In this assignment you will write an essay that includes analysis of a primary source or sources. Primary sources are documents or other artifacts that provide first-hand accounts of the time period that you are studying. Primary sources are created by participants in or witnesses to events at the time or close to the time that they occurred. Primary sources include laws, treaties, speeches, diaries, memoirs, letters, reports, government or other records, creative works, and for later periods, photographs, films etc.

Select ONE of the assignments below and write an essay answering the posted questions. Integrate what you have learned about the era from your text with your analysis of the primary source reading. Although you will be presented with several questions, integrate your responses into a unified whole.

An excellent primary source essay will do the following:

  • Explore relevant sections of the primary source(s) assigned.
  • Use and incorporate ideas, issues, or explanations from the primary source(s) assigned.
  • Specifically answer the question or questions asked. Do what the question requires (compare, evaluate etc.).
  • Briefly identify people, events, or terms mentioned.
  • Demonstrate a good knowledge of the historical context of the primary source(s) that can be found from the Spielvogel text.
  • Support all general statements with specific evidence (examples, events, quotations).
  • Organize ideas into a logical sequence.
  • Use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Formatting directions:

  • Do not include a cover page.
  • Put your name at the top of your essay.
  • Double-space and use a standard (Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri) twelve point font.
  • Indent the first line of every paragraph. Include a Works Cited Page as part of the document if appropriate.
  • Spell check your essay before you submit it.
  • Submit by clicking “Primary Source Essay Three” above.

Submitting your essay:

Essays can be submitted as attachments in Microsoft Word or WordPerfect. Write, name, and save your essay. Put your own name at the top of the document. If you only have Microsoft Works, save your file as as an .rtf file. Submit this essay using the link at the bottom of the page.

Click on Primary Source Essay 3 to submit your assignment. Use the “Browse” feature to navigate your local drives to locate and attach your assignment. Use the “Submit” button provided to submit your assignment.

Submitted assignments will be automatically sent to Safe Assign to be checked for originality. Should the assignment contain any plagiarized material it will be subject to the penalties listed in the course syllabus.

Assignment Selections:

A. Read the following selection on Henry II and Thomas à Becket from William of Newburgh’s Historia rerum Anglicarum (History of English Affairs):
Using Historia rerum Anglicarum and the Spielvogel text, write an essay of 4-5 pages answering the following questions:

  • What political and ecclesiastical issues resulted in the Investiture Controversy?
  • Compare and contrast the conflict between Henry II and Becket in England to the Investiture Controversy in Germany.
  • How are the characters of both Henry and Thomas portrayed in William of Newburgh’s narrative?
  • What results did this conflict have for the English monarchy and for the English Church?

Or Read

B. Boccaccio on the Black Death at:

Using Boccaccio and the Spielvogel text, write an essay of 4-5 pages answering the following questions:

  • What immediate impact did the Black Death have on the economy and society of Europe in the years the plague ravaged Europe?
  • What aspects of the plague as described in this eye-witness account do you find most striking?
  • What evidence does Boccaccio provide on the collapse of Italian urban civilization as it was structured before the plague?
  • What were some of the larger and longer term political, economic, and social consequences of the Black Death?
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