history 102 history of the united states since reconstruction source analysis secondary sources – exclusivewritings.com

Analysis # 2


  • Demonstrate how differing arguments about the past and differing interpretations of history can affect our understanding of modern issues.


  • Complete the Worksheet
      • For the Secondary Source Reading set:
        • Provide the historical context of the debate/Explain the historical backdrop
        • Explain how this historical debate connects to the modern debate (Central Question)
        • Complete Part 1 of the Worksheet:
          • Ensure you can differentiate between their thesis statement and their evidence
          • When prompted to provide a quote, always include a page # and use quotation marks!
          • Consider if Handlin, McNeill, Zinn or Schweikart would approve of each Historian’s interpretation of the past
          • Explain how the Historian’s argument could address the Central Question
      • For the Current Event:
        • Think of a current issue that is related to your Central Question
          • This issue must be affecting Americans, either domestically or abroad
        • Complete Part 2 of the Worksheet:
        • Explain how the current issue connects to the Central Question
        • Find two current event articles that offer different interpretations of this current issue
          • Articles should have been published within the last six months, from the date of submitting your Analysis
          • Articles should be from legitimate press sources (not entertainment/television news).
          • Article should not be about history, rather about a current issue in the U.S.
          • Choose from the approved sources below. There are other legitimate press sources not listed here, but get approval prior! Articles from unapproved sources will not receive credit.
            • New York Times
            • Wall Street Journal
            • Washington Post
            • San Diego Tribune
            • USA Today
            • Boston Globe
            • Seattle Times
            • NY Post
            • Tampa Bay Times
            • Los Angeles Times
            • Denver Post
            • Houston Chronicle
            • Chicago Tribune
          • Consider if Handlin, McNeill, Zinn or Schweikart would approve of each article’s interpretation of the current event (Analysis # 2 will require you to have a general understanding of the four debate readings:
            • Handlin – Truth in History: He is arguing that when historians attempt to become relevant, twisting history to make sense of the present, they lose sight of the truth. He encourages historians to stick as tightly to the evidence as possible and avoid personal bias and relevancy. He supports this argument by pointing to examples in history when governments have badly misused history for their own devices, such as Stalin’s USSR.
            • McNeill – “Myth history:” He is arguing that writing history is also a process of creating myth. It is impossible to separate yourself and the era you are living in from the history you write. Thus all history is an interpretation. In addition people experience their worlds differently, thus will write differently of the past. He points to cultural and religious groups to demonstrate how they have written and passed down history that is relevant to their personal story, as seen in Jewish culture and history.
            • Zinn – A People’s History: He argues that history, as owed by the victors and leaders, has forgotten many groups, and instead, the U.S. in particular, tells a celebratory history of heroes and liberty, while ignoring our past sins. He believes the Historian’s job is to shed light on these abuses that have previously been ignored in textbooks and in the classroom. Zinn supports his claim by pointing to his own education and teaching experiences. He also cited numerous “sins” of the past that are often left out of history courses. Specifically he takes issue with the large focus on the Boston Massacre, while women, slaves and Natives do not have their stories of the Revolution told at all.
            • Schweikart and Allen – A Patriot’s History: They argue Zinn has written a Marxist history and is too critical of America’s past. While they acknowledge we have erred, they argue that the American character, or “virtue” has always allowed progress, and that this should be a focus in schools. They agree with Zinn that the “truth” is not being told in classrooms and textbooks, but also disagree in that they believe history courses have become too critical and fail to point out our positives. They also cite multiple examples of past in which supposed bad-guys do good things, to include Cleveland’s veto of the Seed Bill.)
          • Explain how the article’s take on the issue could address the Central Question
      • For the Essay:
        • Type or paste you Essay at the bottom of the Worksheet where indicated
        • Responses must be double spaced
        • I expect at least two pages
        • Use proper grammar, sentence structure, spelling, etc. Capitalize proper nouns!
        • Organize your essay into natural paragraphs
        • Make use of transition sentences

Secondary Sources:

  • Evidence: Be sure to differentiate between evidence and argument. When providing the author’s evidence, explain in your own words the type of evidence being used (i.e. stats, primary sources, experts, etc.) and the author’s context (what point is the author making). You are being asked how the author’s attempts to prove or demonstrate their thesis. Explain the evidence not the argument. The quote should be a very specific piece of evidence.
  • Thesis: When providing the author’s thesis, ensure you have fully explained in your own words. A reshuffling of the their words will lost points. The quote to demonstrate the author’s thesis should clearly be a thesis statement, not a sub-argument and not evidence of the argument.