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  After the Civil War, the United States had to recover from war, handle western expansion, and grapple with very new economic forms. However, its greatest issues would revolve around the legacies of slavery and increasing diversity in the decades after the Civil War. Reconstruction was partly a period of military occupation of the south by the northern victors. Former slaves now had freedom and new opportunities but faced old prejudices and rapidly forming new barriers. Immigrants from Europe and Asia came in large numbers but then faced political and social restrictions. Women continued to seek rights. Yet, on the whole, America became increasingly diverse by the 1920s. Consider developments, policies, and laws in that period from 1865 to the 1920s. Take one of the positions as suggested below, draw from the sources listed, and present a paper with specific examples and arguments to demonstrate the validity of your position.

Possible position—in each case you can take the pro or con position:

  1. The Lost Cause narrative of the South effectively      sabotaged and influenced racial policy in the US for most of the      post-Civil War period. (or you can take the position that it did not)

After giving general consideration to your readings so far and any general research, select one of the positions above as your position—your thesis. (Sometimes after doing more thorough research, you might choose the reverse position. This happens with critical thinking and inquiry. Your final paper might end up taking a different position than you originally envisioned.). Organize your paper as follows, handling these issues:

  1. The position you choose (from the list above)—or something close to it—will be the thesis statement in your opening paragraph.
  2. To support your position, use three specific examples from different decades between 1865 and 1930. You may narrowly focus on race or gender or immigrant status, or you may use examples relevant to all categories.
  3. Explain why the opposing view is weak in comparison to yours.
  4. Consider your life today: In what way does the history you have shown shape or impact issues in your workplace or desired profession?


Length:The paper should be 500-to-750 words in length. This normally means 3-to-4 pages for the body of the paper. (The title page and Sources page do not count in these calculations.) Double-space between lines. Format instructions are below. 

Research and References:You must use a MINIMUM of three sources; the Schultz textbook must be one of them. Your other two sources should be drawn from the list provided below. This is guided research, not open-ended Googling. You will have a list of Sources at the end, using SWS format. You will have short, SWS-style in-text citations to those sources appropriately placed in the body of the paper. Except as your instructor might direct, don’t use other sources for your paper than those listed here. (Of course, for “starter research” you can read many sources.) 

Source List for Assignment 1:Be sure to use the Schultz text as a source. Use at least two of the other sources listed here. Some sources are “primary” sources from the time period being studied. Some sources below can be accessed via direct link or through the primary sources links on Blackboard. Each week has a different list of primary sources. For others, they are accessible through the permalink to the source in our online library:  Sources below having libdatab.strayer.edu as part of the URL have a permalink to that source in our university’s online library. 

SWS Form for the textbook: Kevin M. Schultz. 2018. HIST: Volume 2: U.S. History since 1865. 5th ed.

Choose sources relevant to the topic and position you are taking:

Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • This course requires use of Strayer Writing Standards (SWS). The format      is different than other Strayer University courses. Please take a moment      to review the SWS documentation for details.
  • Be typed, double spaced between lines, using Times New      Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; citations and      references must follow SWS format. Check with your professor for any      additional instructions
  • Include a cover page containing the title of the      assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title,      and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in      the required assignment page length.

The paper must be submitted (uploaded and attached) in the course shell provided online.

The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:

  • Identify and discuss the different ways that the      heritage of slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and segregation have      shaped America’s history.
  • Specify ways that women and minorities have responded      to challenges and made contributions to American culture.
  • Summarize and discuss the ways that formal policies of      government have influenced the direction of historical and social      development in the United States.
  • Recognize the major turning points in American history      since the Civil War.
  • Use technology and information resources to research      issues in contemporary U.S. history.
  • Write clearly and concisely about contemporary U.S.      history using proper writing mechanics.


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