Formatting Guidelines: Your essay should be 5-6 pages in length (less than four full pages is definitely too short; more than six pages is too long). Your essay must be typed, double-spaced, use 12point, and have one-inch margins. Give your essay a titleâ€”though no title pages please. In the upper-left corner of your essay, include three single-spaced lines with: (1) your name; (2) the class number); and (3) the date you are turning in the essay.
In his 1911 book, Americaâ€s National Game, Albert Spalding claimed, â€œTo enter upon a deliberate argument to prove that Base Ball is our National Gameâ€¦that it has all the attributes of American origin [and] American characterâ€¦is like a solemn declaration that two plus two equals four.â€ Baseball, in other words, is 100% American. Using information from course readings, lectures, and document workshops through (and only through) Thursday February 6, please write an essay in which you assess Spaldingâ€s assertion. How American was baseball?
A compelling essay will gauge the â€œAmerican-nessâ€ or the â€œun-American-nessâ€ of baseball in multiple ways. It will explore the gameâ€s origins and how it changed over time; it will consider the way the game did or did not parallel large American trends outside of baseball at this time; it will assess the way the game did or did not embody â€œAmericanâ€ values. Your answers to these types of questions will provide the building blocks for your larger, overall argument.
An outstanding essay (1) will have a clearly stated thesis statement (i.e. your argument) that explicitly answers the above question; (2) will support that argument with evidence drawn from class meetings and readings (I will include articles); and (3) will present counter-evidenceâ€” that is, it will include at least one full paragraph in which you explore why one might answer the question counter to the way you are, but then explain why your interpretation is more compelling (the paragraph right before your conclusion is an appropriate place in which to consider your counter-evidence).
EVIDENCE REQUIREMENT: You must explicitly reference (a) at least two of the primary source documents assigned so far this semester in lecture and document workshop meetings; (b) at least one of the secondary-source essays assigned in lecture and document workshop meetings; and (c) at least one of the oral histories in Lawrence Ritterâ€s The Glory of Their Times.
National Brotherhood of Base Ball Players, â€œThe Brotherhood Manifestoâ€ (1889); and Albert G. Spalding, â€œThe NL Responds to the Brotherhood Manifestoâ€ (1889)
Albert G. Spalding, Americaâ€s National Game: Historic Facts Concerning the Beginning, Evolution, Development and Popularity of Base Ball (1911; reprint, Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 3-14
Jennifer Ring, â€œEnter Softball,â€ in Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Donâ€t Play Baseball (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 59-72
â€œBaseball Promotes â€˜Local Prideâ€ in New York City,â€ New York Times (September 23, 1888)
â€œA Defense of Baseball as Manly Exercise,â€ New York Times (September 27, 1856)
Ronald Story, â€œThe Country of the Young: The Meaning of Baseball in Early American Culture,â€ in John E. Dreifort, ed., Baseball History From Outside the Lines: A Reader (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2001), 19-33
Oral History (1) Novel – Lawrence Ritter’s “The Glory of Their Times”
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