National Archives Assignment

National Archives Assignment


For this assignment, you need to visit the National Archives DOCSTeach site at 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.

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.

After your images have appeared, you need to select five (5) of them that are relevant to your topic. You may choose any topic prior to 1865. 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 a full citation.

There are two ways that you can complete this assignment. Once you have collected your 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 will gather that from scholarly resources from the university’s online library and our course readings. Refrain from “.com” websites. These are not scholarly.

Option 1:

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.

  1. Must include a minimum of five slides that all support a clear thesis. A thesis is an argument about historical information.
  2. The presentation must include a 600-650 word 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. Instead, your slides should follow a well-organized argument that begins with a thesis statement on the first slide. Example: If this course was on the second half of US History, you might make the argument that the Cold War was inevitable. To prove this thesis/argument, you would then highlight and analyze five documents from the Archives to prove this statement.

Option 2:

Paper Option:

  1. It must be double-spaced (Times New Roman, font size 12), three pages (or 800-850 words), and include a cover page with your name, course number and course title, instructor’s name, and date.
  2. The paper should include a thesis statement and a narrative and conclusion that defends that argument. Your five chosen sources from the Archives should be well integrated into your paper. Again, using the same example from above, if this course was in the second half of US History, you might make the argument that the Cold War was inevitable. You would then analyze your five resources to prove your argument.

You are allowed to choose your own topic as long as it pertains to the subject of this course (US History to 1865).

APA format and a minimum of 3 references. All information must be cited.