Western Civilization


 Biographical / Historical Argument                                    Due date: 4/13/18


Purpose: To learn to research and write an argument paper in history. Each person on this list are on the top 50 most influential people in Western History, and indeed play a major role in our course topic this year. Aside from learning to write a historical argument, objective of this report and presentation is for you to gain a greater understanding of an individual that has made a great impact on the History of His/Her country or organization. It will also clarify the reasons and causes for the events of a specific country that occur before and after this person’s life.



1) 1250 words +/- 10%


2) 1” margins


3)  in Times New Roman or Arial font


4) Double spaced


5)  Must include a properly cited Bibliography (Chicago Manual of Style Format) of at least three different resources this includes web sites, books, magazine articles, journals, no encyclopedias please. Websites should be credible, ie. Usually but not always, ending in “.edu” or “.org” or “.gov”


6)  Properly cite at least 15 footnotes (Chicago Format)


7)  This paper must answer a question of your own design. This question will start with the word “Why”. It will require a little research beforehand.  

                a. a brief Biography emphasizing their achievements and accomplishments

               b. Answer your question! (This is the argument phase, prove your point!)


8) Cover Page (Chicago Format)


9) See page 2 for the stages and timing of the assignment



We will draw lots to determine who your Historical figure will be. Potential biographies will be:


1. Sigmund Freud  2. Florence Nightingale              3. Ulysses S. Grant            4. Napoleon Bonaparte


5.Mohandas K. Gandhi       6. Elizabeth I (ENG)     7. Henry Ford


8. Karl Marx        9.Adam Smith    10. George Washington       11. Simon Bolivar


12.John Calvin   13. Mary Wollstonecraft                  14. Christopher Columbus


15. Louis XIV      16.Thomas Jefferson         . 17.Frederick the Great    18.Charles Darwin


19.Elizabeth Cady Stanton


  21. Rene Descartes  22. Eleanor of  Acquitaine


23.Martin Luther               24.Leonardo Da Vinci      25.Jean Jacques Rousseau     26. John Locke


27. Magellan       28.Peter the Great



Timeline and stages of the assignment


Week 1: 2/16-2/25       “Pre - search” the topic and find some facet you find interesting

                                                Due: 2/26  Approval of “Why” Question


Week 2:  2/26 – 3/4       Collect Materials from local library, through CWMARS, or the online databases through our Library


Week 3: 3/5 – 3/11  Begin Note taking from source material


Week 4:  3/12 – 3/18 Study for Midterm Exams ( If possible continue Note Taking from source material) 


Week 5:  3/19 – 3/25 writing the rough draft of your argument


Week 6:  3/26 – 4/2  Edit Rough Draft, reread, Edit again. Begin Final Draft


Week 7: 4/3 – 4/8  Finish Final Draft



Week 8:  4/9 – 4/12  tighten up footnotes and bibliography  


4/13 :  Finished paper due!!

Grade will be calulated by using the above criteria and the following rubric:


Below the Standard


Emerging/Working Toward the Standard


Meeting the Standard


Exceeding the Standard


Content (x4)

  • Much of the content is missing and leaves the reader asking many questions about the  content  
  • Some of the required  content is missing and leaves the reader asking some questions about the topic
  • Content is sufficient and addresses the  requirements with clarity and insight 
  • Content is superior and demonstrates exceptional understanding of the required content 

Document Support and Analysis (x3)

  • Analysis of sources is missing.
  • Writer fails to provide connections to the thesis and/or topic
  •    Writer fails to reference the documents in the body of the paper


  • Analysis of sources may be inaccurate, irrelevant or too general. 
  • Writer fails to provide clear connections to the thesis and/or topic
  • Writer effectively references only (1) of the documents in the body of the paper. 


  • Writer effectively analyzes sources, incorporating accurate, relevant and specific information.
  • Writer provides clear connections to the thesis and/or topic
  • Writer effectively references three (2) of the documents in the body of the paper. 


  • Writer effectively and skillfully analyzes sources by incorporating information that is accurate, relevant, specific and compelling.
  • Writer provides clear and insightful connections to the thesis and/or topic
  • Writer skillfully references three (3) of the documents and seamlessly integrates them into the body of the paper. 


Citation Format 

  • The essay is not in Chicago Manual of Style format
  • The essay has several distracting formatting errors
  • The essay has few, non-distracting formatting errors
  • The essay is in perfect Chicago Manual of Style format


  • Writer fails to introduce topic and/or lead into the thesis
  • Fails to include enough body paragraphs.  Transition sentences are lacking.
  • Conclusion is not present, the paper just stops.
  • Writer introduces topic but does not lead smoothly into the thesis
  • Paragraphs demonstrate some control.  Transition sentences may be missing at times or ineffective.
  • Writer concludes paper with a summary.
  • Writer effectively introduces topic and leads smoothly into the thesis
  • All body paragraphs demonstrate control through the use of transition sentences
  • Writer effectively concludes paper with summary and implications
  • Writer effectively and insightfully introduces topic and leads smoothly into the thesis
  • All body paragraphs demonstrate control through the use of superior  transition sentences
  • Writer effectively and insightfully concludes paper with coherent summary and compelling implications

Writing Style/Conventions

  • A number of consistent problems with sentence structure and/or grammar.
  • Essay is difficult to follow
  • Sentence structure and grammar at times impair the reader’s focus.
  • Several distracting errors are present.
  • Sentence structure and grammar are proficient.
  • A few minor errors may be present but they do not distract the reader.
  • Sentence structure is varied and demonstrates control.  There are virtually no grammatical errors or confusion for the reader.