SHORT PAPER ASSIGNMENT
HIUS 313 – THE AMERICAN FOUNDING
Topic: Short Paper: State Ratification Assignment
MODULE/WEEK 5 — The Ratification Debates
This assignment will allow you to research and better understand the ratification conventions for the U.S. Constitution that occurred at the state level. The assignment’s purpose is to enhance the historian’s grasp of the early American founding era by investigating and interpreting primary and secondary source evidence.
Using primary source documents located in the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution resource, which is available online through the Jerry Falwell Library, you will write a Turabian style 2-page short research paper about the Federalists and Anti-Federalists debates at the state ratifying conventions. The paper must use a minimum of 3 primary sources from the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution resource. Additional secondary sources are encouraged and must be appropriately cited if used.
The paper must be a full 2 pages but must not exceed 2 ¼ pages with footnotes applied. So be concise in your writing and verify proper citations, including the use of footnote Ibid. And shortened versions.
Overall, you must:
- Select 1 of the 13 state ratifying conventions
- Provide a well-written narrative analyzing the following three things about that state’s convention:
- The initial position of the Federalists in the chosen state convention.
- The fears of the Antifederalists.
- The Federalist promises were made to relieve those fears.
- Also, include very brief biographical material of the people involved.
Your paper’s body must include an identifiable introduction with a well-crafted thesis statement and summative conclusion. The title page and bibliography do not count toward the 2-2 ¼ page requirement. No headings should be used (except on the Bibliography page). Also, the paper must be written in the third person. You should utilize the template from the LU Online Writing Center – Writing Style Guide website.
NOTE: The citation guide provided at the bottom of each webpage on the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution website is not accurate! Therefore, each speech by a delegate should be cited as a separate source in footnote form as follows:
1 George Mason, “Speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention,” 19 June 1788, in Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, Volume X: Virginia, ed. John P. Kaminski, et al. (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009), 1391.
Gathering information for this citation is easy. Locate the author of the speech by name in the proceedings of the debates. Each speech will have the same title as listed above: “Speech at the <State> Ratifying Convention.” Identify the date of the speech, then use the “Original source” citation information at the bottom of the webpage to locate the volume number and state for the source. Then add the page number found within the body of the recording debate in brackets [xxxx] at the end of the citation. The page number will always come after the material you quote, paraphrase, or otherwise use as your source.
For the “Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution” – https://www.liberty.edu/library/databases/?l=D – scroll down to the bottom; however, I don’t know if it gives access or not.