American History from 1877 to Present Short Paper

A Short Paper Assignment allows you, early in the course, to demonstrate your research skills to your instructor and to receive feedback that will benefit you when you write research papers for future courses. With this assignment, you will learn how to do proper research and write a short paper.

You are allowed to choose your own topic, as long as it fits the the subject and time period of this course – American history from 1877 to the present. This means no papers on Hitler or the Holocaust, or George Washington. If you are uncertain whether your chosen subject is appropriate for this paper, please contact your instructor. This is your opportunity to look a little deeper at a subject that interests you.

This short paper must be a minimum of three complete double-spaced pages of text (Times New Roman, font size 12), exclusive of the title page, bibliography, and other end matter. You must consult a minimum of two academically credible sources. Please note that Wikipedia,,, encyclopedias, and the course textbook are NOT scholarly sources for the purpose of this assignment. Your bibliography and citations may be in APA, MLA, or Chicago Style format. Students majoring in history must use Chicago Style format.

The short paper needs to be turned in through the assignment section for grading. If you use any of the information from your sources word-for-word, you must cite the source by using endnotes, footnotes, or parenthetical citations. If you read the information and write it in your own words and it is not common knowledge, then you must cite the source because you are paraphrasing someone’s information.

There is a Military History Style Manual in the Resources section, in the the Research and Writing folder. This is in .pdf format, and may be downloaded for your use. This manual is in the Chicago Style, so if you want to know how to use that style it is very helpful.

The short paper must include a cover / title page with your name, course number and course title, instructor’s name, and date, and a title for the paper. The title page should include a brief title explaining what the paper is about, so your Instructor knows what to expect. You must also include a bibliography at the end of your paper, which should begin on a separate page. To obtain proper spacing between the title page and the main text, or the main text and the bibliography, do NOT use line spacing, as this is unreliable. Instead, use the “Insert – Break – Page Break” from the Word menu bar after the text to make the next material start on a new page. While composing your paper, use proper English. Do not use abbreviations, contractions, passive voice, or first/ second person (I, you, we, our, etc). Before submitting your paper, check your grammar and use spell check. Remember, the way you talk is not the way you write a paper. Please use a file label for your paper as follows: lastnamefirstnameHIST102ShortPaper.