Skip to main content

HIST 344 - The Age of Industry in America

Let this guide be your guide through Dr. Jackson's biographical history project. Here you'll find resources for finding primary sources, using Chicago/Turabian Style, and some ideas for contextualizing your chosen subject in history.

Contextualizing

A key component of your assignment is to put your subject in the broader context of history. You'll need to connect them to what was happening in the United States socially, politically, and culturally. You can’t just find 7 biographies of Teddy Roosevelt and list his accomplishments in chronological order. To help literally draw these connections, you’re going to map your subject's world (look here for an example)! While you map, consider these questions…

  • Why does your subject matter?
    • To you?
    • To history?
  • What interests you about your subject?
    • Why?
  • Was your subject associated with any important social movements?
    • What were the main goals of the movement?
    • What was the underlying philosophy?
    • What were the movement’s successes? Failures?
    • How did the individual come to be involved?
    • Who else was important?
  • Are they associated with a social or political philosophy or ideology?
    • Who else was important to these ideologies?
    • How did these ideologies influence events in history?
    • How did the individual come to be involved?
    • What are the key ideas?
  • Are they closely associated with another significant individual?
    • How?
    • Why does it matter?
    • How did they influence each other?
  • Are they closely associated with a specific place?
    • How?
    • Why does it matter?
  • What other historical events were occurring during this person’s lifetime?
    • How did they impact your subject?
    • Did your subject impact these historical events? How?
  • What did your subject do? (profession or activism)
    • Was it a choice or forced on them?
    • If they chose, why did they choose to do this?
    • How did it impact them?

​​​​Your answers to these questions will provide you with keywords and help you make connections.