|U.S. History Honors - Gilded Age Essay
Answer one of the following questions in a 3-4 page essay (double spaced, 12 point font, Times New Roman). Evidence should come from class materials (NO outside sources); include parenthetical citations.
A. Consider the following quotation from Robert Hunt (1877):
" . . . without one element, all skill and all mechanical talent would have been wasted,
and with it nearly all things have been possible. That element has been, and is,
Competition and a drive toward innovation are recurring themes in U.S. history. From the perspective of Robert Hunt, for example, competition and ambition were American virtues. Do you agree that the freedom to compete made a consistent, positive contribution to U.S. development in the Gilded Age? As you frame your answer, consider the effects of competition in social, economic, and political spheres.
B. Mark Twain coined the term "gilded age" to describe the decades of the 1890s and 1900s. Despite the shining and significant achievements of the United States, Twain characterized American civilization as cheap and flawed at its core. Do you agree with Twain's assertions or do you believe that his claim was too extreme? Feel free to suggest a more accurate, yet catchy, label for the same era in US history.
C. In 1912, Woodrow Wilson declared that "freedom today is something more than being let alone." At times, the U.S. government claimed that required active intervention in economic, political or social affairs. Did the U.S. government adequately fulfill its obligation to defend democratic freedoms in the U.S.?
*Turn in your outline (including cites) and the completed essay checklist with your final essay.
Use formal organization in writing your essay.
- introductory paragraph that intrigues the reader, answers the question and provides historical context before the thesis (last sentence).
- body paragraphs with:
- topic sentence that links paragraph to thesis
- SPECIFIC details in body of paragraph that support your point
- (parenthetical citations) using ONLY sources from our units
- concluding paragraph that summarizes your argument and provides closure
Remember these elements of formal style (see dept. handout for more guidelines):
- no contractions or slang
- no rhetorical questions or this essay is going to . . . statements
- no you or one statements (e.g., you might think that one would be confused by this)
- avoid pronoun abuse - nouns are your friends: this is very dangerous
- use power vocabulary - basically a lot of countless really big different certain things
- (avoid parenthetical asides)
- watch out for passive voice - there were things that occurred