Primary Source Essay “Martin Luther- Address to the Christian Nobility”


The primary source for this paper is in the link below. Please make sure to read it carefully and follow the instructions.

I also attached a pdf version of the primary source to the drop-box. PLEASE DO NOT USE ANY OUTSIDE SOURCES, ONLY THE ATTACHED DOCUMENT IS SUPPOSED TO BE USED FOR THE ESSAY.

This essay must include the following:

-A thesis.
This is your historically significant observation. A thesis is not a summary of the document or a narration of events discussed in class. It is also not a personal opinion about the text (i.e. “this guy is not a real Christian” or “the author is really annoying”). Rather, it is something that we can learn about the author and his or her time from reading the document, ideally connecting to a larger historical theme. A thesis that is personal opinion tells the reader about your own values and ideas; a good historical thesis focuses on what the document can tell us about the values and ideas of the author and his or her contemporaries. Your thesis should be clearly stated in the first paragraph of your paper.
* Remember that a thesis is always something debatable, not factual. “Constantine converted to Christianity in A.D. 312” is a fact – we know it is true, so it is not an appropriate thesis. However, “Constantine converted outwardly to Christianity in A. D. 312, but there are signs that he still clung to his pagan views” is a statement that could be debated, and is therefore a good thesis.

-Evidence from the text(s) to support that thesis.
The body paragraphs of your paper should be devoted to presenting the evidence that supports your thesis. Your evidence will generally be quotes from the text that support your argument, though you may occasionally want to use information from lecture to provide context. Here’s an example:
Thesis: The experiences of Perpetua in the “Passion of Sts Perpetua and Felicity” illustrate the appeal of the early Christian community to an elite Roman woman.
Body Paragraph 1: The second example of this in the text is . . .
Quote from source
Analysis of how it supports your thesis
Body Paragraph 2: The second example of this in the text is . . .
Quote from source
Analysis of how it supports your thesis
Body Paragraph 3: The third example of this in the text is . . .
Quote from source
Analysis of how it supports your thesis
If the source you choose comprises bits of multiple texts, you may develop a thesis that compares or contrasts them. In that case, you would include a quote/example from each text in each paragraph.

-Analysis of your evidence
Of course, you cannot simply plop the quotes down and expect your reader to understand what you mean. Each quote needs to be followed by your own analysis – that is, by your explanation of how that quote supports your thesis.
* Remember that context is essential to any historical argument. Take into account the context of each document: who wrote it (if not a specific person, at least what sort of person it would have been – gender, social position, profession, etc.), when and where it was written, what was going on in the author’s world when he or she was writing, and what agenda the author had in writing (what, if anything, he or she trying to convince the document’s readers of).

If you want to do a really good job, you should also:
Address counterarguments.
Since your thesis should be a debatable point, there is another side that could be argued (called a counterargument). In order to craft a convincing argument, you should address this counterargument directly. That is, spend a paragraph explaining why the evidence supports your side more strongly than the other side. Think of it like a courtroom rebuttal – you need to state your case while also discrediting the other side.


Your essay should be 700-1000 words (about 2-3 full pages), use 12 point Times New Roman font, be double-spaced and have 1” margins. Essays that do not meet the length requirement will be penalized up to half a grade. Since you will only be using the primary source documents assigned in class, you do not need to formally cite your sources for this paper. Just include the page numbers in parentheses (if there are any) whenever you cite the text you are using. No outside sources should be used. This is meant to be your own analysis of what can be learned from a single primary source text