You will write an essay using “Civil Disobedience” and relating it to current events—Activists took down monuments to Civil War figures (including some at our Hall of Fame). Protestors around the country have demonstrated against the dismissal of the Dream Act.

ENG 150 Essay on “Civil Disobedience”

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You will write an essay using “Civil Disobedience” and relating it to current events—Activists took down monuments to Civil War figures (including some at our Hall of Fame). Protestors around the country have demonstrated against the dismissal of the Dream Act. People from across the country fought against the removal of children from their immigrant parents. There are many, many examples, and you can you choose any of them to talk about. (As these are current events, you should have no trouble finding sources in newspapers and magazines. Do not use Wikipedia and only use a .com if it is a news organization.) See the chart on the screencast.

Your final research essay should be about 500 words (2 double spaced typed pages + a Works Cited page for a minimum total of 3 pages). You should use a total of 3 quotes and/or paraphrases, at least one from each of two articles + you must use at least 2 quotes/paraphrases from “Civil Disobedience.” You may use more but be very sparing in your quotes. Quote in MLA style. Examples are below and on Blackboard. Remember to proofread as grammar and spelling errors will reduce your grade.

Your paper must have a purpose: to persuade your audience of your position.

  1. What is the central/main question that your research paper will attempt to answer? This is your thesis. How does Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” continue to influence people today? How can acts of civil disobedience in the U.S. or around the world be explained? There have been so many in such a short period of time. Is there a reason for this?
  2. Start to write and organize your thoughts. Consider what research you will include after you have put your ideas together.
  3. After you have your rough draft, ask yourself So What? Spend a few minutes trying to summarize the most important thing you think a reader should understand about your topic. This will be hard, but it is key to making your writing clear. If you don’t have a so what? You don’t have a paper.
  4. Make a sentence outline to help you organize your essay. Write your complete thesis sentence at the top of your paper. Then for each paragraph write a complete topic sentence. When you are finished, read your sentence outline. Does it make sense? Can you follow it easily? Does it have an answered main question answered and a so what?


How to use citations in your research essay

The rule of thumb is to write your research paper in your own words unless you want to capture the exact words of another writer for a special purpose. The following examples show how students have woven research into their own sentences.

  1. Theatrical comedy represents a tradition as old as drama itself, and as culturally varied. For example Japanese actors have staged comedies known as “kyogen since the fourteenth century” (Anderson 15).

The student reports on her research in her own words; she cites the material because the information is not general knowledge; it is taken from material she has researched.

  1. Strawberry’s rookie statistics speak for themselves: “26 home runs, 74 runs batted in, and a .257 average” (Salamone 36). What is not apparent is that he accumulated these totals in less than a full season.

Notice how the student controls the material by her own remark: “Strawberry’s rookie statistics speak for themselves.” He cited the statistics because Strawberry’s exact record is not general knowledge.


  1. Rommel’s diligence and his “ability to adapt his campaigns to the climate and terrain of the desert” was not surpassed (Stevens 86).

Here the student uses the quotation because he wants to capture the precise phrasing, but he does not want to include the author in his own sentence. He fits the quotation into his sentence.


  1. Promising to return Germany to its former glory, Hitler was jubilantly welcomed as a “true leader . . . a symbol of peace, unity, and social justice” (Frank 69).

Notice how the student tailors the quotation to suit his purpose. Again, he includes the author of the words in the parenthetical citation because his emphasis is on the expression.


  1. The first time you use a quotation, include author and page number in parentheses.
    • In order to become police officers, candidates have to pass a series of exams, among them psychological tests and a physical fitness test, which “assumes that being physically fit is a good predictor of job success for fire and police department personnel” (Rogers 27).
    • Notice how the quotation above is incorporated into the writer’s sentence.


  1. Whether you paraphrase or summarize, you must cite your source.
  • Women in the police force testified that while they had been tested on carrying bodies, they had never seen it done on the job (Rogers 42).
  • Notice that this is a paraphrase, so there are no “quotes” but you must still cite the source.


  1. If you use the author’s name in your sentence, you do not need to repeat it in parentheses.
  • James Riley claims that “the police force would be stronger if it hired more women” (13).


  1. You can also break up the quotation in different ways.
  • “The police force,” claims James Riley, “would be stronger if it hired more women” (13).


  1. If you take something out of a quotation, you must alert the reader to this with the use of ellipses: Three spaced periods . . .
  • Frances Langley claims that “having lower standards allows more women to be hired and . . . helps departments with affirmative action requirements” (24).



Your Works Cited page will have a minimum of three sources: “Civil Disobedience” and the two other articles you use to prove your point.



You will find an example of what a Works Cited page looks like on the next page.


Bridgid O’Shaughnessy

English 50-9037D

Prof. S. Amper

September 1, 2018

Works Cited

Courtwright, David T. “The Cowboy Subculture.”  Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder from the Frontier of the Inner City. Cambridge: Harvard UP., 2001. 97-119.

Hines. Robert V and John Mack Farragher.” Open Range.” Frontiers: A Short History of the American west. New Haven, 2007.8-19

Murdoch, David H. “Manufacturing Images.” The American West: The Invention of a Myth. Reno: U of Reno P, 2001. 64-73.

—.“The Myth Makers”. The American West: The Invention of a Myth. Reno: U of Reno P, 2001. 83-92.

Schaefer, Jack. Shane: The Critical Edition. Ed. James C. Work. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P. 1984.