Understanding history can be more difficult than many people imagine. Historians concern themselves not only with what happened but with why it happened. They analyze and assess a variety of sources, including primary sources (ones created during the time period the historian is examining) and secondary sources (ones written by other historians after the period), to create their own interpretations of the past. For the Final Paper, students will not only learn about the past, but also experiment with the interpretive, analytical methodologies of the historian.
Choose from one of the topics below and review its history from 1865 to the present. Select six specific events or developments that span the years covered by this course, based on their impact on the topic and write a thesis. Your thesis should summarize the main conclusions that you drew while researching your topic and that you will support by creating a logical argument based on evidence (sources). In your paper, make sure to connect each of the events or developments you have chosen back to your main thesis
For example, a paper about African Americans might choose the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Power Movement as two of its events. In that case, the paper would provide basic information about the two movements. It would explain what each one revealed about the role of African Americans in broader American society in, respectively, the 1920s and the late 1960s, explain how and why the roles of African Americans in the 1920s differed from their roles in the late 1960s, and explain how events in the 1920s may have contributed to developments in the later decade.