Argumentative essay: the age of reason and revolution


Argumentative Essay: The Age of Reason and Revolution

No outside sources.  Sources must come from Chapters 19 & 20 of the Reilly Textbook, and the following web course readings:  “Coffee in the Age of Reason” by Tom Standage, The Age of Revolutions in the Atlantic World (1750-1830) Sources & Age of Reason and Revolution online sourcesChicago Manual/Turabian style format required (refer to cheat sheet)


Your Task: Examine the influences and impact of the Age of Enlightenment.  Choose only one topic.

Topic 1:  The Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual movement in Europe during the 18th century, which placed great faith in reason.  How did the Enlightenment lead to calls for Revolution?


Topic 2:  The Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual movement in Europe during the 18th century, which was built upon the foundation of the Scientific Revolution of the 16th-18th centuries.  Enlightenment ideas on government led to calls for Revolution in North America, France, Haiti and Latin America.  To what extent did revolutionary movements borrow ideas and tactics from each other? Explain.

Step 1: Your answer to one of the questions in a complete sentence will be your thesis statement.   

Step 2:  Review Argumentative Essay Rubric.  In fact, keep it handy.

You will notice that the rubric reflects key components for assessment.

1. The Introduction, must include your Argument (Position)/Thesis statement.  Since I urge you to take ownership of your arguments/ideas, consider using this formula to write your thesis: I argue____________________________ because__________________________.

Writing your thesis statement in this format will help with the development of your argument. For instance, don’t just state your position. Instead, explain why you believe the way you do. Be advised that writing in first person (using ‘I’) is not always accepted in other courses, or even among other history instructors. The introduction should be one paragraph; but two is the max.

2. The Body consists of your claims and evidence that support your thesis. Notice that a minimum of three claims are needed to support your thesis (prove your point). You cannot make a claim, and give only one or two explanations; that is a weak substantiation, and your argument will appear unconvincing.

A historian’s evidence includes primary sources, as well as secondary sources; but Primary Sources hold more value. Make sure that your claims are backed by specific evidence. For instance, when you refer to your sources explain what they are, or at least list the title and/or author.

Anytime you provide evidence, make sure that it lists proper citations. This is how historians prove that we are not making things up. Check our readings for sample citations that I provided in Chicago Manual/Turabian.  Here is a cheat sheet that I prepared for you to use as a guide when citing your sources/evidence for this assignment: Chicago Manual/Turabian Guide for Argumentative Essay

3. The Conclusion is a re-explanation of historical argument and reasons for your conviction. The conclusion should consist of one, but no more than two paragraphs.
For a killer paper, with added sophistication- try including a counter argument prior to conclusion. However, you need to also explain why this counter-argument, although valid, is not as powerful as your thesis statement. Counter arguments are usually key indicators that students have thought about their essay critically.

4. Try to make your prose read as smoothly as possible. You can do this by PROOFREADING and running essay through Grammar and Spell Check. Also, include transition words/phrases to prevent choppy writing.

Some Common Transition Words/Phrases
Even though
For example
For instance
As a result
In contrast
In fact
In effect

Step 3: Write your essay using rubric and guidelines.


a. PAPER MUST INCLUDE A BIBLIOGRAPHY (in MLA, they call this a works cited page) and CITATIONS USING CHICAGO MANUAL/TURABIAN style format embedded in your text.  Chicago Manual/Turabian Guide for Argumentative Essay

b. Use Times New Roman, 12 point font, and only 1 inch margins.

c. Paper must have a separate cover sheet. Include a title (Paper 2 is not a good title), course (HIST 2322), your name and date on this cover sheet.

d. This is a 3-5 page, double-spaced paper. This excludes your title page and bibliography.

e. No outside sources. Sources must come from Chapter 19 & 20 and “Coffee in the Age of Reason” by Tom Standage,The Age of Revolutions in the Atlantic World (1750-1830) Sources, & Age of Reason and Revolution online sources. Some exceptions can be made in order to make some minor points. However, contact me first. A successful paper will include 4-7 sources (2 secondary source max, with the rest being primary; failure to do so will result in point deductions).  Need a refresher on the difference between a primary and secondary source? click here: Links to an external site.

f. Run through spell and grammar check.

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