Instead of doing the more traditional style of timed final examination, this assignment will allow you a chance to think creatively through what you have learned this semester. The objective of this assignment is to synthesize knowledge you have already acquired, to see connections across time periods and to think about primary and secondary sources in an applied way. I have called this the “Series Finale,” because in some ways, like a television show, we are at the culmination of an epic drama that covered the time span of American history in 7 episodes, or modules.
For this assignment, I want you to imagine that it is the year 2024. It is presidential election season and a presidential candidate has asked you to produce a brief document summarizing what you think they should know about American history to be an effective president.
You will choose five primary sources and three secondary sources (list on page 2) that you think give the president a good sense of who the American people are, the unique nature of U.S. politics, what major crises they have faced, and how both oppression and the quest for freedom have been an integral part of the American experience. You should aim for a selection of sources that covers the long time span of American history. For instance, perhaps you think the president should know about how abolitionists fought to create a more equal society. You might select the Angelina Grimke speech as a primary source and the “History in Brief: Fighting to End Slavery” video as a secondary source, and then explain why you think the president should know about abolitionists. The textbook can be one of your secondary sources, but you should pick out a specific section that you think your presidential candidate should read. The directions you can take this assignment are practically endless. The list of the sources assigned in this class can be found below, in order of when they were assigned.
Papers should be approximately 800-900 words (roughly 3 double-spaced pages). You must turn in the Series Finale Paper by Thursday, July 30th at 11:59 PM. I will be holding a live session online on July 28 at 6:00 PM where you can get your questions about the assignment answered, and a few more ideas about how to tackle the assignment. I’ll announce the time in iCollege and have a link in the Final paper folder.
You must submit your paper on iCollege in the dropbox of the module folder. Do not e-mail it to me. Microsoft Word or PDF will be the only formats accepted I will be running a plagiarism check, so be sure that you are turning in your own, original work.