American History: Autobiographies of Franklin and Douglass

Paper 1 DescriptionAcross the autobiographies you have read in the first half of the course, how do the authors Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass balance the work of identifying their special achievements and positioning themselves as replicable models for self-making? Do the different authors do this differently? How so? Why so? What differences do their historical contexts make (Franklin writing at the end of the 18th century and Douglass from the middle of the 19th)?Essays that are truly excellent will also address the “So What?” of this: Why might it matter for these men to position themselves one way or another? How might we understand that as related to the larger “project” of their autobiographies?You should create an arguable thesis and draw evidence from Douglass and Franklin. Although you may use some of the quotes discussed in lecture, your essay should not be totally reliant on evidence already discussed by Prof Fusco. Instead, you should work to demonstrate your independent ability to read a text and develop an argument from primary evidence. Your essay should also be sure to situate the writers in terms of lecture context and at least one other reading from the course.The very best essays will develop a specific thesis that addresses the multi-part question posed here: what’s the balance Franklin and Douglass strike between positioning themselves as special vs. replicable, why might it matter, and what does it have to do with their positions at their historical moment? Please note that this is not a generic compare-contrast essay.Your thesis should be supported by paragraphs with clear topic sentences that stake smaller supporting claims for each paragraph and then analyze quotations as evidence for this claim.Nitty Gritty:No outside references should be consultedThe essay should be between 5-6 pages, double-spaced, reasonable fontDue before end of day (11:59 pm) 2/18A thesis that answers the two-part promptGood, argumentative topic sentencesQuotations and their analysis as evidenceDraws on lecture contextCites one other reading in addition to Douglass and FranklinUses appropriate MLA in-text citation (Douglass 22)

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