You will take on the “persona” of one of the
people listed below. You are going to
write a “letter home” to your family. In that letter, you can put personal
messages in but keep that in the beginning and/or end of the letter. Your “letter” should be 1-2 pages
double-spaced, have your name on the essay, and be in either .doc/.docx or .pdf
format to be graded for credit.
Chose only ONE of the following:
young Conquistador on one of the early voyages to (now) Mexico in the 16th
A young man or woman who lives in either
Massachusetts Bay or Virginia colony in 1640.
Some “tips:” The purpose here is to write as though
you have been away for a long time in a very strange to you place, you have no
idea (nor do they) if you will ever return from such a trip---or if either of
you will ever be in contact again. It’s a big ocean. As this person you chose, you may have
doubts, you may be excited about this new place, or you may see it as just
another assignment you will one day return from. It depends on what is *reasonable* for the
person you chose and the details they share about what they are experiencing
and what they see as their motive for leaving (migration? Job?) and what might
influence their perspective.
Remember to set this up like any history essay---you
explain the “who, what, when, where” in your first paragraph. You also promise to tell them about 3
different things and those each will be a body paragraph (!) Things such as: the voyage, what you have done or seen in
this new place, what is strange and why, what your plans are, how you feel
about this new society you are building, etc.
The key is explaining where you are and what you are doing to your
family who knows nothing of this place.
Use facts---that is details---from the lectures and readings. Saying
“Indians here are terrifying” or “The people here have strange practices” means nothing. Being specific with details your person would
see, hear, or witness matters. Finally,
your conclusion to the letter is like any other essay conclusion. You sum up or
“remind” your reader of your main points and how you feel about your adventure.
Then you can add the usual things you’d say in a letter to your family.
Students often have “fun” (or as much as you can on an
assignment…) with this format.
Embrace your character! Let him or her have as much adventure as makes
sense in their situation. Remember to use details about their experiences from
the sources assigned---did your Conquistador witness Aztec rituals and want
to terrorize their family back in Spain with the details? Add them in---but don’t have your “Virginia
colonist” taking a trip to Mexico because that makes no sense at all in 1640 or
Unit #1 Exam---Part 2:
“Tips” and some examples:
“Identifications” are basically mini-essays of no more
than 5 sentences. Most of you will
do about 3. Use the assigned
sources---it is easy to tell “Wikipedia” from our text/lectures on these. Very easy and you will get ZERO points for
using other sources like that.
You need to define the term (who, what, when, where) and
then provide what we call “significance.”
Significance is How or why did something happen, or something/someone
matter enough that we remember it in history?
Often it is “the first, the worst, or started/ended something. “ Be sure
that your “significance” statement is clear---you may, as I show in one of the
examples below, even set it off from the main ID if you like:
Battle of Yorktown:
The battle between Great Britain and its former North American
colonies took place in Yorktown, Virginia in the summer and fall of 1781. The Americans were aided by the French and
were victorious. Gen. Cornwall of the British Army surrendered to Gen.
Washington and this was the last major battle of the American Revolution. The
British agreed to a treaty and the United States was formally created and
recognized as the Americans won the Revolution.
Roger Williams: Roger
Williams was a Puritan Minister in Massachusetts Bay Colony. He arrived in the first ships to Boston in
1630 but by 1636 he was banished for his claim that mixing religion with
government like Puritan Massachusetts did corrupted religion. He went south and
founded Rhode Island as a colony with freedom of religion for all.
Significance: He is considered the founder of the Baptist
Church in America and of the first colony with religious freedom.