Reconstruction Historiography

Essay 1: Reconstruction Historiography

 

This essay asks students to consider the historiography on Reconstruction (1863-1877).

To complete the assignment’s objectives, it is important for students to address the topics in a systematic, well-organized writing format.  Be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

The introduction needs to tell the reader what will be covered in the body paragraphs.  The introduction needs to present a thesis, in this case, a brief synopsis of how you address the second part of the essay–the significance of Reconstruction, and more especially, how accurate is the description of Reconstruction provided by the historian that you will test in the third part of the essay.  The thesis is the most important part of any essay, so make sure it is substantive, make sure it “stands out.”

First, students will identify two arguments that have wielded influence in Reconstruction historiography.   Students need to illustrate a sharp understanding of each of the two arguments that they have selected.  The most influential arguments are Dunning’s, Du Bois’, and Foner’s.  Students do not necessarily have to discuss Dunning, Du Bois, or Foner.  The Pressly reading indicates that historians have offered several different interpretations about Reconstruction.  Pick two and explain them in full.  After the introduction paragraph, students should spend the first two body paragraphs of their essay discussing and developing the two arguments—about one paragraph for each historian.

 

Second, after the introduction and two paragraphs discussing the arguments of two historians, students will spend the next paragraph (or two) reflecting, analyzing, interpreting the significance of, and offering insight on, the importance of Reconstruction history and/or Reconstruction historiography.

You might address the following questions for the second section, or you can think of your own critical questions to address:

What does Reconstruction history tell us about American history?

What does Reconstruction history tell us about race in America?

What does Reconstruction history tell us about how/what historians want us to remember the Civil War?

What does Reconstruction history tell us about how historians’ interpretations change over time?

What does Reconstruction history tell us about American slavery?

How should Reconstruction be remembered?

What makes Reconstruction historiography important?

 

Third, students will test the validity/accuracy of one of the historian’s arguments by drawing on information from the primary sources—identify which author’s argument you will test, then analyze the truth of the argument by pointing to evidence gathered from the primary sources.  This section will read something like this:  “Historian A offers the most accurate/inaccurate assessment of Reconstruction based on the historical evidence 1, 2, 3.”  You need to match historical evidence to the author’s interpretation.  For instance, “Foner says…….about Reconstruction.  His argument is shown to be true (or false) by the following incidents……”  Explain how the historical information proves (or disqualifies) the historian’s arguments.  Students can find the historical information from the videos, the Yawp, or the strongest essays will rely on the readings from the Johnson source.

 

Writing Standards

The essay will be 3-4 pages long, approximately 1200 words.

Standard margins.

12-point times new roman font.

In-text parenthetical citations.  For example: (Foner, 3), or (Johnson, 25).

The essay needs to reference/cite at least 3 sources from the list of required resources (readings/videos).  If the essay does not reference at least 3 sources, the grade will be penalized.

All essays need to be submitted to turn-it-in, through canvas.  I will not grade the essay if it’s not submitted to turn-it-in.

Proofread the essay.  If I can’t understand the writing, the grade will be penalized.

The rubric is posted on the course portal.

Every essay needs a formal works cited page.  Remember to cite each individual source.  MLA format for works cited page.

There is no need to consult outside sources.  All the information needed to complete this essay is found in the module.  Students must reference the Johnson text.

 

Structure of Essay

-Every essay should have a formal introduction (paragraph 1).  The purpose of the introduction for this essay is to identify the two historians that will be discussed in the first couple of body paragraphs.  A sentence or two that addresses the second task about the significance of Reconstruction historiography.  And a couple of sentences explaining which historian’s interpretation will be analyzed, as well as the outcome of that analysis.  All these points should be included in the introduction.

-The two historians that you select should be given a full treatment in the first two body paragraphs (paragraphs 2-3).   One historian per paragraph.

-When addressing the second task (paragraph 4, or paragraphs 4-5) students must make declarative and powerful statements regarding the historical significance of Reconstruction history and Reconstruction historiography.  This is your opportunity to express broader conclusions about Reconstruction—tell me why Reconstruction history matters.

