Thesis 1865 to 1920 | HIS 105 – American History after 1865 | Strayer University


Assignment 1: Dealing with Diversity in the late 1800s and early 1900s


[note to student: This FORMAT SAMPLE PAPER is not a sample student paper like you will submit. Rather it illustrates the layout and makes a few suggestions about the content on each part. It also illustrates a Sources list at the end; and it illustrates in-text citations in the body of the paper. You MUST follow the instructions on the instruction sheet. You must use the Schultz textbook as a key source. And—other sources used must come from the list on the instruction sheet. ] 

[You are encouraged to do the extra credit preliminary rough draft work in ecree (in Week 3 unit) to help on paragraph development and organization. Your final paper must be submitted as an uploaded file in the Week 3 unit at the link “ASSIGNMENT 1: DEALING WITH DIVERSITY….”


In terms of content, a format sample like this does not provide that except for some illustrative suggestions.  Because of that, these paragraphs and this paper runs a little longer than yours will. This sample mainly shows the form and organization—and samples of citing. And I provide a few tips here. Keep in mind the paper mostly focuses on a long period—from 1865 to the 1920s; and you will eventually need specific examples from three different decades in that period. But, in this first paragraph, you will have an introduction to your paper and you will also include your thesis statement. The instruction sheet offers two thesis statements to choose from. You are expected to choose one of those.  Perhaps you feel that overall the political policies of the era mainly tried to promote diversity despite the prejudices of a few. Or, perhaps you feel the political policies of the era tried mainly to restrict or hinder diversity. You can be wide-ranging, using examples related to race in the south and immigration policies for folks from Europe and/or Asia. Or you can be more narrow in your focus, with your paper getting mainly into areas of race—or maybe issues of gender—or focus entirely on immigration from certain regions. The class text discusses these things; make use of chapters 16 through 21. Keep in mind, the overall issue is some aspect of DIVERSITY and how it develops and is dealt with in this time period (1865 through the 1920s). So, this first paragraph introduces the topic generally and establishes your focus as to time period and subject, and it states your thesis—your position. That THESIS STATEMENT should be the last sentence in this introductory paragraph. 


The second and third paragraphs will cover your three SPECIFIC examples supporting your thesis. You can be wide ranging or narrow in your focus. Negative examples of policies hindering diversity might range from Plessy vs. Ferguson to the Chinese Exclusion Act to poverty facing new immigrants in big cities to arrests of women demonstrating for the right to vote. Positive examples of policies and conduct promoting diversity might include constitutional amendments of the era or the many southern black office holders during Reconstruction or the initial embrace of Chinese immigrants as great workers (especially for the railroad) or the government’s opening of Ellis Island to handle the huge influx of numerous new European immigrants in this period or the western states who were first in allowing women to vote. You need to choose examples that fit with and support your thesis. You only need three specific examples, each supported by an in-text citation to the source where you found the information. Each example should come from a different decade between 1865 and the 1920s. 

EXAMPLES CONTINUED–In this “examples” part of the paper you really start developing the topic and your position and evidence. The assignment requires you to use the Schultz textbook and at least two other sources from the list on the instruction sheet (don’t use other sources not listed). You also will also be citing sources—and this paragraph illustrates what those in-text citations might look like. For example, you might be discussing court cases that supported segregation (Schultz, 1, p. 338-9).  As a long book, you need page or section numbers with the Schultz book. The number 1 tells us it is the first source identified in the paper and it is the first listed on the Sources list at the end. Or, you might be discussing Chinese railroad workers (1, p. 348) and the specific example of the later restrictive legislation of the Chinese Exclusion Act (2). Notice again how the number 1 shows that the Schultz book was the first source used in this paper and that it is the first listed at the end; but the 2 is for the second source listed at the end; see there. On this same topic, you might find some great material in a scholarly article from the university’s online library—on the list of sources you should draw from. A good example would be an article by Abu-Laban and Lamont (3), who present many examples from this period as they reflect on “the metaphor of the melting pot” as it “refers to processes of immigration, relations of ethnic diversity, and notions of national identity and purpose”. As the number 3 suggests, it listed the third source listed at the end. You will notice that the number given on these citations relates to the order of when they come up in the paper—and so also the numbered order on the Sources list at the end. Again, use only sources on the list provided on the instruction sheet. Since those sources are in SWS form and also have a convenient link with them, one can easily copy/paste the ones you use for your sources list at the end. And, with the link, each source is very easy to access. 


This third section of the paper involves some critical thinking on your part; it should only be one paragraph of 5-to-8 sentences. A reasonable person might disagree with you and select the other thesis (the one you did not choose). For example, perhaps you argued that political policies mainly tried to promote diversity—you might have examples such as constitutional amendments in the period, the opening of Ellis Island, etc. In this paragraph start by saying something like this: “Someone may disagree with my view and argue that policies tended to restrict diversity.” After identifying that opposing thesis, then spend a few sentences giving a reasoned argument why your thesis is stronger. (Caution—don’t be dismissive of those who disagree with you.) Now—having considered this illustration, you can also reverse the roles depending on what thesis you selected. Normally, this part is not so much doing more research or providing more examples. Instead it is about identifying that other thesis statement (the opposing view), and then providing your own logical rationale for favoring your own position instead. It is just critical thinking on your part. 


This fourth section of the paper is just one paragraph and does not normally involve researching more information. (And—don’t forget the Sources list on the next page below). This Part 4 does involve some reflection about the issues covered in your paper and ways those issues perhaps are still around today (maybe in a different form). You might have examples in your personal life. You are to include here your thoughts about your workplace experiences or the profession you are going into, and how these issues are relevant in that modern context. Think of your major and the types of places you might work—or do work. If you see diversity—why? Affirmative action programs trying to overcome the old barriers? New opportunities or policies by the company or the government? If you don’t see diversity, what are some reasons for that? Education barriers? Biases in hiring as a legacy of the old policies? Less diversity in that geographic area (which also has roots)? Immigration issues? You might think of other ways to connect the modern situation to the history you have written about. Again, this fourth part is normally a paragraph—lengthy treatment not needed here. This fourth part should serve as the conclusion of the paper. Be sure the body of your paper ends in some way that wraps up succinctly. 


1. Kevin M. Schultz. 2018. HIST: Volume 2: U.S. History since 1865. 5th ed. 

2. Chinese Exclusion Act. 1882.

3. Y. Abu-Laban & V. Lamont. 1997. Crossing borders: Interdisciplinary, Immigration and the Melting Pot in the American Cultural Imaginary. 

[Tips—number the sources list. For each entry, simply copy the form of that source as listed on the INSTRUCTIONS sheet. Be sure to use ONLY the Schultz textbook and two or more other sources on that list…no googling elsewhere. Keep it simple—the sources are provided for you. Each source listed must ALSO be cited with a short in-text citation in the body of your paper. The third paragraph in this sample illustrates what those in-text citations might look like. ]

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