History 104, Block 9, 2004

Modern Europe and Its Critics

History 104




Exams & Quizzes

History Dept.

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Paper on The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage
due on Monday 24 May 2003 by 5:00pm

Directions: Choose one of the options below to address in a paper that is approximately 1000-1250 words in length (or about 4-5 pages). It should be typed, double-spaced and in 12 pt. font. You must also use proper referencing in the form of either footnotes or endnotes (see further instructions and examples of citations below) for any information or ideas you get from the readings provided in class.

You have three options for writing this paper. I would suggest that you begin reading the book, keeping the options in mind, and decide which appeals to you the most. Then outline the paper as you see it and determine whether or not you have a good grasp of the topic before you begin writing. Along with the basic stipulations for each listed below, you will also need to reference all resources properly (see details below on writing footnotes). I would also like you to check in with me during Week Two (or very early Week Three) to give me an update on your progress, or so we can discuss any concerns you have about the paper topic you have selected. And finally, once you commit to a particular topic DO NOT SECOND-GUESS YOURSELF on choosing it…no topic is any better than any other, and no topic will get you a higher grade than any other, so select the one you will enjoy writing the most. (If you have time, a visit to the Writing Studio in the Library is also something many students find helpful.)

Option #1 - Historical significance of the Telegraph
Why was the telegraph so significant during the nineteenth century? What were the main uses of the technology, both intended and unintended? How was the telegraph promoted by its inventors? For this paper option you will need to discuss the major uses of the telegraph and determine which you see as the most significant…meaning, which do you feel did the most to ensure the success of the technology?? Support your conclusions with information from the book itself, as well as class notes from lectures. Additional sources may be used, but are not required with this paper topic.

Option #2 - The Telegraph vs. the Internet
Choose one specific issue from the book (generally found within one specific chapter) and compare it to modern discussions of the Internet. The most obvious connections will be found in Chapter 4 - The Thrill Electric, Chapter 7 - Codes, Hackers and Cheats, Chapter 8 - Love Over the Wires, Chapter 9 - War & Peace in the Global Village, and Chapter 10 - Information Overload. You will need to reference the book itself, as well as finding modern sources (three minimum) that can range from books to articles to the Internet itself.

Option #3 - Negotiate Your Own Topic
If you are particularly struck by an aspect of the book (person, event, the stages of technical development, etc.) and would like to develop your own paper topic, you may do so. You must meet with Dr. Myers to negotiate the parameters of the paper - both the questions to be asked/answered, and the amount of research needed to complete the paper sufficiently. Before getting your heart set on a topic, be sure that you have access to enough sources to justify writing on it.

**All papers will be graded based on how well written they are in terms of: structure, content, grammar, spelling, and coherence. Remember to use a spell-checker (human or machine) before submitting your paper.


Footnotes or Endnotes
You may use either footnotes or endnotes in writing your completed paper, whichever you prefer. For all referencing, however, you must adhere to standard guidelines…see the handout provided for proper referencing form, and ask if you have any questions.

Plagiarism: According to The Compass, "Plagiarism is the act of taking the work of another and presenting it as one's own, without acknowledgement of the original source. ...It is always the responsibility of the student to provide precise sources for all ideas, information, or data he or she has borrowed or adapted. Simply listing sources in a bibliography is not sufficient. Students who use information from the World Wide Web are expected to follow these same guidelines for the citation of sources."

Footnotes or Endnotes
For any piece of information or ideas you use from another source, you must provide a reference. Let me repeat that…for any piece of information or ideas you use from another source, you must provide a reference. If you do not, you are breaking the law - it is called plagiarism, and is a very serious offense (see above).

As a general rule, you should have at least one footnote/endnote per paragraph in your paper. You may list more than one source in the footnote/endnote to save you making too many of them, but you must have all the knowledge you have "borrowed" properly cited.

You can use either footnotes or endnotes. Your computer will automatically insert them for you. To insert a footnote/endnote, place cursor at the end of the sentence and do as follows:

  • In Microsoft Word (for Windows)…pull down Insert menu.
  • Choose "Footnote…"
  • When the small window pops up…select Footnote or Endnote (Footnote is usually the default).
  • "AutoNumber" should also be selected. Click OK.
  • Automatically a new "footnote" screen will come up at the bottom of your paper, set to the correct footnote number you should be on. At that point you will type in your reference information (see format on the bottom of this page). After you are finished, you can move your cursor back to the main text of your paper with your mouse. It is also good to know that you can cut, paste, and copy footnotes just as you can any other text (by highlighting the number in the paper itself and performing whichever function you need). Footnotes are normally in 10pt. font.

Format of Footnote/Endnote References

  • Put the author's first name then last name, followed by a comma, not a period.
  • The title of the book comes next, in italics, followed by the publishing information in parentheses (you only need the publishing info. the first time you cite the source).
  • When using the course texts you must list the page or pages you got the information from (so that anyone reading your paper can go double check your information or read further on the topic). For class notes you should have the name of the course and the date the information was given in class.
  • After the first time you cite a source, you may use an abbreviated reference further on…or, if you are already familiar, you may use Ibids. (you may ask me about these, but they are not required…just a form of referencing shorthand that some people like to use).


1 Tom Standage, The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers (New York: Berkley Books, 1998), pp. 45-57.
2 History 104: Modern Europe & Its Critics, class notes, May 5, 2004.
3 Standage, The Victorian Internet, p. 81.
4 Class notes, May 14, 2004.

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Christine Myers, History 104, Block 9, 2004 ©2004 Cornell College; All Rights Reserved