The Assignment:

Unit Two Research Project: The [[#|American Spirit]]

The American ideals of individuality, freedom, equal rights, and democracy were highlighted in the unit of literature that we just completed. It was clear that America and the Americans living here embodied a spirit that would define us throughout time.

For this research essay, you will need to select one individual who you believe embodies what it means to be an American. You will then need to connect this person and the qualities that make him/her an American to one piece of literature we read in this unit. You are NOT just to research a person’s life and write a biography – rather you are to highlight specific aspects of that person’s life and explain how those aspects connect to the literature of the Revolutionary unit as well as the idea of the “American Spirit” we studied throughout the unit.

Choose an individual who has demonstrated one or more Revolutionary qualities:
  • A revolutionary initiates change
  • A revolutionary is a leader in his/her field
  • A revolutionary is respected, admired, followed, or imitated due to his/her positive impact
  • A revolutionary takes risks in order to bring about positive change
  • A revolutionary has a positive impact on other people, introducing them to [[#|new ideas]] and / or bringing about necessary or positive change

Once you choose your individual, you will need to do some research and collect THREE articles that [[#|support]] how this person is a revolutionary. We will be going to the Media Center to conduct our research. You will be responsible for completing the following elements of this project:

  1. Choosing an individual and creating a thesis that outlines HOW this person is a revolutionary
  2. Three annotated articles that will help you to prove your thesis
  3. An MLA Work Cited Page for your three sources
  4. [[#|Note cards]] (minimum of five written for each article – so minimum of 15 total)
  5. An Outline
  6. A Final Essay which includes an Introduction with a Thesis, three Body Paragraphs with in-text parenthetical citations, and a Conclusion that links your revolutionary with one person or text from this unit.

NOTE: Each [[#|step]] in the research process will have a due date and is worth points. All steps must be completed fully (and must be checked in) before [[#|the writer]] may move to the next step. (EX: You must have your three relevant articles annotated before you can start [[#|[[#|[[#|note cards]]]]]], and you must have your note cards completed in order to write your outline, etc). Students will NOT be allowed to turn in all steps of the process at the same time.

BRAINSTORMING: Remember Google's Wonder Wheel? This is the next best thing to help get you started with thinking about some ideas and KEYWORDS!


Pop Culture Universe Database

Biography in Context


Use this source to cite books, websites and articles not found in the Media Center databases.


Library of Congress Amazing Americans Site

InfoPlease: Selected Activists and Reformers

The Atlantic: 100 Influential Figures in American History

The Nation: the 50 Most Influential Progressives of the 20th Century (slideshow)

Heroines of Peace - Women Nobel Prize Winners

Food for the Poor: Rachel's Mission

CBS News Program, The American Spirit


Speech at the Virginia Convention
Declaration of Independence
Preamble to the Constitution
What is an American?
The Slave Narrative of Equiano

The Crises by Thomas Paine