History

Essay
Objective of this Assignment: This assignment will be used to evaluate student progress on the course
learning objectives. Due: Submit by 11:59pm on July 26th.
Instructions: Students will follow the process outlined below to guide them in the development of a
comparative essay. The essay should be approximately 700-1000 words, and should include footnotes.
Students will be permitted to revise.
➢ Step One: Prepare all aspects of the essay
o Prompt: Should historians make greater investment in the development of public history
sites and monuments about the Mexican American War? In order to do answer this
question, you must know how the war is currently memorialized in Texas (Step Two), views
about why war memorials are sensitive and require special reflection (Step Three), and how
scholars have understood our national memory of this event (Step Four).
o Clarify Details: The person reading your essay may not have a strong understanding of public
history sites so take time to clarify this information in your essay. Your work should clearly
communicate the purpose of public history sites (museums / battlegrounds / memorials). You
should investigate the difference between celebratory public history sites and war memorials.
How do public historians arrange war memorial exhibits? What do public historians consider
when thinking about their audience?
o Assessing what exists: Your work should consider the current facilities and public history sites
dedicated to honoring this event and its participants, as well as the funding and supporters
associated with those sites. (At a minimum you should examine the facilities in Texas. You can
also explore statues and historical markers or named buildings intended to publicize this history.
Furthermore, you should consider the message provided at those sites / exhibits and
whether this message is satisfactory given the mission of public historians.
o Historian Viewpoints: What have historians said about our current contributions to
memorializing/remembering the Mexican American War? (see sources in Step Four) Has this
event been ignored by previous generations / administrations? Do some communities do more
than others to keep this history alive?
o Monuments: Monuments are controversial. Why are public history sites, exhibits, and
monuments being debated today? What history are public historians preserving by maintaining
controversial monuments? How does the AHA view war monuments and public history sites?
Would more monuments and exhibits for the Mexican American War further enflame public
opinion, or would those sites be understood as acceptable?
o Challenge/Application/Informed Opinion: What solutions exist on the memorialization of the
Mexican American War? What types of markers, exhibits, sites, or monuments would work best
for future generations? What message should be reiterated with these solutions? How does
one bring the history surrounding the Mexican American War into the public space, with the right
message, right objectives, and with attention to truth? What are the drawbacks if historians do
not offer more pubic history sites on this event / era?
➢ Step Two: Study the information on current Mexican American War exhibits, battlegrounds,
monuments, dedications, etc.
▪ Palo Alto Battlegrounds: https://www.nps.gov/paal/learn/historyculture/places.htm
▪ Brazos Veteran’s Park: http://www.bvvm.org/photos/
▪ Mexican American War Exhibit for BVVM: https://www.theeagle.com/news/local/newmemorial-at-veterans-park-honors-marines-valor-at-the/article_7b08cdbb-5899-5a12-
bdcd-014ebd3514fc.html
▪ Capitol 360 View of Mexican American War acknowledgement:
https://tspb.texas.gov/prop/tc/tc-spaces/spaces09.html
▪ Capitol Monuments: https://tspb.texas.gov/prop/tcg/tcg-monuments/index.html
➢ Step Three: Study scholarly views regarding memorials / museums. All three sources are
located in JSTOR. You may also use information collected in the public history
assignment and in the library databases.
o Hacker, Barton C., and Margaret Vining. “Military Museums and Social History.” In Does War
Belong in Museums?: The Representation of Violence in Exhibitions, edited by Muchitsch
Wolfgang, 41-60. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2013. http://0-
www.jstor.org.libcat.sanjac.edu/stable/j.ctv1wxr1z.6.
o SODARO, AMY. “MEMORIAL MUSEUMS: Promises and Limits.” In Exhibiting Atrocity: Memorial
Museums and the Politics of Past Violence, 162-84. New Brunswick, Camden, Newark, New
Jersey; London: Rutgers University Press, 2018. doi:10.2307/j.ctt1v2xskk.11.
o “Convenient & Inconvenient Monuments,” by Gene Dattel in Literary Reference Center (EBSCO)
o “Confederate Statues and ‘Our’ History,” by Eric Foner

o “Are Museums the Right Home for Confederate Monuments”
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/are-museums-right-home-confederatemonuments-180968969/

➢ Step Four: Read and Compare the REQUIRED scholarly viewpoints listed here:
o “1848/1898: Memorial Day, Places of Memory, and Imperial Amnesia” by Amy
Greenberg in JSTOR
o “The Annexation of Texas and the Mexican War” by Z.T. Fulmore in JSTOR
o American Historical Association, “AHA Statement on Confederate Monuments”
https://www.historians.org/news-and-advocacy/aha-advocacy/aha-statement-on-confederatemonuments
Formatting and Organization: The essay must be typed and follow college writing standards, e.g.
no fragments, use appropriate grammar, develop an introductory statement and provide a conclusion,
etc. Your font should be either 11 or 12 pt. Your spacing should 1.15 or 1.5 and margins should be
reasonable. Do not use texting language and you will not need a title page.
Your sources should be both footnoted and included in a works cited section at the end of your essay.
A footnote should exist at the end of a sentence ONLY when a quote has been included in the
sentence, otherwise, the footnote should exist at the end of the paragraph. Any acronyms or data that
need to be further clarified may also be included in the footnote. See the screenshots and tips file for
more assistance.
Sources should be provided in Chicago Style format. Purdue is a useful online site to assist with
formatting citations.

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