-The third task (final body paragraphs) can only be accomplished by identifying a historian’s argument about Reconstruction, and then testing that interpretation based on real evidence gathered from the primary sources.  Assess the accuracy of the historian’s argument based on information found in the secondary and primary sources.  The evidence must be taken from the primary and secondary sources.  This is the argumentative section of the essay.  Your argument will read something like: “Foner’s interpretation of Reconstruction is valid (or invalid) for the following reasons, based on the following reasons.”  The “reasons” are actual pieces of historical evidence, not general commentary.

-Each essay should contain a short, formal conclusion (final paragraph) that restates the central themes discussed in the body paragraphs, offers broader conclusions about American history, or even tries to connect the paper to contemporary events.

 

If the essay fails to meet the above requirements the grade will be penalized. 

 

 

Due January 22, 11:59 pm

 

 

 

After completing these tasks and objectives, students will be able to:

· Course Objective 1 (CO1). Assess key events, central themes, and questions pertaining to recent United States history.

· Gain experience reading and analyzing written arguments by engaging with a variety of types of sources.

· Learn and apply the techniques of writing an argumentative, thesis-driven and evidence-based paper

· Students will construct an evidence-based argument demonstrating how local, regional, national, and global events shaped the interactions of two or more groups in the United States. (Global Awareness)

· Students will construct an evidence-based argument that integrates multiple perspectives on an issue in Modern US History. (Global Perspective)

· Students will consider different perspectives on a problem or controversy related to Modern US History and attempt to reach a resolution about it. (Global Engagement)

· Be aware of landmark Supreme Court cases, legislation, and executive actions, and historical meaning

 

Rubric

Calvo essay rubric (1)

Calvo essay rubric (1)
Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Overall Impression
20 to >16.8 pts

Excellent

Author directly addresses the main question or issue, and adds new insight to the subject not provided in lectures, readings, or class discussions. The author has retained nearly all of the knowledge presented in class. He/She is able to synthesize this knowledge in new ways and relate to material not covered in the course.

16.8 to >13.6 pts

Proficient

Author competently addresses main question or issue, but does not add much new insight into the subject. That said, it is clear that the author has learned a great deal in class and is able to communicate this knowledge to others.

13.6 to >10.4 pts

Limited

Author attempts to address the main question or issue, but fails. The author has retained some information from the course, but does not fully understand its meaning or context and cannot clearly convey it to others.

10.4 to >0 pts

Poor

Essay does NOT address the main question or issue, and it is obvious that the author has not retained any information from the course.

 

20 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Argument
15 to >12.6 pts

Excellent

Essay contains a clear argument—i.e., lets the reader know exactly what the author is trying to communicate.

12.6 to >10.2 pts

Proficient

An argument is present, but reader must reconstruct it from the text.

10.2 to >7.8 pts

Limited

Author attempts, but fails, to make an argument (e.g., starts with a rhetorical question/statement or anecdote that is never put into context).

7.8 to >0 pts

Poor

No attempt is made to articulate an argument.

 

15 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Evidence
20 to >16.8 pts

Excellent

Provides compelling and accurate evidence that convinces reader to accept main argument. The importance/relevance of all pieces of evidence is clearly stated. There are no gaps in reasoning—i.e., the reader does not need to assume anything or do additional research to accept main argument.

16.8 to >13.6 pts

Proficient

Provides necessary evidence to convince reader of most aspects of the main argument but not all. The importance/ relevance of some evidence presented may not be totally clear. Reader must make a few mental leaps or do some additional research to fully accept all aspects of main argument.

13.6 to >10.4 pts

Limited

Not enough evidence is provided to support the author’s argument, or evidence is incomplete, incorrect, or oversimplified. Information from lectures and readings is not effectively used.

10.4 to >0 pts

Poor

Either no evidence is provided, or there are numerous factual mistakes, omissions or oversimplifications. There is little or no mention of information from lectures and readings.

 

20 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Sources
15 to >12.6 pts

Excellent

Evidence is used from a wide range of sources. When required, the author also consults scholarly books, websites, journal articles, etc. not explicitly discussed in class.

12.6 to >10.2 pts

Proficient

Evidence is used from many sources, but the author relies heavily on a more limited set of sources. Some effort is made to go beyond material presented in class when required, but not much. If outside sources are used, they are primarily non-scholarly (i.e., intended for a general audience) and/or web-based.

