question: was the pursuit of ideals or material gains more important


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Question: Was the pursuit of ideals or material gains more important in shaping the United States in the years before 1865? Answer this question in 2-3 pages using evidence that supports your position.


Explanation: Throughout the first half of HIST 2010, we’ve covered a number of factors that have shaped the development of the United States from a collection of British Colonies into an independent and united political entity. The factors at work in this process can be grouped into two general categories: those driven by ideology (religion, political and other types of philosophical beliefs) and those driven by material concerns (land acquisition, the desire to accumulate wealth, etc). While there is no doubt that both types of factors were important in these years, do you find ideology or material concerns to be the most important? Pick one or the other and argue for that position. Make sure to use plenty of evidence from the course readings. 


Assignment Overview:

You must back up your argument/thesis with plenty of evidence that supports your position. The purpose of this assignment is to show that you know and understand the material we’ve covered in this course, so you should include evidence from several readings and use only the materials assigned for HIST 2010 (ie no outside sources). In other words, you should do well to demonstrate that you know the material in this course. Anyone can give an opinion based on how they feel, but you are scholars, so what I expect is that you take an informed position that is based on what you can prove with evidence. If you choose to turn in a paper with few sources to back up your thesis, then you choose to receive a poor grade on this paper. Papers that draw only a single source will receive a maximum grade of a D.


In order to receive full credit for this assignment, you must turn in both of the following to the dropbox on D2L.

-A typed copy of your paper

-An audio copy of you reading your paper

***- Your assignment will not be considered fully submitted until you have turned in both of these.










Required Guidelines:

(You can use this as a check list before you turn in your paper)


-Your paper must have a title page that includes your name, course, and section number, and the semester. This page does not count toward the limit. Your paper should begin on the first line of the page that follows your title page.


-The paper must be in 12 point Times New Roman font with 1.25” margins at left and right and 1” margins at top an bottom. It must be double-spaced. Failing to meet these requirements will lead to a deduction in your grade.


-You may only use sources assigned for this course. Though there are many great sources out there, an important part of this assignment is showing me that you’ve read the materials I’ve assigned and understand them well enough to use them in your paper.


-If you plagiarize on this paper, you will be given a failing grade for the course and you will be reported to the university. MTSU has plagiarism detection software that compares your paper to not only outside sources, but other papers that students have submitted to MTSU. Don’t throw your grade away by being too lazy to do your own work.


-You must cite your sources using end notes. These come at the end of your paper (ie, not foot notes, not in-text citation). Your word processor can insert these end notes for you (doing this is different with each program, but you can find a youtube video that explains how to do it for your word processor). The notes do not count toward your page total. You should cite your sources using the format at the end of this document.


-This is a formal paper. You must proof read. Spelling or grammatical mistakes will reduce your grade. You will catch many errors when you read your paper out loud for the audio recording, so don’t plan to finish your paper at the last minute. Give yourself time to fix the errors you find. Another way to catch errors is to have someone else read it.


-Failing to meet the page requirements will result in a reduced grade. Two full pages and a sentence on the third page is not three pages. The page requirements concern both minimum and maximum page numbers. Papers longer than three pages are not within the assignment guidelines.


-If you plagiarize on this paper, you will be given a failing grade for the course and you will be reported to the university. (This is here twice to emphasize this point).


-No lengthy direct quotations. Only directly quote sources when doing so is absolutely necessary to get your point across, and don’t quote more than a few essential words. Do not directly quote lectures (you probably didn’t write down word-for-word what I said).





Things to consider when writing your paper:


-The sources you have read for this course fall into two categories: primary sources and secondary sources. Primary sources come directly from the period that we’re studying. These include speeches, journal entries, newspaper articles, and anything else that comes from the historical period in question. Secondary sources are those produced afterward by people who are interpreting these primary sources. For example, George Washington’s Farewell Speech is a primary source. Foner’s Give Me Liberty is a secondary source.


-Who produced a source matters. Always take this into account when using sources for your paper. An extreme example: if Chris Rock says a bullet should cost five thousand dollars, people laugh; if the President says a bullet should cost five thousand dollars, people get mad. So make sure you’re clear about who it is that you’re citing on a particular issue.


-The question is not about “today.” Don’t wax on about how these years affected America “today.” The question is about the period leading up to the Civil War.


-Don’t ramble on about a vague issue. You should be leading me through evidence, not repeating how “crazy” something is, or how you don’t understand it.


-Write formally and don’t use the first person in your paper (ie don’t use “I” in your writing). “I believe Andrew Jackson wanted to remove Native Americans from southern states” is a bad sentence because Jackson did want to do that whether you believe it or not. “I believe” or “I feel the US was more driven by material factors” is a bad sentence because, as stated earlier, this paper is about what you can prove, not what you believe. (And to be clear, I’m not saying that your beliefs and feelings aren’t important- they very much are! But when it comes to making a fact-based argument, you need to be led by strong evidence).



















Citation Guide:


You don’t need a works cited page, so you’ll only need to cite your sources in your end notes (remember- not foot notes; not in-text citations). Inserting end notes into your paper is different on various programs and operating systems, but if you’re unsure how to do this, go to the library and ask the folks at the tech desk- they’ll know. And if you want an example of how end notes look, here you go (notice where the citation is located!).[i]


Now here’s what the citations in your footnotes should look like!


For published sources and websites, use the following format:


Book with one author:


Author name (first, last), Title of Book (Publisher, Date), page number.


Example: Ira Katznelson, When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America (W.W. Norton & Company, 2005) 114.



Article/chapter in an edited collection:

Author name (first, last), “Title,” in Collection Title, ed. Editor Name (Publisher, Year) page number.


Example: John Kenneth Galbraith, “The Crash,” in The Essential Galbraith

ed. Andrea D. Williams (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001) 276.



Newspaper Article


Author, “Article Title,” Source, date, page number. (or date accessed, website. in place of page number if found online).


Example: Erika Schickel, “Pilgrims’ Sermons Echo in Sarah Vowell’s Ears,” LA Times, November 2, 2008, accessed November 14, 2014,



Author (if available), “Page Title,” Website Title, date accessed, website.


Example: “Hot Off the Presses,” American Experience, PBS, accessed November 14, 2014,




Dr. Sawyer, Lecture Title.


Course Primary Sources:


Author (if available), Document Title, Date (date accessed, website if source is online)


Example: Martin Luther King Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” August 1963.



“Video Title,” date created, time rounded to nearest minute, (date last accessed, website if online).



Example: “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara,” 2003, 55:00.




[i] Here’s the end note- right at the end of the entire paper where your end notes should be. 

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