Primary Source Paper


Textbooks are valuable to provide students with a broad overview of the history of a particular time and place. However, primary sources (sources written by people during the time in question) can provide insights into the beliefs, customs, and prejudices of people who lived in the past.

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This paper is to focus upon a “Culture” or “Cultural Group”. See below for definitions:

1. How do four primary sources contained in the textbook give you a better knowledge of some of the cultural groups (and their beliefs, ideologies, customs, traits) that contributed to American history and culture during the early years of the country?

2. Does the source in question show the bias or cultural blinders of the person writing it (either a person within this culture or a person observing it from the outside?)

* Make sure to utilize actual quotes from the people speaking in the primary sources rather than the introductions to the sources.


This paper assignment is designed to have students demonstrate knowledge of human cultures as outlined in SUU Essential Learning Outcome of the same name.

For reference a “culture” can be defined as the “customs, beliefs, values, social forms, and material traits of a social group.” Another definition is: “A way of life of a group of people—the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept (generally without thinking about them) and that they pass on from one generation to the next.”


Paper Guidelines:

1. Paper must examine Four Sources

2. Paper must be 1.5 to 2 pages, single-spaced, with 1″ margins. Points will not be taken off for papers longer than 2 pages.

3. The sources must be drawn from the first half of the textbook, i.e. from Ch. 1-17 only.


Available Sources:

For this paper students need to utilizing FOUR primary sources found in in the textbook. You can use primary documents (documents written at the time in question) from chapter sections “Documents from Sources from America’s History” (found at the end of each chapter in the Ebook/Learning Curve text for any of the first 17 chapters). You can also use documents found in “America in Global Context” “Thinking Like a Historian,” and “Analyzing Voices” found within each chapter.


How to Cite:

Papers must make clear what sources are being used. They MUST use the following citation format. Note that we are using a “short title” format for source titles:


European monarchs helped publish glowing reports to promote colonization. As Thomas Hariot, an author of one such study said, “grapes grow on every tree, streams run full of healthful waters, springtime is always in the air.” (Hariot, “A Brief and True Report,” Ch.1)

The First Great Awakening unleashed a torrent of support for new colleges. Many were established to promote unorthodox views. As Robert Tennent noted in his pamphlet, “The time is ripe for us to throw off old discredited beliefs, yeah to start a new world order.” (Tennent, “Danger of an Unconverted Ministry,” Ch. 4)

The American Revolution unleashed forces promoting equality. As a former slave Prince Hall reported, “We have tasted to air of freedom and we shall never return to the old ways.” (Hall, “Petition for Freedom,” Ch. 6)


[Internal/Professor’s Use Only: Rubric used for ELO:]

4 = Fluent (not used in 1000 level classes)

3 = 33-40 (Prof)

2= 26-32 (Gaining)

1= 19-25 (Competent)

0= 18 below (Absent)

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