Second Essay –20th Century

Due April 1, 2022

On Friday, April 1, students will submit a 3-5 page typed, double-spaced essay on a mid-twentieth-century topic (through early Cold War) provided to them near the beginning of that week.

  • Prof. Pinsker will distribute and discuss the topic on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 in class and by email


  • Please open your essay with a descriptive title and your name (byline).
  • Relevant reading assignments for this essay include several chapters from American Yawp, H.W. Brands’ American Dreams, and selected student-produced oral history projects.  Make sure to include at least some references to Brands.
  • 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.

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]