Use a primary source as a window onto the past, history homework help

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Choose a primary source relevant to the colonial period of US history (anything up to the Revolution). Write at least 600 words about how it reflects, enriches, and/or challenges what we know about its original setting. Use your knowledge of its historical context (such as the political, economic, cultural, setting etc.) to explain what the source meant to people in its own day, and what it can tell us about their world. This paper should focus on the primary source: analyze it as a piece of evidence from history.

A primary source is something from the time period you are studying; it was created and used during that historical time. It is not a modern interpretation of the past (such as your textbook). For example, if you were studying the Salem Witch Trials, a primary source could be a letter written by somebody who witnessed the event. Primary sources can be textual (e.g. a letter, a court record, a song, or a book), or physical (e.g. a cart, a musket, or a coin), or visual (e.g. a statue, a painting, or a building).

If possible I would like the theme to be about the Salem Witch Trials, here is a link to a website where you can find primary sources for the Salem Witch Trials.

Read the grading rubric carefully

Points possible


Grammar, spelling, word count


Organization, clarity, persuasiveness, historical-critical orientation


What realities and ideas shaped the way the source functioned or was understood in its day? Use your knowledge of those realities and ideas to analyze the source. Think about various contextual layers such as the goals of the author or artist, the experiences of their intended audience, the political context, intellectual, technological, religious, economic, etc. Different contexts are important for different sources.


Utilize quotes, paraphrases, or descriptions of the source. Explain what each quoted or described feature of the source illustrates; never let a quote stand alone; explain its significance. Clearly distinguish between your own statements and paraphrases of the source.


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