Critical analysis of Defending Slavery by Finkelman

Order Description

Defending Slavery Critique
Instructions for your critical analysis based on Defending Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Old South, by Paul Finkelmen
Due Date: via email ( by March 16th, 11:59pm, no exceptions (NOTE: you will receive +5 extra points if you submit your paper by March 9 and it is properly formatted!!

Worth: +100 points

Format: Essay must be emailed as a Microsoft Word 2010 document (or newer) or Rich Text file. No PDF formats (Portable Document File), no Word Pad, no Google documents, no Web links, please! Your paper must be emailed as a Word 2010 or newer attachment. Do not use the text window portion of your email to send your final paper! Do not ask me to open your paper from the “cloud” or “cyberspace.” Please take advantage of the Library Tutors, Writing Center, or OWL.

Length: Minimum 1500 to Maximum 1800 words. On the first page at the top left hand corner and right after your name students must include the word count and submission date. Depending on the severity of the infraction, +10 to +20 points will be automatically deducted for (1) papers not reaching the established word count and/or (2) late submissions. Point deductions are used to encourage early and timely submission of this serious assignment. No paper will be accepted 3 days after the due date!

Stay alert: 48 hours after you email me your final paper you will received a confirmation receipt from me. Please appreciate that it is the students responsibility to secure a “confirmation email receipt” from me. If you do not received one after 48 hours, then contact me immediately. Again, please wait two days before you contact me or re-submit your paper. Note: Students who previously attempt this class must contact me immediately to discuss an alternate book critique.

Expectations: All students will produce a university-level and academically sound typewritten critical analysis on Defending Slavery by Finkelman. Please appreciate that this semester I will not accept rough drafts. I strongly encourage everyone to visit the Library Tutor, Writing Center, or us OWL to polish your paper.


Your overall objective is to master the major themes in Defending Slavery by Finkelman. This will require a full reading of the book and some good old fashion “thinking.” Please appreciate that this is not a research paper, hence, you do NOT need to consult or cite outside sources. However, I do expect the use of carefully selected points from the book to demonstrate that you read it. Again, criticize the book using solely the evidence from the book and cite the evidence appropriately. The physical aspect of this critique, and to measure your Student Learning Outcome, must follow the parameters below:

Grammar and Syntax

1. Please follow MLA format: double-space, Times Roman, 12 font, 1 inch margins, 1500 to 1800 word count.
2. Organization is imperative: introduction, body, conclusion.
3. Ensure transitional lines between paragraphs. Transitional lines/sentences are crucial to ensure continuity of thought.
4. At all cost avoid or limit the “passive voice” and write in the “active voice.” (e.g.: limit the use of “is, are, was, were, should, could, would, have, had, has.”)
5. Avoid first-person singular. Limit the use of “I” (e.g.: I really like this book… I think the author argues…in my opinion…etc.)
6. Avoid the negative-voice. (e.g.: “I didn’t like this or that”)
7. Avoid generalizations by providing specific evidence from the readings (don’t forget to cite it!)
8. Use a thesaurus (or dictionary) to expand your vocabulary (e.g.: instead of “happy,” use “elated” or “ecstatic.”)
9. Please avoid rhetorical jargon and platitudes!

10. Read Elements of Style by Strunk and White to improve any stylistic challenges.

11. I will expect a professionally written critique.

12. All papers must indicate the word count and date of submission on the first page next to your name.

13. All final papers will be emailed to me at


Grading Rubric

1. +10 points:

Provide an overall summary of the book including its major themes/points raised by author. This can be accomplished in less than one page. Again, your first page should be a summary of the whole book.


2. +10 points:

After you summarize the book, in one paragraph you must identify at least two themes/points made by the author which you plan to discuss/analyze. Again, after you summarize the book, in one single paragraph you must specifically identify your two points for analysis. I am confident that after reading over 200 pages of this book, you can comment, reflect, and or criticize at least two points made by Paul Finkelman.

3. +60 points:

Once you summarize the book and identified your two themes, then provide a critical analysis on your selected themes. Please appreciate that this section constitutes the most important part of your paper. Now, what constitutes a critical analysis? By this I do not mean whether you like or dislike the author’s objectives. By this I do not mean that you must retell the story again (remember, I already read the book and you already summarize the major themes!) You must discuss/reflect critically on your selected themes. In this process you must be support your contentions with evidence from the reading. Your critique must be thoughtful and nicely organized. Remember that there are no right or wrong responses, but you will have to defend your contentions with your analysis and evidence from the reading. You may want to consider the below as you develop your critique:

a. Did the author succeed in developing the themes?

b. Do you agree with the themes? If not, why not and provide evidence.

c. What did you enjoy about the book or what did you dread?

d. Would you recommend this book?

Please appreciate that a critique is your opinion based on the evidence (emphasis on evidence!)


Notes on Citations:

This book critique is NOT a research term paper. I do not want a paper full of long (block) quotations from the book or any other outside source. I most certainly do not want footnotes or endnotes. The paper is an exercise in critical thinking based on your selected themes. If you consult professional sources then merely use them as a “guide” to your paper. Try to get some “idea” on how others have treated the book. Think of the paper as an “op-ed’ (opposition to the editorial opinion or in this the author) piece in your local newspaper. Finkelman makes an argument (his opinion) and your role is to identify it, evaluate it, and, of course criticize it! Obviously, to make your point/opinion you will need to quote certain sections from the book, but please limit them and cite them properly. Again, please do not rely on outside sources to develop your paper.


4. +10 points:

Conclusion: properly summarize your critique. All papers must deliver a proper conclusion.

5. +10 Grammar, syntax, organization of paper.