An important part of the study of history is the analysis of primary sources. People from the past created evidence when they were alive, and it is only by
exploring this evidence that we can begin to understand what happened and why.
Students will analyze and write a 3 page essay on John Smith’s “A True Relation of Such Occurrences…” The purpose of this essay is to consider the
perspective of the author or person speaking in the document, the historical context that the document was created, and what the document tells us about
the role of Indigenous people and settlers in the colonization of North America. Students will address how contemporary Indigenous realities are grounded in
historical events and Indigenous worldview and experience. Students should consider the following questions:
Who is the author? What is their background?
Why are they creating the source? When was the source created?
What context has this source been created in? (What is going on during this period?)
What are the consequences of the source?
Were issues in the present linked to the past?
What issues in the past does the author refer to and how do you think this shaped the event?
How does differing worldviews affect Settler-Indigenous interactions?
This assignment will focus on evidence from the document and consult secondary sources as needed (and cite these sources in the essay where
appropriate). It will be very difficult to provide a convincing analysis of the primary source document if you don’t read a few secondary sources related to the
The essay should include a clearly stated thesis as the last sentence of the first paragraph and provide a consistent and logical argument based on a critical
analysis of the document. Quotations should be used where appropriate and any ideas that are not your own must be cited using footnotes. A thorough edit
and proofread is necessary to ensure the essay is written clearly and in the past tense, using proper grammar and spelling. Students should consider utilizing
Clarkson University’s Writing Center to help make their good paper a GREAT paper. Students are strongly encouraged to contact me (the instructor!) if they
have questions about this assignment.
All work must be double-spaced, 12-point font in Times New Roman, and 1-inch margins. Student name, student ID, due date, instructor’s name, and
assignment title should be written on the title page as per Chicago Style formatting. Proper citations, footnotes, and bibliographies are required with each
assignment and must follow the Chicago Manual of Style (http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-1.html). Students will
submit an electronic copy at any time on the due date. Students are expected to retain copies of all drafts.
John Smith, “A True Relation of Such Occurrences and Accidents of Note as Hath Happened in Virginia Since the First Planting of that Colony, which is now
resident in the South part thereof, till the last return from thence. Written by Captaine Smith one of the said Colony, to a worshipful friend of his in England