Seminar United States History II spring 2010 Service High School

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United States History II
Spring 2010
Service High School

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Student’s Name___________________________________

Introduction and Rubric

Every spring semester, every seminar sophomore must write an 8-10 page research paper in their Seminar U.S. History. The term paper process includes several steps to make this process more manageable, and to teach you how to conduct historical research. Students who earn the best grades are proactive in this process, and complete every step on time. This also means that you cannot wait to the last minute to write this paper and expect to earn a passing grade. We are going to start the process early and continue this throughout the entire semester.

What you NEED to know:

→ The term paper process will count on your 4th quarter grade. The final submission of your

term paper will count on your fourth quarter grade. See rubric on pages 2 and 3 for a more

detailed breakdown of point distribution.

→ The research paper itself must be handed in with all supplemental materials on the date it is

due during the period you have U.S. History or American Studies.

Be sure to save all notes, outlines and rough drafts. These materials must be turned in with

your paper. These items prove that the paper is your own original work!

If you are absent for whatever reason the paper still must be handed in on time! Papers are considered late after the period you have U.S. History. Check your computers, printers and storage devices in advance.

Definition of a Research Paper

The research paper is a long essay presenting your own interpretation or evaluation or argument

about a topic or question. Information is taken from diverse sources that must be cited throughout the paper. You build upon what you know about a subject through your research to find out what experts know.
There are two types of research papers. Informational research papers summarize and present factual information in a coherent and organized way. Analytical papers present factual information and draw conclusions from the evidence presented. Often an analytical paper will explore a question. The analytical paper that explores a question has some elements of persuasive writing in that the writer's conclusion is an opinion derived from the factual evidence.
Analysis in research papers involves breaking down a topic into its parts so you can understand it. You do research to become an expert on the topic so you can present it from your own perspective. For example, you could analyze or evaluate the culture of protest movements during the 1960’s and 1970’s for an analytical paper.
If your research paper is exploring a question it needs to support one side or the other for you to be able to draw a conclusion. The paper that explores a question is analytical, but uses information to support your point. For example, you could find research to back up your point that protest movements during the 1960’s and 1970’s were instrumental in bringing an end to our involvement in the Vietnam War. This is a very different focus than evaluating the protest movement culture during the 1960’s. As you explore a question you will use evidence to support a perspective on a topic.

Procedure for a Research Paper/Schedule of Due Dates

The following steps are suggested in preparing a research paper:

1. Choose a general topic.

2. Find a variety of information sources on the subject (monographs, reference books,

magazines, videos, library databases, etc) and make a preliminary reference list.

3. Limit the subject based on your initial information search and develop a question.

4. Read and research extensively and take notes on note cards.

5. Sort note cards into related stacks.

6. Make a trial outline.

7. Read and take more notes on weak areas.

8. Revise the outline.

9. Prepare the bibliography.

10. Write a first draft with endnotes.

11. Revise and rewrite draft copies.

12. Prepare the final copy.

Schedule of Due Dates

You are expected to hand in each of the following on time. Unless you are legitimately absent from school, the grades for each part will be lowered one letter grade for every day the assignment is late.

Selecting a Topic/Developing a Research Question

Remember that a topic is what a research paper is about. It provides a focus for the writing. Stick

with one major topic in your paper.

Choose a topic that is of interest to you – you will be examining it all semester.

The topic must deal wth U.S. history in some form – social, political, economic, religious, military,diplomatic, etc.
The topic must do one of the following:

�� explore a thought provoking and controversial question

�� compare two events or people in history

�� evaluate an event or person

Topics that are unacceptable:

∅ Conspiracy theories – Who shot JFK?

∅ Straight biography – You may choose a topic dealing with one person but not in biography

format. Ask a question like “Did William Lloyd Garrison help or hurt the abolition

movement.” You will spend very little of the paper discussing his early life.

A research question allows you to look at a topic from a certain perspective and draw a conclusion from your research. While the Colt Firearms Factory and Samuel Colt are topics, asking the question “What effect did the Colt Empire have on Hartford?” allows you to make a point and draw a conclusion.

