The final project will be a case study of a particular area of the country, a part of a city, a town, a village or an ethnic or religious group (in a particular area) from the perspective of their history and activities from 1870 through 1960. The goal of the case studies is to examine life in a smaller American community from 1870 through1960andtoseeifwecanfindouthowtheseaverage Americansexperiencedthe meaning of America and freedom in their lives. (Note: The reading in Eric Foner’s The Story of American Freedom gives you an excellent analysis of the meaning of America as articulated by famous men and women from U.S. history.)
Here are some elements to consider when selecting your topic: ? You want to look at a small group that lives in relatively close proximity and that has some common feature such as a shared ethnic background or a shared area of employment. (What makes the community distinctive can vary greatly.) ? You want to look at a clearly defined period of time. Generally, I’d like you to keep your researchandanalysisfocusedontheperiodbetween1870and1960,butthis period can be adjusted to fit your particular case study. For example, if you are looking at a Western town that was not founded until 1890, it would be more logical for your project to start at that point in time. You want to consider the following general questions as a starting place for your analysis: ? During the period of 1870-1914, what was the effect of the railroads, immigration, unions, and the shift to a more urban economy? ? Describe the local economy, community structure, social class, and religious institutions. How didthesechangeovertime? ? How did World War I, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression change life?
What was life like in your community during World War II and the Cold War? ? What was the effect of technology and new popular forms of media like radio, movies and televisionondeeplyheldbeliefs? ? Finally, how do these people connect with the meaning of America? Does their understanding largely reflect what politicians and other leaders are saying or does their experience differ? Your own case study will focus on a location of your choice and should be interesting to you. For instance, if you are a descendant of German farmers who immigrated to this country and settled in a small town in Indiana, perhaps tracing life in that community over this period of time would be of interest. Or if you’re interested in former sharecroppers in the South who moved to Detroit, Michigan, to find work in auto industry, looking at autoworkers and their community might be an option.
Additional Instructions and Requirements: For the final project you will need to be able to access enough information, some of it primary source material, to build a good case study. To begin your research, please use the research tools via local library or historical society in person or online, or visit the Library of Congress’s website (www.loc.gov). Research Requirement: You will need to find: • At least one primary source • At least three secondary sources Citation Requirement: You will need to include Chicago style footnotes and a Chicago style bibliography. Paper Length: Approximately 10 pages inclusive of the title page and bibliography.