Strong historical research requires an effective balance between primary and secondary resources and the goal of this essay is for you to practice this vital skill to evaluate a primary source. You may associate the topic for this assignment with your final research paper, though you cannot use the same text that you write for this assignment in your final paper.
In general terms this assignment is designed for you to compare and contrast a historical perspective from a secondary source (our readings in class) with a primary source.
Once you have identified a topic from our readings and found a corresponding primary source answer the following questions: What new insight does the primary source provide that did not appear in the secondary source? Why are primary sources important? What are some dangers in using primary sources? The paper should be in Word format, have a minimum of 500 words, and include footnotes and a bibliography.
An example of what I am looking for is as follows. One of the best digitized collections at Google Books is The Crisis. W.E.B. DuBois founded the journal and Google Books has the complete series digitized dating back to April 1911. As a potential topic for this assignment you could explore how Wiebe discusses Jim Crow laws, poll taxes, “understanding” tests, etc. and compare that to specific primary research found in The Crisis. An example might be the article called “Emancipation” published in The Crisis in March 1913. Again, the goal is to find a single topic from our readings and compare and contrast it to a specific primary article or document.