George Washington’s wooden teeth, the Pilgrim’s amicable Thanksgiving Dinner, Honest Abe’s inability to lie are all examples of the American mythos- a part of our proud heritage that is as ingrained in our story as the realities of the American Revolution or Pearl Harbor. Despite these example’s importance in the creation of a colorful past, not all of them are what one would call exactly accurate. Much like the popular “telephone” game played by children, the constant retelling of the past often causes distortions and over exaggerations with each recitation causing our forefathers and mothers to become victims of their own fame.
For this assignment you will choose an American (not necessarily one born in America). Your topic does not have to live within the historical confines of this course. In other words you can choose anyone living anytime who relates to American History. Your person should no longer be alive. Using academic resources you will answer the following questions listed below. You can choose to do this in whatever style you would like. For example, you can choose to tell it from the first person as the interviewee, or instead you could use the third person and be the interviewer. Your paper can be written as a report, a diary entry or as an interview that includes he said she said. Be creative! However, regardless of what format you choose in order to receive full credit you must address the following points:
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- Give a brief summary of your interviewee’s life. Be sure to put it into historical context. (ie when did you live and what was going on during your life)
- Give an example of a popular myth or distortion about your interviewee’s life that he or she found the most surprising? (For example you could use George Washington’s wooden teeth, Paul Revere’s infamous night ride, or possibly a section from the book (or Movie) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.)
- Lastly, you must provide an example of what your interviewee considers to be his or her most noteworthy contribution to American History. This could be something good or bad.
Your paper should be 2- 3 pages in length. All papers are to be typed, double- spaced, in 12 point type with 1 inch margins on all sides. I expect lucid prose, correct punctuation, grammar, spelling and organization. You should avoid using direct quotes longer than two lines. Likewise you should not include more than TWO direct quotes per paper. Please submit your paper no later than the due date in the assignment drop box.
You are required to use at least three scholarly resources in your paper. [Feel free to use more as needed.] This can include academically published books, eBooks, journal articles, eJournal articles, or academically created web resources. Be sure to cite all outside resources correctly using MLA 7th ed. Your paper should include an independent work cited page.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON SOURCES and CITATIONS: Each Scholarly source counts as 5 points. If you do not have three scholarly sources then I will deduct accordingly. For example, if you have two scholarly sources but your third source is from biography.com I will deduct 5 points from your final paper grade. If you do not use any scholarly sources then I will deduct 15 points from your final grade. If you do not know if your source is scholarly please feel free to contact me.
If you do not use in text citations (either Parenthetical or Footnote/ Endnote I will deduct 10 points from your final paper grade.