For your second essay assignment, you will be analyzing a letter from esteemed journalist, Martha Gellhorn, to the Secretary of Commerce during the New Deal, Harry Hopkins. Today, Gellhorn is considered one of the greatest journalists of the last century. At the advice of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, in 1934 Hopkins hired Gellhorn to serve as a field investigator for the Federal Emergency Relief Association (FERA). She wrote this letter to him after returning from North Carolina that November.
FIND IT HERE:
Your essay should do the following:
- Place the document within its larger historical context using the textbook and lecture notes as your guide
- Identify the major points, purposes, and intended audiences of the document
- Determine what specific themes and issues from the covered material are represented in the document and explain their connections
- Use the document as primary evidence to make at least two historical conclusions about the New Deal
- Have a clear and focused thesis which reflects the conclusions you intend to explain
Your essay must be a minimum of two complete double-spaced pages with 12-point, Times New Roman font. It should be written in a comprehensive format with an introduction, thesis statement, specific examples (this does not mean large quotes from the text), citations, and a conclusion. It should not include any outside sources other than lecture notes and textbook without prior approval.
Strategies and Guidelines:
- The idea here is to engage with the primary source provided, and to keep it at the center of your analysis. Students sometimes want to write a grand narrative about the events and people involved. That is not a good strategy. You should show your reader specifically how the document connects to the larger history it is a part of.
- This document is a primary source. Treat it the same way you would any contemporary source you come across. We do not take news stories, personal accounts, or political speeches at face value. This document needs the same kind of investigation, scrutiny, and evaluation.
- The best essays are ones with a strong thesis statement that includes historical conclusions, and uses clear evidence and historical context from the document and covered material to prove them.