The answer should be in APA format. It should have a clear introduction, an equally clear thesis supported by specific evidence, and a compelling conclusion. As the above list of materials suggests, it may be constructed from a mix of primary and secondary sources you have encountered in this course. Use footnotes to cite sources. Resources on Chicago StyleTOPICMany Americans envision their country as a melting pot that assimilates different peoples into a homogenous American “type,” yet Americans have always experienced divisions between different races, ethnicities, and economic classes. What kinds of racial, ethnic, and economic inequalities occurred between 1865 and 1924? Why did those inequalities occur? How did marginalized Americans try to improve their position in the United States?Note: You will not be able to address ALL these groups and ALL these forces in such a short space. Rather than trying to be comprehensive, you should instead focus on the best and most important examples. Remember also that excellent projects are grounded in specific evidence rather than “gut feelings” about causes and effects.Why are you doing this project? A historian’s job is to ask questions about the past, develop the best possible answers with the evidence available, and present those answers in a compelling form. This same process of ask, investigate, answer, and present is common to science, medicine, business, and every other profession.HIST 2302: Project Instructions
Rather than formal exams, you will complete three projects this semester that will challenge you
to create knowledge for yourself and others. Each project should showcase skills we have been
working to develop through your engagement with the history we have studied. Excellent
projects – and I am confident that you can produce excellent projects – will require selfmotivation, deep thought, insightful analysis, organizational abilities, creativity, and effective
communication rather than the memorization of vast swaths of facts.
Each project builds on the last. Project, One focuses on source analysis and using sources to
answer a question. Project Two requires the same skills as Project One, plus some additional
abilities we’ll develop in class. Project Three contains elements from Projects One and Two, plus
some extras. By the end of the semester, you should be able to identify things you can do better
than you could at the beginning of the semester.
By the way, one of your projects must be in a non-traditional format, meaning “not a formal
essay.” For more information, see the “alternate formats” section at the bottom of this sheet.
These are individual projects, not group projects. I’m available as a sounding board who can help
clarify ideas or provide assurance that you’re on the right track.
Project One: Due on Blackboard no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 19, 2021
(200 points)
Select one of the historical questions posed below and answer it using available class materials.
Your project should only use materials from class, such as Going to the Source, supplemental
online readings and multimedia, recorded lectures, in-class discussion, and anything else we’ve
encountered as a group.
Unless you choose to do this project in an alternate format (see that section, below), your answer
should be roughly four typed, double-spaced pages in a normal-sized (12-point) font. It should
have a clear introduction, an equally clear thesis supported by specific evidence, and a
compelling conclusion. As the above list of materials suggests, it may be constructed from a mix
of primary and secondary sources you have encountered in this course.
Choose one of the following questions:
1. Many Americans envision their country as a melting pot that assimilates different peoples
into a homogenous American “type,” yet Americans have always experienced divisions
between different races, ethnicities, and economic classes. What kinds of racial, ethnic, and
economic inequalities occurred between 1865 and 1924? Why did those inequalities occur?
How did marginalized Americans try to improve their position in the United States?
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Note: You will not be able to address ALL these groups and ALL these forces in
such a short space. Rather than trying to be comprehensive, you should instead
focus on the best and most important examples. Remember also that excellent
projects are grounded in specific evidence rather than “gut feelings” about causes
and effects.
Why are you doing this project? A historian’s job is to ask questions about the past, develop
the best possible answers with the evidence available, and present those answers in a compelling
form. This same process of ask, investigate, answer, and present is common to science, medicine,
business, and every other profession.
This project allows you to engage in that same process, but with some of the steps already
completed for you, as you already have potential questions and a base of sources from which to
work. You are free to choose the most interesting question and to craft an answer that best fits
the evidence as you read it, but this freedom comes with preset boundaries to help steer you in a
positive direction, like bowling with bumpers in the gutters.
Remember that in history, as in so many things, there is no one “right” answer. Some answers
are better supported by evidence than others. Some answers are more clearly and compellingly
presented than others. “Right” and “wrong” answers generally apply to mathematics but rarely fit
when discussing human affairs.
Citations: Practice using footnotes to cite your sources. Format the footnotes according to the
instructions in Going to the Source, Appendix II. Page 377 will be especially useful.
