Desk Officer History Essay

Overview: You will write a 1,500-word summary of relations between the United States and your
country (and its precursors), relying on academic and professional sources (not Wikipedia or other
general sites). This should include both the facts of what happened as well as your overall explanation
for it. This assignment is due before class 8/19.
Tasks:
 Write a 1,500-word essay that is an overview of the joint history between the country you are
studying and the United States.
Requirements:
 This essay should summarize the time since the US became independent (about 225 years). If
your country did not exist at that point, discuss relations with whatever power was in control of
that territory to the extent that it is relevant.
 This essay should be based on quality research. This means that you will use academic or highquality
journalistic
sources.
You
can
use governmental
sources
(i.e.,
the
CIA
World
Factbook
or

Embassy
statements),
but
realize
these
are
rarely
objective.

Governments
produce
information

to
support
their
own
interests.

 All sources must be properly cited, whether you are using direct quotations or your own
summary of the text. You can choose any established style for this (Chicago, MLA, APA, etc.), but
be sure you are referencing page numbers and include a works cited list or bibliography. Zotero
is a great tool for this. Make sure you cite both direct quotes as well as other information you
take from your sources.
 The essay should include at least 12 sources.
Your grade will depend on:
 The overall quality of writing (lack of errors, etc.)
 The quality and use of your sources. Avoid long quotes. Summarize. You will be marked down
for citing Wikipedia or websites like About.com. You can use these to start your research, just
don’t include their info in the final product.
 Your ability to tell a coherent story about this history. You will be choosing which events are
important and trying to make sense of them. You may find that this is best done as continual
evolution or a series of distinct eras, but the goal is to craft your own narrative.
 The accuracy and completeness of the history. You will not be able to list every interaction or
event, but if you forget something big, like that time the US invaded your country, you will be
marked down.

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