Writing in ap u. S



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Writing in AP U.S. History




Rebecca Colvin, CSHS


  • Why is writing so important in APUSH?

Simply put, because it counts for 60% of the

AP Exam grade (see below).



Section


Question Type


Number of Questions


Timing

Percentage of Total Exam Score

I

Part A: Multiple-choice


questions

55 questions


55 minutes

40%




Part B: Short-answer questions

4 questions

50 minutes

20%




BREAK










II

Part A: Document-Based Essay Question (DBQ)

1 question

55 minutes

25%




Part B: Long Essay Question (LE)

1 question (chosen from a pair)

35 minutes

15%


  • When analyzing and writing about history, it is beneficial to do so with the “themes” in mind (BAGPIPE).




Belief Systems: Culture and Society Identity: Gender, Class, Racial, Ethnic Identities

-Ideas -Gender

-Religion and Philosophy -Class

-Art and Literature -Racial and Ethnic Identities

-Cultural Values -National and Regional Identities

-Science -Nationalism and Patriotism

-Morality and Moral Values -Assimilation

America in the World: Global Context Politics and Power

-Competition for Resources -Role of State in Society -Citizenship

-Foreign Policy and Diplomacy -Political Process -Authority

-Expansionism and Imperialism -Role of Political Parties

-Global Conflicts (World Wars) -Struggles over / for freedom

-Military and Economic -Federalism

-Liberty and Rights
Geography & Environment: Physical and Human

-Climate, Environment, and Geography Economy: Work, Exchange, Trade, Technology

-Natural Resources -Agriculture and Manufacturing

-Exchanges: plants, disease, animals -Commerce and Trade

-Technology and Innovations


Peopling: Migration and Settlement -Labor systems

-Movement to, from, within the U.S. -Transportation

-Nativism -Land Distribution

-Immigrant groups impact on Societ

yCollege Board Historical Thinking Skills

Historical Argumentation: Historical thinking involves the ability to create an argument and support it using relevant historical evidence.
Analyzing Evidence: Historical thinking involves the ability to describe, select, and evaluate relevant evidence about the past from diverse sources (including written documents, works of art, archaeological artifacts, oral traditions, and other primary sources) and draw conclusions about their relevance to different historical issues.


Historical Causation: Historical thinking involves the ability to identify, analyze, and evaluate the relationships among historical causes and effects, distinguishing between those that are long term and proximate. Historical thinking also involves the ability to distinguish between causation and correlation, and an awareness of contingency, the way that historical events result from a complex variety of factors that come together in unpredictable ways and often have unanticipated consequences.


Patterns of Continuity and Change Over Time: Historical thinking involves the ability to recognize, analyze, and evaluate the dynamics of historical continuity and change over periods of time of varying length, as well as the ability to relate these patterns to larger historical processes or themes.
Periodization: Historical thinking involves the ability to describe, analyze, and evaluate different ways that historians divide history into discrete and definable periods. Historians construct and debate different, sometimes competing models of periodization; the choice of specific turning points or starting and ending dates might accord a higher value to one narrative, region, or group than to another.
Compare and Contrast: Historical thinking involves the ability to identify, compare, and evaluate multiple perspectives on a given historical event in order to draw conclusions about that event. It also involves the ability to describe, compare, and evaluate multiple historical developments within one society, one or more developments across or between different societies, and in various chronological and geographical contexts.



Interpretation: Historical thinking involves the ability to describe, analyze, and evaluate the different ways historians interpret the past. This includes understanding the various types of questions historians ask, as well as considering how the particular circumstances and contexts in which individual historians work and write shape their interpretations of past events and historical evidence.
Contextualization: Historical thinking involves the ability to connect historical events and processes to specific circumstances of time and place as well as broader regional, national, or global processes.
Synthesis: Historical thinking involves the ability to develop understanding of the past by making meaningful and persuasive historical and/or cross-disciplinary connections between a given historical issue and other historical contexts, periods, themes, or disciplines.




The Big Four Archetypes of APUSH Essays


  1. Historical Causation (Cause or Effect): CE

Example prompt: Evaluate the major causes which led to the development of a Second Industrial Revolution.
Step One: Organize the causes around three Themes or Categories.

Step Two: Rank or prioritize the categorized causes in order of importance, determine the two major causes (*) and the one minor cause.

Step Three: Within the body of your essay, you must address why these were the causes of the topic under investigation.


Category #1 *







Category #2

2nd IR


Category #3 *


Sample Essay Prompts:

Evaluate the political, economic, and social reactions of Americans to the end of Reconstruction (1877).

Explain how intellectual and religious movements impacted the development of colonial North America from 1607 to 1776.

Evaluate the causes and consequences of the growing opposition to slavery in the United States from 1776 to 1856.



NOTE: You will probably ONLY be asked to write on either cause or effect, NOT both.



  1. Historical Continuity and Change Over Time: CCOT

Example prompt: Evaluate the extent to which US foreign policy goals contributed to maintaining continuity as well as fostered change from the end of WWI (1918) to the end of the Korean War (1953).
Step One: Label start and stop dates on timeline.

Step Two: Identify significant events (5-7) on the timeline, related to the topic.

Step Three: Determine whether there was MORE continuity or change within the period.

