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In many respects, Lyndon Baines Johnson was the quintessential “Texan,” displaying many of the qualities that people around the world ascribe to the Lone Star State. How did LBJ’s past–and that of his home state–influence his political beliefs?

The paper shall be a formal scholarly composition on an approved historical topic. The paper should be between 1000 and 1500 words.

Due dates are inviolable and not negotiable.

Although secondary sources will be permitted, the writer should strive to utilize a preponderance of primary sources where possible.

The following form shall be used.

Typeface: Times New Roman
Font size: 12 point
Ink color: black
Margins: 1 on all sides
Numbering: all pages after the first in the upper right corner
Cover page: no
Headers and Footers: no
Footnotes: follow the Chicago formatting guidelines
Bibliography: follow the Chicago formatting guidelines

The following are helpful suggestions. They will also serve as a rule-of-thumb for any paper, any class. Having said that, understand that some disciplines have a specific format. There are also professors who have their own preferences. It is your grade so follow the instructions of that professor. Otherwise, in the absence of instructions to the contrary, follow these suggestions.

1. Avoid the use of I, We, You, etc.

2. Do not use passive voice (which is not the same thing as past tense). Always say, I made the mistake. Not Mistakes were made by me, or even worse, Mistakes were made. In other words, put the subject before the predicate.

3. Beware the comma splice. By itself, a comma cannot link two sentences. When you have two independent clauses, use a semicolon. Thus: The lawyer feared the consequences of his actions; (not a comma) he knew they might result in a jail sentence.

4. Avoid run-on sentences.

5. Avoid sentence fragments.

6. Do not use contractions (don t, won t, etc.) in formal papers.

7. Pronouns require a clear antecedent. Make sure that whenever you use a pronoun (he, she, it, etc.), your reader can clearly identify the noun to which it refers.

8. Pronouns must agree with antecedents in number and gender. Remember that collective nouns (team, Congress, government, Senate, etc.) require a singular pronoun and a singular verb. i. e.: the Senate is, not the Senate are, unless you are in England. It is one of those things that makes our English American, and, therefore, different from the King s/Queen s English!

9. People deserve personal pronouns. They are who, not it. Thus say, the person who threw the ball, not the person that threw the ball.

10. Paragraphs should contain one idea, and one idea only. Moreover, except in journalism, one sentence is not a paragraph.

11. Ordinarily, do not shift tense in sentences, paragraphs, or papers. In history papers discuss things that happened in the past in past tense. However, if you are discussing what a historian believes, feels, or writes, use present tense to explain his position. Thus, Bernard Bailyn argues that the American patriots believed….

12. Do not end sentences with prepositions (of, in, on, at, etc.).

13. Use quotes, but use them sparingly. Generally speaking, avoid long block quotes. Try to incorporate your quotes into the body of the paper.

14. Do not editorialize, or pass judgment on your subject matter. You are not God; you are a mere scholar. Thus, how can you say for sure that something is good or bad, fortunate or unfortunate

15. The first time you refer to anyone, make sure that you give that person both a first and last name. Thereafter, refer to them only by their last name. In rare instances where you are writing about more than one person with the same last name, as with members of the same family, then it is permissible to refer to them by their first name for clarity.

16. Clearly identify the person you discuss in your text be that person Jesus Christ or George Washington. If you assume that your reader knows nothing, you will usually be on pretty safe ground.

17. Do not use slang (hangin , homies, etc.), colloquialisms (this dog won t hunt), obvious clich s (take it to the next level), or profanity (ass, crap, etc.).

18. Do not split infinitives. i. e.: do not say to boldly go where no man has gone before. Say boldly to go or to go boldly.

19. Avoid the rhetorical question. i. e.: Why do you suppose that people think that Americans are sex maniacs

20. Refer to countries as it, not she or her.

21. This is a rule violated by the best scholars, but try to follow it anyway. When you refer to the North or the South, etc. as nouns, capitalize. When you use northern and southern as adjectives, use the lower case.

22. Avoid parenthetical phrases. i. e.: That is my girlfriend (the one in the blue dress). If it is worth saying, put it into the sentence. That is my girlfriend, the one in the blue dress. Or, My girlfriend is in the blue dress.

23. A rule of thumb regarding numbers is: 1-99, write it out: one, two, etc. One hundred and over can be left as numerals, except at the start of a sentence. Nevertheless, there will be professors who will want something different. It is your grade so follow the professor s directions.

Bibliography entry:
Smith, John. The Land Before Us. New York: Harcourt-Brace and Company, 1991.
Jones, William. Trees, in John Smith, ed., The Land Before Us. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1991. Pp. 123-125.
Newspaper Article:
Jones, William. Trees, The Daily Sentinel. Vol. 9, No. 86, November 9, 1997. P. 1.
Internet Article:
Unsigned, Socrates, Philosophypages.com, http://www.philosophypages.com/ph/socr.htm. 2005.

Footnotes/Endnotes (usually 9 or 10-point font/your computer usually does this for you):
John Smith, The Land Before Us, (New York: Harcourt-Brace and Company, 1991). P.26.
William Jones, Trees, in John Smith, ed., The Land Before Us, (New York: Harcourt-Brace and Company, 1991). P. 125.
Unsigned, Socrates, Philosophypages.com, (http://www.philosophypages.com/ph/socr.htm). 2005.

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