UCR Columbian Exchange Essay

So Basically, Write an interpretive thesis that takes a stand, and uses the primary sources as evidence to prove it. We have our way to cite the primary source which is explained below under the (How to cite a primary source on the primary board). I have attached this week’s PPT if that helps too.

Over the course of the semester we will do 3 short writing assignments which will prepare you to write a final 2 page essay for the course. Each writing assignment will ask you to create a thesis and support it with a sources from the Primary Source Boards.

Your thesis should talk about why and how an event or trend occurred in U.S. History, within the era we’ve been studying. It must have a point of view and be arguable (that is, someone else could argue it’s not true). An interpretive thesis takes a stand, and uses the primary sources as evidence to prove it.

For example:

X happened because Y happened.

Although most people believe X, closer examination of the evidence indicates Y.

During this era people experience X, because of Y.

“Your Task”

Writing Assignment (50 points):

Please create a few short paragraphs that include:

  • An interpretive thesis about one or more of the eras we’ve studied so far, in bold text
  • 2 primary sources from the first Primary Sources Board in chronological order, with each source related to the thesis through your own explanation
  • each source named and fully cited (author/artist, title, date, live link to a page where it is featured)
  • a one-sentence conclusion

Don’t have the sources you need? You may add any source to the first board at any time, so long as it is fully cited and available for all to use.

Here is a sample of an A/A+ assignment from a previous class (yours would use sources from our Primary Sources Board)

The Reconstruction Era and Black Suffrage

Sectional division played an active role in U.S. politics dating as far back as the colonization of the British in America.Due to different climates and geographic location, varying economies were developed between the North and South. The South was more agriculturally motivated and relied on the export of farmed goods to generate revenue, where the North was motivated through trade export and fishing. The South used slaves to work and even run plantations and farms, where the North did not need nor truly agree in having a slave. The differences between the North and South influenced their attitude on several issues involving the nation’s well-being, including slavery. As the sectional differences grew between the North and South, tension increased to the point that individual states could no longer create solutions, leading to the Civil War.As a result of the Civil War, Society had mixed views on the role of the federal government with respect to black suffrage and race relations during the Reconstruction Era, lending to a long road of Civil Rights for African Americans.

Congress, political parties, whites, blacks, and even the President had conflicting views on race relations, creating controversy and problems within the states. “The Freedman’s Bureau!” (1866, artist unknown, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Freedman%27s_bureau.jpg#file (Links to an external site.)), which states, “An agency to keep the Negro in idleness at the expense of the white man. Twice vetoed by the President, and made a law by Congress. Support Congress & you support the Negro Sustain the President & you protect the white man,”is one of a series of racist posters against Radical Republicans, on the topic of black suffrage. In particular, this was published during the election of a governor running on a white supremacy platform supporting Andrew Johnson, due to President Johnson vetoing the Civil Rights Bill that was enforced by Congress. There is so much going on in this poster; the white men working while the black man lounges, support congress and you are not in support of the white man, the white man must work to keep his children and pay his taxes, the list goes on and on. Basically, many felt that if you supported the “freedman” you were against the whites, that the roles were now reversed from the black slaves supporting the wealth and freedom of the white man, and that now whites were working on behalf of the blacks freedom. This poster portrays how different the views were between the government and Society as a whole with regard African American rights during the Reconstruction Era.

Despite Amendments and new laws passed by the federal government, Southern whites in society looked for any means possible to effectively eliminate the new freedoms of African Americans. The 15th Amendment to the Constitution gave African American men the right to vote stating that the, “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” In the cartoon, “Everything Points to a Democratic Victory This Fall,” also referred to as, “White Citizen league barring Black voters,” featured in Harper’s Weekly (October 31, 1874, Jim Crown in America (Links to an external site.)), two voting lines are portrayed, one for colored people and one for whites. There is also a sign that reads “ Notice No N**** Votes here”, despite the 15th amendment and being freed from slavery, white’s did whatever they could to keep the two races separate. After the Civil War, Southern States passed discriminatory legislation known as The Black Codes of 1866 allowing for the civil rights of black citizens to be compromised.

Throughout the Reconstruction era, society had mixed views on race relations and the role of the federal government after the Civil War, as shown in “The Freedman’s Bureau,” (1866) and “Everything Points to a Democratic Victory This Fall,” (1874). However, constitutional amendments; 13 which abolished slavery, 14 which defines citizenship and protects a persons political and civil rights from being “abridged or denied by any state”, and 15 giving African Americans the right to vote, all played an integral role in pursuing African American Civil Rights.

More samples are available on the Help page.

Here are some tips:

  • Watch the video I have made about this!
  • Make the thesis interpretive and arguable
  • Avoid troublesome sources (if the citation information isn’t complete, don’t use it)
  • Discuss each source so it proves the thesis instead of illustrating it

How to cite a primary source to the primary board

  • Your source must be about something tied to U.S. History from 1400-1620
  • It must be a primary source and not a secondary source, see the learning unit, so it must have been painted/made/written within at most 20-30 or maybe 50 years at most of the event it is depicting. It CANNOT be from hundreds of years after the event.
  • The date you provide MUST be from when the object/painting/document is produced, not when the subject of the image takes place.
  • You must provide a live (clickable) link to the site where you retrieved the image and the image must be visible on the page, if I click on the link and cannot see your image your grade will be marked down.
  • The commentary cannot just describe the source, it MUST explain how the source relates to the course material.
  • It cannot be the same/very similar to any image I have used in the course, such as the sample below, images used in the powerpoint presentation or the course video clips.
  • This assignment is primarily about posting visual sources, if you decide to post a written source you MUST post an image of the original document (which needs to come from the assigned era, and you also MUST provided an extended excerpt (at least one paragraph if not several) from the document.
  • You may NOT upload your image to canvas and then link from it there since that can cause issues where some people cannot view the image, you need to embed the image using a link to the original site where you found it. If you are uncertain about how to do this please see the course help page.

Here is a sample:

History Image

Artist: Onondaga Nation

Title: Hiawatha Belt

Date: 1400s

Retrieved from http://www.onondaganation.org/culture/wampum/hiawatha-belt/ (Links to an external site.)

Comment: This belt represents the formation of the Iroquois Confederacy in the 15th century. This confederacy would have a major impact on the development of the European colonies (French, English, and Dutch) founded along the northern part of the Atlantic coast because of the large population and territory controlled by the 5 tribes together. The central tree represents the Onondaga nation since it was under a tree on their territory that the confederacy was formed. The other four boxes represent the other 4 nations (tribes) in the confederacy: the Seneca, the Cayuga, the Onieda and the Mohawks.


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