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Document Analysis Paper (MLK.I Have A Dream) History Essay (Essay Sample)


Throughout the course you are required to write four 2-3 page (at least 600 words) papers analyzing primary documents we will discuss in class. The purpose of this assignment is to help you think critically about these documents and uncover their historical significance. These papers should represent your best scholarship. Please follow Chicago style for all formatting and citations. All quotes and paraphrases should be footnoted (review section about plagiarism in the syllabus). This includes citations from the document itself and the text book. These papers are due one week after the day we discuss the documents in class. You are required to complete at least one paper for each third of the class (one before each examination) and four papers total. These papers should the following information:
Historical Context
You should do a little research about the time when the document was created. You should demonstrate that you understand the reasons behind why the document was written and what the author hoped to achieve. In addition to the text book, you are required to use at least one other authoritative (not Wikipedia) source that helps you understand the context.
You should not only understand the content of the document, but provide some meaningful interpretation of it. Identify what you determine are the most important elements of the document and give an explanation on why they are the most critical. Also consider the author and the audience. What values does the author espouse and emphasize? Who is the author writing/speaking to? How does the author define certain words and phrases that are emphasized? For example, in most of the documents the authors use common terms in American history like freedom and equality. Consider how these terms are used, what meanings and values does the author attach to these terms, and who are these terms are applicable to (all Americans or just select groups)?
This section should answer the question “so what?” You should now look at what happened after the document was created. Why is it important for us to study today? What impact did it have on subsequent historic events and policies? What changed as a result of these documents (as well as what did not change)?
Grading Rubric
These papers are worth a total of 25 points each and are graded according to the following rubric:
5 Points for Historical Context
5 Points for Analysis
5 Points for Significance
10 Points for Grammar and Organization. Times New Roman, 12 point font, double spaced, 1 inch margins, proper footnote citations, at least 600 words and clear writing style free of egregious spelling and grammatical errors.


Student’s Name
Historical Context
Since the end of the Civil War in the mid-1800s, America was slowly giving more rights to blacks. The Civil Rights movement started after the Civil War and was amped up in the 1900s. After the labor movement and unions' strikes, African Americans learned maybe they too could challenge the government and try to get the rights that they deserve. Many advocates soon started to speak up and challenge society; the number of these advocates began to grow and became a diverse group of advocates through King's ability to transcend his race. In the spring of 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, faced a devastating bomb attack on a local church where four African American children were killed. An uprising followed this horrific event in demonstrators supporting civil rights for blacks.

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