_US History Sophomore Thesis Paper
History is more than just a chronology of dates and facts. It changes and evolves throughout time challenging the perceptions and viewpoints of the past. This thesis paper is designed to prepare you for the kind of research and writing you will be doing in college and in the work force. You will be expected and required to show the ability to gather, understand and evaluate a question dealing with US History. Although there are specific due dates for phases of this project, much of the time, effort and thinking are your responsibility.
Introduction: Thesis, background information, overview
Body: Presentation of evidence, facts, historians' interpretations
• What are the facts?
• What have various historians said?
• What have their interpretations been?
Conclusion: Evaluation of evidence, your "answer" to the question, your personal interpretation (no first person)
1. Topic and tentative thesis and works cited in progress:
2. Note cards (20):
3. Final Thesis and Methods of Proof (Introductory Paragraph):
4. Outline and 40 note cards (original 20 plus 20 more):
5. Rough Draft:
6. Final paper, corrected rough draft, and finalized outline, and submission to Turnitin.com:
1. Typed, double spaced, one inch margins, Times New Roman, 12 point
2. Three to Five pages
3. A minimum of five sources, which must include:
· 2 Secondary sources- use books for this
· Periodical or journal
· Approved Internet source limited by teacher discretion
· A primary source
4. Parenthetical documentation (MLA)
5. You are responsible for producing any of the sources in your works cited page.
6. Final papers must contain the approved thesis. Non-compliance will result in a failing grade.
7. Late papers will result in a ten point penalty a day.
8. Evidence of intentional plagiarism shall result in a student's being granted a grade of zero
9. Turnitin.com is an available resource and requirement for you and your teacher.
Thesis Paper Set-Up
- First page: Name, Block, date, Teacher’s Name in upper left hand corner. Title centered one inch below the last line of the salutation. Page numbers in the bottom right hand corner of the page.
- Text: 3-5 pages typed.
3. Works Cited Page: Works Cited at the top center in Caps refer to:
All sources you cited should be here, alphabetized by the author's last name. Only sources cited in paper should be listed. Check for correct punctuation.
Forming your Thesis
General Topic of interest:_______________________________________________________
Question you would like answered: __________________________________________
Possible/Tentative thesis: ___________________________________________________
Final Thesis: _____________________________________________________________
Internal Documentation and Works Cited
For the purpose of this paper parenthetical documentation shall be utilized to document your information. The use of documentation is vital to a paper such as this one because it allows you to credit an author for their idea without plagiarizing. However, that does not mean that you may copy down what an author wrote, document it and you are not considered a plagiarist. On the contrary you when you discuss an idea that is not your own you must give credit to the author to whom it belongs.
A suggestion when figuring out what to document... All information that is not common knowledge should be documented.
Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were two well-known civil rights activists in the 1960's.
Malcolm X was the less popular activist, not only because of his extreme methods and strategies, but mainly because of his Muslim beliefs which white Christian America could not relate.
Statistics, percentages, direct quotations from a person, or exact words of an author, primary source material.
MLK was the less popular activists, not only because of his extreme methods and strategies, but mainly because of his Muslim beliefs which white Christian
America could not relate (author's last name p.#).
Works Cited: a works cited page is like a bibliography but is only includes the
sources you use and cite within your paper. We will be using the MLA format. See provided sheet. A good paper should incorporate a variety of sources which reflects depth of research.
Note Card Procedure:
I. Appearance... 4x6 cards with lines
A. Note cards must be 4x6 inch size. This gives you ample room to write all the necessary information, but not so much room to tempt you to put too much information on one card.
B. Note cards must have lines on one side (and not lines that you drew in with a pencil).., this allows you to neatly catalogue the source, page
number, information, and type of card... neatness counts in this case.
II. Writing Guidelines... always use pen; write on one side
A. You will use a pen of blue or black ink, for every single not card (this is because pencils smudge making key information disappears and this is
the most formal academic document you will write this year, and formal documents demand formal writing utensils).
B. You will only write on the side of the card that has lines (if you are tempted to go onto the back chances are you are putting too much
information on the card).
III. Format.. .label four key elements on each card
A. In the top right comer, write type of information that is on the card (Quotation, Paraphrase, or Summary).
· 1. Summary: the information from a big chunk of reading put into your own words.
· 2. Paraphrase: the information from 2-5 sentences put into your own words.
· 3. Statistic: numbers, percentages, dollar amounts, dates, etc.
· 4. Direct Quotation: the exact words of an expert, un-paraphrased because they are simply too perfect to rephrase (make sure you write the
name of the person you are quoting).
B. In the top center, write the topic of the card.., topics are the main points you are going to cover (Ex. If you are writing a paper on Native American
assimilation, your card topics might be why the Native Americans were assimilated, the types of assimilation, and how the Native Americans
reacted to the assimilation).
C. In the top left, write the last name of the author of the source that you are using as well as the page number where you got your information.
IV. Paper organization.., order the topics, order the cards, outline
A. Divide your cards up into stacks by topic (top center of the card)... you should have 4-8 topic piles... piles of one card should be combined with
B. Arrange the topic piles in the most logical order for your paper.
C. Arrange the cards within each topic pile in the most logical order for your paper.
D. Use the topics (in the order you chose for B. above) as the Roman Numeral heading of you outline.
E. Use the entire content of each note card in order as the A, B, C's under each Roman Numeral heading.
Possible Thesis Questions:
To what extent and in what manner did the African-American artists of the Harlem Renaissance express their identity as African-Americans?
What is the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance?
Was the destruction of the buffalo an intentional act of genocide on the part of the American government?
