HIS 100 Secondary Source Analysis Worksheet

While primary sources are immediate, first-hand accounts of a topic from people who had a direct connection with it, secondary sources often quote or use primary sources.

The following worksheet was developed by one of our writers. Read it to get a better understanding of how to complete a secondary source analysis worksheet.

Prompt: Replace the bracketed text with information from a secondary source of your choice. Be sure to include specific examples (page numbers, etc.). See the Sample Secondary Source Analysis Worksheet for reference on how to complete this assignment.

Full APA citationMeyerson, M. (2009). Liberty’s Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World. Basic Books.
Identify author and describe potential biases.Michael Meyerson, a legal scholar. The author may potentially rely on legal sources and explain the argument in the legal context while ignoring the historical context. Since Meyerson is not a professional historian, he is more likely to ignore the current political, social and legal context in his course of study. Meyerson recognizes this bias and attempts to include the current political, social and legal relevance in the study
Identify thesis and arguments.Thesis: The federalist offers insight into how the framers of the Constitution’s original intent about American beliefs, values and behavior   Arguments: The Federalist shows that it may make sense to be partially originalist. Since the contributors to the Federalist were involved in the drafting of the Constitution, the ideas in the Federalist shows the framers’ original intent.   The federalist presented the issues about the separation of powers and federalism (Meyerson, 2009, p.7) The federalists defined the powers for the federal government, and the powers reserved for the states. The powers of the federal government include defense, and signing treaties. The states’ powers include collection of taxes.   The federalist intended to form the government of the people, by the people and for the people (Meyerson, 2009).
What primary sources did the source rely on?Washington’s letter to James Madison from National Archives’ Founders Online Collection  Washington’s letter to John Jay from National Archives’ Founders Online Collection.  
Is the source reliable and convincing? Why or why not?The source is reliable and convincing because the author does not favor any side. The author provides arguments from Washington and Thomas Jefferson who disagreed on some issues such as religious freedom. The source is convincing by presenting Washington’s ideas. Washington wanted a democratic government, and a union. Most importantly, the framers of the Constitution had to deliberate on the separation of powers and federalism. The framers of the Constitution had to separate the powers of federal government and those reserved for the states.
How does the source relate to your project topic? How does it add to what you already know about the topic?My project topic is “Drafting of the U.S Constitution. The source related to my project topic by giving insights into the founding fathers’ original intent in drafting the Constitution. The founding fathers wanted a form of government that will help in solving the problems in the world through democracy. The source adds knowledge on the founding fathers’ original intent. By following the Federalist, an individual can learn how to approach issues that affect the United States currently. For example, medical marijuana and war on terrorism. The source shows that the Federalists were more concerned about liberty, rather than democracy. They wanted to form a government where people will be free from want and terrorism. By following the Federalist, it is sufficient to say that people should be at liberty to pursue happiness, as long their pursuit of happiness does not interfere with other people’s pursuit of happiness.
Secondary source analysis worksheet.

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