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1301 Paper #1 Guideline: Founding Brothers                                                                                                                                                        In Founding Brothers, Joseph Ellis attempts to describe how the founding fathers “created the American republic, then held it together throughout the volatile and vulnerable early years by sustaining their presence until national habits and customs took root” (Ellis, 13). 

·       With this in mind, for Paper #1 you will be assigned chapter 3 – “The Silence” in Founding Brothers

To analyze what were the “volatile” circumstances that threatened the new nation, how the country was “held together” and by whom. Your essay should address the following:

I. Discuss the Historical Context:                                                                                                                                                                                            In this description component you are responsible for outlining a comprehensive description of the central actors and actions that make up the chapter you choose. You should focus on identifying who is doing whatwhere they are doing it, and when they are doing it.

·       The assessment of this section will be related to how well you adequately describe the entire chapter.

II. Analyze the larger themes and questions that are important to understanding the history of this new nation:                                           For the analysis component, you should concentrate on why the above actors and actions are doing what they are doing and how this particular chapter helps address the questions I outlined at the beginning of the reading guide and within each chapter. 

·       The assessment of this section will be related to how well you are able to frame your description of this chapter within the context of the larger points Ellis wants to make about how the 1790s were “the most crucial and consequential [decade] in American history” and how what occurred in each chapter helps us understand the significance of these particular episodes in the early foundation of America.

Notes:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         A) For paper formatting, length, late penalties, and due date, see the syllabus and other related documents.

·       You are to use only Ellis’ Founding Brothers. Absolutely no outside material or sources should be used.

 B) Your essay score will be commensurate with the level of detail and comprehensiveness of your essay, the strength of your analysis, as well as the attention paid to length, formatting and citation requirements. Additionally, all papers will be evaluated on a level of proofreading that is college appropriate.     

·       While there are not a specific number of quotes you should use, be judicious as papers using a lot of quotes as a means to fulfill the page requirement will be subject to penalty.        

·       Avoiding the use of the first person in the paper. This is a straightforward analysis of what ELLIS is describing and NOT how YOU feel about Washington, Hamilton, Adams (or Ellis) - avoid this like the plague.

C) Citation: In order to avoid plagiarism all work that you chose to either quote or paraphrase must be cited. Citations may consist of either MLA or Chicago format. 

Additional Notes Founding Brothers:

When introducing a person, use full name: Joseph Ellis, Thomas Jefferson, etc.

  • After the first introduction and use of full name, always refer to that person by last name: Jefferson, Ellis, etc.


Avoid first person (I think, I believe, I ….) and other personal tenses (we, us)


Founding Brothers is italicized and avoid referencing “the chapter” or “the book”-and it is a book and not a novel.

  • Also, it is Ellis making arguments and not Founding Brothers


You need to incorporate at least a few quotes in the major sections to substantiate your analysis.

  • However, never make a sentence comprised only of a quote. You need to introduce the quote.


You need to make clear that you are analyzing Ellis’ arguments and work and to distinguish your thoughts from his, it is not only beneficial but necessary, to note that Ellis is the one making these points 

Incorporating "Ellis" into your analysis :

  • Ellis argues…as Ellis claims…Ellis notes…according to Ellis, etc.)
  • Ellis notes that there were several options on the table to speed the abolition process. These included removal to the west, back to Africa, and payments to owners. However, as Ellis argues “…”


Must cite page numbers.

  • (Ellis, pg. 45).
  • Failure to do this will result in a significant penalty.