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A primary source is an original document from an earlier time period that has no

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A primary source is an original document from an earlier time period that has not been
written or edited by a historian. Scholars rely heavily on primary documents for understanding
the subjective reality of individuals in changing historical circumstances; in other words:
primary documents give us a chance in the present to understand how different men and
women experienced and explained earlier moments in history.
Your primary source paper is due by Sunday, September 27. You may pick one of
the following primary sources to analyze:
Andrei Gromyko, “At the Front in the Cold War,” in Memoirs, 165-195
Averell W. Harriman, America and Russia in a changing world: a half century of personal
Charles Robert Jenkins, The Reluctant Communist: My Desertion, Court-Martial, and
Forty-Year Imprisonment in North Korea, 13-75
Nikita Khrushchev, “Eisenhower and the American Tour,” in Khrushchev Remembers,
Read your source thoroughly and then write a paper. The paper should be a minimum of 1500
words in length and should be structured according to the following guidelines:
Summarize the primary source in 3-5 sentences and then tell the reader your overall view of the
document in a sentence or two—this is your paper argument. Your review must lead with
a clear analytical argument about the source. The purpose of this assignment is
not to summarize the source but to make an argument about it.
(Don’t use “I” for this. Instead say something along the lines of “This primary source is
______ because of ______.” or “Theodore Roosevelt’s autobiography makes one think
that _______.” If you need help with this, please let me know.
Body of Paper:
The body of your paper should answer and thoughtfully reflect on the below questions about
the primary source. (You must use supporting quotes and examples from the source to support
your answers.) Your answers should also support your overall theme for the paper.
1) What was the author’s message or argument?
2) How does the author try to get the message across?
3) Why does the author’s argument appear to matter to the author?
Your conclusion should reflect on why this primary document matters in the context of
historical change from your point of view. Another way of answering this question is to think
about how this primary source makes one reevaluate the time period in question.
(Again, don’t use “I”!)
How your paper will be graded:
n Proper grammar (5%) is critical to your grade. You must, I repeat,
must proofread your paper multiple times. I advise printing and reading
your work aloud; this helps one catch errors that you sometimes miss on
the computer screen. Aside from comma usage and other common
problems, do not, for example, confuse “there,” “their,” and “they’re” or
“its” and “it’s,” or “to” for “too” or “two.” As stated above, never use “I” in
your paper.
n Introduction (15%)—your introduction must summarize the primary
source correctly and provide your view as a theme for the paper.
n Body of your paper (65%)—the body must answer the above questions
in a thorough and sophisticated manner. This section will primarily be
graded on the strength of your analysis of the questions. If you lose points
in this section, I will explain why with specific comments.
n Conclusion (15%)—this section must provide a thoughtful response to
the significance of the primary source in history. If you lose points in this
section, I will explain why with comments.

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