History Engine Essay Assignment

Your first essay assignment will be to use the History Engine to research a specific aspect of life in the South in the 1820s. In keeping with the theme of the course, the basic analytical question for this essay will be: How did slavery shape one element of southern life in the 1820s? You can concentrate on any topic that you find interesting—politics, economics, family life, religion, etc.

Use the History Engine's search to find episodes on your topic. Your essay should quote directly from episodes currently available on the History Engine; no outside research is necessary (or even desirable). The episodes themselves, as well as upcoming lectures, should provide you with all necessary context.

Your essay should be between 500 and 600 words in length, so it is imperative that you focus your attention on a specific topic and structure your argument accordingly. This essay is worth eight percent of your final grade for the course. Essays are due at the beginning of class on Monday, September 24.

Formatting Suggestions and Requirements

  • Make sure your essays are typed, double-spaced, 11- or 12-point Times New Roman font. Side margins should be no less than one inch. Please staple all pages together before coming to class.
  • Place your name at the top of the first page. You do not need a cover page.
  • Make sure you sign the Honor Code pledge on your paper before handing it in.
  • Cite History Engine episodes as follows: “Title,” Location, Date, Class of Origin. For example, “A Dinner Invitation to President Andrew Jackson,” Albemarle County, Virginia, February 27, 1837, UVA 2006. Please use footnotes for your citations.
  • You do not need to include citations for lecture materials.
  • Check the “Dos and Don’ts for Writing History” under the Materials section of our Toolkit site for additional tips and expectations.