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Burns - Research paper: Assignment


200 Points toward writing grade
Assignment Timetable
Remember that I am generous with extensions PRIOR TO due dates.  I know that research is difficult and there can be dead ends and blind alleys.  Communicate with me if a deadline is looming and you feel you can’t meet it.  Keep in mind, however, that if you turn your benchmark assignment in late, you will have less time to incorporate any of my comments into the final paper. 
REQUIRED: Should be turned in on BY April 17
Proposal & annotated bibliography (10% of paper grade)

Review the topics on the list attached.  Use Wikipedia, your textbook, the library databases, a STRATEGIC internet search for preliminary information.  Choose one topic and begin researching on JSTOR to find a good review essay to begin your research.  Focus on historical questions that take a position.  For example, “Wilson and the Treaty of Versailles: why did it fail?” is a question requiring a position; “What were the Senate’s objections to the Treaty of Versailles?” is a report question and does not require a position.  Continue to work on narrowing your question (remember your final paper is only 6-10 pages long).  Once you are done, write a one to two-page literature review (a summary of the historical debate) of your topic that includes the question you propose to research and an explanation of how you came to this question.  In addition, you should include a preliminary annotated bibliography of the sources you intend to use for your paper (see next page for detailed instructions).  ONCE YOU HAVE TURNED IN YOUR PROPOSAL YOU CAN NO LONGER CHANGE YOUR TOPIC.

OUTLINE AND ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY: DUE on by May 15 (15% of paper grade)

Your thesis is the answer to the historical question you developed.  You must be able to prove it with the evidence.   Separate handout with more detailed instructions coming.  In addition, you must include an annotated bibliography.  (See attached handout.)  This time, the annotation should explain how this source will help you with your thesis and arguments.

Requirements for Sources

  • You should consult a minimum of 5 sources. It is better to have found a few good sources that you have read carefully and know well than tons of sources that you have skimmed and don’t really understand.
  • You should cite only scholarly sources for this paper. You may not include encyclopedias, the textbook, or other general references as sources.  Please also see below regarding internet sources.
  • You must quote or cite at least 3 secondary sources that are books and/or peer-reviewed articles; Internet sources may not be used as secondary sources.  (JSTOR and similar internet-based databases are acceptable for finding peer-reviewed articles.) 
  • You must have consulted at least 2 primary sources.  You must cite or quote at least 1 of these in your paper.  You may access Internet sites for primary sources.
Final paper DUE MAY 22 (75% of paper grade)

You must turn your paper in on by this date.  Paper must be 6-10 pages (remember that 6 pages means all the way to the bottom of the 6th page).  A paper that is under 6 full pages will not receive a grade higher than a C.  The bibliography does not count as a page.  Your final paper must have footnotes or endnotes citing all information you obtained from your sources.  Any statement of fact or argument that you got from a source must be cited.





Reconstruction 1865-1877:


Freedman’s Bureau

Black Codes

Gender Roles and Newly Freed Slaves

Importance of the Black Church

Lincoln’s Plan for Reconstruction

Johnson vs. Congress

Impeachment Trial

Women and the 15th Amendment

Significance of the 14th Amendment

Efforts at Economic Reconstruction – Assess its Success or Failure

Efforts at Political Reconstruction – Assess its Success or Failure

Violence and “Redemption”

Grant’s Presidency

Gilded Age/ Progressive Era

Native American Policy, 1860-1939

Sioux Wars

Origins of the Pendleton Act

Indian Schools

Dawes Act

African Americans and the West

Success Ideology of the Gilded Age

The “New South”

Plessy v. Ferguson and the Rise of Jim Crow

Disfranchisement of African-Americans

Origins of the Urban Ghetto

Booker T. Washington: A Critical Analysis

The Political Thought of W.E.B. Dubois

Ida B. Wells and the Anti-lynching Campaign

Impact of Populism

Origins of Populism

Urban Life at the Turn-of-the-Century

Political Machines

Election of 1896

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, 1911

Anthracite Coal Strike, 1902

Immigration and labor

Haymarket Riot

Homestead Strike

Debs and Pullman Strike

Debs and American Socialism




Social Darwinism

Brandeis Supreme Court

Settlement House Movement

Women’s Christian Temperance Movement

Laissez-faire Constitutionalism

Rise of corporate plutocrats

Progressives (select a progressive reform and examine how/why it came to pass)

Women’s Suffrage

American Expansionism

Annexation of Philippines

Spanish American War

Annexation of Hawaii

U.S. and Cuba, 1898-1933

Theodore Roosevelt’s Foreign Policy

Theodore Roosevelt as “Trust Buster”

American Foreign Policy in a particular Central or South American country of your choice



Progressivism and WWI (did war kill progressivism?)

