SHORT PAPER: U.S. CONGRESS DURING THE 1790S ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS
The Short Paper: U.S. Congress during the 1790s Assignment will allow you to research the
early American Congressional sessions and better understand the century of lawmaking during
the American founding. The assignment’s purpose is to enhance the historian’s grasp of the early
American founding era by investigating and interpreting primary and secondary source evidence.
You will write a 2-page short research paper on a key person, event, idea, action, or another
important aspect of the congressional debates of the 1790s, which include the sessions of the 1st
through 5th Congress. The paper must use at a minimum 3 scholarly sources (2 primary from the
Annals of Congress and 1 secondary) and apply current Turabian formatting throughout. The
paper must be a full 2 pages but must not exceed 2 ¼ pages with footnotes applied. So be concise
in your writing and verify proper citations, including the use of footnote Ibid. and shortened
Overall, you must:
1) Identify the key person, event, idea, or action from the 1790s congressional sessions.
2) Provide a very brief historical narrative of the identified topic.
3) Explain the significance of your selected topic.
4) Rationalize how this key person, event, idea, or action impacted the development of
Your paper body must include an identifiable introduction with a well-crafted thesis statement
and summative conclusion. The title page and bibliography do not count toward the 2-2 ¼ page
requirement. No headings should be used (except on the Bibliography page). Also, the paper
must be written in the third person. You should utilize the template from the LU Online Writing
Center – Writing Style Guide website.
(See the The Library of Congress’s Annals of Congress link in the Short Paper: U.S. Congress
during the 1790s Resources Section.) There are 3 ways to search the Annals of Congress using
the search links on the left corner of the webpage (see image below). However, it is strongly
suggested that you use the “Browse Page Headings” feature to review an index of page headings.
Page 2 of 2
NOTE: Citations for the Annals of Congress and all congressional documents are very specific
within Turabian formatting. The footnotes will NOT include the name of the speaker(s). Follow
this example:1 Annals of Congress, 1st Cong., 2nd sess., 975.
Bibliographic citations are not normally required for specific speeches in Congress unless such
speeches are critical to paper or article, as is the case with this assignment. Thus, bibliographic
citations should follow this format:
Nathaniel Macon, “Speech on the Alien Laws,” in Annals of Congress, 5th Congress, 3rd
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