The term paper provides you an opportunity to examine in more depth how the two most influential texts in American history–the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution–became embroiled in the most bitter and divisive controversy of the nineteenth century: the fight over slavery that eventually led to a bloody and cataclysmic Civil War. In this paper assignment, you will evaluate information and its sources critically and select specific information for inclusion into your paper (information literacy), assess the impact of these two seminal documents on the debate over slavery, and vice-versa (cultural and social understanding), assimilate, organize, develop, and present your own argument in formal writing (communication), and weigh evidence from both specific primary sources and the textbook and make assessments based on your reading of that evidence (critical thinking). The term paper is divided into parts, which you will complete in stages throughout the second half of the semester.

Directions

For your Final Paper, you will write a 4-6 page, one-inch margins, typed 10-12 font, double-spaced paper that provides an answer to the following prompt. Please read the question, and the instructions below it, very carefully.

The Final Paper prompt is:

In the decades leading up to the U.S. Civil War, opponents as well as defenders of slavery invoked the ideas as well as the words of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Drawing upon the list of primary sources located in the American Yawp Reader identified in the detailed directions below, write a 4-6 page paper analyzing how critics and defenders of slavery drew upon these two foundational documents to make their respective cases.

There are three tasks you need to complete and they are all due at different times. Please make sure to find the due date for each task on the Course Calendar.

  1. Paper Outline (divided into two parts: the Primary Source Summary and the Working Thesis)
  2. Term Paper Draft
  3. Final Term Paper

Please follow
the detailed directions for the term paper [PDF] to complete each task by the due date indicated on the Course Calendar so that you will receive timely feedback that can help you meet your instructor’s expectations for the final paper.

Submission: Please find the submission links below.

Grading

The term paper is worth 20 points (20% of your course grade). It will be graded according to the following rubric.

Part I: Primary Sources Summary (2 points)

Summaries should accurately capture the essence of the source.
Pro- or Anti-Slavery Stance of each source should be included, and be accurate.
Evidence should be provided for each document, be relevant to the prompt, and should be properly quoted and cited.
Formatting should conform to the format given in the instructions, and each source should have a summary and evidence.

Part II: Working Thesis (3 points)

Thesis should address the prompt, and demonstrate a knowledge of all eight primary sources, as well as textbook material. It should be more than a summary, but an explanation of the use of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution by pro- and anti-slavery advocates.
Evidence should be provided for each document, be relevant to the prompt, and should be properly quoted and cited. Evidence from every source, and from every chapter of the textbook from Chapter 10 to Chapter 15 should be included.
Formatting should conform to the format given in the instructions, and each source should have evidence that is properly quoted and cited.

Part III: Term Paper Draft (5 points) and Final Term Paper (10 points)

Thesis should address the prompt, and demonstrate a knowledge of all eight primary sources, as well as textbook material. It should be more than a summary, but an explanation of the use of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution by pro- and anti-slavery advocates.
Evidence should be provided from each document, be relevant to the prompt, and should be properly quoted and cited. Evidence from every source should be included. The most relevant contextual evidence from the textbook should be included, and the paper itself should demonstrate an understanding of 19th Century historical context.
Critical analysis should be present throughout. This means that the paper is not just a summary, but explains the documents in a way that is consistent with the thesis.
Citation should be present for every paraphrase, and for every quote, properly formatted.
Grammar and Organization should be consistent and on par with college-level writing. The organization of the paper should make sense, and be consistent, without the author needing to explain how the paper is organized.
Page length should be 4-6 double-spaced, 12-point font pages. (One inch margins all around).
 
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