Your goal in this paper is to provide an intelligent and well-researched interpretation of history. You will choose a topic, research it, and then prepare a thoughtful, evidence-based paper in which you present your own point of view on that topic. Your interpretation of the topic will be encapsulated in your thesis statement, which should be clear, succinct, and appear early in the paper. The goal of the paper will be to prove to the reader that the thesis is a reasonable interpretation of the past. You will do this by providing evidence from primary and secondary sources, and organizing that evidence in a logical and convincing way. You must use at least three primary sources and three scholarly secondary sources. Encyclopedias (either print or online) are not acceptable secondary sources for the final paper.
Remember that you want to express your interpretation of your topic. Your paper should not simply summarize other people’s views, blandly recite facts or quote sources without explaining
their significance. Nor should it be a boring narrative (“The Gold Rush started in 1848. A lot of
people came here. Then California became a state.”)Your job is to develop a creative and accurate interpretation of the past, and to support that interpretation with as much evidence as possible.