American history homework Assignment

American history homework Assignment

HIST 201–Fall 2018

First Paragraph Draft and Paper Outline (10%)

Thursday, Nov. 29 (I pushed this back a date; the original due date was Nov. 27)

Students will turn in a draft of their introductory paragraph, with their thesis statement included, as well as an informal outline.[footnoteRef:1] [1: Some of this information is paraphrased from Mary Lynn Rampolla’s A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. See the guide for more assistance on outlines, first paragraphs, and thesis statements. Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 7th ed. (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012), 59-65; 94-97.]

First Paragraph

The first/introductory paragraph is often very difficult to write because it is expected to do a lot! First, the paragraph should introduce readers to the topic and provide a framework for the rest of the paper. Avoid broad, vague introductory statements like “Throughout history…” or “From the beginning of time…” Instead be specific in your discussion of geography and chronology. Immediately place your topic in its proper historical context.

Second, the first paragraph should include your working thesis, the main argument you’ve settled on after a close evaluation of the available evidence. That thesis statement is in many ways the answer to the research question you posed in your proposal. The thesis statement should be in the first paragraph so that readers know upfront what you are arguing and can follow that argument as it unfolds throughout the rest of the paper.

Informal Outline

Your paper outline should be an initial attempt to identify and organize your paper’s main points as well as the evidence you will use to back up those main points. An outline is a tool or map that will help you: 1) uncover parts of your paper that require additional research and documentation; 2) reveal connections between ideas and evidence; 3) assure that your paper is unfolding in a logical order. This outline will shift as you continue your research and writing but it is a good foundational document that should propel you forward toward your final paper.

Use the notes you have taken to date on your primary and secondary sources to sketch a rough outline of the body of your paper. From these notes identify four major points that support your paper’s overall working thesis.

Assign each major point a paragraph and assign a general topic to that paragraph. Then try your best to attach an argumentative statement to that topic. Under that topic and statement use bullet points or dashes to list sources, examples, or quotes that you will use as evidence to support the main point of that paragraph. I expect at least four topics/paragraphs for this informal outline. Your outline should give me a sense of the primary and secondary sources you are using as evidence. Be specific with your evidence/sources (provide titles, dates, authors, etc.). Demonstrate how exactly the evidence/sources you include will support your argumentative statement.

While no formal citations (footnotes/bibliography) are required, your outline is required to give me some sense of the primary and secondary sources you are using as evidence. Please see the example below, where I mention and discuss the specific primary (and secondary) source material I am using as evidence to support my points.


First paragraph and working thesis: WWII was responsible for the success of Ocean View Amusement Park in Norfolk because it provided a needed entertainment outlet for military personnel and their families who moved to the Hampton Roads area. (**For your assignment, you will want to provide me your complete introductory paragraph, not only the thesis, as shown here).

Paragraph 1: Background– Opening of Ocean View

Argumentative Statement: Dudley Cooper, an optometrist by training, was also a WWI vet. His experience during WWI inspired him to open Ocean View Amusement Park as a getaway for sailors and their families during WWII.

* A 1944 article from the Virginian-Pilot that interviews Cooper about the opening of the park.

* Correspondence exchanged between Cooper and the Navy, in which Cooper donates some of the Ocean View Amusement Park land to the U.S. Army Coastal Installation and Naval Reserve Recruiting station.

Paragraph 2: Historiography on Amusement Parks

Argumentative Statement: While historians have shown that the popularity and number of amusements parks in the U.S. declined during the Great Depression and WWII, the history of Ocean View Amusement Park suggests that historians have overlooked how WWII actually increased the popularity of parks in and near military bases.

*Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements by David Nasaw. Nasaw argues that by WWII amusement parks were in decline.

* Virginia in the War Years, 1938-1945: Military Bases, the U-Boat War and Daily Life by Joseph Freitus. Freitus suggests that military towns were often associated with prostitution and bars. However, Ocean View Amusement Park challenges this literature by showing that Navy towns also offered wholesome leisure and entertainment outlets for entire military families.

Paragraph 3: Ocean View–Its attractions

Argumentative Statement: Dudley Cooper attracted military personnel and their families by offering a wide array of experiences that appealed specifically to families and children.

*A 1950 advertisement for the “Indian Village” and “Chimpanzee Acts,” and other family appropriate shows at the Park

*Ocean View Amusement Park Brochures for the 1940s showing all the rides and roller coasters at the Park including the “Rabbit Chase” and “Rocket” Guide.

*Photograph showing the “Lovely Miss Rachel” preforming a High Wire Act at the Park.

Paper Instructions

Length: The length will vary but you should have an intro paragraph and at least four topics/paragraphs for this informal outline. In addition to the first paragraph, you should have enough information to give me a sense of the primary and secondary sources that you will use as evidence and the direction your paper is taking.

Format: The paragraph and outline should be double-spaced, in 12-point font, with one-inch margins.

Citations: No formal citations are required but you should list or refer to various sources in your outline, as seen in the above example.

Submission: The paper must be submitted in hard-copy format and to SafeAssign on Blackboard. For every day late, your assignment will be lowered by a third of a letter grade. For example, if you turn in a B paper the day after it is due, you will receive a -B grade. This includes weekends.

Grading Rubric–I am looking for the following:

-A well written first paragraph that provides background on the topic and that articulates a working thesis statement based on an analysis of sources.

-At least five topics/paragraphs in the informal outline that demonstrate the direction your paper is taking.

-Evidence/sources listed below each of the topics. Be specific with your evidence/sources. This is the evidence you will use to support your points in each paragraph and your larger thesis statement.

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