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Book Review   ::   Essay Journal   ::   Film   ::   Mapping   ::   Reading Selections Assignment   ::   Research Paper

Book Review Assignment

Read and write a 2-4 page interpretative essay on the historical significance of the Dominguez Escalante Expedition and the journal's impact on Utah's History.

  1. Use specific page number references and brief quotes from the journal to substantiate your points. The Dominguez Escalante Journal is a primary document that gives us a 1776 window to view Utah through.
  2. What do we learn? How was the expedition significant then? How did it impact Utah's history later? Why is it valuable presently?
  3. Use the above questions to assist you in defining how to think and write about this topic.

Points : 50 possible

Essay Journal

In lieu of exams, below are 10 essay questions that you need to prepare good, insightful answers for. You may use any of the reading information from your assignments or any other source, but most of the information will come from Utah: The Right Place.

In writing an essay answer, the recommended method to ensure the most points is to

  1. turn the question in to the topic heading/thesis of your answer. For example if the question read: "What caused the Civil War?" Your answer should start: "The Civil War was caused by ..."
  2. then go to work on answering the question. After years of reading essay answers by students many times they do not answer the question that I asked or their answer is so general and/or vague that they do not get as good a score as they maybe could have had. Work into your essay answers specific details and examples from history, add interpretations and conclusions.

Remember that history is not merely remembering the past but interpreting the past. To get full points you must interpret and draw conclusions in addition to showing understanding of the material.

Points : Each essay is worth 25 points for a total of 250 points. Each answer should be 1-2 typed pages in length. The essays should be turned in as one assignment NOT one at a time.

Essay Questions
  1. How has/does the geography of the state impacted its history and economy?
  2. Who were the early (prehistoric) peoples of Utah and what were their lives like? What changes did the acquisition of the horse bring for the Ute People?
  3. Outline who the significant mountain men in Utah's History were and what impact mountain men had upon the region.
  4. Why is an understanding of Mormon History and some of their doctrinal beliefs important and justified for Utah History? Outline the role that polygamy had in Utah, include the various anti-polygamy bills and their effect on the territory.
  5. Why was the army sent to Utah in 1857? Outline the events between Buchanan's sending the army and the establishment of Camp Floyd. What impact did the coming of the Army have on Utah? How and why did the Mountain Meadows Massacre occur?
  6. What did the Mormons hope for with the State of Deseret, both in political freedom and boundaries. Even though Utah in its territorial era had a large Mormon majority, what non-Mormon interests kept it from Statehood for thirty years? There were at least three distinctive Mormon practices that Washington politicians felt must become 'Americanized' before Utah was ready to be made a state. What were they and how were these concerns addressed.
  7. Compare and contrast the settlement of Utah by the Mormons and other Western States' settlement. With the coming of the railroad to Utah in 1869, Brigham Young did his best to change the economic picture of the territory. What steps did he take and what was his rational in doing so?
  8. One biographer of Brigham Young describes him as an "American Moses," the Saints called him "Brother Brigham," upon hearing of his many wives great numbers of people in the U.S. thought of him as a harem master, and the federal government thought of him as a "pain-in-the-#@%." How should history view Brigham Young? Defend your answer.
  9. What changes occurred in Utah as a result of the Depression, and how did World War II impact Utah?
  10. What are at least three present issues in Utah that have historical roots and why should the politicians, society, state and federal agencies, etc. think about historical factors in reaching their decisions? (Use specific examples in your answer.) How does the Federal Government's ownership of 70% of the land in Utah impact the state today? Outline the historic uses in the urban verses rural arguments that are rocking the state concerning public land use.


The film Utah: The Struggle for Statehood parts 1 - 4 should be watched. An overview of each of the two sections of film with a critique of 1 - 2 pages, should be completed. Treat the film as a document and discuss purpose, intent, bias, audience, etc. Do not merely retell the film.

This film assignment is a floating assignment. The suggested due date for this assignment is at the end of week 5, however, you may choose to complete the assignment anytime before the end of week 15.

Utah: The Struggle for Statehood , video 1995 KUED. It is available at most libraries in Utah and available for sale at University of Utah Press, 101 USB, Salt Lake City, UT. 84112 (800) 773-6672.

