Final Project HIST 1306 (Prof. Allen)
Over the course of the semester, I have argued that four historical forces shaped the development of the
United States after 1877. These were:
1. The migration of people from throughout the world to the United States as well as the social mobility (both upward and downward) experienced by all people within the nation;
2. The efforts to expand (and restrict) democracy, equality, and individual rights in the U.S.; 3. The rise of a capitalist economic system and the subsequent (and recurring) reorganization of
Americans’ daily life—whatever their social status or region; and
4. The effort to create a multi-racial, democratic social order in a very diverse nation.
In this project, you will choose the one force that you think was most responsible for the development of
the United States after 1877 and formulate an argument that defends your choice and demonstrates why
you think the others were relatively less important. Keep in mind that there is really no correct answer for
this assignment. Each of the four choices outlined above are valid options.
That said, there are correct and incorrect ways of completing this assignment, and you should therefore play
close attention to the requirements.
1. General: You will submit a four-page paper. This is a hard space limit. If your paper is less than 3.5 pages long, I will penalize it. If your paper is more than 4.5 pages long, I will penalize it. Title
pages, endnote pages, and bibliographies do not count toward (or against) the space limit.
2. Thesis: Your paper will have a thesis. (Something like “Force X exerted the most decisive influence on American history after 1877.”) It should appear in the first paragraph of the paper, if not the first
sentence. Your conclusion should restate your thesis.
3. Organization: About half of your paper’s body should be dedicated to defending the importance of the force you selected. The other half should demonstrate why you think the others were less
important. I expect you to outline (I do not need to see it; I’ll know). Don’t use topic headings. This
is a short paper, and they just eat up space.
4. Sources: You should use both the textbook and the videos. Parenthetical citations are fine. For the textbook, they should look like this (Keene, 413). For the videos, they should look like this (, [Min]: second). Here is an example (“World War I,” 19:22).