Should the majority of "battles" that took place during the 19' Century be considered massacres instead?
Immigration and Urbanization:
"Despite a sometimes unfriendly welcome, immigrants in the late 1800s were lucky to have America's growing cities as their new home." Agree or disagree?
Democracy and the Railroads:
Did the railroads exploit farmers and workers in their wasteful competition, or did they make a better and freer life possible for millions?
The West: Paradise or Paradise Lost?
"Our romantic image of the wild west of the late 1800s is not entirely a myth" Agree or disagree?
The Scopes Trial
"The Scopes Trial was less about the theory of evolution and more about the social and cultural divisions in the America of the 1920s"
Why Women Won the Vote
"Women won the vote because their independent roles in public life made it clear they were already fully involved as citizens." Agree or disagree?
The Red Scare:
Was the Red Scare a response to real dangers facing the nation, or was it based entirely on prejudice and irrational fear?
Was Yellow Journalism the cause of the war? Is it fair to call it a "splendid little war"?
The Progressive Era:
"The Progressive movement resulted in a series of lasting reforms and influenced U.S. government for much of the 20`" Century" Assess the validity of the statement.
"Woodrow Wilson's illness and refusal to compromise were chiefly responsible for the defeat of the Treaty of Versailles" Assess the validity of this statement.
Frederick Jackson Turner's Thesis:
Violence and the frontier experience, Individualism and the frontier experience.
American Dream or Nightmare?
Grassroots politics, Was it doomed to fail?
Rags-to-Riches: An achievable American Dream?
Social Darwinism: Social science theory or manipulation of capitalism?
Rise of the wage slave, Unionism: Savior of the working class?, Eugene Debs: Leader or demagogue?
Aid for the under-represented or Manipulation of the people's will?
Vision of artists/writers- comparison to reality
Fueled by racism or democratic ideals?
Warranted or unjustified fears?
Sacco and Vanzetti:
Political beliefs on trial?
Who is to blame?
Rebirth fueled by the end of WWI and influx of immigration?
America’s First Terrorist Organization?
Should the government attempt to regulate people's morals?
Henry Ford's Assembly Line:
Essential to industrialization or demise of workplace individualism?
Birth of a modem nation? (fashion, morals and values, entertainment, women, etc.)
Women and WWI:
Could the allies have won without the contributions made by women?
Should he be blamed for the Great Depression or is her just a scapegoat for the failures of capitalism?
Solution to a crisis or a step towards socialism?
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire:
Should the owners have been found guilty?
Was it a necessary evil?
Saving American culture?
Human environmental interaction.
Immigration: Racist laws?
Did it help or hurt the fight for equality among the races?
Friend of the common man or foe of the Native American?
Foreign Policy committed to peace?
Espionage and Sedition Acts of WWI:
Protecting a country or violation of constitutional rights?
A true belief of rationalization for racism and greed?
Gilded Age Politics:
The politics of the Gilded Age failed to deal with the critical social and economic issues of the times.
Peer Review Sheet
___________ Is sufficient background provided as an introduction to the topic?
___________ Is the thesis clearly stated? Underline or star the thesis.
___________ Does it address opposing arguments and refute them?
- Body of the paper:
_________ Is the evidence clearly presented? (Can you understand how the evidence expands the thesis?)
_________ Is there logical sequence of evidence? (Does the evidence move from least to most important or vise versa?)
_________ Is there varied sentence structure?
_________ Is each paragraph coherent? (Does it develop its topic sentence?)
_________ Are there grammatical problems?
_________ Have they avoided the first person use?
_________ Does the conclusion review/ summarize main points?
_________ Does the conclusion contain new ideas or information (global connection or historical impact)
_________ Does the conclusion contradict the thesis?
4. Works Cited:
_________ Are the minimum requirements met?
_________ Are citations included and correct?
PEER EDITING CHECKLIST
Your name: Name of original writer:
Date : Period :
DIRECTIONS: Read the work carefully and consider your answers to the following questions. Remember that your goal is to write responses that will encourage the writer and assist him or her in the effort to revise and improve this particular piece of writing. You will be graded on the extent to which you articulate helpful writing suggestions for your peer-editing partner. Even if you feel you are stating the obvious, write in complete sentences to express complete thoughts. But then, go beyond the obvious to provide insightful comments.
WRITE ON A SEPARATE SHEET OF PAPER SO YOU WILL HAVE ROOM.
1. If the work has a title, comment on its effectiveness. If it has no title, suggest one if appropriate.
2. Has the writer followed the guidelines for this particular assignment?
3. What seems to be the purpose of the writing? Where is that purpose made most clear?
4. Does the writing seem to fulfill its persuasive purpose? If so, by what techniques does this persuasion succeed? Are there other techniques needed?
5. Provide three adjectives to describe the tone of this work. Is the tone appropriate or effective?
6. What suggestions can you offer regarding the organization of the work? Does is employ transitions effectively?‑
7. Choose the three most effective words. What purpose did they serve?
8. What sentence is the most effective? What sentence is the least effective?
9. Is there a conclusion and is it satisfactory? What do you suggest the writer do to improve the conclusion?
10. Are there any details within the work that are ineffective, inaccurate, or irrelevant?
11. What details are lacking? Did you as a reader have questions that were left unanswered?
12. How engaging would you rate this work on a scale from 1-5, with 5 being completely compelling and engaging?
13. Are there mechanical errors? If so, what are they? Is there a pattern of errors which suggests a writing problem?
14. How effective were the lengths of the sentences? Were any sentences in need of combining or shortening?
15. Write one final sentence that summarizes your overall impressions of this work and your suggestion for improving upon it.