Instructions – Formal Essay
QUESTION: Discuss how the Enlightenment, Great Awakening, and country ideology influenced the colonists in the years leading up to the Revolution. What ideas from these movements helped inspire the colonists to oppose British policies (such as the Stamp Act) and finally break with Great Britain in 1776? Were the colonists justified in their criticisms of the British government?
· Textbook (OpenStax): Ch. 4.2, p. 102-105; Ch. 4.4, p. 110-114; Ch. 5, all; Ch. 6.1, p. 160-161
· Primary Source Documents (you must use specific examples from four of the six):
1) Online PDF Document – John Locke, Excerpt from Two Treatises on Government
2) Online PDF Document – Edmund Burke, Excerpt from “Conciliation of the Colonies” (1775)
3) Document 16 (p. 33-34) – Stamp Act Congress, “Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress (1765)
4) Document 17 (p. 35-6) – James Dickinson, “James Dickinson Speaks against the Stamp Act”
5) Document 18 (p. 37-8) – Patrick Henry, “Patrick Henry’s Call to Arms”
6) Document 20 (p. 41-2) – Thomas Paine, “Common Sense”
I. Format (30 points)
1) Papers should be typed. Papers should be no less than 2-3 pages long and should be double-spaced. Students should use 12 pt font and 1-inch margins.
2) A header is required and should include the following information: student’s name, date, class (HIST 201), and instructor’s name (Jones). There should be only one or two spaces at most between the header and the beginning of the paper.
3) Students may include a title for their papers. If they choose to include this, it should be no more than one space underneath the header in the center of the paper. The body of the paper should begin no more than one space underneath the title. Titles are optional.
4) Papers should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. The body of the paper should be divided up into separate paragraphs, one for each main topic or point made. The first sentence of each paragraph should be indented.
5) Papers should have a clear and specific thesis statement that does not just restate the main question being asked. Thesis statements can be more than one sentence long, but should also be concise. The thesis should be in the introduction of the essay.
6) Sources should be cited using MLA format when appropriate. This means that students should use parenthetical documentation when directly quoting something or when paraphrasing another author’s idea or argument. Sentences that convey a student’s own thoughts or arguments, or state factual information, do not need to be cited.
7) A Works Cited page is not required.
8) Students must use specific examples from at least four of the six assigned primary source documents. Student may also use information from the lecture notes and textbook. No other sources are required and no other sources should be used.
II. Spelling/Grammar and Style (20 points)
Papers should have minimal spelling and grammatical errors. Please use spell check while writing your paper. Spell check does not catch every misspelled word, so please also proofread your papers carefully for any spelling errors. Sentence fragments, incomplete sentences, run-on sentences, misuse of words, and inappropriate use of punctuation are all considered serious grammatical errors and will negatively affect your grade. Sentences and paragraphs should be coherent, clear, and well organized. If you feel you need assistance with spelling, grammar, or style, please either turn in a rough draft to me or visit the Writing Center.
III. Content (50 points)
1) The focus of the essay should be addressing the main question asked by coming up with a thesis and backing up that thesis with relevant points from the lectures and textbook readings, as well as specific examples from the primary source documents. Thesis statements should address whether or not the colonists were justified in their criticisms of the British government and why.
2) Students must use specific examples from at least four of the six required primary sources listed to back up their arguments.
3) Papers should discuss the specific arguments and points made by each author in the primary sources. Students should also discuss each author’s point of view (biases, background, reasons why they might have held the viewpoint they did).
4) Students should demonstrate in their paper that they have completed the required textbook readings by incorporating relevant background information into their papers. Papers should not just be a summary of the primary source documents in the workbook.
5) Students should try to address some of the following questions in their papers:
· According to John Locke, why do people give up some of their freedoms by living under the laws of a government? What is the main thing they are trying to preserve when they do so? From whom does the legislature (government) get its authority according to Locke? What are the responsibilities of the government? What specifically does he mention about taxes and the government’s ability to raise them? Are people obligated to obey laws that are made by government representatives that they did not choose/elect? What did Locke believe those people had the right to do if laws were being imposed on them without their consent by representatives who were not elected by them? What is the main reason a government would forfeit its power back to the people (society) according to Locke?
