essay.  The more primary sources you use in your essay the better!

American History Essay


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