La Perouse Essay

Answer the following question dealing with Jean Francois de La Perouse’s Life in a California Mission in as much detail as you can. This question will be 125 points and will be graded on the basis of the coherence of your answer and the specific examples you provide from the book. The more specific (and obviously relevant) examples you provide, the stronger your answer will be.

La Perouse’s commentary of the Carmel Mission is pointed to by historians as a damning indictment of the Spanish Mission system; but if we accept his negative judgment as accurate, are we not then obliged to also accept his positive judgments about the priests and the goals they sought to accomplish as accurate, too? Explain the challenges that modern day critics and defenders of the Missions face in relying on La Perouse as a primary source.

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Things to consider/address in your answer: What specific criticisms of the Missions did he offer? What specific praises did he offer? Historians from either side of the debate try to use his account to make their arguments, but how does his account give the critics in the debate an advantage over the defenders? Make sure that you read the (rather long) Introduction to this book as it will be very helpful; HOWEVER, ALL EXAMPLES YOU CITE MUST BE FROM THE JOURNAL ITSELF RATHER THAN THE INTRO. (Why? Because I of course want you to read the book!)

Length and Format

Your essay should be:

at least 2 FULL TYPED PAGES in a MS-Word document (2.5 pages if you use a Google doc since the format is a bit different) and NO LONGER than 3 pages.

double spaced with 1″ margins (including top and bottom)

Times New Roman 12

Don’t fill the heading of your first page with a lot of unnecessary junk. The only three things you need to put (single spaced) are your name, the date, and the title of the paper. (Anything more than that will be deleted when I grade your paper.)

Using Quotes and Plagiarism

I DO want you to use lots of examples from the book, but I DO NOT want you to use any quotes!!! All examples MUST BE FROM THE JOURNAL (NOT the Introduction) and should be substantially paraphrased in your own words and CITED WITH A PAGE NUMBER in parentheses after the example [i.e., (p. 23)].

Plagiarism is intellectual theft and a very serious academic offense. You will receive an “F” on your paper for plagiarism, and possibly an “F” in the class for gross infractions of this rule. Familiarize yourself with the campus policy on cheating detailed in the College Catalogue under Student Conduct Code, 5.8.19 Policy on Cheating. (You will find examples of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it at

PROOFREAD and “spell check” your work as spelling and grammatical errors will affect the overall presentation of your essay – and thus your overall grade. A paper that is filled with grammatical, punctuation, and/or spelling errors will NOT pass.

Submitting Your Paper: E-mail your paper either to my Canvas account or directly to In addition to the MS-Word document you will attach to the e-mail, you must also PASTE your paper directly into the body of the e-mail message (which prevents potential complications if and when attachments don’t open.)

Due Date: Saturday, February 20 by 11:59 pm.

Late policy: Papers are marked down 1/3 of a grade each day that they are late. Late papers are defined as those which reach me after 11:59 on the date they are due.

Points: 125 points

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