wordy shipmates

Overview and Purpose

The purpose of this assignment is to learn more about the development of colonial New England and the role that religion played in early American settlement. At the same time, you will be sharpening your writing skills. The essay will draw from Sarah Vowell’s fascinating book The Wordy Shipmates and the textbook.



The Question

After reading, write an essay that addresses the following question: How did Puritan settlers shape American history? Your essay must include a clear thesis statement and provide concrete examples from the book and the textbook.


The direction you take is entirely your own, but you might consider the following themes or questions:

  • Examine American exceptionalism and the Puritan worldview
  • Explore the roots of democracy during the colonial period
  • Dissect the interactions between settlers and natives
  • Appraise Puritan theology and Congregationalist churches
  • Analyze the consequences of the Pequot War and/or King Philip’s War
  • Investigate Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and the founding of Rhode Island
  • Study the role of women in Massachusetts Bay Colony and colonial America


Before writing, please refer to the grading rubric and other course resources posted on Blackboard. If you have any questions or need help, please contact me.



The Draft (Due at 7:00 p.m. sharp in class on Wednesday, February 25)

You are turning in a draft to learn that writing is a process and that good writers always revise. It will also help you improve your final essay (and final essay grade)! The draft should be complete and include all criteria listed in the grading rubric as well as all citations and a works cited page or bibliography.


The draft will be graded with the same standards and rubric as the final version. You will be docked points for a short essay, missing citations, a missing works cited page, using poor sources, or other criteria defined in the grading rubric. If you plagiarize the draft, you will be turned in to the University’s Student Affairs Officer. You must attach your graded draft to the final version.




The Final Essay (due at 7:00 p.m. sharp in class on Wednesday, March 25)

After receiving and considering my feedback on your draft, work on developing a better, stronger final essay. To do so, refer back to the course resources on Blackboard, the readings and evidence, and my comments on the grading rubric. I would also suggest that you take a version to the Writing Center. If you plagiarize the final essay, you will fail the entire course.



Requirements (Draft and Essay):

  • A 4–5 page essay, double spaced, 12-point font, and 1” margins.
  • In-text citations with page numbers for any material quoted or paraphrased from another author as well as a works cited page or bibliography. Acceptable citation formats are MLA, Chicago, APA, or other academically accepted styles; the most important thing about citations is to be consistent and follow your chosen style guide. While some style guides make page numbers optional, they are required for the purposes of this assignment. Please go to the Writing Center if you need help with formatting citations.
  • Please put your name, course number, and section number on all assignments.
  • Be sure to keep your graded draft and turn it in along with your final essay. Failure to do so will result in a 10% deduction from your final essay grade.


Due Dates:

  • Draft: Due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, February 25.
  • Final Essay: Due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, March 25.




Academic integrity is an important requirement for this course. Plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct will not be tolerated. As a student, you are responsible for knowing how to avoid plagiarism. For more information, please see the Student Code of Conduct, available at http://judicialaffairs.tamucc.edu/studentcofc.html. Any student guilty of academic misconduct may receive a failing grade for the course and will be reported to the university’s Judicial Affairs Officer.