Choose a question that is not too broad or too narrow. If you want to write about Colt, you might

ask these questions:

1. Who was Samuel Colt?

2. How did Colt’s pursuits affect American History?

3. What effect did the Colt Empire have on Hartford?

Question “1” is too narrow. It can be answered in one sentence. Question “2” is too broad because you might have to explore several topics from his invention of the revolver to his contributions to the Civil War and you might lose focus. Question “3” is focused enough to stick to one topic, yet broad enough to research in some depth.

When you are developing a research question be sure to choose a topic that actually can be

researched. List all the questions you would like answered. Do a preliminary search to see what

kind of sources are available for research. Read an overview source (a source that summarizes the main points of your topic) to help you choose the best question for your research. The perspective from which you choose to explore your research question will develop into your

thesis statement.

After choosing a topic you must hand in the topic approval sheet. All topics need to be

approved by your teacher. Also, you may not change your topic without your teacher’s

Some Topic Suggestions

This list is by no means all-inclusive. These are simply topics, not research questions or thesis

suggestions. These topics are meant to spark your thoughts.
Political History

American Loyalists/Tories –Impact during the war

Evaluate the Articles of Confederation – strengths and weaknesses

Constitutional Convention- debate, arguments and compromises

The role of the Federalist Papers in constitutional ratification

The constitutional debate over the Alien and Sedition Acts

The development and legacy of Hamilton and Jefferson’s political philosophies

The significance of Shays’ Rebellion and/or the Whiskey Rebellion

Evaluating the extent of Jefferson’s domestic and foreign policies. Did he live up to his own

Jeffersonian philosophy?

The impact and legacy of Jacksonian Democracy

The significance of the War of 1812

The United States policy towards Native Americans- Research of a specific tribe or nation

John Marshall and the development of the Supreme Court.

Evaluate the significance of a specific Supreme Court decision; Marbury vs. Madison, Gibbons Vs.Ogden, Brown vs. Board of Education

The causes, consequences and controversies of the Mexican American War

Evaluate the philosophy and Manifest Destiny and its impact on American development

Evaluate the causes of the Civil War- Was it inevitable?

The legacy of Reconstruction? – To what extent was it a success or failure?

Evaluate the accomplishments of the Progressives or Populists

The origins and significance of any third party

The significance of a specific political election: presidential, congressional etc.

Compare and contrast presidential policy of a specific issue: Ex: Hoover and Roosevelt’s response to the Great Depression

Evaluate the foreign policy and legacy of Woodrow Wilson: idealist or realist?

Evaluate the significance and legacy of a political scandal (Ex: Teapot Dome, Iran-Contra, CreditMoblier)

Evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the Republican presidents of the 1920’s.

Evaluate the impact and legacy of FDR’s New Deal – To what extent did it bring about positive


Research the causes of the Great Depression

How did the United States of America dig itself out of the Great Depression?

The origins and development of the American welfare state

The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II

The rise of McCarthyism

The dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima

The causes and consequences of the Reagan Revolution

President __________ and the Civil Rights Movement

Presidential policy towards the Vietnam conflict

The 1st amendment in the 20th Century

The legacy of the 1968 Democratic National Convention

Watergate: causes, consequences, legacy

Social and Intellectual History

Analyzing art, literature, music and or fashion of certain times: Use this theme to discuss a larger

political, economic or social issue. Example: How did music during the Vietnam era reflect the

sentiment of the population? How did Women’s fashion during the 19th century reflect gender norms

and values?

The growth and evolution of Glastonbury

An examination of the evolution of ideal beauty across time periods

The effect of a war on the American populace- Choose a war, examine popular culture

The significance of the Scopes Trial

Capital Crime and Punishment in early America

Contributions of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Jacksonian Era reforms (temperance, education, prisons, suffrage)

The Hudson River School and cultural nationalism

The significance of Nat Turner and/or John Brown’s slave revolts

Racial attitudes of antebellum north

Compare and contrast the goals, tactics and impact of two abolitionists

The role of women on southern plantations

Compare and contrast the philosophies of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois

The Women’s Suffrage Movement: compare/contrast two suffragettes or feminist activists

The significance of the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848

The significance of the prohibition of alcohol

Progressive Era Reforms: trust busting, muckrakers, temperance etc.

