• Use of any one of the Themes from the LIST OF THEMES DOC ATTATCHED, as the lens through which you develop your thesis
  • Documents are appropriate choices and have been approved by professor
  • Opening Introduction in which BOTH the theme and the thesis argument of the paper are clearly stated
  • Vetting of ALL sources within the essay
  • Proper number of, notation of, and use of quoted materials to support content argument
  • Proper formatting of citations for all quoted materials
  • Works Cited with proper sections listing Primary Documents and Secondary Sources
  • Full bibliographic information provided in Works Cited

You are required to write a 1500-word minimum Compare and Contrast Paper, providing all the required components of the essay as outlined below. In this research paper, you will have 5 sections with title headers as follows with the noted content of each section:

  • (1) Introduction
    • Briefly introduce: (1) your selected primary documents and (2) the theme through which you will discuss them; (3) the compare and contrast nature of this assignment; (4) the areas of content you will discuss; and (5) your unique thesis statement argument that directs the flow of your paper =
      • EX: (example from an Early World History Class)

      “This essay will examine the ancient law codes known as the Code of Hammurabi and the Ten Commandments as systems of governing within the theme “Ruling the Roost.” After providing detailed identification information for the origins of these law codes, this essay will discuss the similarities and differences in their historical settings, compare and contrast the nature of the laws and punishments in the law codes themselves, and then conclude by showing how the Code of Hammurabi directly influenced the creation of the Ten Commandments through analysis and interpretation of their content.”

  • (2) Identification of Documents
    • In this section, you will answer ALL of the following identification questions that are possible to provide about your selected primary documents: (Draw comparisons of similarities and differences between the two documents as you go). This is the vetting process.
      • When were these primary sources created? What are their origins?
      • What are these primary documents? Letters, newspaper articles, official documents, etc.
      • Who wrote them? One or many? A person or an agency?
      • Where do they originate from? Culture? People? Place?
      • Who were the intended audiences? Written for everyone? For a few? For no one? Who were literate enough to read them?
      • WHY – what were the motivations behind the creation of these documents?
  • (3) Historical Contexts
    • In this section you will discuss the historical settings in which the documents appeared = what was going on in history BEFORE they were created that led to WHY and WHEN they were created? And what happened in history AFTER they appeared?
    • What impact, if any, did these documents have on the peoples that created them? Impact on other societies? Impact over time?
    • Compare and contrast the historical settings of the two documents as you go.
  • (4) Interpretation of Contents
    • In this section, you will discuss the content of your primary documents in terms of your theme, while making an argument in proving your unique thesis as you go as well.
    • You should be proving your thesis argument in your interpretation of their contents.
  • (5) Conclusion
    • In the conclusion, you are required to give your personal reflections of what you learned about history because of these documents, focusing on what you learned about the human condition and experiences of life in these times that you did not know before – relating how they impressed you and why.
    • You must also summarize how you showed the fulfillment of your thesis argument.


  • Please create an appropriate title for your paper with your name, and class info provided.
  • You are required to write at least a 1500-words minimum of CONTENT, this does not include title to paper and bibliography. Papers should be double-spaced and use an easily readable font such a Times New Roman or Ariel. Please use font size 12. NO Comic Sans PLEASE!
  • You are required to research in at least 4 scholarly secondary sources, NO WIKIPEDIA PLEASE, for the data in the assigned sections on “Identification of Documents,” “Historical Context,” and “Interpretation of Documents.” Please quote and PROPERLY cite each of these sources at least once in the body of your paper.
    • When using parenthetical citations, please use the author’s last name and page number when possible. Make sure you use a STYLE GUIDE to properly format your citations. Acceptable styles are MLA, Turabian, Chicago, and APA.
    • Here is a link to Purdue University Online Writing Lab – an excellent website with examples: OWL Writing Center (Links to an external site.)
  • You are also required to quote from each of the primary documents themselves at least 2 times from each document as support for your analysis and conclusions in the body of your paper. Always cite the author of the document, when known, and the document title when quoting from primary documents. Thus, there should be a minimum of 8 quoted and cited passages in your essay: 2 from each of the 2 primary documents, totaling 4, and 1 from each of the 4 secondary historical sources. Of course, you may always include more than the minimum.
  • You must provide a Bibliography or Works Cited at the end of your essay showing at LEAST 6 sources: SEPARATE your 2 primary documents from your 4 scholarly secondary sources into their own sections. You may of course use more sources than the minimum requirement. Please refer to a Style Guide to assure that you format your Works Cited appropriately and that all required bibliographic information is provided
  • PLEASE make sure that you are writing about 2 PRIMARY DOCUMENTS, and NOT 2 people, 2 events, or 2 places.

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