The essays are research essays—assignments whereby you research your topic, and combine the information you have gleaned, with your own opinions and conclusions. As such, essays written essentially of your own opinions or beliefs will be severely downgraded. The idea here is to develop research skills, including not only reading, but also the assimilating different bits of information and viewpoints. If you simply write five pages on everything you already know about your topic, you don’t develop those skills. If you choose to write an essay on a topic covered in class, make sure that your essay goes well beyond what was covered in class; essays that simply repeat classroom lectures or readings will be downgraded to the degree that this happens. Im doing mine on The Proclamation of 1763.