?Source Analysis Exercise

From Absolutism to Napoleon, 1648-1815


The purpose of these exercises is to enhance your ability to analyze primary sources, relate their contents to other textual evidence, and engage in the practice of historical interpretation. Each student will compose a short written response in which they answer the questions below based on their reading of the selected document as well as their knowledge of relevant course materials. Please look over the questions before you read the document. Papers should be approximately 700 words (two to three pages), typed and double-spaced in twelve-point font, and edited for spelling and grammatical errors. They should also paraphrase or directly quote the document where appropriate, though you do not need to include formal citations. Whenever you reference any other source, make sure to specify the title of the work along with the name(s) of its author(s).


  • Who is the author of this text and what is it about?
  • What do you think motivated the author to write this piece and why?
  • How does the document relate to themes discussed in lecture or course readings?
  • What does the document tell us about your chosen topic during the time period in question?
  • What did you find most interesting about this text and why?

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