Overview: Now that you have chosen your figure and found your sources, its time

Overview: Now that you have chosen your figure and found your sources, its time to put your research to work. In 900-1500 words (3-5 double-spaced pages) you will explain how your figure could have done things better, or been a better person. Your critique should have at least the four following elements: an explanation of what happened, the results or significance of the event, how your historic figure should have known better or done better, and a conclusion where you think about how history would have been different if the figure had done better.
Structure: Your paper should include an introduction where you introduce your figure, the event(s) you will discuss, and then how you are going to critique your figure or what (s)he should have done better. The final sentence of your introduction should be your thesis statement which is the central argument of your paper and should follow a format similar to, “Through my paper, I will argue that…” In your first paragraph(s) you should provide context for your figure and the historical significance of their actions. In the next few paragraphs you should build your case against the figure and explain why they were wrong for what they did, or how they should have known better. In your final paragraph you should summarize the criticisms of your figure and end with how history might have been better had they had chosen differently. Note: you do not need to follow this structure, but I provide it as an example, should you need.
Citations: Whenever you use one of your sources, you should cite it in footnote format. You can find information on when to cite your source here (Links to an external site.) or click here (Links to an external site.) for more information on how to use footnotes. Make sure to use the correct format for your footnotes as well as your bibliography as they are part of your grade.
Tips for Success: While it is always tempting to critique historical figures based on current standards, the best criticism will focus on how the figure failed to live up to the standards of their day. In other words a good criticism is explaining how they should have known better. Something else to keep in mind, it is best to critique figures for their own failings rather than the failings of those who came after them. For instance, it is hard to blame Columbus for the whole Conquista of the Americas even though the later was only possible because of his voyage. However, it is okay to critique your figure for setting a bad precedent (or example) that others will follow.

Categorized as History

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