QUESTION: How did the obstetric metaphors
from the Gettysburg Address relate to the
images of punishment at the end of President
Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address?
TO DO LIST:
NO OUTSIDE SOURCES
NO OUTSIDE SOURCES
NO OUTSIDE SOURCES
You will need to accomplish a number of things before you start
any of the tasks for this assignment.
• it’s not just a matter of identifying when something
happened, but identifying the historical environment of
• identify as much as you can about that environment
from the course materials (making these lists helps
orient your mind, even if they aren’t used once you start
• how powerful are local agents in this environment
compared to those from afar?
• it’s not just a matter of identifying place but also the
complicated web of social & economic relationships
• you will need to identify all of the readings from the
course relevant to the question or prompt (you don’t
necessarily need to use all of them, but you want to be
And the last thing you will need to accomplish is a careful diagram
of the question (see the FACTSHEET). Once you’ve dissected the
question into its constituent parts then you will better understand
the nature and demands of the project at hand.
Once you’ve gathered all of the readings (including the two
textbooks, Foner & Schaller), then you need to start reading. Even
if you’ve already read it, and especially if you haven’t, then you
need to first consult the reading guide in the Syllabus. DO NOT do
the readings for the first time with the prejudice of the question or
prompt in mind. A clear, objective reading is the best place to
start before you start reading with the question or prompt in
While the notes you made from the first, unprejudiced reading of
the sources will be helpful, you should re-read the sources and
take an entirely new set of notes that are relevant to answering
the question or prompt you chose.
Once you’ve accomplished a close and careful reading of the
relevant materials and composed detailed and topical notes, then
you need to begin a complicated process of turning that
knowledge and those notes into a composed structure. A good
place to start is going through your notes critically (that third
step) and start thinking about process.
• How do these observations constitute a critical analysis?
• What is that criticism?
• And what are some of the ways those criticisms can be
clearly conveyed to a Reader?
• What interests you about this topic? Why?
NO QUOTATIONS: The entire composition must be in your
words. If you want to cite a very specific passage, then paraphrase
Before you get started writing you need to first compose an
outline or something resembling a roadmap to follow as you write.
DO NOT write and edit at the same time, it’s never ever
productive. Learn how to separate writing from editing. You
should focus on getting as much as you can on paper without the
inhibition of wondering if it’s clear or not; that’s why we edit.
Just write. Don’t reread everything you say; just write. Don’t start
editing at the end of each sentence; just write. And don’t distract
yourself with screens and bullshit; just write.
The more you write, the more you will have to edit.
Whenever you have a writing project, then it should always be this
part of the project, editing, that takes the most time because it’s
never just editing, it’s all the re-writing associated with editing
The best place to start is with someone else. And the following are
ideal candidates (the more, the merrier):
• a fellow at the Writing Center
• another student in the course
• your faculty advisor (if they’re willing and able, that is)
The process involves reading and re-reading the essay with a close
and, well, merciless eye towards awkward phrasing, repetitions,
vague and inconsistent statements, and whether or not you say
anything meaningful. If you’re the author and you’re not
interested enough to present a clear argument, then the Reader
won’t even bother with your ideas. Mediocre effort produces
mediocre work undeserving of anyone’s time, including mine.
One way to evaluate the quality of your editing is how much it
resembles the first draft. If it doesn’t look very different, then you
didn’t do a good job of editing the rough draft. They call it rough
for reason (i.e., rough draft sounds more acceptable than shitty
draft, which is what it is).
This is separate and different from editing. These are the final
touches, the last few edits that are mostly of a formal analysis,
that is, proofreading is about presenting not just a clear argument
but one free of sloppy errors.
Just like editing, it helps to have more than one set of eyes when
Pay close attention to the following:
• spacing between words
• possessive grammar
• proper nouns and capitalization
• continuity of capitalization
• comma usage
• spelling and spell-check errors (the so-called “Cupertino
• no fewer than 1000 words; no more than 1050
• A creative title to the essay
• NO headings, NO title page; one line for your name, one
for the title, and then start writing; fill the first page, don’t
keep hitting return at the beginning
• Times New Roman font
• 12-point sized font
• page numbers at the bottom of each page
• You must cite your sources using footnotes; there is no
need to include a bibliography; while I would prefer you use
the Chicago methodology of footnoting, just make certain the
(1) name of the author, (2) the title of the work, (3) the date,
and, if applicable, (4) the page number.
• NO QUOTATIONS; NO QUOTATIONS; NO
QUOTATIONS (Why? Because it’s the oldest trick in the
book to expand your word couniqut, and you need to learn how
to paraphrase well.)