Primary Source Analysis Essay

Was the author a direct observer of the event/issue [if this is pertinent] or was the information obtained second-hand? What light does is shed on the society/events/issues described? Are there allusions made by the author that need to be explained? Believability of the document: Given the external analysis and the content of the document, how credible is the information?

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Seek instead to find something that you or the rest of the class would not have encountered in some other context.

Your source should be relatively brief (no more than 10-15 pages, or perhaps a chapter from a book), but long enough and sufficiently detailed so that you can meaningfully describe and contextualize it.

You may not use documents that are relatively common and widely known.

The Salem Witch Trials, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, or Andrew Jackson's bank veto message will not make for a very original write-up.

Examples of plausible primary materials might include a letter where someone describes a new settlement or some interesting event or happening, an extended diary entry describing daily life at some period in the course, an account of a traveler describing their visit to some community, a political cartoon depicting some important issue or conflict, a newspaper account of some major event or disaster, a photograph of some interesting subject, or some sheet music that speaks to the values, beliefs, or ideas of people from the period.

Sources involving multiple countries might be especially worth considering.Be sure, too, to consider the questions you worked through in the Understanding How Primary Sources... How did Wheel of Identity factors shape the contents?were Produced handout from our Mexican encounters exercise and the questions raised in SOCC analysis. Second, you should place the document into its historical context.Be careful to avoid secondary or tertiary accounts, even those published in the period covered by the course.ou will be asked to come up with a list of three or four potential primary sources a week or so before the final assignment is due.These will need to be cited in correct format (see below.) The submitted version should be typed, double or 1.5 line spaced, left-justified, with margins of at least 1.25 inches on the left and right sides.A copy of your primary source (or a url link to the specific pages you consulted) should be attached to the essay, but you will not need to attach copies of any secondary materials.A document may be of various types: a written document, a painting, a monument, a map, a photograph, a statistical table, a film or video, etc. Category of document: What is the category in which this document falls (memoirs, poem, novel, speech, law, study, sermon, Church document, song, letter, etc.)? Reaffirm the core thesis of the document/author; present your personal evaluation of it.Anything from the past that helps us learn what happened, and why, is a document. What motive (purpose) might the author have had in writing this document? Does the geographical location influence the content? How would the type of writing affect the content and believability of the document? Audience: What is the intended audience of this document? Or addressing the document to a specific group (or speaking to a specific group)? Content of the document: What does the author argue (main theme; secondary themes: summarize them briefly but thoroughly. Comment on the influence/impact the document might have had and the reason(s) for it. If possible, situate this document in a wider context.(See below for more detailed rules about permissible texts.) If you are unsure about what counts as a primary source it may prove helpful to review the Brief Guide to Sources that we read for the Mexican encounter primary source exercise. Participants with appropriate intermediate to advanced language skills are encouraged to consider materials from the Archive General de la Nacin Mxico, The Biblioteca Collection: "500 Anos de Mxico en Documentos", the Bilioteca Digital Mexicana, or the Bibliothque et Archives Nationales du Qubec.We have a library guide with lists of other primary source collections specific to this assignment that may also be used.


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