300-500 word primary source analysis on the General Treaty of the Congress of Vienna (1815)


This assignment requires you to write a 300-500 word primary source analysis on the General Treaty of the Congress of Vienna (1815) at https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Final_Act_of_the_Congress_of_Vienna (Links to an external site.) In this paper you will be closely reading the text and answering questions about it. These questions will help guide you to using the text as a historical document. If you have any questions feel free to email me or stop by my office hours. This paper is due on Canvas on Sunday, March 5 @ 11:59pm, with a rough draft due Sunday, February 19 @ 11:59pm. I will deduct points for late final papers and will not accept late rough drafts.

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The Congress of Vienna was called by the powers of Europe after defeating the army of Napoleon Bonaparte. It does a few things, but one of the main outcomes is the partitioning of Europe. I highly recommend reading more about this document in the textbook on pages 677-8 for more information. The goal was to maintain peace throughout Europe and prevent another major power from gaining the upper-hand. Please note, the beginning of the document is a list of the people who attended, you can skim this part and start with Article I.


This paper should be in 12-pt. Times New Roman type, have 1-inch margins, be double-spaced, and be no longer than 500 words. Grammar and spelling absolutely count. This is a formal paper, and if you find that you are writing how you speak, you want to make it more formal. You want to avoid contractions, and verbal ticks; for example: beginning sentences with “so.” You also want to use active past tense verbs, eg. “decided” rather than subjunctive verbs, eg. “would decide;” an example sentence would be “After the negotiations, the powers decided that Russia should control much of Poland,” rather than, “After the negotiations, the powers would decide that Russia should control much of Poland.” Keep your verbs active!!

What to include:

This primary source analysis should address each of the questions below. Write in complete sentences and in paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on one key idea (meaning you should have 4 main paragraphs), and you must support your answers with evidence FROM THE SOURCE. I do not want an introduction, just start with question 1, and the only conclusion should be the significance of this document to the class. Please take each question seriously, and start it early. This is not a paper that you can write in an evening, as it takes actual thinking and analyzing from YOU to write. Don’t forget that this paper is worth 20% of your grade.

I do not want you to use any outside sources in your analysis. This paper is about you looking at a document with some background information provided in Chapter 22 (which you are reading for Week 7) and trying to figure out what the document can tell us about the past. Document analysis is an important skill as it helps you to use your own judgment and common sense to figure out what is true, what is not true, and what is half true in other documents (like news articles, blog posts, and tweets).

As always, let me know if you have any questions.



  • When I ask who wrote the document, I am asking for more than just a name.
  • When I ask for the story, I am asking for a summary of the document.
  • When I ask for intended audience, I am asking about the audience the AUTHOR wrote it for (it is almost never “everyone” or “future students” or “historians.” Really think about this question, as it is important for several of the other questions).
  • When I ask about bias, I am using bias not as “biased against someone,” but as a way for you to think about the views of the authors and how they view the world. Every text and everyone has a bias. This is not a negative term in this case.