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Cranston High School East Library: Early U.S. History - Biographies

Assignment Information

All Early United States History students in Cranston are required to focus on Informational Writing.  This assignment is a 3-4 page research paper in MLA format including a works cited page.  This will count as 1 test grade. The paper will be scored using the district approved Informational Writing rubric. The due date will be at the beginning of the fourth quarter.  

Your assignment is to research a historical figure who had an effect on some aspect of the United States history we will be learning about this year. There are three things ou need to do in your paper.

1. Give information about your person's childhood / early adulthood and the circumstances that they grew up in.  Please understand that the environment we grow up in and the experiences it provides influences us through our lives.

2. Explain the person's accomplishments and their impact on U.S. history.

3. Analyze and support your position on whether your person's extraordinary abilities changed the world in which they lived, or was the world in which they lived the cause of their achievements.

Besides using and citing online sources, it is my hope that you will read a book on your subject. Google Scholar may be used, but your information needs to be verified by various sources.

Suggested People to Research

Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches a variety of academic sources. Not every source listed is available in full text online. 

Google Scholar Search

Google Books

Search for books by title, author or subject.  Some books are availble in their entirety, others have select chapters that can be read for free online. 


American Association of School Librarians Standards for the 21st Century Learner:

1.1.1    Follow an inquiry based process in seeking knowledge in curricular subjects, and make the real world connection for using this process in own life.

1.1.3    Develop and refine a range of questions to frame the search for new understanding.

1.1.4    Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions.  

1.1.5    Evaluate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context.

1.3.1    Respect copyright/intellectual property rights of creators and producers.

1.3.3    Follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information.

1.3.5    Use information technology responsibly.

Common Core State Standards:

CC.11-12.W.1 Text Types and Purposes: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CC.11-12.W.2 Text Types and Purposes: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

CC.11-12.W.2.b Text Types and Purposes: Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.

CC.11-12.W.7 Research to Build and Present Knowledge: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CC.11-12.W.8 Research to Build and Present Knowledge: Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

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AskRI's History Reference Center

The History Reference Center contains a weath of information about American and World History.  You can access it by clicking on the icon above, or by going to the Ebsco database section on

Biography Reference Center

The Biography Reference Center database contains articles about thousands of famous people. is a good source for information about current and historical figures. 

Free Online Citation Creators

Use the free online citation creators below to generate and save citations for all types of sources. 

Purdue OWL MLA Citation Guide

The Purdue Owl guide to MLA is the authority on citation.  This guide contains easy-to-understand directions on formatting citations, in-text (parethetical) citations, and works cited pages in MLA format.