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 day. To focus the research, select six subtopics (specific events or developments related to the topic, separated in time); three from before 1930 and three from after. Describe the basic information of each subtopic, and then analyze the subtopic to show how the broader topic changed over time. For instance, a paper about African Americans might choose the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Power Movement as two of its subtopics. In that case, the paper would provide basic information about the two movements; explain what each one revealed about the place of African Americans in broader American society in, respectively, the 1920s and the late 1960s; explain how and why the place of African Americans in the 1920s differed from their place in the late 1960s; and explain how events in the 1920s may have contributed to developments in the later decade.
Chooseoneof the following topics:
a. Native Americans
b. African Americans
e. Foreign affairs
f. Civil liberties
g. The economy
h. The role and powers of the presidency