Assignment Directions: Complete the prompts below based on the assigned lesson and the primary source you picked from the available sources. For each of the 4 prompts, write at least 1 paragraph. (Do not use outside sources.) 

Learning objectives:

 Develop historical thinking skills.  Interpret sources.  Strengthen organization and communication skills.

Assignment Directions: Complete the prompts below based on the assigned lesson and the primary source you picked from the available sources. For each of the 4 prompts, write at least 1 paragraph. (Do not use outside sources.)

1) Provide a summary of the historical context (background) that is relevant to the source you picked. Use the information provided in the lesson and the information about the source to craft your summary. Be sure to use your own words. (Note that rearranging the order of words or changing a word here or there does not make a sentence one’s own. See Avoiding Plagiarism for more detail.)

2) Who wrote the source, when, where, and why?

3) Analyze the source. What did the author say? How does the historical context help you to critique or better understand what the source is saying? Consider the source’s perspective.

4) Draw conclusions: What information can we learn by looking at the primary source within historical context?

(Keep in mind that we are only using one primary source – one piece of a much larger puzzle – so keep the conclusions limited to what we can learn from analyzing the source within context.)


Sources to choose from:

Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery…in response to the Missouri Compromise:

James Monroe on Slave Trade: smtID=3&psid=202

John Ross to President Martin Van Buren on Trail of Tears:

Cherokee Petition protesting removal:

GELO Assignment

Prigg v. Pennsylvania, on North’s liberty laws versus federal Fugitive Slave law:

South Carolina’s Declaration of Secession, excerpts:


 Develop historical thinking skills.  Interpret sources.  Strengthen organization and communication skills.


The past is fascinating, and it’s not just about remembering the past. It’s also about understanding how our lives were impacted by events in history. That’s why we’ve created this list of skills that you can learn to become a better historian:

Develop historical thinking skills.

Historical thinking is an essential skill for students to develop. It allows them to understand the past and apply it to the present, as well as anticipate future events.

Historical thinking involves using evidence, reasoning and judgment in order to solve problems. In order for students to be able to do this effectively they need:

A basic knowledge of history (for example, knowing who won which battle during World War II)

Interpret sources.

Primary sources are original documents or artifacts, while secondary sources are interpretations of primary sources. Examples of primary and secondary sources include:

A diary that records what the author experienced during a period in history

The book “The Diary of Anne Frank” written by Anne’s father, Otto Frank

Strengthen organization and communication skills.

Organize your thoughts.

Develop a thesis statement that clearly expresses the main idea you want to communicate.

Use evidence to support your thesis, and make sure it is clear, concise and coherent.

Build confidence in reading, writing, speaking, and research.

Know how to read, write, speak and research.

Learn how to think critically.

Analyze information that is presented in a text or an image.

Communicate ideas effectively by using appropriate language and grammar.

Be an active learner by asking questions so you can understand what you are reading or hearing better than before

Do something new and different.

Try something new, different and exciting.

Try something you’ve never done before or haven’t done in a long time. Maybe it’s not the same thing as what you do at work, but still something that will challenge you and make you think differently about how to solve problems. Maybe it’s something that involves a new skill set or an area of expertise that has been neglected so far in your life (but maybe not). The possibilities are endless!

Learn something new!

Learning new things is a great way to improve your life, and it can be fun! Here are some suggestions for how you can learn something new:

Learn about a subject or topic that interests you. This can be anything from history, science and math to arts like music or dance. If there’s an area of study that doesn’t interest you but still seems interesting from the perspective of someone who studies it (such as literature), then try learning about that too!

Get into something new by trying something new (or old). For example, if I’ve never tried knitting before but want to learn how because I think it’d be fun—I would start by watching YouTube videos on how-to knit patterns before buying my first skein of yarn at Walmart next week so I could get started right away! Or perhaps instead of knitting yourself up some scarves or blankets outta recycled sweaters will save money in additiont o saving trees by making sure all materials used are sustainable alternatives without compromising quality.”


We hope you’ll get the chance to try out some of these activities and have a great time doing so!

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