For this assignment, you need to visit the National Archives DOCSTeach site. Historians typically use two types of materials, secondary source, and primary source documents. Secondary sources are typically books and articles written on a particular historical event, well after the fact. Primary source documents are usually generated by first-hand participants. Good historians rely heavily on original materials created at the time of the event. For this reason, historians spend a good deal of time at the archives. There are many types of archives, but by far, the largest in the United States, is the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
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The National Archives contains more than 10 billion documents, and they have collected thousands of those in the National Archives DOCSTeach site. After you have opened the above link, click on “Menu” on the upper left, and then “Documents.” In the “Keyword” box type in the subject you wish to research. Please remember that your topic should fall within the period of history covered by this course. Typical keywords might be something like Jefferson, American Revolution, Madison, Civil War, Lincoln or any number of topics.
The point of this assignment is to have you find five primary source documents–the kinds of materials that historians use to interpret the past.
1. explore the archives site.
2. choose a topic: for example, the Civil War or The American Revolution, or Women’s History, or Slavery.
3. find five documents that relate to this topic.
4. put them together in a presentation.
5. cite these sources accurately using APA, MLA, or Chicago.
On the National Archives site, in the upper right hand corner, just above your image, there is an icon to save that image. You will also note that below each image there is some information about that document as well as full citation.
There are two ways that you can complete this assignment. Once you have collected your five primary source documents, you can create a PowerPoint, or use them as evidence for writing a 3-5 page essay. Naturally, you will need some other information, and you can gather that through the internet, or other books and articles. As a precaution, avoid using textbooks.
- PowerPoint Presentation: To complete the powerpoint you will need to collect your documents from the site. All documents must be cited, so be certain to note the citation at the bottom of each image.
- Must include a minimum of five slides–one for each of the five primary source documents. You will likely have at least seven slides: an introduction with your name/title of presentation, a slide for each document, and a slide with your full citations.
- Presentation must include a narrative that explains the historical significance. There are a few ways to do this, but Powerpoint does have a dialogue box that is available at the bottom of each slide. You can also do this in the slide itself. It is not sufficient to have five slides with an unrelated narrative.
- Paper Option:
- If you are writing a paper, it must be double-spaced (Times New Roman, font size 12), and include a cover page with your name, course number and course title, instructor’s name, and date.
- Paper should include a thesis statement, and a narrative and conclusion that defends that argument.
- Your paper should highlight the five primary source documents that you have found and used to create your paper’s argument. You can include images of the documents in the paper, and at the least, you must cite all five in your paper’s bibliography. No plagiarism. Will check.