Kennesaw State University Great Americans in History Proposal


Feel free to use the online textbook here: 

Complete the following tasks in order to (a) select a person of significance, (b) identify three episodes, and (c) substantiate the relationship between those episodes.

  • Identify an individual who meets the following criteria:
    • Resident, visitor, or traveler in Colonial North America or the United States
    • Well-documented contributor to the political, social, or cultural development of Colonial North America or the United States
    • Main contributions (minimum 2 of 3 episodes) occurred between 1492 and 1877
    • Some suggestions:
      • You may be tempted to pick one of the “big names” (e.g., George Washington, Frederick Douglass). Be aware that such a choice will require careful attention to secondary sources about that person
      • On the other hand, try not to pick someone too obscure (e.g., an enigma or one-episode figure) because there may be too few sources about that person
      • If you are unsure, contact the professor for feedback. Provide some initial reasoning for your candidate(s)
  • Identify three episodes that each:
    • Demonstrate a connection between the individual and larger political, social, or cultural developments in Early America
    • Reveal a different dimension of the individual’s personality, aspirations, relationships, ideas, or struggles
    • Represent a modest span of time (5-20 years) instead of “covering everything”
  • Identify the connections between the episodes. 
    • Did one episode cause the next?
    • Did one contribute to or shape another?
    • Did multiple episodes reveal a larger theme in the individual’s life?
  • Place the episodes in the most logical order for “storytelling” purposes.
    • Chronological? Thematic?
    • A balance of both?
  • Craft a short proposal (500-700 words) that explains:
    • Why this person is significant (“so what?”)
    • The period of interest in their life (“why these dates?”)
    • How each episode connects the person to larger issues in Early America (“what’s the big picture?”)
    • How the episodes interrelate (“what’s the main story?”)
    • For more information, see the Biography Proposal Rubric.
  • Provide consistent citation of all sources in your preferred format (APA, MLA, Chicago). You are not required to use scholarly sources at this stage in the project.
    • Need some ideas? The following is a list of significant people in Early America. These individuals are chosen as (i) significant and multidimensional persons in history, (ii) well-attested in terms of primary and secondary sources, and (iii) neither too famous nor too obscure. These individuals are only suggestions, and you are not required to pick from this list. You may pick any person who satisfies the criteria given above.Samuel AdamsSusan B. Anthony
      Benedict ArnoldP.T. BarnumClara BartonElizabeth BlackwellAnne BradstreetDaniel BooneJoseph BrantJohn C. CalhounKit CarsonGeorge CatlinMary ChesnutHenry ClayDavid CrockettEmily DickinsonStephen Douglas
      Eleuthere Irenee du PontJubal EarlyOlaudah EquianoJohn C. FremontRobert FultonNathanael GreeneSarah and Angelina GrimkeHannah HeatonSam Houston
      Anne Hutchinson
      Harriet JacobsMarquis de LafayetteMary LyonJohn MarshallCharles Mason and Jeremiah DixonHerman MelvilleHerman MelvilleLucretia MottSolomon NorthupCynthia Ann ParkerCharles Willson Peale
      Matthew C. PerryZebulon PikeEdgar Allen PoeRed CloudHiram RevelsElisha Hunt Rhodes
      David RittenhouseMary RowlandsonBenjamin RushDeborah SampsonDred ScottSamuel ShawWilliam SewardRoger ShermanWilliam T. ShermanJoseph SmithJames SmithsonLeland StanfordElizabeth Cady StantonMaria StewartPeter StuyvesantTecumsehHenry David ThoreauAlexis de TocquevilleAlbion TourgeeSojourner TruthHarriet TubmanDenmark VeseyDavid Walker
      Mercy Otis Warren
      Daniel Webster
      Roger WilliamsCharles WilkesPhillis Wheatley