AM1211: Assessed Essay

This essay is due on Thursday, 20 November. You must hand in two (2) copies of your essay, each with a cover sheet (available from the EAS office) to any of the staff in the English and American Studies office (Arts W.114). Do not hand your essay in to me!

Directions: Answer one (1) of the following questions in essay form, drawing from your lecture notes, the textbook, and other primary and secondary sources (including, but not limited to, those on Short Loan at the JRUL). Your essay must be word-processed, and must include footnotes and a bibliography. It should be between 1500 and 2000 words in length.

  1. How did the aims and ideologies of the English people who settled in New England and in the Chesapeake influence the social, political, and economic development of these colonies?

  2. What effects did the conduct and aftermath of the Seven Years War have on the relationship between British colonial administrators and American settlers?

  3. What factors allowed the American forces to obtain the eventual surrender of the far better-trained, -equipped, and –experienced British army?

  4. The issues left unresolved by the Constitution made the Civil War inevitable. Discuss.

  5. Why did the wealthy and educated classes of the United States despise and fear Andrew Jackson and the ideas of Jacksonian democracy?

  6. How did the concept of Manifest Destiny shape Americans’ attitudes towards the West and its indigenous peoples?

  7. What factors motivated so many poor, non-slave-owning white men to support the Confederate cause?

  8. To what extent was the era of Reconstruction an unfinished revolution in the eyes of African-Americans?

  9. What new opportunities did middle-class white American women gain over the course of the nineteenth century?

  10. Which groups within American society emerged as the winners and losers during the Gilded Age of the 1870s, ‘80s, and ‘90s?

Hints for Essay Writing

Presentation: All essays must be word-processed, except in situations relating to disability. Please use a 10- or 12-point font and set standard and consistent margins. Use the “spell-checker” function before printing your final version of your essay. Be sure to put only your student number, not your name, on the essay and the cover sheet. The point of marking blind is that the marker does not know the essay-writer’s identity!

Footnotes and bibliography: All essays must include footnotes and a bibliography. The standard footnote structure is as follows:
Natalie A. Zacek, The History of Everything (London: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 29.
That same title would appear thus in the bibliography:
Zacek, Natalie A. The History of Everything. London: Yale University Press, 2003.
All direct quotations and statistics (e.g.: One hundred thousand soldiers participated in the Battle of Gettysburg, or The federal budget deficit was three billion dollars in 1988) must be footnoted.

Direct quotations from secondary sources: You may occasionally find a phrase or sentence in a secondary source which you find particularly useful in expressing an idea. In general, though, you are advised to use your own words. I will not look favourably on essays which consist of a series of quotations joined loosely together.

Use of Internet sources: There are many useful sources of historical information available on the Internet, such as those produced by museums, archives, and universities. However, the unregulated nature of the Internet means that individuals and groups can post materials without having to take any responsibility for their accuracy, unlike the authors of scholarly books and articles. Before employing or citing material from the Internet, ask yourself the following questions: who produced the website? what is that person/group’s motivation for maintaining the site? what sorts of quality control mechanisms (footnotes; bibliography; explanatory notes) have been employed?
If you do cite information from the Internet, please include the full URL, the site’s name, and the date(s) on which you consulted it. For example:; Reconstruction Photographs, American Memory Collection, Library of Congress; 29 September 2003.

Late essays: I am not allowed to grant extensions on essay deadlines; that responsibility is administered by a committee in the English and American Studies department. Please make every effort to submit your essay by the date due. If you anticipate being unable to do so, due to, for example, personal or family emergencies, please contact the EAS office as soon as possible, and be prepared to present documentation (e.g: medical excuses) in support of your case.

Please ask me for clarification on any of these issues. I suggest that you also consult the Department of English and American Studies’s Essay Style Recommendations, available online here; this document can be accessed only from University computers.

[AM1211 Syllabus]

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