We created a thesis of focused significance for the last assignment. For this one, we broaden that significance to include multiple eras to support our interpretive thesis. Instead of focusing on one period, we cover several of the units going back (but not forward!) through the course.
For this Assignment we will focus on:
1) Making sure your thesis is highly interpretive and arguable (a statement that needs to be proven)
2) Using topic sentences to introduce each set of evidence, in italics. A topic sentence is a mini-thesis that your evidence supports, and each must support the entire thesis.
3) Using four primary sources from the Primary Sources Boards, in pairs.
4) Broadening your focus to include multiple eras (consider each week as one “era”).
5) Learning about problems with theses so we can avoid them.
Here are some common problems and recommendations for a historical thesis with sources:
•The big, factual thesis problem.
This happens when I write a thesis that is so broad it has no point of view.
•The “today” problem.
Using the present to justify the past doesn’t work.
•The three-part thesis problem.
The thesis needs to be the guiding idea of the essay, and should not have three parts, each one as the topic of one paragraph.
•The illustrative source problem.
Sources should prove a point, not be used to illustrate or show something.
•The trying to prove what didn’t happen problem.
The thesis should not say something like, “This cool thing would never have happened if it hadn’t been for this other thing.”
Writing Assignment Instructions (50 points):
Please post a highly interpretive thesis about what we’ve been studying recently, followed by an outline to set up two short paragraphs, each containing a topic sentence that supports the entire thesis, and two primary sources, each with an explanation of how it supports the topic of that paragraph. All sources must be from a Primary Sources Boards (you may add any fully cited sources to any Board at any time).
So the structure looks like this (but in essay paragraph format – no numbers and letters):
I. Interpretive thesis
II. Topic sentence that supports the thesis
A. Primary source #1 with explanation
B. Primary source #2 with explanation
III. Topic sentence that supports the thesis
A. Primary source #3 with explanation
B. Primary source #4 with explanation
V. Brief conclusion
Here is an example of an A level assignment:
World War II came at a costly price in both tangible and intangible ways. With the rampant destruction all over the globe, money and bodies were poured into the war effort by nearly all those capable. America, though initially not involved in the war, jumped in at full throttle when it felt necessary. With this, domestic life shifted rapidly, with men leaving home for the battlefield, industries gearing up for war production, and women left behind to take care of the rest. WWII brought with it a cultural shift, in which domestic life challenged the norms of the era, pushing different groups into positions antithetical to the time.
Women, whose lives tended to be confined to the tasks at home, now had to take roles in public to fill the shoes of the men who had gone overseas. Desiree posted an image of four women sewing parachutes under the employ of the Pacific Parachute Company in San Diego, CA (Russell Lee, April 1942, http://womenshistory.about.com/od/warwwii/ig/World-War-II-Rosies–Pictures/Fair-Employment-Practices.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). Women did not typically hold jobs outside of their roles at home, but with a shortage of workers came the need for adaptation. Society had to accept that the help of women in the workplace was necessary for the strengthening of the war effort. Ashley posted a painting of the iconic “Rosie the Riveter” seated before an American flag, looking powerful and dignified (Norman Rockwell, 1943, http://www.rosietheriveter.org/painting.htm (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). This particular picture not only depicts a woman as a worker in a uniform typically worn by a man, but it also shows her muscular arms and powerful presence. Women were no longer meek, fragile creatures, but powerful people who had something great to contribute.
America, a land rooted in ideas of freedom and liberty, actively sought to intern an entire population based on the suspicion of spies. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, paranoia and fear were at an all-time high. Racism against the Japanese was prevalent, despite many of those interned having been born in America. Katelyn posted a flyer instructing “all persons of Japanese ancestry” to relocate to a determined location by a certain time (City of San Francisco, 1942, http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/assets/300px-Instructions_to_japanese.png (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). Despite the rights offered to all American citizens by law, the wartime fervor led to the internment of thousands of Japanese, putting these people into a position as less-than-American. Jerica posted an image of two young boys waving goodbye, as they waited for a bus to take them to a “War Relocation Camp” (US Army Signal Corps, 1942, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2004669768/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). Even the domestic lives of children changed, as the government rounded them up and forced a new life for them.
With America desperate for workers to fill the roles of the men who had left for battle, minorities that were often the targets of segregation were now accepted into roles they weren’t before. David posted an flyer of two men, one white, the other black, working on machinery for the war with the words “United We Win” in bold letters beneath (distributed by US Government, 1943, http://www.amistadresource.org (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site./plantation_to_ghetto/end_of_world_war_two.html). Despite the still-standing “Jim Crow” laws of the time, even the US government made a push to unify the races, to have all supporting the war effort. Deanna posted an image of three women (one white, two black) working on submarine grommets together at Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard (African American Historical and Cultural Society, 1943,http://foundsf.org/index.php?title=WWII_In-migration_%26_Rising_Bigotry (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). Though racism and segregation were still prevalent in American life, the domestic lives of minorities underwent a cultural shift, as it was more useful to have all working together, rather than segregated. This new unification between the races, however slight, stood in contrast to the laws and attitudes of America pre-WWII.
As America’s role in the Second World War shifted, so did the society at home. With many men being drafted to fight abroad, the country was left with in a position of dire straits, of desperation. From this came the need for change, for cultural adaptation, and many of these changes challenged the accepted notions of the time. Whether it be that women’s role was in the home, that all citizens should be free, or that the races should be divided, WWII domestic life challenged the accepted roles of all.
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