Primary Analysis Assignment


In this assignment, you will read and respond to questions on three separate primary documents plus write a short essay of approximately 250 words in response to a prompt for each document. The assigned article, Reading and Writing about Primary Sources, will help you grasp the essentials of thinking critically, and writing about primary sources. Be sure to have read it before beginning this assignment. Due Sunday, 120 points total (40 points per document)

Document 1: “Mary Wollstonecraft criticizes Rousseau’s View of Women” pp. 533-534 (chapter 17)

Answer questions 1-2 in the introduction:

  1. What criticisms does Wollstonecraft direct against Rousseau’s views?
  2. Why does Wollstonecraft emphasize a new kind of education for women?

Essay prompt: How does the document reflect eighteenth-century attitudes towards women?

Document 2: “Burke Denounces the Extreme Measures of the French Revolution.” p. 571 (chapter 18)

Answer questions 1-3 in the introduction:

  1. To which of the major events in the French Revolution does Burke refer?
  2. Why, by 1796, would Burke and others have emphasized the religious policies of the revolution?
  3. Did Burke exaggerate the evils of the revolution?

Essay prompt: Speculate why Burke is considered one of the founders of modern conservative political thought.

Document 3: “Women Industrial Workers Explain their Economic Situation.” p. 659 (chapter 21)

Answer questions 1-3 in the introduction:

  1. How do these women explain their need to hold manufacturing jobs?
  2. What changes in production methods have led women from the home to the factory?
  3. How does the situation of these women relate to the possibility of their marrying?

Essay prompt: In your opinion, do the women writers of this document prove they are more than merely passive victims of their lives of industrial hardship?


The assignment will be graded based on the following criteria:

  • Correctness and succinctness of answers
  • Use of relevant supporting examples and presence of a well developed central idea in essays
  • Demonstration of topic comprehension
  • Grammar and writing mechanics

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