​Section III: 1 Essay, 5 paragraphs

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Section III: 1 Essay, 5 paragraphs

I will provide you with one of the following essay questions. In other words, you will not get to choose which essay appears on the exam. Drawing on as many specific examples from course materials as you can (including lectures, films, primary source readings, and class discussions), answer the question in essay format (Introduction, body paragraphs, and concluding paragraph).

1. For the four million once-enslaved blacks, one critical question surfaced after the Civil War: how free is free? The answer to that question would profoundly affect race relations and the nation for the next century. For black southerners between the Civil War and the 1930s, how did the experience of “freedom” fall short of their hopes? Be sure to include examples from class materials in your answer.

2. How did the realities of industrialization compare to the myth of the American Dream–that is, the myth that any individual, with hard work, can rise from poverty? In your answer, consider the experiences of any three of the following groups in American society between the Civil War and the 1930s. Be sure to include examples from class materials in your answer.

Industrial workers

farmers

black southerners

“new immigrants” (Chinese, Eastern/Southern Europe, Mexican, etc.)

“Robber Barons”

middle class white progressive women

Native Americans living on the Plains

3. When the United States acquired its first overseas territories with the Spanish-American War of 1898, this was seen by many observers as a radical break from America’s past as a nation founded on principles of independence and self-governance. Was 1898 a major turning point? In your answer, consider the similarities or differences between American expansion westward into the Great Plains and the expansion it undertook in 1898. Possible areas of comparison might include ideology (the ideas or beliefs that propelled expansion), government policy and its impact, and forms of resistance. Be sure to include examples from class materials in your answer.

Essay Rubric:

An “A” essay will

-have a clear argument and a clear organization (introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion)

-synthesize material from multiple lectures, not just one.

-incorporate description of any discussed primary sources that help answer the question

-cover the major points made in lecture that help answer the question, including multiple specific examples for each point.

-demonstrate an understanding of particular historical examples, as well as their larger historical significance

-be free of errors of chronology or historical understanding

A “B” essay will

-have all of the qualities listed for an “A” essay, but will be deficient in one or more areas.

A “C” essay will

-provide an answer to the question.

-include some specific examples, even if it does not cover all the major points made in lecture that help answer the question.

-might include some errors of chronology or historical understanding.

A “D” essay will

-provide an answer to the question

-include almost no specific examples to support the essay.

-might include major errors of chronology or historical understanding

Preparation Tips:

  1. Write brief descriptions of all the keywords that follow, using your lecture notes, lecture slides, or the textbook, and spend time reviewing them so that you will be able to recognize their definition on the exam.
  2. For the 10 keywords in Section II above (and starred below), make sure that you are prepared to explain who/what they are, roughly when they happened (which decade), and why they are historically significant (how they relate to larger historical questions discussed in class).
  3. For each possible essay question in Section III, make outlines, drawing on specific examples from lecture notes, group work handouts, and primary sources. For any missing lecture notes, borrow them from a friend, or use your textbook and lecture slides to fill in the gaps. You will not know in advance which question will be asked, and you will only have an hour and fifteen minutes to complete the exam once you start, so it is important that you devote time before the exam begins to think through and outline your answers.

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