Two papers are required for this class. You have three options: I suggest choosing The Sovereignty and Goodness of God or Attitudes Towards Sex in Antebellum America as your first paper and The American Women’s Movement for your second.

The papers will be based on both required readings and your own additional research using secondary sources. All three books are required reading but you will write only two papers. The following are questions to consider; you will also find additional questions in the back of each book. Do not feel that you need to answer all the questions, nor limit yourself to them. Rather than specific prompts, the purpose of the questions is to help you approach the documents. In writing these papers, you will be doing the same type of work that professional historians do: examining the evidence and drawing conclusions.

The Sovereignty and Goodness of God

How did Mary Rowlandson’s religious beliefs influence her views of, and interactions with, Native Americans? What do her writings reveal about different roles of Puritan and Native American women? How do her experiences compare with those of Hannah Dustin? What do the responses of prominent men tell us about religion and gender in Puritan life?

Attitudes Towards Sex in Antebellum America

What diverse ideas about sexuality and gender were expressed and what ideologies and assumptions led the authors to such varying perspectives? What do these ideas about sex tell us about ideologies about women’s nature and women’s roles? How do you explain the differences?

The American Women’s Movement

How do you explain the origin and development of the second wave of feminism? What were the goals of feminists? What differences do you see among different groups of feminists? How did issues that were once thought to be personal become public and subjects for political discussion and action?

Late papers may be penalized. Never slide papers under my office door. If for any reason you cannot turn in your paper in class on the due date, you may drop it off in the main History Department office, BAL 8000.

Getting Started

Begin by reading the editor’s introduction. This will give you enough background information that you can begin to work on your paper immediately. If you feel you need additional historical context, read the pertinent sections in Through Women’s Eyes. Then read the documents in the book, which are primary sources (from the time period). You may find it useful to highlight, underline, or take notes as you read. It may also be helpful to write comments about the documents as you go along (you may find yourself agreeing with, or arguing with, an author). Consider the perspective of the author and intended audience.

After finishing the documents, consider what your topic of research will be, and begin your research in the secondary literature (historians’ analyses of the past). The “suggested reading” at the end of each book will help you to find high quality secondary sources; however, you need not limit yourself to them. Note that you must be extremely cautious using secondary sources on the internet, as many are of very dubious quality. Your secondary sources should be scholarly monographs and articles in historical journals (many are available in the ODU library).

You must use a minimum of eight documents (for Attitudes Towards Sex and The American Women’s Movement; for Rowlandson, eight citations of the primary sources) and for all papers, two secondary sources, which are historians’ analyses of the topic. You will find suggestions for secondary sources at the end of each book. Secondary sources can be scholarly books or articles. Many academic journal articles are available through JSTOR. You may not use secondary sources that are already assigned reading. Avoid tertiary sources such as encyclopedias and other general information sites.

Writing the Paper

It takes time to prepare, write, and revise a good paper. It may be helpful to outline the paper before you begin, or simply list your ideas. Once you have a rough draft, begin editing. Often it is helpful to have another student edit your paper for you. Spelling, grammar, and clarity of expression will be factors in your grades on the papers. A good paper is one in which

A good paper is one in which:

– the thesis (main idea) is presented early and clearly

-each paragraph has a topic sentence

-one idea per paragraph

– ideas are presented logically and clearly

-interpretations are supported with specific examples

-paragraphs include multiple pieces of evidence

-evidence is explained and connected to the main argument

– the paper is well organized and free from errors in grammar and spelling

-a conclusion summarizes the main points and restates the thesis.

-evidence is properly cited (see below)

-the paper is the appropriate length

-at least eight documents are used and cited

-at least two secondary sources are used and cited

-bibliography is formatted correctly

Formatting the Paper and Citing Your Sources

Each paper should

-be four to six typed, double spaced pages

-have each text page numbered (do not number a title page)

-have 1" margins from the sides, top, and bottom

-have a font no larger than 12 point (this is Times New Roman 12 point)

-list the documents used, and the editor’s introduction, individually in your Bibliography.

Proofread the paper before turning it in and correct any errors. Keep a photocopy of the paper, or save it to your computer or a flash drive.

When you provide an example from the sources to support your ideas, indicate (cite) the source where you found it. When you are quoting verbatim (word for word) use quotation marks and cite the source. You must also cite any paraphrased evidence (examples that you restate in your own words) and give the source credit for ideas that are not your own.

Note: The ODU History Department requires Chicago (Turabian) citation style. If you are unfamiliar with this style, which requires footnotes or endnotes and a Bibliography, you will find instructions at both of these websites:

The Chicago Manual of Style is available through the ODU Library:

Getting Help

If you have any questions or concerns about the paper assignments, I will be happy to see you after class or during office hours; if these hours are not convenient for you please let me know so we can arrange an appointment at a time that is convenient for you. Always feel free to email me at If you like, you may hand in a rough draft before the paper is due and I will provide comments and suggestions for improving the paper. Students frequently ask me about rewriting their papers, and the answer is no, not after the deadline. However, if you turn in a draft early, you may keep revising it until the deadline. The ODU Writing Tutorial Center, located in BAL 1002, offers assistance with all stages of the writing process. Their hours are 8am-8pm M-Th, Friday 8am-4pm, and Saturday 8am-12pm. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are recommended (especially towards the end of the semester); call 683-4013. Their website is

Submitting the Paper

Turn in a hard copy of the paper in class and also submit your paper on Blackboard.


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