The American Revolution has been a part of American culture for over 200 years and many educators have chosen different methods to teach others about this historical event. These different methods have been based off of the different age groups in education where students in elementary will see simpler versions where those who are in post-secondary education will see a more complex version. A video from Schoolhouse Rock and a scholarly article both discuss the American Revolution and the historical events, but the video’s overall presentation is drastically than the scholarly article. While the two history sources have the same content, the intentions of the sources are very different in who they are addressing and the style of the presentation. The difference in the sources could also cause problems with certain strengths and weaknesses that will occur with each source.
The video is a Schoolhouse Rock video made during the 70’s and 80’s that explains the American Revolution in why it happened, the war, and the aftermath. The video uses very simple imagery with moving characters, light colors, and a song with lyrics. The scholarly source is from a journal written by Major Eric McCoy that only explains the reasons why the British lost the war. The article was written very formally with text and logistics. While these sources are different in presentation and focus different, they are easily from the same discourse who have the same values. Their ultimate goal is to teach others about the American revolution.
Audience and StyleEdit
The audience for the video would be children who are between 3rd and 6th grade based off of several key components incorporated into the video and the assumptions made by the creators of the video. The video has very simple graphics with light colors and simply drawn characters. The creators understand that children at that age have become accustomed to seeing this style of graphics because they are simple and easy to understand. The creators of the video are also making the assumption that children at this age do not know very much on the topic and would become bored with a more formal source. So they want to teach them about the war while at the same time ensuring that they would be interested in what they are learning about. While the video is about a war, the video contains no extreme scenes because the creators are assuming that the children would be shocked to see extreme graphic scenes and could be potentially scared of the video. This could spark repercussion from angry parents who are worried about their child’s mental state.
Since the article was found on a college database, it would safe to assume that the intended audience would be well educated people doing research on the American Revolution. However, there are also other aspects of the article that indicate the intended audience. The article was constructed with very difficult vocabulary and terms that only well educated people would be able to comprehend. The article is also from a much larger source: a book that is centered on military practices. The author is a major in the military would be using terms that very complicated and intended only for those who understand them. The audience could also be other military personnel conducting research.
The strengths of the video are that it is appropriate for children, it has valid information, and it uses a song that help keep the attention of the viewer. The parents of children in later kindergarten are very much worried about the type of material their children are exposed to so they will want to make sure that anything they see is what society considers appropriate for small children. The video is perfect for this because it turns what was a very brutal war into a more fairytale like story with cartoon characters, very moderate reference to violence, and a happy ending. While the video portrays a fairytale, it still gives valid information which means that the children can be entertained while at the same time learning true facts about the revolution. Many people have found that children are especially attracted to things that come with music which the video makes a great use of. The creators of the video want to the viewers to be intrigued by the video and the best way to keep young children interested in videos is to incorporate music with catchy lyrics. On the other hand, because the information is being presented in a children’s video, there are going to be weaknesses that arise. The video was made for children with simple information and graphics which are useful when for teaching young children. However, after the child starts to mature and start to learn more complicated things, Schoolhouse Rock will seem silly and unproductive, in terms of learning, and will not learn anything. Also, by this age, most children in the US already know the basics about the American Revolution which are being presented in the video. This makes the video useless since it is only stating information that is already known.
Some of the strengths of the scholarly article are that it has valid specific information and is something that can studied and debated over. At the collegiate level, having history sources that are accurate and specific are exceptionally useful for conducting research. In the history discourse, it is especially important that the references that someone uses is precise to be able to establish credibility, otherwise, the research could be doomed to unacceptance. Also, because the information is so specific, it is something that requires a lot of research and analysis that could potentially be argued over. Much of the research done in the history discourse is based off of analysis and educated opinions from research and sources. Having a source that has material that could be debated over can be useful in creating a different conclusion. On the other hand, the weaknesses of the article can be very detrimental in that very few will take the time to read it. The material and structure is very complicated to the point where only well educated people will be able to comprehend the details.
Advice For FreshmanEdit
When writing for the history discourse it is always important to understand who the audience is and what their values are. If the intended audience is a young child who is still in elementary, then the best method would be to write something that is simple and appealing to them. The information should written in a simple language and should contain some sort of graphics that are appropriate and attractive for young children. If the intended audience is someone who is well educated in either high school or collegiate level, than the work needs to have a more serious tone with information that is detailed and supported by sources. The structure does not need to be a simple essay, but it does need to be lengthy and purposeful. Research conducted at the collegiate level is very specific and sources that specify their objective and are reliable are important. When looking for such sources, it is always best to look for sources that have been approved by professionals of the discourse and not sources that are more opinion based. The best place to look for sources would be the library catalog and not the internet. Lastly, it is always important to compare one’s work to others to make sure that the argument being made is valid and contradictory to other works. If the goal is to challenge another work, than it is important to do a large amount of research to support the claim.
MCCOY, ERIC A. "The Impact of Logistics on the British Defeat in the Revolutionary War." Army
Sustainment 44, no. 5 (September 2012): 25-27. Academic Search Complete,
EBSCOhost (accessed March 21, 2014).