Tip: Citing primary sources from a document reader like Going to the Source can be
tricky. To cite the individual sources properly use the example “Chapter or other part of
an edited book” from the Chicago Manual of Style website:
https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-1.html#cgchapter.
Almost all word processors make inserting footnotes simple. If you are using
● Microsoft Word: Click References, then Insert Footnote. Repeat each time you need to
provide a citation (even if citing the same source again).
● Google Docs: Choose Insert, then Footnote. Repeat for each citation.
● Apple Pages: Click Insert, then Footnote. Repeat for each citation.
● Don’t use any of these? Google it.
Resources on Chicago Style
● Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, chapter 7
● Going to the Source, Appendix II
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● Chicago Manual of Style Quick Guide:
https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-1.html
General Writing Tips: Assume that your reader is not an expert in your subject and does not
have access to the course materials, so avoid clunky references to “Document 6” or “the picture
in Going to the Source.” It is YOUR job to teach the subject. Write clearly to acknowledge the
sources you are using and introduce quotes or information from the sources.
As the photo “Blackfeet and Park Golfers” shows,…
The Chicago Times asserted on May 15, 1894, that…
A project without a thesis statement is a project that has not answered the historical question the
author chose to answer.
These are formal essays and should adhere to the principles of formal writing. See the History
Department’s “Tips for Effective Writing”: https://uca.edu/history/files/2014/09/Important-Tipsfor-Effective-Writing.pdf
Alternate Formats:
You will complete one of your projects in some format other than a traditional essay. Possible
formats include a podcast, a documentary, an annotated timeline (I’d recommend Tiki-Toki, a
timeline tool that, confusingly, has no relation to TikTok), and a self-created website.
I’m willing to consider other “alternate formats,” but run them past me first for approval.
I do not expect you to become a professional-quality podcaster or an Oscar ® – winning director
in the space of a few months. But I do expect you to produce a project you can be proud of, one
that reflects a serious commitment of time, energy, and creativity. A podcast, for example, is
more than just someone reading an essay into a microphone. Making a documentary involves
more than turning a camera on yourself and talking.
Your “alternative format” project should cover the same points and goals as the “traditional”
versions listed above. You’re doing the same project, just in a different medium.
Apply common sense when asking yourself “how long should it be?” Rather than stress about
whether to make (hypothetical example) a ten-minute documentary or a fifteen-minute one,
instead ask whether your project has achieved the goals of the assignment to the very best of
your abilities.
Turning in the alternate format project will also require common sense. A documentary might be
uploaded to YouTube with a link submitted on Blackboard. A podcast could be uploaded as an
mp4 file. You could send a link to a website. I trust your ability to determine the best way to
provide access to your finished product. Regardless of what you choose, I must be able to access
your project via a link, file, or other method you submit using the assignment on Blackboard.
3
Alternate-format projects will be assessed on similar criteria as essays: the clarity of the key
ideas, effectiveness in selecting credible and relevant sources, engagement with pertinent
historical evidence, and the quality of the presentation.
As with everything we do, I’m always happy to consult, to listen to your ideas, to offer guidance,
or to review “drafts” of the final project. You should know, however, that I am not an
extraordinarily savvy tech person. I can’t tell you how to make a documentary. (In writing this
up, I have googled “how to make a documentary” and “best free video editor.”) One big goal
here is to challenge you to learn a new skill. The internet is a big place with lots of some good
advice. Do your research.
Why are you doing this? When is the last time you read a non-fiction history book? Today,
history, like all forms of information, comes in many forms. Your alternate format project is an
opportunity to strengthen your understanding of how knowledge is created and disseminated in
our modern world. It might also give you some new skills, or strengthen existing skills. It’s a
chance for you to demonstrate your creativity and individualism while respecting the need for
rigorous research, careful planning, and clear presentation.
Citing Sources in Alternate Format Projects
In most of the alternative formats, the best practice has two parts. First, overtly acknowledge the
source verbally or in the text, like you have heard in some of the podcasts you’ve listened to in
supplemental sources.
Example:
“As historian Erika Lee writes in her book, America for Americans,…”
Second, provide a bibliography of the sources you consulted, formatted according to Chicago
Style.
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