INTRODUCTION: Every piece of paper that people leave behind is full of clues. From diaries and letters to newspapers and census reports, documents tell us about the circumstances of everyday life and about significant events. Historians spend a lot of time in archives studying all kinds of documentary evidence and glean rich information from the written word. To be most useful, documents must be studied carefully and critically. While it might be clearly stated who the writer is and who the audience is, the intended message may not be obvious. Researchers, whether student or professional, must look beyond the intended meaning to consider hidden agendas, unintended meanings, and bias or point of view of the creator of the document. Other elements to analyze include tone, grammar, word choice, and style. This information will enable the researcher to interpret the document with a critical eye. In preparation of completing this extra credit assignment, please review Professor Moore’s “How to Read” article and Professor Wineburg’s “Why Historical Thinking Matters” powerpoint so that you may be reminded of good techniques for reading and understanding the primary source documents in this assignment.
ASSIGNMENT: Select three of the following documents. Read and analyze the documents, and then answer the questions that follow. Please answer the questions in complete sentences, using evidence from the document for support.
Prepare your written responses in a document that is properly formatted (double-spaced, 1 inch margins, free of grammatical errors) and contains your name, date, and assignment title on the first page.
Please also title each section of the document to reflect the primary source you have selected and write out each numbered question.