Interpreting the past

one of the main jobs of historians is to interpret the past by reviewing primary documents, scholarly secondary sources, and then creating an analysis of this research. Historians of the same time period vary their research in order for the larger picture of the past to be as accurate and complete as possible. In the interest of allowing you, as young historians, to follow your own interests, please select one of the following topics to address.

Indian Boarding Schools: After reading your text and reviewing the assigned materials, submit an analysis of the Indian Boarding schools and their goal of Americanization. After reading your text and reviewing the assigned materials, submit an analysis of the Indian Boarding schools and their goal of Americanization. You might want to consider the following questions, but you are not limited to them: To what extent did the Indian Boarding schools attempt to erase American Indian cultures in the late 19th century? What role did education play in the Americanization of Native Americans? Does forced assimilation result in truly assimilated citizens?

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People Who Shaped the West: After reading your text and reviewing the assigned materials, submit an analysis of the people that shaped the American West. You might want to consider the following questions, but you are not limited to them: It is said by historians that the West shaped America. How has the West shaped culture? What surprises you most about the change in population in California? Which group’s contribution to the West most connected with you? Were there any groups that you feel have been underrepresented in your past studies? How can each group be acknowledged for their contributions?

This assignment should be at least 300 words and contain your reactions or questions about some specific issue within the historical narrative that you find compelling. For full credit, your paper must not simply sum up the reading or repeat points made there. Rather, I’m looking for you to create your own interpretation, explain the emotional content of the piece, or discuss some original insight. Include citations as needed. Outside research is encouraged, but not required.

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