During the late 18th century, as two recent historians observe, “The city [of London] was the scene of great extremes of affluence and poverty.


During the late 18th century, as two recent historians observe, “The city [of London] was the scene of great extremes of affluence and poverty. Its fabric was held together by wealth made from slavery and empire.” Write a short paper in which you examine the relationship between slavery and colonialism abroad and the economic development and culture of Britain. How did the empire come “home” to Britain and cities such as London and Liverpool, affecting everything from people’s diets to their working lives? You may choose to consider not only the ways that Britons benefited from colonialism abroad, but also how wealth and practices from the colonies led to growing inequalities in metropolitan Britain, even the criminalization of whole categories of workers and poverty itself. While some segments of British society and the economy overall benefited immensely from the slave trade and slavery, as the historian Peter Linebaugh writes, “The international circuit of sugar brought the violence of its social relations back to London, where indeed it had begun.”


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Requirements and Guidelines

The essay should be roughly 1000 words (or 4-5 double-spaced pages) in length. It should begin with a clear statement of the scope and focus of the paper as well as a succinct statement of the overall argument. The argument must be supported with material from the course readings AND at least one source from the following databases: Legacies of British Slave-Ownership [http://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/] and The Proceedings of Old Bailey (London’s Central Criminal Court, 1674-1913) [http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/].

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Do NOT use outside sources. Be creative in your use of the sources available to you, choose specific examples that best support your argument(s), and analyze and combine them in a clear and persuasive paper.

Formatting Instructions

Use 12-point font, Times New Roman, with 1” (not 1.25”) margins. Put your name and only the number of the essay question you are answering at the top of the first page. Put page numbers at the bottom of the page. Do not waste space putting the course name, my name, the quarter, etc. at the top of the paper. (You can put that information in one line as a header or footer if you wish.)

Paper Structure

Successful papers generally have a specific structure. I don’t insist that you use exactly this structure, but if you are unsure how to write a successful paper, follow these guidelines:

The introductory paragraph should summarize the topic of the paper and your main argument (i.e. the thesis of your paper), and introduce the texts you are drawing on.

Each paragraph of the paper should be about one-third or half of a page; each paragraph should be about one key issue pertaining to your thesis, and each paragraph should have a topic sentence. In other words, the first sentence of the paragraph should summarize the content of the paragraph as a whole or the paragraph’s main idea. (You may want to finish a draft, go back and reread the draft, and then insert or modify your topic sentences.)

The bulk of your paper will be taken up with discussion/analysis of the readings and sources in terms of the essay question. Each of the discussion/analysis paragraphs should contain, develop, and demonstrate one main idea. You should structure your paragraphs by theme or point your argument (rather than an individual source or example).

It is important that you link your discussion/analysis paragraphs together with transition sentences. In other words, to make your paper flow smoothly, the last sentence of Paragraph A should connect thematically to Paragraph B (or the first sentence of Paragraph B should invoke a theme or connection to Paragraph A); then repeat with Paragraph B and Paragraph C, then Paragraph C and Paragraph D, and so on.

In your concluding paragraph, you should summarize briefly what the paper was about and what your analysis has revealed—in sum, your argument. The concluding paragraph should be one paragraph. Because the paper is short, do not use section headings.

Citing and Quoting

Be sure to introduce or contextualize AND to cite your sources. When you are quoting from a reading, make sure that the quotation fits grammatically into the sentence you are writing and that you explain how it supports or demonstrates your points. Don’t just dump it in. In the discipline of history, we use Chicago style for citations (which take the form of footnotes) – you should do the same. Include citations in footnotes or endnotes in Chicago style when referencing or quoting from a text: for example, Kennetta Hammond Perry, London Is the Place for Me: Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 35. For guidance on the proper formatting of your footnotes and bibliography, consult The Chicago Manual of Style; Kate L. Turbian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (both are available online and in the library)

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