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What are the opportunities and limits of using your primary source?

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In this assignment, you will analyze a primary document as the source base for an analytical essay. I have included five separate examples of primary sources in the links below. You should focus on a single document. You are welcome to analyze a primary source outside of this list. If you locate your own primary source, please present the topic to me for approval. The essay should be approximately four to five double-spaced pages (1,100-1,250 words). Please include your name and an original title for your essay on the first page. You are encouraged to introduce evidence from both inside and outside the course. Surveys on the history of your topic will be useful to begin establishing a context for reading the document. You should also intersect the reading of your primary sources with one or two secondary sources, including academic monographs and/or scholarly journal articles.
You should cite your sources with footnotes following the Chicago Manual of Style, available as an e-resource. You may also follow the MLA/APA style.
In the first paragraph(s) of you essay, provide the historical context surrounding your primary document. At the end of your introduction, you should present your thesis statement. Within the body of your essay, you should analyze the content of your document, and include a statement on historical methodology. What are the opportunities and limits of using your primary source? Who was the author of your document, and what can you speculate about audience? In what tone was the document written? What kinds of historical forces shaped your author’s worldview.
In this assignment, you will be asked to:
1. distinguish between primary and secondary sources,
2. locate secondary sources through the York library catalog,
3. argue an original thesis and support it with evidence, and
4. cite your evidence using the Chicago Style or APA/MLA.
Traditional, written primary sources in the study of history include petitions, government records, colonial and foreign office records, laws and codes, census data, religious missionary activity, travelers’ accounts, newspapers, notarial documents, diaries, journals, personal correspondence, testimonies, judicial and criminal proceedings, and many other kinds of written documents.
Non-written primary sources include images, art, maps, photographs, music, film, and landscapes and cityscapes, including buildings and sculptures.
A wealth of transcribed, translated and digitized primary sources in world history are available through the Internet History Sourcebooks Project:
Here are five examples of primary sources from Africa, the Americas, India, France and England:
Leo Africanus, “Description of Timbuktu,” 1526.
Bartolome de las Casas, “Preface, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies,” 1542.
St. Francis Xavier, “Letter from India, to the Society of Jesus at Rome,” 1543.
Olympe de Gouge, “Declaration of the Rights of Women,” 1791.
“From Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers, 1842, Vol XVI, pp.24, 196.” Women Miners in the English Coal Pits. 1842
Chicago Bibliographic Citations for Primary Sources from the Sourcebooks
Structure: Basic citation components and punctuation
With an Author
Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Website Title. Month Date, Year of publication. Accessed Month Date, Year of access. URL.
Without an Author
“Article Title.” Website Title. Month Date, Year of publication. Access

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