Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

HIST 1301: Antebellum Period - Women and Family Emphasis: Home

Your Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to help you develop your critical thinking skills. You are to place yourself in a particular time period and react to a set of circumstances. You may become a real or fictional person. You might write this assignment in first person as a set of letters or diary entries. In order to complete the assignment, you must adequately research the selected topic and/or time period. Once you decide on a topic, please get the instructor’s approval. 

Assignment Guidelines

  • Your research assignment should consist of 4-5 full textual pages (double-spaced) plus a Works Cited page. Use a standard 10- or 12-point font with one-inch margins. 
  • A minimum of four sources is required, with at least one of each of the following: a historical monograph (book), a scholarly journal, and a reputable website. Encyclopedias and dictionaries are not acceptable as sources.
  • All sources must appear in the Works Cited page, and those that do must be cited within the paper. Documentation must be parenthetical, and all forms must follow those prescribed in the MLA Handbook.
  • Save your research project in rich text or as a Word document and submit it in class or as an attached file, using the D2L email feature.

Check the course calendar for the due date. Ten points will be deducted from any late assignment, and no assignment will be accepted more than one week after the due date. The evaluation of this research assignment will focus not only on content but also on clarity, organization, coherence, and use of Standard Written English. Warning: Plagiarism is theft of another writer’s words or ideas and will receive a zero. 

Your instructions state that you are to place yourself in a particular time period and react to a set of circumstances as a real or fictional person. Write down your ideas and generate a few possible topics. The paper will be 4-5 double spaced pages. Think of a topic that will be manageable to tackle in that many pages. It is very important that you being your research before you begin writing. Based on the information resources you find, you might have to adjust the topic or even change your topic completely.

  1. Think of people or events you learned about in class or while reading that piqued your interest. 
  2. Brainstorm keywords that describe your working topic. 
  3. Begin researching. See the Find BooksFind Articles, and Find Internet Sources tabs. 
  4. If you are finding information that supports your original topic idea, you can go ahead with the topic (pending professor approval!). If not, either try a different topic and keywords OR use the information you are finding to create a new topic idea.


Combine research of primary and secondary sources to learn more about this important topic. Make sure you explore the impact of slavery on the everyday life of the person you select. Focus on the life of a real or imaginary person from the following list: field slave, house slave, city slave, runaway slave, slave master, slave mistress, male abolitionist, or a female abolitionist.

The Oneida Community

Explore this community’s emphasis on complex marriages and its efforts to limit births. Use both primary and secondary sources to accomplish this and then display your knowledge by writing about a real or imaginary person from the community.

Women and Families During the Civil War

Explore primary and secondary sources to learn how the Civil War changed the lives of families in America and created new roles for women. You might want to focus on the life of a real or imaginary woman from this list: a northern or southern wife of a farmer, a nurse for either side, a spy, a female disguised as a soldier, a male soldier worried about his family, or a slave mother or father.

Consider keywords that will help you find the information you need. These can be names of people, events, or broader identifying terms. Use these keywords for locating information in the library catalog, electronic databases, and on the Internet. The best papers will be those that use information from a variety of sources.

19th century

United States

Civil War





Underground railroad

Harriet Jacobs (or the name of any slave to find biographical information)

Oneida community

Religion and civil war

Utopia/utopian community 19th century United States




Dorothy Dix (or anyone else’s name to find biographical information)


Unidentified African American solider in Union uniform with wife and two daughters. Library of Congress.

Culpeper, Virginia (vicinity). John Minor Botts and family. Library of Congress.

Sergeant A.M. Chandler of the 44th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, Co. F., and Silas Chandler, family slave, with Bowie knives, revolvers, pepper-box, shotgun, and canteen. Library of Congress.

Contrabands at headquarters of General Lafayette. Library of Congress.

Pauline Cushman in military-style costume. Library of Congress.

Drum corps stands in front of Union soldiers in formation. Library of Congress.

Two unidentified women reading letters. Library of Congress.

Community Bee to Clear the Lawn. Syracuse University Library Oneida Community Photographs.

Group on East Lawn. Syracuse University Library Oneida Community Photographs.

A family quarrel. Library of Congress.

Brooklyn Sanitary Fair, 1864 interior view of the Academy of Music, as seen from the dress circle. Library of Congress.

8th Company soldiers at military camp, possibly Washington, D.C. Library of Congress.

Unidentified woman, possibly Mrs. James Shields, in mourning dress and brooch showing Confederate soldier and holding young boy wearing kepi. Library of Congress.

LSC-Kingwood Learning Commons | Ask Us: | Reference: 281.312.1693 | Circulation: 281.312.1691 | LIB 100, 20000 Kingwood Drive, Kingwood, TX 77339