I define concept broadly: it could be the separation of church and state, native american rights, women’s participation in politics, gun ownership, immigration policy, the u.s.’s relationship to foreign territories, the role of oil and gas in u.s. foreign policy, the use of technology by political campaigns, the idea of whiteness, etc.
For this assignment, you will examine an important concept in U.S. politics and government across three different periods of U.S. history. I define concept broadly: it could be the separation of church and state, Native American rights, women’s participation in politics, gun ownership, immigration policy, the U.S.’s relationship to foreign territories, the role of oil and gas in U.S. foreign policy, the use of technology by political campaigns, the idea of Whiteness, etc. By period I mean different historical periods, ideally far apart from each other. For example, you could look at the role of the Texas Lieutenant Governor in the 1830s, then in the 1910s, and again in the 1990s.
The entire essay will be 900-1000 words. It should include:
An introduction to your topic, the narrative you will tell about it, and the periods you will describe.
What is a narrative? It is your interpretation of historical events. For example, if you were to tell a story about civil rights, perhaps you would say “the history of civil rights is a story of progress and backlash.” Or if you were studying guns in the United States, you might say “this is a story about the growth and decline of the American gun rights lobby and its effect on public policy.” Or if you were studying political campaigns, you might say “the history of federalism in the United States has been one of increasing nationalization.”
A description that traces your topic across three periods of American history.
It can be more than three periods, but it needs to be at least three! Pay close attention here to transition sentences.
A concluding paragraph, in two parts.
Explain how your body paragraphs support your narrative. Then explain what we should expect to see in the future if your narrative holds.
In terms of sources: begin with the indexes in the back of your Logic and Little History books, or ctrl+f on the digital version. You should also look at the History and Political Science Research Guides (Links to an external site.) from the SMU Library. Encyclopedia Britannica is a good starting point. Wikipedia isn’t a good source, but it is often a good place to start, along with just googling “A history of [your phrase] in the United States (Links to an external site.).” From there, you can use Wikipedia to get a sense of the general trustworthiness of a source. Then consider who your audience is–me!–and what sources I am likely consider trustworthy, being a professor.
At the bottom of your submission, grade yourself on a scale of 0-15 (decimals allowed), with one sentence of explanation.
For this assignment, I am choosing to write about immigration policy in the United States
across three different time periods. The first time period I have chosen is the year 1790 through
the early 1800s. I chose this time period because the Immigration Act of 1790 was passed, which
set the nation ‘s new naturalization procedures. Next, I chose the late 1800s, as immigration laws
began to evolve under the Immigration Act of 1882, which imposed taxes on non-citizens and
made immigration laws more excludable. Lastly, I chose the late 1990s to the early 2000s, as
D.A.C.A. and the D.R.E.A.M. act come into play.