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revolution research paper

Rationale for the Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to do close comparative analysis of two major revolutions or rebellions that occurred in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As you work on this project, you will continue to develop your skills in the following areas:

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§writing a thesis-driven paper

§close analysis of sources

§presenting and defending your own evidence-based argument

§communicating your ideas clearly in writing

The Assignment

Scholars who study revolutions have noted that the following variables contribute the outbreak of revolutions and influence their outcomes: state crisis, dissident elites, mass frustration, shared ideology or narrative of resistance, and international context. Choose two or more revolutions or rebellions from the early modern era, explore the interplay of these variables in each specific case, and draw broader conclusions based on all of the cases you have chosen for the paper.

Your examples can be major events like the French and Haitian Revolutions, a wider array of small-scale rebellions like the Stono putsch, or mid-size rebellions like that of the Guaraní. However, you should give equal attention (i.e. the same number of pages) to analysis of 1) indigenous or slave rebellions/revolutions and 2) rebellions/revolutions in Europe.

Requirements for Writing a Successful Paper

§There is no specific page requirement, but most of your will be able to accomplish your goals with a paper that is roughly 5 pages in length. Papers must be typed and double-spaced, with 12-point font and 1” margins.

§Yourintroductionshould be a single paragraph in which you introduce your theme, state your thesis, and briefly indicate how you plan to defend your thesis in the body of the paper.

§Follow up with a brief review of contemporary scholarshipon your topic (Hunt, Turner, and Ganson), and indicate how your own work contributes to this ongoing conversation. When possible, highlight relevant areas of controversy and ambiguity that point to the need for further research.

§The rest of your paper will consist of evidence and analysisas you examine the revolutions/rebellions and draw conclusions. Your thesis will be derived from this evidence and analysis.

§End your paper with a brief conclusionthat sums up your most important points and reminds readers why they should find your thesis to be persuasive.

Additional Instructions

§Assume your audience is familiar with the revolutions and rebellions you are comparing, but not the specific sources you are using.

§Cite all sources used for the paper in footnotes using the format prescribed by the Chicago Manual of Style. For guidelines on citing various kinds of sources in this format, go to the following website:

§Do not use Wikipedia or other websites without permission!

§Submit your paper as an e-mail attachment (Word format) by 5:00 p.m. on April 24.

§I would be glad to meet with you to discuss your paper at any stage during the writing process, either during office hours or by appointment.

Scoring Criteria

fails to meet most criteria

meets most criteria, but further development or revision is needed

meets criteria at a high/exceptional level


  • indicates the theme of the paper
  • clear thesis and brief indication of how you plan to defend it in the body of the paper




Review of Contemporary Scholarship

  • brief and accurate explanation of the arguments of other scholars
  • brief indication of how your own work contributes to this existing body of scholarship




Original Research

  • thorough examination of the evidence
  • detailed and accurate information
  • close attention to detail
  • addresses evidence that is complicated or inconvenient rather than avoiding it
  • creative and insightful, with original ideas




Quality of Presentation

  • correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  • effective organization, coherent paragraphs and smooth transitions
  • strong conclusion
  • adequate footnotes in the proper format





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