Assignment Overview

History is the process of understanding texts and their contexts. We learn about history through the documents and artifacts left by those who came before us. The historical essays in this course provide the opportunity to analyze a variety of primary source documents in order to engage with the context of key historical figures. This fourth essay takes us into the debate about American involvement in Vietnam through the lens of a speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson and the testimony of Vietnam War veteran John Kerry.

Assignment Instructions

  1. Review the following,
  2. Read the documents carefully and respond to the following questions in a cohesive essay, with an introduction, a series of body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Be sure to use short, direct quotes from the documents to back up your ideas; avoid over-quoting.
    • Summarize Johnson’s justifications for American participation in the Vietnam War. In addition, explain how Johnson hopes to persuade his audience (both present and the wider audience who would hear this speech via television) that America really was doing the right thing.
    • Summarize Kerry’s key points in his report to the Senate Committee. Consider what would be motivating a veteran to say the things he was saying. What was Kerry hoping to accomplish by focusing on the material he did in his report?
    • Assess the positions of these two men. Were there points made by either that especially resonated with you or that you disagreed with? If so, which ones, and why did you feel this way?

Assignment Requirements

  • 900-1,200 word paper
  • Times New Roman, 12-point font and double spaced
  • Cite course resources in proper APA formatting
  • Communicate with clarity and coherence
  • Minimal spelling, punctuation, and capitalization errors

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