Multicultural America
Fall 2004

Multicultural America

Ms. Gray

Essay 2


An Emblem of History


Your second essay will grow out of the work that you are doing for Project 3.  You should be able to use much of the same material; however, now you are constructing a formal argumentative essay.  Your audience and purpose will change.


For your second essay you will imagine that you are part of a committee of historians creating a museum exhibit that will present the history and culture of early-mid nineteenth century America. In one room of the exhibit will be items that are most emblematic of those years. Your job is to think about all of the material you have read or gathered for your Project 3 and decide what one item should go into this special exhibit room.  For those of you who are writing on the Hollywood/History connection, imagine that you are working on an exhibit of Hollywood and History and adapt your argument.


Your second task is to persuade, in an essay, the committee composed of your colleagues that your choice is the best one.  This requires a clear statement of your position and reasons to support your choice.  You should not consider size to be an obstacle.  Be as creative as you want to be here.


Your essay should be approximately 750 – 1000 words in length and should include an image that represents your choice. 


Consider the following outline as a general strategy for your paper:



·         Brief overview of your topic

·         Set up the purpose and context for your essay.  Remember, your audience is the rest of the committee.

·         Thesis – your statement claiming that the item you select should be placed in the special exhibit room.


·         Your paragraphs will outline the reasons why this is the best choice. Think of completing the thought, “We should choose this item because . . . . .”    

·         Your reasons should be supported by evidence.   For example, if you are arguing for a copy of the Louisiana Purchase, because it increased the size of the new nation, your evidence might be an explanation of the boundaries of the purchase which actually doubled the size of the country.


Acknowledgement of objections

·         This is an effective argumentative strategy.  If you anticipate and counter other possibilities that your audience might suggest, it makes your choice seem stronger and more thought out.



·         This is where you “close the deal” with the committee.


Works Cited

·        Separate Works Cited page in which you acknowledge your sources in alphabetical order in MLA format.

·        See the link on our home page to The Bedford/St. Martin’s Documentation and Resource Home Page


Carefully include in-text parenthetical citations for any work that you either quote directly or paraphrase.  See the “Quoting Smoothly” and “Paraphrasing” links on our home page.  Your parenthetical citations should lead your reader to the first word in the Works Cited entry.




In order to make an “A” on this essay, you must either have a one-on-one writing consultation with Nicole, Ms. Kamrath, or one of the writing consultants in the Writing Center, Agnes Arnold 214, or attend one of the workshops for this essay.  You are welcome to do both or to work with a writing consultant as much as you wish.   Note:  The last day for working with a writing consultant is Friday, December 3.  Consultants will not be available after that date.




Paper typed in standard 12 point font, double spaced, and stapled in the left-hand corner

750 - 1000 words in length

Original title that catches the reader’s interest

Introduction with clear thesis statement

Paragraphs that support the thesis


In-text parenthetical citations for all material either quoted directly or paraphrased

A separate Works Cited page acknowledging sources, in alphabetical order, for text and images in MLA format

2 images

Attend a workshop or meet with Nicole, Ms. Kamrath, or another writing consultant


Essay due – Before 5:00, Wednesday, December 8.  Put essays in my box in the Writing Center, Room 217.