HSTA 306 Assignments

Participation (20%)

Participation is vital to your success in this course. You are expected to attend all course meetings and to come to class prepared. That is, you should have completed the assigned reading, have it with you in class, and be prepared to participate actively in class discussion through comments and questions. You will lose credit for participation after three absences, except in documented cases for extended family or medical emergencies, religious observances, or school events. NOTE: Absence from more than 30% of class meetings without documentation will be grounds for failure of the course.

Elections Paper (20%)

Each student will undertake a study of elections in one Massachusetts town between 1787 and 1824 using A New Nation Votes, a database of early United States elections, and the America’s Historical Newspapers database. The paper will be due on Friday, February 17.

Group Presentation on Elections (10%)

Upon completion of the research on elections, students will bring their research together at the county level in order to discuss broader trends in Massachusetts elections. Presentations will be scheduled for Tuesday, March 7.

Response to Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told (10%)

Each student will write a brief essay that synthesizes the historical debate over slavery and capitalism, which we will discuss in detail with our reading of The Half Has Never Been Told and responses to it. The essay will be due on Tuesday, April 11.

Historiographic Essay (15%)

Each student will analyze trends on scholarship in the field through an intensive study of publication patterns in the Journal of the Early Republic. The work will include a topic analysis and synthesis of several journal articles. The paper will be due on Friday, April 28.

Final Exam (25%)

The exam for the course will be held on the date assigned by the Registrar (Wednesday, May 10), and will be comprehensive of the semester. Full details about the exam will be distributed approximately two weeks in advance.

Required Texts

Ed Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (New York: Basic Books, 2014).

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990).

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