10.2 to >7.8 pts

Limited

Uses only a few of the sources provided in class or does not go beyond what has been provided by professor when required to do additional research.

7.8 to >0 pts

Poor

Does not use sources, only minimally uses sources provided by instructor, or relies exclusively on non-scholarly outside sources.

 

15 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Citations
10 to >8.4 pts

Excellent

All evidence is properly cited. The essay contains a bibliography.

8.4 to >6.8 pts

Proficient

All evidence is cited, but there are some minor problems with completeness or format of some citations.

6.8 to >5.2 pts

Limited

Some pieces are unreferenced or inaccurately referenced.

5.2 to >0 pts

Poor

No attempt is made to cite evidence.

 

10 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Organization
10 to >8.4 pts

Excellent

Essay contains an intro, main body, and conclusion. Introduction lays out main argument and gives an outline of what the reader can expect in the essay. The conclusion brings everything together, acknowledges potential shortcomings of the paper, and gives the reader a sense of what further work might be done to advance the subject matter described in the paper.

8.4 to >6.8 pts

Proficient

Essay contains an intro, main body, and conclusion. The introduction lays out the main argument but gives the reader little idea of what to expect in the essay. The conclusion nicely summarizes the main argument and evidence, but does not move beyond what has already been presented in the paper.

6.8 to >5.2 pts

Limited

Essay contains an intro, main body, and conclusion. The introduction gives the reader an idea of what to expect in the paper, but does not effectively lay out the main argument. It may begin with a set of rhetorical questions, or an anecdote that is never fully explained. The conclusion does little more than restate the problematic introduction. Intro and/or conclusion may be too wordy or short.

5.2 to >0 pts

Poor

Essay has no clear organizational pattern.

 

10 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Clarity and Style
10 to >8.4 pts

Excellent

All sentences are grammatically correct and clearly written. No words are misused or unnecessarily fancy. Technical terms, words from other languages, and words from other historical periods are always explained. All information is accurate and up-to-date. Paper has been spell-checked AND proofread (ideally by you and somebody else), and contains no errors.

8.4 to >6.8 pts

Proficient

All sentences are grammatically correct and clearly written. An occasional word is misused or unnecessarily fancy. Technical terms, words from other languages, and words from other historical periods are usually, but not always, explained. All information is accurate and up-to-date. Paper has been spell-checked AND proofread, and contains no more than a few minor errors, which do not adversely affect the reader’s ability to understand the essay.

6.8 to >5.2 pts

Limited

A few sentences are grammatically incorrect or not clearly written. Several words are misused. Technical terms, words from other languages, and words from other historical periods are rarely explained. Not all information is accurate and up-to-date. Paper has been spell-checked AND proofread, but still contains several errors. Reader’s ability to understand essay may be compromised by these errors.

5.2 to >0 pts

Poor

Paper is full of grammatical errors and bad writing. Several words are misused. Technical terms, words from other languages, and words from other historical periods are rarely explained. Not all information is accurate and up-to-date. Paper has not been spell-checked or proofread, and contains numerous errors. Reader has a difficult time understanding essay because of errors.

 

10 pts
Total Points: 100

 

 

AnneBurg Lerner: Episode 12 Reconstruction

 

https://www.learner.org/series/a-biography-of-america/

 

Anneburg Lerner: Episode 14 Industrial Supremacy

 

https://www.learner.org/series/a-biography-of-america/industrial-supremacy/

 

Anneburg Lerner: Episode 14 Capitol and Labor

 

https://www.learner.org/series/a-biography-of-america/capital-and-labor/

 

Reconstruction Amendments

 

https://constitutioncenter.org/education/classroom-resource-library

 

Pressly Review

 

https://constitutioncenter.org/education/classroom-resource-library

 

Foner Review

 

https://jacobin.com/2018/08/web-du-bois-black-reconstruction-civil-rights

 

Discussion of Du’Bois Reconstruction

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1901/10/the-undoing-of-reconstruction/429219/

 

Dunning on Reconstruction

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1901/10/the-undoing-of-reconstruction/429219/

 

Griffith, Birth of Nation

 

https://civilwar.vt.edu/the-birth-of-a-nation-1915/

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