  • Cost is $34.95 plus $4.95 Shipping and handling. Return time is approximately 1 - 2 weeks.
  • They will accept Visa and MasterCard.
  • You may also rent a copy of the videos from the Independent Study office for $25 and $10 will be returned to you upon return of the video.

Points : 50 possible

Mapping and Geography Assignment

Trails mapping, historical sites map(s), physiography map(s). Prepare maps using any medium e.g., hand-drawn copied and hi-lighted, downloaded from Internet, etc. Make as many maps as you need.

Points : 100 possible for all—33 points each.

Trails and Boundaries of Deseret Mapping

  • The Mormon Trail from Independence to The Great Salt Lake
  • The Old Spanish Trail
  • Pony Express Trail
  • The State of Deseret (proposed state, not what became Utah)

Historic Locations Map(s)

(make as many maps as you need)
  • Fort Bridger
  • Fort Uintah
  • Fort Douglas
  • Cove Fort
  • Camp Floyd
  • Mountain Meadows
  • Hole in the Wall

Physiography locations

(make as many maps as you need)

  • The Great Basin/Colorado Plateau Province Hinge Line
  • The Uinta Mountains
  • Wasatch Mountains
  • Henry Mountains
  • Oquirrh Mountains
  • Rivers
    • Bear
    • Ogden
    • Weber
    • Provo
    • Strawberry
    • Duchesne
    • Green
    • Colorado
    • Jordan
    • San Juan
    • Virgin
  • Lakes
    • The Great Salt Lake
    • Lake Bonneville
    • Utah
    • Bear
    • Powell
    • Flaming Gorge
  • Valleys
    • Cache
    • Salt Lake
    • Utah
    • San Pete
    • Sevier
    • Ashley
  • National Parks
    • Arches
    • Bryce Canyon
    • Capitol Reef
    • Zion's

Reading Selections Assignment

In addition to your texts there are four reading selections written by the instructor included in this syllabus: Read and write a 1-2 page interpretative commentary on each of the readings. How does this information fit with your previously held ideas and opinions on this topic? Why is it significant to Utah's History? What did you learn?

Points : 100 possible, 25 each.

  1. Antoine Robidoux—Buckskin Entrepreneur ( PDF , DOC )
  2. The Common Touch ( PDF , DOC )
  3. Ute Lands and People ( PDF , DOC )
  4. Whose Land. In the section 'Whose Land,' please understand that you may not have known anything about the specifics of jurisdiction or some of the other issues, however the concepts of land use, urban verses rural thinking, environmentalism, etc. are of particular significance to all Western states and regions. ( PDF , DOC )

Research Paper

Every student will prepare a research paper on a topic of their choosing as long as it covers some aspect of Utah's History. These papers should be typed, double spaced with regular margins, and 10 - 15 pages in text length. Include a typed title page and bibliography of sources. Please no slick cover folders—the instructor greatly prefers a typed title page and the paper stapled together.

Primary history documents are sources from a first-person perspective and include: letters, diaries, journals, surveys, statistics, government surveys, etc. Period newspapers (newspapers from the time of the event) are quasi-primary documents. Secondary documents include studies of historic topics in books and journals written by historians. Your research paper should contain a mixture of primary and secondary sources, if your topic is appropriate oral interviews are considered primary sources and are acceptable.

A minimum of 10 different sources with minimum of two primary documents are required. Include a bibliography or works cited page.

Good writing is expected for all the assignments and the format for history should follow Kate L. Thurabian's book, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (University of Chicago Press, paperback 6th edition. For annotation of sources follow the Thurabian Style Manual, 6th Edition. For examples of annotation see Antoine Robidoux—Buckskin Entrepreneur ( PDF ).

Include an introduction with a clearly stated thesis . The body of your paper comes next and should include the narrative of events and your evidence and interpretations of arguments. Your arguments should be based on evidence not merely your opinion. One on the main points of college writing is forming informed opinions based on researched evidence and then analysis of that evidence. The final part of your paper is the conclusion . This is not the place to introduce new evidence or arguments but to sum up those already outlined in the body of your paper. Keep in mind this is formal writing . Avoid contractions, first and second person pronouns, colloquial expressions and slang, etc.

Points : 100 possible

Copyright 2008, John D. Barton. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, January 16). Assignments. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License