U.S. role in WWI

Impact of WWI on …

WWI Propaganda

Civil Liberties during WWI

Origins of the 16th, 17th, or 18th Amendment

Wilson and the Treaty of Versailles: why did it fail?

Mueller v. Oregon: triumph for women?

Conservation and the environmental movement

Wilson, the NAACP, and the Birth of a Nation controversy

Wilsonian approach to foreign affairs: WWI

First Great Migration

Between the Wars

One of the race riots of 1919 and its impact

Marcus Garvey

1st Red Scare (not McCarthyism)

Sacco and Vanzetti Trial

American foreign policy in the 1920s: was the “legend of isolationism” a legend?

The Triumph of the 19th Amendment

Margaret Sanger and the Politics of Birth Control

A. Phillip Randolph and the Black Union Struggle, 1926-1937

KKK in the 1920s

Birth of the CIO

American Women in the 1920s

The “New Negro” of the 1920s

Immigration (restriction) Acts of 1921, 1924

Scopes “Monkey Trial”: Clash of Cultures?

Development of Advertising/Commercialization

Communications Revolution

Religious Fundamentalism

Harlem Renaissance

The Lost Generation

Herbert Hoover: Conservative or Progressive?

American Foreign Policy in the early 20th century—focus on a specific area or time: China, Japan, Europe

American isolationists, 1931-1941

Causes of the Depression – Historiography

Origins of the New Deal

History of any New Deal agency

Origins of the Social Security Act

WPA and the Arts

WPA and Slave Narratives

Chicago Black Renaissance

Anti-New Deal Conservatism

The New Deal and African Americans: help or hindrance?

Creating American Farm Policy, 1914-1938

The Dust Bowl

American Minorities in the 1930s

Women and the New Deal

Native Americans and the New Deal

Why did the Socialist Party fail?

The American Communist Party, 1925-1941

Huey Long: populist, fascist, conservative?

Origins of the CIO

FDR’s shaping of the American presidency

Father Coughlin

U.S. Response to German neutrality

U.S. and the Jewish Question

The Scottsboro Case


FDR and Pearl Harbor

Women and WWII

African Americans in WWII

Native Americans and WWII

The Second Great Migration

Impact of the War in the West

World War II and Corporate America

World War II and Unions

Mexican Americans and the Zoot Suit Riots

Diplomacy in WWII

Desegregation of the Armed Forces

WWII & U.S. relations with Central America

Yalta Conference


Post-War America (1948-1965)

Unions in Post-war America

Rise of the Interstate

Beat Generation

Abstract Expressionists

Organization Men

Rise of Corporations

Rise of Consumer Culture


The Other America

Kinsey Report

Religious Developments in the 1950s

Change from New Deal Liberalism to “Cold War Liberalism”

Eisenhower Conservatism

Rise of the Welfare State

Civil Rights Movement

Cold War (1946-1989)

Origins of the Cold War (who should be blamed?)


Marshall Plan

US/Chinese Relations

Korean War

Israel/Palestine (from an American perspective)

Other American foreign policy in Middle East

American foreign policy in Latin America

            -     Guatemala

  • Chile
  • Panama
  • Cuba

Nuclear Proliferation


-           The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

-           May Lai

-           Pentagon Papers

-           Bombings of Cambodia

-           Choose another topic


Did Reagan Win the Cold War?

Cold War America (1965-1989)



Protest/Social Movements

The counterculture in the 60’s

Chicano Movement

Native American Movement

Women’s Liberation/Feminist Movement

-           The Feminine Mystique

-           Women in SNCC

-           Particular legislation

-           Feminism v. Women’s Liberation

-           SCUM

-           NOW

-           ERA

Abortion / Birth Control

-           Equal Pay Movement

Civil Rights Movement

-           Brown v. Board of Education

-           SNCC

-           CORE

-           SCLC

-           A particular event (bus boycott, sit-downs, etc.)

-           MLK v Malcolm X

-           Black Panthers

-           Nation of Islam

-           Civil Rights Act

Anti-War Movement

-           SDS

-           Weathermen

-           1968 Democratic National Convention

-           Vietnam Veterans against the War

-           Yippies (Youth International Party)

-           Kent State

Gay Liberation Movement

Back to the Earth Movement

Environmental Movement

Neo-Conservative Movement (Rise of Conservatism)