The development of the labor movement: Knights of Labor, AFL,

The changing role of women during the 1920’s

Significance of The Gospel of Wealth, Social Darwinism

Nativism during the 19th or 20th centuries

The rise and impact of the Ku Klux Klan (Pick one time period: 1870’s, 1920’s, 1960’s)

The significance of the Sacco and Vanzetti trial and conflict during the 1920’s

The significance and impact of the Harlem Renaissance

Origins of Jazz and/or The Blues

How did the Great Depression change the social fabric of American life?

Contribution of blacks, women or Natives Americans during World War II

The role of women in America in the post WWII period

The impact of World War II on politics, economics, social issues

The Red Scare- compare and contrast the one in the 1920’s and 1950’s

McCarthyism’s impact on the U.S.

Popular culture and mass media during the 1950’s

Jackie Robinson’s contribution to Major League Baseball desegregation and Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement- Choose one (significant legislation, impact of a particular political

leader, impact of a particular event or activist, success and failures)

The impact of the Black Panthers on the Civil Rights Movement. Were they a help or hindrance?

The Nation of Islam – origins, goals, impact on the Civil Rights Movement

The effect of Kent State on public opinion

The evolution of the women’s movement 1950-1970 – Goals, successes, challenges, activists.

The impact of Betty Freidan’s “The Feminine Mystique”

The rise of the American suburb and changes its significance on U.S. geography, demography etc.

The African-American northern migration of the 1950’s

The environmental movement

Significance of Cesar Chavez and the Migrant Farm Workers Movement

Effectiveness of Title IX on equal rights for women in education and the professional spheres.

Religion in America

The legacy of Puritan Philosophy in America

The Quaker experience

The Great Awakening

The Mormons in 19th century America

Anti-Semitism in American History

The significance of the Scopes Monkey Trial

The rise of conservative religious fundamentalism and its impact

Military History

The causes of the war of 1812 or Mexican War– Was it a justified war?

Contribution of black soldiers during the Civil War

Civil War draft policies and riots

The Indian Wars

The causes and impact of the Spanish American War

Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders

US Military intervention (Panama, Grenada, Dominican Republic etc.)

Was the use of the atomic bomb necessary to defeat the Japanese in World War II

Examine the roles of women during the Civil War, World War I or World War II

The Truman –Macarthur debate during the Korean War

The Bay of Pigs fiasco

Significance of the Cuban Missile Crisis

The significance of the Mai Lai Massacre on U.S. public opinion

The evolution of the Peace Corps

Choose a war, and examine the impact of the American Home front

The causes, outcome and significance of a particular battle in U.S. History. (Battle of

Saratoga -Revolution, Battle of Gettysburg - Civil War, The Battle of Midway and

Coral Sea - WWII)
Foreign Policy

The significance of French Aid in the American Revolution

The Quasi-War with France

The Louisiana Purchase

The impact of the Monroe Doctrine

Evaluation of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Big Stick Diplomacy”

American Imperialism at the dawn of the 20th century- Empire building

The Open Door Policy and Asia

Wilson’s foreign policy at the end of World War I – Fourteen Points

Why did the U.S. engage in World War I?

Successes, failures and long term impact of the Treaty of Versailles

American foreign policy during the 1920’s

An evaluation of the Marshall Plan

An evaluation of Yalta Agreement

An evaluation of the containment policy in Europe

Origins of the Cold War

Impact of the Cold War on America’s relations in Latin America, the Middle East, Asia or Europe

The origins of the Vietnam War

United States involvement and policies regarding the creation of Israel

American-Chinese relations 1949-2000

Economic History

Significance of Hamilton’s Financial Plan

New England and the slave trade

Economics of slavery

Economic factors contributing to American sectionalism

The impact of the cotton gin

The operation of the plantation system

The tariff issue of 1828

The significance of the Transcontinental Railroad

The rise of Industry and its impacts in the late 19th century

The Robber Barons and Captains of Industry

Labor protest in the 19th century

The origins and impact of the Great Depression

Evaluate the successes and failures of the New Deal: Did it snap the U.S. out of the Great


Evaluate the impact of the LBJ’s Great Society. Short and long term impact

Evaluate the economic philosophy of President Reagan. Were “Reaganonmics a success or failure

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