The Value of History

History is for human self-knowledge . . . the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is.—R. G. Collingwood Historical awareness informs various aspects of our lives. We live in a time of rapid change, and we often think more about the future than the past. However, studying history can help us better understand our own lives in the context of the places we live and society in general. In America, specifically, the government is informed by its citizens.

If the ideals of society shift, that shift will eventually move throughout the different levels of government, effecting widespread change. For the projects in this course, you will select a historical event that has impacted American society in some way. You may select an event that was discussed in the course, or you may select your own event, with instructor approval. You may consider using the event you chose to work on in your Perspectives in History class, if that event is something you wish to investigate further through this assessment.

In Project 1, you will develop a plan for an essay on this historical event. The plan will include a brief description of the selected historical event and the resources you will use in your research. In addition, you will identify an audience for your essay and decide how to communicate your information to this audience.

In Project 2, you will write an essay analyzing the historical event you selected, examining its impact on society as well as its impact on you personally. Project 2 addresses the following course outcomes:

 Illustrate the impact of historical thinking on personal and professional experiences

 Select appropriate and relevant primary and secondary sources in investigating foundational historic events

 Communicate effectively to specific audiences in examining fundamental aspects of human history

 Utilize historical evidence in drawing conclusions about the impact of historic events on American society

 Apply key approaches to studying history in addressing critical questions related to historical narratives and perspectives Prompt Your historical analysis essay should answer the following prompt: Analyze the historical event you selected, using your writing plan as the basis for your analysis. The following critical elements will be assessed in a 4- to 6-page word processing document.

I. Introduction: In this section of your essay, you will introduce your readers to the historical event you selected. Specifically, you should:

A. Provide a brief overview of your historical event. For instance, what background information or context does the reader of your essay need?

B. Based on your research question, develop a thesis statement that states your claim about the historical event you selected. Your thesis statement should be clear, specific, and arguable, as it will give direction to the rest of your essay.

II. Body: You will use this section of your essay to provide further detail about your historical event while supporting the claim you made in your thesis statement. Make sure to cite your sources. Specifically, you should

A. Describe the causes of the historical event. In other words, what were the underlying factors that led to the historical event? Were there any immediate causes that precipitated the event?

B. Illustrate the course of your historical event. In other words, tell the story or narrative of your event. Who were the important participants? What did they do? Why? How do the perspectives of the key participants differ?

C. Describe the immediate and long-term consequences of the historical event for American society. In other words, how did the event impact American society?

D. Discuss the historical evidence that supports your conclusions about the impact of the event on American society. Support your response with specific examples from your sources.

III. Conclusion: In this section of your essay, you will discuss the impact of historical thinking. Specifically, you should

A. Explain why this historical event is important to you personally. In other words, why did you select this event to research?

B. Illustrate how your research of the historical event impacted the way you thought about the event. In other words, how did thinking like a historian change the lens through which you viewed the event? Support your response with specific examples.

C. Explain how a historian would pursue further study of your thesis statement. In other words, if a historian were to continue researching your thesis statement, what would be the future directions or next steps?

IV. Provide a reference list that includes all of the primary and secondary sources you used to investigate your historical event and support your thesis statement. Ensure that your list is formatted according to current APA guidelines (or another format, with instructor permission).

V. Communicate your message in a way that is tailored to your specific audience. For instance, you could consider your vocabulary, your audience’s potential current knowledge of historical events, or lack thereof, and what is specifically important to the audience.

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