HISTORY 281 A1 – Spring 2015: Primary Source Assignment: (20%)
The primary source assignment consists of your answer to one question taken from the list found below based on the
assigned primary sources found on eClass and is due at the start of class on June 8 2015 and it is worth 20% of your final
grade. Your essay should be four to five pages of text in length, typed, double-spaced in 12-point font with a title page, oneinch
margins, page numbers and the pages stapled together.
Your answer must be written in essay form with a strong introduction containing a thesis statement or argument, followed by
the development of several supporting points bolstered by specific references to the primary source readings and a
conclusion. You must answer the question in the first paragraph and put the material in your own words in conjunction with
examples from the selections to illustrate your points in the body of the essay. While it is important to forward your own
interpretation and argument, remember to remain focused on the topic or question. A clear writing style in concert with solid
organizational techniques, a well-developed argument and transitional sentences from paragraph to paragraph should result in
a polished and effective essay. Please use the past tense consistently when writing about past events, sources and people,
remember to use transitional phrases to connect your paragraphs together, and to the thesis, and avoid including too many
quotes, instead rely on paraphrasing (with appropriate citations – footnotes or endnotes1) to integrate specific examples from
the assigned primary sources into your essay to support your argument.
Please proofread your essay to correct errors prior to submission. You may also ask me to review your essay in advance,
with enough notice, to give you suggestions for improvement in terms of argument, use of sources and/or presentation.
Please see the syllabus for the policy about late assignments. If you submit your assignment late for an unexcused reason, the
grade for your paper will be reduced by 10% for every day it is late, including if it is submitted after 12:15 p.m. on Monday,
June 8, 2015.2 Please note the change in due date for this assignment.
Remember that all of the required written work for the course must be your own and not done in collaboration with others nor
used in previous classes. Any student caught plagiarizing will be turned into the appropriate authorities with the
recommendation that the harshest punishment be enforced. Plagiarism includes copying directly from someone’s work and
also includes taking ideas that are not your own without giving credit.3
You must incorporate only material from the primary sources assigned on the topic of your choice (as found on the
eClass site for our class) within your essay to answer one of the following questions and you must not incorporate any
outside materials in your essay. Please use only the Chicago Style of citation (i.e., footnotes or endnotes) for your essay
for any quotes or material paraphrased from the sources and please do not submit a “Works Cited” page or
bibliography for this assignment. Please refer to the examples found at the bottom of the page, or the Chicago Manual
of Style, for the format of citations to be used for this assignment and you will be severely penalized if you use any
other form of citation in your essay. You will receive a F for your essay if you do not provide citations for the
examples and/or points discussed in your assignment that are drawn from any sources.
Please answer ONE of the following questions:
Foreign Affairs in East Asia: You must use all of the assigned primary sources on this topic (Zheng He Documents, The
Seclusion of Japan and Two Edicts from the Qianlong Emperor) in your essay.
1) How and why did governmental officials and Emperors utilize foreign policy, including their view of foreigners, as a key
component in the creation of a strong imperial state in Ming/Qing China and Tokugawa Japan?
Early Twentieth-Century East Asia: You must use all of the assigned primary sources on this topic (March 1 Declaration,
Fundamentals of Reconstruction and New Life Movement) in your essay.
2) How and why did competing intellectual and historical traditions affect the arguments for reform and nationalism in Korea
and China during the early twentieth century?
Mao and Revolution: You must use all of the assigned primary sources on this topic (Report on an Investigation of Peasant
Movement in Hunan, Our Economic Policy and Be Concerned with the Well-Being of the Masses) in your essay.
3) What were the key components of Mao’s approach to rural revolution and revolutionary leadership and how and why were
those ideas reflected in his political choices or strategies?
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