Texas annexation and the Mexican-American War

Directions

Answer the following questions to the best of your ability via an analysis of evidence drawn from this week’s lectures and readings:

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According to Amy S. Greenberg in A Wicked War, what is the significance of Texas annexation and the Mexican-American War? How was Texas annexation connected to the Missouri Compromise and the conflict illustrated by document #17

Additionally, my graders have asked me to remind folks to try and proofread as best they can. Awkward phrasing makes it difficult to determine what you are trying to say/argue. Remember that a good trick is to read what you’ve written aloud; if it doesn’t flow as smoothly as something you would normally say, it needs editing.

Also, please remember that directly quoting the readings makes for far stronger arguments than paraphrasing, and better demonstrates that you have read the material. Paraphrasing can be useful, but it should not be your only analytical tool.

You may only cite this course’s readings and lectures in writing this response. You may not cite outside material.

Format

  • 12 point font (any reasonable font style will do)
  • 1 inch margins
  • 8-10 sentences
  • When citing secondary sources, use Chicago Manual Style footnotes1 or parenthetical citations. For example, Gerald Horne states that his book is “about the role of slavery and the slave trade in the events leading up to 4 July 1776” (Horne, 3).
  • When citing primary sources, write the author’s name and the year of publication, either as a parenthetical or as a footnote. For example, Columbus wrote that Native Americans “should be good servants and intelligent” (Columbus, 1492). Or, Columbus wrote that Native Americans “should be good servants and intelligent.”2

Grading

Reader Response grades are determined by how effective you are in answering the question via an analysis of lectures and readings. These will be graded based on a check plus (100%), check (83%), check minus (66%) system, with 0% scores reserved for those who do not submit a response, plagiarize, or put in little to no effort. If you wish to avoid plagiarism, keep the following adage in mind: when in doubt, CITE.

Grader feedback will be limited, so please refer to this rubric to see why your response received the grade that it did. Remember that I will also offer extra credit opportunities with each reader response so that you have the option to boost your grade with a bit of extra work.

Check plus responses must consist of 8-10 proofread and grammatically correct sentences, refer to that week’s lectures, specifically cite something from that week’s readings at least twice (and have proper citations), and contain thoughtful analysis that demonstrates an effort on your part to think critically through the material when answering the question.

Note: writing more than 10 sentences will not improve your score, and in fact can lower it. Reader responses are an exercise in being simultaneously concise and comprehensive.

Check responses consist of 8-10 sentences that make a good attempt at answering the question while referencing lectures and readings. In comparison to check plus responses, check responses often lack proofreading, do not analyze or cite examples from the readings, lean heavily on summary, or some combination of the three.

Check minus responses are often shorter than 8-10 sentences and either lack references to lectures and readings, or make references that are incorrect or confusing. They contain little to no analysis, do not effectively answer the question, and show little critical engagement with course material.

Writing Advice

In these reader responses your goal should be to answer the question using critical analysis to demonstrate an understanding of readings and lectures. Questions are designed to provoke an argumentative response from you that will require you to cite and analyze evidence.

Your paragraphs should have a topic sentence that clearly states the point you are making in that paragraph. They should also have a direct quote from the readings that proves this point (direct quotes should be smoothly integrated into the text, not awkwardly placed). Finally, they should include an analysis of that quote that demonstrates your knowledge of the source and further proves the point you are trying to make.

When in doubt, refer to this guide on how to structure a paragraph:

Sentence #1: A topic sentence introducing the point you want to make.

Sentence #2: A sentence containing evidence (in the form of a quote) that you think proves the point you want to make.

Sentence #3: A sentence putting the quote in your own words and relating it to the point you are making.

Sentence #4: A sentence with original analysis that further proves your argument, or addresses potential counter-arguments.

Sentence #5: A sentence that wraps up your thoughts on this particular point and motions to where you are heading to in the next paragraph.

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