Second Founding essay

Due October 31

On Monday, October 31, students will submit a 3-5 page typed, double-spaced essay on a topic about the Reconstruction era constitutional amendments provided to them in class on Thursday, October 27.

  • Please open your paper with a descriptive title and your byline.
  • Organize your essay in a way that respects chronology and historical context.
  • Prof. Pinsker is available to answer questions or review drafts by email before Monday and you may also utilize the Writing Center.  Do not consult with other students in the class.

All essays must use Eric Foner, Second Founding (2019), properly cited with Chicago-style footnotes. Outside research is allowed but not required.

  • Other relevant reading assignments for this essay include some online resources from the American Yawp textbook or the House Divided Project.  And don’t forget to consult the discussion topic pages on the course site syllabus as well –they also contain valuable insights and examples.
  • Make sure to 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 formatting your footnotes correctly (see some of the samples below).  For further guidance, 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

[1] Eric Foner, The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution (New York: W.W. Norton, 2019), 24.

[2] Foner, 88.

Grading

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.

  • 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]

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