· According to Burke, what was the predominant feature of the American colonists? How did he think the colonists’ religious backgrounds influenced their love of freedom and independence? What was the main religion of the colonists at this time? Why did he think this made the colonists more likely to oppose government policies? What made the religion of the Puritans, Quakers, Baptists, Methodists, and other dissenting religious faiths different that the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England? Relationship between church and state? Why did many of those colonists of dissenting faiths migrate to the colonies and leave their mother countries in the first place? How could their beliefs/attitudes about established authority have helped shape their opposition to government policies?
· What was the Stamp Act? Why were the delegates to the Stamp Act Congress upset about this act and other similar acts passed by Parliament? What major points did they make to support their views? What arguments did they make about Parliament’s right to tax the colonists? What points did they make about the right to trial by jury and right to petition the king and Parliament? How were their arguments influenced by the ideas of Locke and the “Country” party?
· Who was James Dickinson and why did he feel the need to criticize the Stamp Act? Did he view the earlier trade acts imposed by Parliament on the colonies to be unconstitutional as well? Why not? What specifically made the Stamp Act unconstitutional in his view? How were his arguments influenced by the ideas of Locke and the “Country” party?
· According to Patrick Henry, had the colonial petitions sent to the King and to Parliament had any affect? Why not? What actions taken by the British government in 1775 inspired Henry to give this speech? What did he want the government of Virginia and his fellow colonists to do? Why did he believe that there was no other choice but to take up arms against the British government? What was the alternative if the colonists did not fight? How were his arguments influenced by the ideas of Locke and the “Country” party?
· Did Thomas Paine believe that there was any advantage to the colonies remaining part of the British Empire? Why not? What disadvantages did he believe there would be for the colonies if they remained in the empire? What benefits would they gain from independence from Great Britain? How did Paine describe the people in the colonies who called for reconciliation with Britain? Did he agree with Patrick Henry about the ineffectiveness of the petitions to the king and parliament? In Paine’s view what reigned as “king” in America? Why? How were his arguments influenced by the ideas of Locke and the “Country” party?
Qualities & CriteriaExcellent
Needs Improvement (50-60 pts)
Unsatisfactory (0-40 pts)Format (Weight: 30/10)
· Follows require-ments of length, font and style
· Sources are cited correctly using MLA format.
Closely follows all the requirements related to format. May have one or two minor format errors. Source are cited correctly
Follows, for the most part, all the requirements related to format. Some requirements are not followed. Sources are cited, for the most part, correctly.
Poorly follows the requirements related to format. Many requirements ignored or not met. Sources are not cited and/or not cited correctly.
Does not meet requirements related to format.Content (Weight: 50/10)
· The main topic is addressed clearly
· The background information is accurate and used effectively
· Background information and specific examples are based on careful reading of the sources
· Good understanding of sources
· Sources are used effectively in the essay
· Authors’ point of view is discussed effectively
The essay addresses the main questions being asked and the effectively addresses the paper topic. The background information used necessary and sufficient to discuss these issues. A lot of discussion of authors’ point of view. The required number of primary sources are used effectively in the essay and are cited appropriately.
The essay mostly addresses the main questions being asked and the effectively addresses the paper topic. The background information used is, for the most part, necessary and sufficient to discuss these issues. Some discussion of authors’ point of view. Most of the primary sources are used effectively in the essay and are cited appropriately.
The essay poorly addresses the main questions being asked and/or does not address the paper topic effectively. The background information used is not sufficient to discuss the major issues of the essay. There is no or little use of the primary sources and/or they are not used effectively in the essay. Little to no discussion of authors’ point of view. Sources are not cited.
The essay does not address the main questions being asked and/or does not address the paper topic. Background information is not used to discuss the major issues of the essay. No use of primary sources and no citations provided. No discussion of authors’ point of view.Spelling/ Grammar/ Style (Weight: 20/10)
· Clarity and coherence of sentences and paragraphs
· Correct use of spelling, grammar and use of English
The essay is well written from start to finish, with no spelling, grammar or use of English errors. The essay is well organized, clear and presents ideas in a coherent way.
The essay is well written for the most part, with few spelling, grammar or use of English errors. The essay is for the most part well organized, clear and presents ideas in a coherent way.
The essay is not well written, and contains many spelling errors, and/or grammar errors and/or use of English errors. The essay is badly organized, lacks clarity and/or does not present ideas in a coherent way.
Clarity of ideas and organization is severely compromised by poor spelling, grammar, and style.