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Assignment 1: Dealing with Diversity in America from Reconstruction through the 1920s
Due Week 3 and worth 120 points
This is a 5-paragraph paper based on research in designated sources. It is a position paper in which you support a thesis statement by reason and historical examples. After the Civil War, the United States had to recover from war, handle western expansion, and grapple with very new economic forms. However, its greatest issues would revolve around the legacies of slavery and increasing diversity in the decades after the Civil War. In the South, former slaves now had freedom and new opportunities but, despite the Reconstruction period, faced old prejudices and rapidly forming new barriers. Immigrants from Europe and Asia came in large numbers but then faced political and social restrictions. Women continued to seek rights. Yet, on the whole, America became increasingly diverse by the 1920s. Consider developments, policies, and laws in that period from 1865 to the 1920s. Examine the statements below and drawing from provided sources, present a paper with specific examples and arguments to demonstrate the validity of your position.
Topic and Thesis Statement—choose one of the following as your Thesis Statement:
THESIS STATEMENT 1: Political policies in the period from 1865 to the 1920s generally tried to promote diversity and “the melting pot” despite the strong prejudices of a few.
THESIS STATEMENT 2: Political policies in the period from 1865 to the 1920s generally tried to hinder or restrict diversity and “the melting pot”, in part because of widespread prejudices.
Plan to make that thesis statement the last sentence in your introductory paragraph. The general subject is DIVERSITY and policy in that period of history. You may moderate the wording slightly to fit more precisely the position you wish to take. This is NOT a simple statement of a topic; it is a statement of a position you are taking about that topic. p.s.—Valid arguments and “A” papers can be made with either thesis. So, you choose the one you think is the stronger position.
After giving general consideration to your readings so far and any general research, select one of the positions above as your position—your thesis. (Sometimes after doing more thorough research, you might choose the reverse position. This happens with critical thinking and inquiry. Your final paper might end up taking a different position than you originally envisioned.) Organize your paper as follows, handling these issues:
Part 1: Introductory paragraph with thesis statement as the last sentence.
Part 2: To support your position, use three (3) specific examples from different decades between 1865 and 1930. You may narrowly focus on race or gender or immigrant status, or you may use examples relevant to all categories.
Part 3: Consider if a person selected the thesis statement you did not choose. Explain why the opposing view is weak in comparison to yours.
Part 4: Consider your life today: In what way does the history you have shown shape or impact issues in your workplace or desired profession?
Length: The paper should be 500-to-750 words in length.
Research and References: You must use a MINIMUM of three sources; the Schultz textbook must be one of them. Your other two sources should be drawn from the list provided on the assignment instructions sheet. The instructor has also provided other documents with more details and helps on this assignment.
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