American Perspectives

DIRECTIONS: This is an individual assignment designed to introduce you to primary source analysis. Before you complete this assignment, you must watch this video, which will introduce you to primary sources and how to analyze them:


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After you watch the video, choose ONE of the following sources that I have assigned from the American Perspectives reader:


  • “Deodat Lawson Describes Events at Salem (1692),” pp. 91-97
  • “Virginia Codes Regulating Servitude and Slavery (1642-1705),” pp. 114-118
  • “The Horrors of a Slave Ship,” pp. 119-129
  • “Venture Smith’s Account of Slavery and Freedom (1700s),” pp. 130-136


Then, using the primary source analysis process discussed in the video, read the source and answer the following questions thoroughly. Please use this sheet and TYPE your answers. To submit this assignment, you must submit as a Word document (.doc or .docx) on Eagle Online Canvas by 11:59pm on Friday, September 23.


  1. What is the title of the source? Who wrote it? What type of source is it?




  1. Based on what we’ve covered in class, what did you ALREADY know about the time period before you read the source? (Saying you knew nothing about this time period is not an acceptable response—you have been assigned reading and lecture material covering the time period, so I expect a substantive 5 to 10 sentence response to this question.)




  1. Give a 10 to 15 sentence summary of the source.




  1. What are THREE new things you learned about the time period from the source? (Type in complete sentences and do not simply list random small details directly from the source.)




  1. Evaluate the veracity and usefulness of the source. Are there any problems with it? Are there any biases in either the source or the author? Do those problems affect how useful the source is? Do you find it to be a trustworthy source overall? (Be critical! Saying that there are no issues whatsoever with relying on this source is not an acceptable response.)




  1. How can a historian USE this source? (Be specific—don’t just tell me that “it tells us more about what happened in the past” or something similar. How can THIS particular source be more useful than other primary or secondary sources? Is there a piece of information or a perspective that we can only get from this source?)




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