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Secondary Source Essay

 

 

I. Overview

One of the most important tasks of an historian is developing an interpretation of an event.  After examining the evidence, the historian draws some conclusions, trying to make sense of what happened.  The sum of these conclusions is called an "interpretation" of the event.  In answering the Unit Three Discussion Question, you have developed an interpretation of an event.  In preparing the Secondary Source Report, you have presented the interpretation of another historian.  In this essay, you will be challenged to look at different interpretations of the same event.  

You may choose to base your essay on any one of the Unit Three class discussions.  It would be easiest to choose either the class in which you did the Discussion or the Secondary Source Report, but it does not have to be.  For this essay, you will compare the interpretation of the event you arrived at with the interpretation presented in the secondary source.

II. Content

This essay will have four sections.  

In the first section you should provide the reader with an overview of the event which you are discussing.  

In the second section, you should present your interpretation of the events based on the primary sources you have examined.  This section should be a condensed form of the Analytical Primary Source Essay.

In the third section, you should present the interpretation of the event given in the secondary source.  This will be a condensed form of the Secondary Source Report.

The fourth section will be the most important important part of the essay.  In this section, you will compare and contrast the two interpretations.  

On what points do you agree?  On what points do you disagree?
Where do you think the author of the secondary source has made a mistake?
Where do you think you might have made a mistake?
How do you account for any disagreements?

III. Evaluation

This essay will be judged based on the following criteria:

1. Do you provide a prima facia interpretation of the event in question?

2. Do you present a reasonable and fair assessment of secondary source in question?

3. How insightful is your understanding of the points of agreement and disagreement?

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