You will write four papers over the course of the semester. Each paper is to be a thoughtful, critical essay on a question concerning the American economy over the past 400 years. Your essay will be based on the regular course readings; therefore, you should assume that I am familiar with this material and therefore you should not waste time or space simply summarizing the readings. Rather, you should identify the major historical and conceptual issues underlying the question, present a critical evaluation of the various hypotheses advanced in the readings, and offer your own judgement on the larger question itself.
Each essay will be 1500 words (+/- 150 words). No bibliography is necessary; however, plagiarism will be severely punished. If you directly quote or paraphrase material from the readings, use a parenthetical reference. (Example: “Once the practicality of the telegraph was demonstrated, it spread with astonishing swiftness (Gordon 2005, 156).” I will provide further stylistic details, along with a grading rubric, on the course website.
Each paper is due at the beginning of the class. LATE PAPERS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
These essays will count for 70 percent of your course grade. I will drop the lowest grade when calculating this grade.
Materials for the essays