American Dreams Assignment #4: Research Essay

Imagine that you are writing an essay for a college publication whose theme is American Dreams. For this essay, you will have the opportunity to write about one of the following broad groups, all of which have been the focus of our readings, who have engaged in a particular struggle with this concept: women, immigrants, or workers. Your thesis-driven essay must narrow the terms you are using to define this group and incorporate the sources from your annotated bibliography to answer one of the questions below (which have been adapted from our American Dreams reader):

1) From our readings (Stanton, Anthony, Friedan) and beyond, trace the themes of American Dreams as they relate to equal rights for women. Create an argument that illustrates the extent to which these rights have persisted, have evolved, or have been satisfied. If they have not been satisfied, what work in the area of equal rights for women remains? (126)

2) Through analysis of the readings about immigration (Carnegie, Antin and Rodriguez) and in connection to your research, answer the following: What does it mean to assimilate into American society? What is expected of an assimilated immigrant in the 21st century? How should s/he look, behave, think? (183)

3) “The ‘War on Poverty’ was one of the most influential movements of the late twentieth century. Given Barbara Ehrenreich’s and Paul Krugman’s analyses on low-wage work and the loss of class mobility,” and in connection to your research, “evaluate the success of Johnson’s Great Society program” (239).

Audience: The college community at large

Format: Research Paper: 3000 words (6 pages); MLA style

Advice: Think of your research paper as an opportunity to put these sources in conversation with each other in a way that is organized around your central thesis statement.


Type: Develop an analytical argument using original research that includes both primary and secondary sources.

Pre-Draft Activities:

1. Thesis proposal and peer workshops

2. Outline of research paper

3. Peer workshop of rough draft

4. Rough draft review, revision

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