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HST 201 Colorado State Global Campus Thomas Jefferson Project

Option #1: A Notable Person: Biography in Essay

For the final Portfolio Project, option #1, write a paper about a person in a period of United States history from exploration to 1877, and explain a challenge the person faced, what that challenge was, and how the person did or did not overcome the challenge.

  • Do not write a complete biography of the person’s life.
  • Focus on a challenge faced by the person.
  • Describe the historical, social, governmental or personal circumstances of the challenge.
  • Explain how the person interacted with the challenge. 
    • Did the person meet the challenge and succeed?
    • Did the challenge defeat the person?
    • Explain the resolution of the challenge. Was it resolved? Did it continue?
    • Does the challenge the person faced continue to challenge American society today? Explain how so or why the challenge no longer exists.

This paper must include a discussion of the following topics:

  • a thorough summary of the event including the incidents that took place and the key individuals involved;
  • the importance of the event in the scheme of U.S. history; and
  • the impact of the event, person, or time in U.S. History.

Simple examples of historical figures and their challenges (do not be limited by this list):

  • Christopher Columbus and the challenge of exploration
  • Pocahontas and the challenge of Jamestown colony
  • Phillis Wheatley and the challenge of being a small female in colonial America
  • Abigail Adams and the challenge of the Revolutionary War
  • Thomas Jefferson and the challenge of living in a slave society
  • Dolly Madison and the challenge of living with a President, James Madison, during a war
  • Andrew Jackson and the challenge of Indian removal
  • William T. Johnson and the challenge of being a free black in antebellum Mississippi
  • James K. Polk and the challenge of the Mexican War
  • James Tallmadge and the challenge of the Tallmadge Amendment
  • Charles Finney and the challenge of being president of Oberlin College
  • John Brown and the challenge of the Kansas-Nebraska Act
  • A Civil War soldier (North or South) and the challenge of the Civil War
  • A freedmen (male or female) and the challenge of Reconstruction


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