History Question

Learning Goal: I’m working on a history writing question and need a sample draft to help me learn.

The Spanish American War between the United States and Spain lasted for just 15 weeks during the spring and summer of 1898. By this time, Spain was declining as an empire and held just a few colonies among Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. The United States, on the other hand, was on the verge of world domination. The war began as an intervention into the Spanish-Cuban conflict, a nationalist revolt by the Cubans. The fact that the United States emerged from the conflict with a set of colonies extending from Puerto Rico to the Philippines has created a wide range of interpretations about whether the American decision to intervene in Cuba was motivated by the desire to engage in empire-building or whether the decisions to start the war and acquire an empire were made separate from each other.

Here are the Essay Requirements:

  1. Make sure you read the essay prompt carefully. Thoroughly and accurately answering all the parts of the essay prompt below is perhaps the most critical part of your essay.

As a historian you are to analyze three or more factors or events that ultimately lead to the Spanish American war. In your argument be sure to consider the political, economic and ideological influences. Next, evaluate the ultimate outcome of the war for the Americans, the Spanish and for the Cubans.

  1. You must include a thesis statement and you must underline your thesis statement.

The essay must include a thesis/argument based on evidence that answers the essay prompt question. The thesis should be in one or two sentences long, and needs to be engaging and though provoking.

  1. Length Requirement: To receive full marks/exceeds standards your paper needs to be four (4) pages or longer.
  1. Primary Sources: To receive full marks/exceeds standards you must use four (4) primary sources documents or more from the list below and use them as evidence. Keeping in mind the essay prompt, review the primary sources below. Select at least four (4) primary sources to support your thesis. You are required to use at least five primary sources to support your thesis and but you are encouraged to use more. In the essay be sure to explain how/why these four primary source documents support your thesis. Make sure you show evidence of thorough knowledge of the sources and period in which the sources were created.

Note: This assignment is intended to provoke critical thinking on your part. Answer the prompt above by relying on your analysis of the history using the course materials and primary sources provided below. You do not need to do any additional outside research. However, if you want to use an outside secondary source it needs to be a scholarly peer review article or book published by a university press. All outside secondary or primary sources need to be approved by the professor. The deadline to have your secondary or primary sources approved by the professor is 2/27. But once again you do not need to do outside research, you only need to use at least four (4) of the Primary Sources below. Students who utilize unapproved not peer-reviewed sources will have points deducted from their essay. But once again you do not need to do outside research, the course materials and primary sources should be enough to write your essay.







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  1. All your sources must be appropriately cited using MLA or Chicago Style Citation Format.

Please note that it is crucial to follow academic standards for ethical information use. This includes accurately citing the sources in the text as an in-text citation and in full citations at the end of the work product in the Works Cited ( if you are using MLA) or Bibliography page( if you are using Chicago Style.)

  1. Your essay must include a Work Cited page (when using MLA) or Bibliography page (when using Chicago)Please note that the Bibliography or Works Cited page do not count as part of your overall page requirement.
  1. Your essay must be typed doubled spaced New Times Roman 12 font.
  1. You essay must include a title page. The title page must include assignment title “Historical Thinking Essay”, your first and last name, class, and date.

(Please note that the title page does not count as part of your overall page requirements)

  1. Grammar and Mechanics

Make sure you proofread your essay. The essay must have no grammatical or mechanical errors.

  1. Your Essay must have an Introduction, Body and Conclusion:

It will be essential to write an essay with a coherent organization, clear thesis/central idea of the paper, topic sentences/central idea of the paragraphs, and clear transitions. Below are some examples of how you can organize your essay.


An introduction should set the stage for your topic. It builds a framework for your paper by establishing the larger context of the question/s you are asking or the problem/s you are trying to solve and making explicit the subject you intend to explore.

The Thesis Statement:

An important part of your introduction is your thesis (or central idea). Your thesis forms the backbone of your essay. It tells your reader exactly what you are going to attempt to show in your essay. The thesis must respond to the prompt and reflect a solid analysis of the evidence and the direction of the essay. Remember that for your essay, you must underline your thesis statement.


Evidence and Analysis After clearly stating your thesis in your introduction, the body of your paper should be used to present evidence to support your thesis. Evidence for your essay will come from your course materials, and at least four (4) primary source documents.

In addition to providing evidence, you must analyze it. It is not enough to simply present facts on a certain subject, you must interpret these facts as well: What does your evidence mean? What is the overall significance of this data to your thesis?


Conclusion Your conclusion should restate your thesis, summarize the main evidence, and set your assertions in a larger context.

To Produce a Successful Essay, You Should:

  1. Organize your Thoughts Seek Clarity. Keep your sentences simple and direct. Do not use several words when one will work.
  2. Develop your argument. Make certain each paragraph contains a fully developed theme and pay attention to transitions. Each sentence should flow naturally to the next sentence, and each paragraph should lead clearly to the next paragraph.
  3. Avoid repetition. Do not repeat the same points over and over. Make sure your paper advances your argument forward, rather than in circles. (An outline is all important in this respect!)
  4. Remove yourself from the story. Assume an objective, academic voice in your paper. Regardless of what you think or believe or feel, let the evidence speak for itself.



A direct quotation reproduces word-for-word material taken directly from another author’s work. These must always be placed inside quotation marks and given appropriate attribution (MLA, or Chicago Style).

Remember that the goal of an effective essay is to identify the right evidence (and number of quotes) to substantiate your assertions without ending up with a “cut-and-paste” paper. Keep quotes short and merge them with your own words. Also, follow these rules:

  1. Do not allow the evidence to make your argument for you; use the evidence to support your assertions.
  2. Quotations that are four or more lines in length should be put in block form (indented, single-spaced, without quotation marks).
  3. When you rely on another author’s ideas, even if you do not use that author’s exact words, you must use in-text citations, footnotes, or endnotes to give credit to the source.

Introducing Direct Quotes

On April 10, 1899 Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech to Chicago’s Hamilton Club. Roosevelt exclaimed, “We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.” ( Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life)

The author said . . .

The author noted . . .

The author believed . . .

The author commented . . .

The author declared . . .

The author emphasized . . .

The author contended . . .

Block Quotations

Computer users often disagree about which operating system is best: Mac or PC. Oyler (2010) stated that one operating system is not better than the other, but that one may be better suited for different purposes than the other. She explained by saying that:Macs are often the best option for users who wish to work with video or picture manipulation. Macs are also veryuser friendly,which may benefit consumers who are new to computers. PCs, however, run Microsoft Office Suite the best. Therefore, students might find that a PC is their best option because it can run Microsoft Word and PowerPoint the smoothest. (Oyler, 2010, p. 48) Conversely, Jones (2010) disagreed with the statement that Macs work with graphics such as video and pictures better than PCs, stating that PCs can be modified to work as well as Macs.


Paraphrasing means formulating someone else’s ideas in your own words. To paraphrase a source, you have to rewrite a passage without changing the meaning of the original text. Paraphrasing is an alternative to direct quoting, where you copy someone’s exact words. Remember to avoid plagiarism, you must always cite the original source even if you are paraphrasing the information.

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