History

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ONE of the following prompts.

 

1. According to Richard Hakluyt’s Discourse of Western Planting, what appears to be the most important driving force behind English colonization of the Americas (such as economics, religion, or politics)? Consider what Hakluyt argues for most insistently when evaluating your answer, and support your conclusions with examples from the document.
Primary Source:

Richard Hakluyt, Discourse of Western Planting (1584) (Links to an external site.)

2. What is Thomas Morton’s overall impression of the native peoples of New England? Consider the native traits Morton admires and criticizes when evaluating his assessment. Please include examples from the document.
Primary Source:

Thomas Morton, “Manners and Customs of the Indians” (1637)

3.

Essay Rubric

Essay Rubric

Criteria

Ratings

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeARGUMENT

Your essay’s ability to articulate its stance towards a particular historical dilemma. This is what separates a paper that tries to prove a point (the “why”) from one that only summarizes information (the “what”).

Good
This essay has a fully developed thesis that clearly and concisely establishes the essential premise of your analysis. In addition to describing your stance in general terms, you break down the supporting points that will be analyzed to prove your position.

Needs Work
This essay has a thesis that needs further development. The thesis might be too general, by providing a broad position for your essay without establishing the individual sub-points that will prove your premise. Conversely, the thesis may address several individual points but lack overarching focus, effectively making several mini arguments instead of one argument with sub-components.

Unsatisfactory
This essay does not satisfactorily address the historical issue at hand. It may lack a thesis entirely, and simply describe the course of events—even if factually correct, this doesn’t prove anything. Alternatively, this essay may indeed have some kind of argument, but it misinterprets the historical question on such a fundamental level that it undermines your paper’s persuasive qualities.

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeORGANIZATION

Your essay’s ability to direct the flow of information in a clear, logical, and consistent manner.

Good
This essay has an uninterrupted and easily understood flow of ideas from start to finish. Your introduction establishes the context of the historical dilemma, your overall argument addressing it, and the sub-points you will analyze. Your body paragraphs address said sub-points in the same order, and each body paragraph begins with a topic sentence that indicates the paragraph’s content and connection to your overall argument. Finally, you have a conclusion that wraps up your individual findings to prove your overarching argument.

Needs Work
Perhaps your body paragraphs address different subjects than those that are mentioned in the introduction, or those topics are addressed in a different order. Maybe there are no topic sentences that provide the “point” of each body paragraph. Or the paper may just lack a conclusion entirely. One way or another, the structure of your paper has muddled some of your information.

Unsatisfactory
The information in this essay is organized haphazardly, which serves to confuse or obscure the point(s) you are trying to make.

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeEVIDENCE

Your essay’s ability to support its assertions with examples.

Good
The examples in this essay are relevant, in sufficient number, and are adequately specific to substantiate your claims. Evidence is also properly attributed.

Needs Work
This essay incorporates evidence in a way that doesn’t quite support your overall argument. Perhaps your examples are too generalized and lacking in specifics. Maybe you quote excessively, drowning your analysis in superfluous detail (and making your paragraphs more of an assemblage of quotes rather than your own writing). Alternatively, the examples you provide may be perfectly accurate and specific, but are off-topic and don’t actually support the case you are making.

Unsatisfactory
This essay does not provide satisfactory evidence to support its claims. Note that personal observations or reflections about some historical topic are merely that—personal. Your analysis must be fact-based to be persuasive.

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeCOMPOSITION

Your essay’s ability to articulate ideas using clear and effective language.

Good
The writing in this essay is crisp and professional, and lacks any major mechanical or stylistic errors.

Needs Work
There are mechanical or stylistic errors that make this an unpolished and less persuasive product. Assuming no huge mistakes in the essay’s usage of the English language, most issues in this category will deal with academic writing conventions. For example, do not use slang or profanity (unless quoting). Unless quoting, do not use the first or second person (“I” or “you”)—maintain a voice of detached objectivity. Refer to historical figures by their last (or most commonly known) names. Etcetera, etcetera.

Unsatisfactory
This essay is replete with any combination of spelling, grammar, and syntax errors that hinder the comprehensibility of your ideas.

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