PROMPT: Efforts to eradicate drug production and distribution from the part of Mexican authorities can be traced back to 1947, whereas a plan to combat the war on drugs by the U. S. government along the U. S. – Mexico border region was officially promulgated in 1968 by the Nixon administration. Using the U. S. – Mexico borderlands as a case study, provide a transnational analysis of the historical origins of the War on Drugs, as well as its use as a political tool.
Ten Tips on Writing Historical Essays
1. The question. Focus on the question, and think about it for a few days, considering why you think you can write a good essay on that particular question, and whether you find the topic interesting. It is much easier to write on a topic that engages your interest and imagination.
2. Reading. Read broadly to identify relevant sources, then take notes on those sources.
3. Notes and outline. Take notes on your lecture notes that correspond to the question. Assemble all your notes for the essay and review them to find central themes and patterns. Begin to organize the notes and write a detailed outline based on the following steps.
4. Thesis. After reviewing and organizing your notes, think of a thesis--a concise statement that summarizes your knowledge of the topic based on your readings and the lectures. Your thesis should respond directly to the essay question. The thesis statement is usually located at the beginning of your essay, in the first paragraph. If your thesis consists of several parts, you will need more than a sentence.
5. Main ideas. Choose several main points (at least three) that support your thesis statement, and a few good examples to support each of these main points. Some of your main points are determined by the wording of the essay question.
6. Introduction. Reduce each main idea to one sentence, and place those sentences in the first paragraph. That's your introduction. You could complete that first paragraph by mentioning the types of primary sources you will use in this essay to prove your points. So you've made several observations about a historical topic and you've stated how you're going to prove those observations.
7. The body of the essay: paragraphs andtopic sentences. The three or four or five (or more) main points which you chose to support your thesis statement in the introduction serve as the basis of topic sentencesfor each paragraph in the body of your essay. The topic sentence is the first sentence of each paragraph summarizing the content of that paragraph. If you have 5 main points that you want to make in the essay, you will have at least five major paragraphs in the body of your essay. Some main points require more than one paragraph because they contain related points.
8. Evidence: use of primary sources. Each of the paragraphs should contain examples from the sources to support the topic sentence or main point of that paragraph. You present evidence to prove your general statements, responding to the question: "how do we know that?"
9. Conclusion. When you have covered all the main points, write a conclusion. Finish your essay with one strong paragraph that summarizes the main points and relates your topic to some of the larger issues covered in the course. Why is the topic important? What does it tell us about contemporary U.S. history? How does it relate to some of the major themes discussed in this class? Write a strong conclusion that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Perhaps you might save for the conclusion one illustrative example or point that really demonstrates your thesis.
10. Writing, revising, and rewriting. Write your essay from the detailed outline, print it, and mark it up with a pen. Look for errors and think of better ways to say what you mean. Read it aloud to yourself. Notice that your essay reads differently on paper than it does on a computer screen. Edit, reprint, and revise your essay several times, if necessary, before you print the final copy, and then proofread the final copy (ideally, the day before it is due).