Historians use footnotes to let their readers know where they found the information that they are presenting.  Footnotes should include enough information to allow an interested reader to look up the book, article, web site, or other source that the historian has cited.  Thus, the first time that you cite a source, you should include the author’s name, complete title, and publication information, as well as the page number on which you found the information.  If you cite the source again in the same paper, you may simply include the author’s last name and the page number.

      You must include a footnote after every quotation.  You should also footnote indirect quotations (e.g., “According to Norton, the worst years of the depression were 1932-1933,” or “Norton said that the worst years of the depression were 1932-1933”), even though you have not directly quoted the author’s words.  In addition, footnote statistics and specific facts that are not general knowledge.  If you include a lot of specific facts in a paragraph, and all of the facts come from the same source, you may include a single footnote at the end of the paragraph rather than footnoting every sentence.  In general, you will probably need to include several footnotes per page (although this varies; you may not need to footnote this often), but not necessarily a footnote after each sentence.  Usually, footnotes will come at the end of a sentence, not in the middle of one.

      You may use either footnotes or endnotes, and the footnoting style will be the same no matter which of these formats you use.  Footnoting is very easy with most word processing programs.  To insert a footnote in Microsoft Word, click “Insert,” and then, depending on which version of Word you are using, click “References,” “Footnotes,” or “Endnotes.”  The word processing program will automatically number your footnotes for you.


      Example of when and how to footnote:


      The depression was a bleak period in American history, and millions of Americans were thrown out of work without any prospect of getting another job.  In fact, the unemployment rate reached 25% in 1933.[1]  In the midst of this unemployment, many became discouraged and turned to radical solutions.  A few talked of the possibility of open insurrection, as one disgruntled cattle rancher did in a conversation with an Oklahoma journalist in 1932.  “We have got to have a revolution here like they had in Russia and clean them up,” he said.[2]

      As the economy soured and as banks and businesses continued to fail, politicians struggled to cope with the economic problems that America faced.  President Herbert Hoover, a Republican who generally favored private solutions to public problems, took some steps to alleviate the most egregious problems of the depression, but in general, he favored a hands-off, wait-and-see approach.[3]  Hoover worried about the consequences of the depression, but he felt that he was doing the best job that he could in the circumstances, and he wondered why people expected him to do more.  “We have fought an unending war against the effect of these calamities upon our people,” he proclaimed, adding, “Had it not been for the immediate and unprecedented actions of our government, things would be infinitely worse today.”[4]          

      Franklin D. Roosevelt, on the other hand, vehemently disagreed with Hoover’s positive assessment of the state of affairs.  He blamed Hoover for America’s economic downturn, and said that Hoover’s policies were preventing the economy from recovering.[5]  Once elected, Roosevelt worked to do better than his predecessor, and his Works Progress Administration, which was only one of his many relief programs, created jobs for 8.5 million Americans.[6]





How to Cite the Documents Used in this Course:


The textbook:

      Give the author’s name, book title, and publication information, followed by the page number containing the information that you are citing.


1.      Alan Brinkley, The Unfinished Nation, vol. 2 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005), 334.



A document from the Shi & Mayer reader:

      Give the author’s name (if known) and title of the original work, and then give the publication information and page number for the Shi & Mayer reader.



1.      Howell Cobb, “An Unreconstructed Southerner” (1868), in David E. Shi and Holly A. Mayer, For the Record: A Documentary History of America, vol. 2, 2nd ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2004), 11.



A document from the Brinkley CD:

      Give the citation information listed for each document on the Brinkley CD, followed by the notation, “from CD accompanying Alan Brinkley’s The Unfinished Nation, document number ___.”



1.      Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), from CD accompanying Alan Brinkley’s The Unfinished Nation, document 252.



A document from the course packet:

      Give the author [if known], title, and publication date [if known] of the original work, and then write, “in course packet for HIST 2112 course.”



1.      Alain Locke, “The New Negro” (1925), in course packet for HIST 2112 course.



A website:

      Give the title of the website, followed by the URL (the website address) in brackets.



1.      “Declaration of American Women” (1977) [].



[1] Mary Beth Norton et al., A People and a Nation: A History of the United States, vol. 2, 6th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001), 707.

[2] David M. Kennedy and Thomas A. Bailey, ed., The American Spirit, vol. 2, 10th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002), 299.

[3] Norton, 700.

[4] Kennedy and Bailey, 307.

[5] Kennedy and Bailey, 308.

[6] “The Great Depression and the New Deal,” Library of Congress, “American Memory.”  [].