How Do Historians Make Arguments?

  • Argument of Fact: Challenge people's beliefs and lifestyles; are controversial disagreements; is it true?
  • Argument of Definition: Define what someone is or can be; formulate a controversial or provocative definition; seek to broaden an existing definition or create a new definition. Was the Boston Massacre really a "massacre?"
  • Argument of Evaluation: Apply criteria to a particular problem to make a decision? Construct a ranking or comparison?
  • Causal Arguments: The Battle of Falling Timbers led to the Treaty of Greenville. Slavery was the main cause of the Civil War?

Let's Look at Some Examples

Go to the Journal Link and Respond to the Following Prompts:

Locate a scholarly peer reviewed article from your Research Log.

  • Access the article in the database.
  • Find the claim the historian is making. Copy and paste this into your journal entry.
  • Decide what kind of argument the historian is making: Fact, Definition, Evaluation, Causal? Consult your text to help with this.
  • Support your reasoning.
  • What might historians who disagree with this claim argue? What would their objections be?

Homework

Read Ch. 7 in EAA. Take notes. You may use hand-written or printed notes for a Reading Quiz on Friday.
Jen's office hours today are postponed due to attending a presentation by Dean Hartlaub. I will be in the office today from 4 - 5:30.