5-6 page essay (Chicago format) Answering the Question: “How American Was Baseball?”

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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 title—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, America’s National Game, Albert Spalding claimed, “To enter upon a deliberate argument to prove that Base Ball is our National Game…that it has all the attributes of American origin [and] American character…is like a solemn declaration that two plus two equals four.” 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 Spalding’s assertion. How American was baseball?

A compelling essay will gauge the “American-ness” or the “un-American-ness” of baseball in multiple ways. It will explore the game’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 “American” 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-evidence— 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 Ritter’s The Glory of Their Times.


Oral History (1) Novel – Lawrence Ritter’s “The Glory of Their Times”