Dissent in America

Research Project: Each student will research and write a 1500-word paper. Footnotes and a
Bibliography must be used according to the Chicago Manual of Style. Choose ONE of these:
1) Analyze a dissent movement in American history from 1607 to 1980. An essential part of this
paper is that you must quote at least TWO relevant primary sources from the speeches, letters,
pamphlets or ephemera, published or documented by the people that appear in your paper (for
example, newspaper advertisements pertaining to the Underground Railroad or letters written by
Harriet Tubman). Begin the paper with a brief overview of dissent during that particular era and
then go into a deeper analysis of what you believe to be significant about the dissenter or
movement you have chosen. Argue a convincing case why the person or movement you chose is
important and what impact she, he, or it had on American history. Dissent in America contains a
number of significant documents that you can quote from, but do not be confined only to those
documents. Check with me if youd like to have further guidance into other sources that would
elucidate the thesis you want to present.

2) Or, write a paper on a present-day dissent movement in the Delaware Valley region. First do
some library and Internet research on local protest/activist organizations. These could be antiwar
groups, anti-abortion groups, gay rights, womens rights, environmental, Green Party, community
rights, etc. Choose one of these organizations (presumably, but not necessarily, one that you
approve of or feel is addressing an important issue) and do research into the group. Examine its
historical roots, present-day activities, and, if possible, attend a meeting or event or
demonstration that the group organizes or interview a member of the organization. Report on how
effective or ineffective the organization is in articulating and protesting for its cause. What are the
short-term goals? What are the long-term goals? Explain why you are critical or laudatory of the
group and these goals. And be sure to analyze the organization within its historical context.

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