Due November 6, 2023

On Monday, November 6, students will submit a 3-5 page typed, double-spaced essay on a topic covering Cold War American life provided to them in class on Thursday, Nov. 2. All essays must include material from H.W. Brands’ American Dreams properly cited with Chicago-style footnotes.  Outside research is allowed but not required. Additional information will be available on the annotated assignment guidelines at the course site.

Please answer ONE of the questions below and submit a 3-5 page typed, double-spaced essay by email to Prof. Pinsker by Monday, November 6, at 5PM (via Word doc or PDF attachment)

  1. Was the US winning or losing the Cold War during the period 1945 to 1965?
  1. How did the Cold War affect evolving American attitudes about the proper role of the federal government during the period 1945 to 1965?
  • Please open your paper with a descriptive title, byline (name), and a clear introductory paragraph with thesis statement  –and don’t just restate the question
  • Organize your essay in a way that respects chronology and historical context.
  • As with any essential question, make sure to define terms, consider the landscape of opinion, and demonstrate respect for complexity and change over time
  • Be specific.  Use examples, dates, statistics and snippets of quotation to support your claims.
  • All essays must include material from H.W. Brands’ American Dreams properly cited with Chicago-style footnotes. Students should also feel encouraged to use relevant material from the course syllabus or the course site discussion pages, especially primary sources.  Outside research is allowed but not required.
  • Use past tense except when describing modern scholarship
  • Avoid first person pronouns, including “our”
  • Prof. Pinsker is available to review drafts by email (until Saturday evening) and you may utilize the Writing Center but do not consult with other students in the course
  • Late essays will be penalized up to 5 points per day.

Additional guidelines

  • Make sure to address a question and devise a thesis statement that can be effectively argued in a short paper.  Consult the Methods Center handout on How to Write a Thesis Statement 
  • Make sure you are using and formatting your footnotes correctly.  Provide footnotes for all quotations and any highly specific information. See this methods handout on How to Use Footnotes and consult as needed with the library’s Chicago-style guide, but make sure to use sample footnote models for formatting and NOT bibliography examples.

Sample Footnotes

According to H.W. Brands, George Kennan was the “most influential member” of the Soviet experts in the U.S. State Department. [1]  He became identified with the doctrine of containment in 1946 and 1947. [2]

[1] H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), 33.

[2] Brands, 33-34.

Essays will be graded on depth of analysis, use of evidence, and quality of prose Late essays will be penalized up to 5 points each day.

  • Take to care to evaluate your sources as you deploy them in your essay.  See this methods post on Evaluating Sources for a helpful overall framework.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of integrating your quoted evidence with some degree of fluidity.  Awkwardly inserting quotations is one of the hallmarks of mediocre undergraduate essays.  Consult this handout from the methods center for a range of good tips.
  • Also, please guard against plagiarism.  Remember our discussion from the very first day of the semester.  Never write your own words while looking directly at your sources, especially secondary sources –unless you are quoting them.
  • And finally, always remember to proofread your work by printing it out and reading it aloud, slowly. See our methods handout on How to Proofreed [sic]