Step Four: Select three of the most significant of the events. Make sure you maintain the 2/1 ratio (e.g., if you are arguing there were more continuities, then you need 2 examples of that, for 1 change, or vice versa).

Step Five: Within the body of your essay, you must address why there were continuities and changes.

Change


1918 1953

E1 E2 E3 E4 E5 E6 E7

Continuity

Sample Essay Prompts:

Evaluate the extent to which the goals of Reconstruction (1865 – 1877) regarding African Americans were achieved by 1900. Be sure to address both continuities as well as changes during this time period.

Evaluate the extent to which the goals of conservatives contributed to maintaining continuity as well as fostered change from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Evaluate the extent to which American foreign policy contributed to maintaining continuity as well as fostered change with regard to United States involvement in world affairs from 1796 to 1823.



  1. Historical Comparison (Compare and Contrast): CC

Example prompt: Compare and contrast the decades of the 1920s and the 1950s.
Step One: Bisect your Venn diagram in half and organize the similarities and differences around two Themes or Categories (connect to the

Learning Objectives).



Step Two: Determine whether there are more similarities or differences between the two concepts of the topic.

Step Three: Within the body of your essay, you must address why there are similarities and differences.
1920s 1950s


Topic / Category #1

Topic / Category #2

Sample Essay Prompts:

Compare and contrast domestic and foreign policy goals of conservatives in the 1950’s with conservatives in the 1980’s.

Compare and contrast reactions of Americans to immigration in the 1840s-1850s with immigration in the 1910s-1920s.

Compare and contrast goals and strategies of African American leaders in the 1890s-1920s with the goals and strategies of African American leaders in the 1950s-1960s.



NOTE: You will probably NOT be given the categories, but sometimes you might.



  1. Periodization (Turning Point): TP

Example prompt: Evaluate the extent to which the French and Indian War was a Turning Point with regard to American and British relations.
Step One: Bisect your T-Chart in half and organize the boxes around two Themes or Categories (connect to the Learning Objectives).

Step Two: Determine whether there is more evidence to support that it was (Y) or was not (N) a Turning Point.

Step Three: In the body of your essay, you must address the extent to which the event under investigation was a TP.

FIW


Y N


Topic / Category #1

Topic / Category #2


Sample Essay Prompts:

Evaluate the extent to which the Mexican American War was a Turning Point with regard to the expansion of slavery.



The Declaration of Independence was a Turning Point in American History. Support, Modify, or Refute this statement.

NOTE: Limit your time frame before and after the event to 20 years. So for the FIW, 1754 to 1763 (only consider 1734 – 1783).

The Thesis Statement What Is It?
The Thesis Formula:

X. However, A and B. Therefore, Y.

NOTE: These are not necessarily stand-alone sentences, they are concepts.
‘X’ represents the strongest point against your argument. We call this the counter-argument (it does not have to be a counter-argument, it can qualify as well).
‘A’ and ‘B’ represent the two strongest points for your arguments. We call these your organization categories.
‘Y’ represents the position you will be taking – in other words, your stand on the prompt.

Levels of Specificity in the Thesis Statement How Much Do I Say?
How much specificity to include in the thesis statement should be a balancing act. On the one hand, you don’t want to be too general (Level Three Generalization), but on the other hand you don’t want to be too specific (Level One Specification). Let them know where you are going, but don’t give away all your information. We want the reader to keep reading! We will call the right amount of specificity Level Two Specificity.
Consider the following prompt: Identify and evaluate the causes which led to the American Revolution.
Level Three Thesis (not enough): The economic factors were very harsh on the Americans. However, the political and social conditions were much more strenuous on the Americans. Therefore, while economic factors were important, political and social factors were more important in bringing about the American Revolution.
Level Two Thesis (just right): The taxes which were implemented following the French and Indian War were viewed by Americans as harsh and unfair leading to anger and frustration. However, it was the denial of basic political rights along with a beefed up presence in enforcing policies which had long been ignored which gave rise to a new sentiment within the American conscience. Therefore, while economic factors like taxes were important, political and social factors were more important in bringing about the American Revolution.
Level One Thesis (too much): The Stamp Act, Tea Act, and Intolerable Acts were very harsh on the Americans which led to great anger and frustration. However, “no taxation without representation,” the Admiralty Courts, enforcement of the Navigation Act to counter piracy and smuggling, the Quartering Act, and the Boston Massacre, were important factors which caused more stress on the Americans. Therefore, while economic factors were important, political and social factors were more important in bringing about the American Revolution.

Putting It All Together What Are the X, A, B, and Y’s?




Historical Causation:


Identifies the causes / effects, the reasons for those causes / effects, and determines which was greater.
X = least important cause or effect, why
A & B = most important causes or effects, why, organized by categories
Y = your assertion statement


Continuity and Change over Time:


Identifies the historical continuities and changes, the reasons for continuities and changes, and determines which was greater.

X = continuity or change = your counter-argument


A & B = continuity or change during the specified time period, organized around the events
Y = your assertion statement


Compare and Contrast:


Identifies similarities and differences, the reasons for similarities and differences, and determines whether there are more similarities or differences.
X = more similar or different = your counter-argument
A & B = similarities or differences between the two things, why, organized by categories
Y = your assertion statement


Periodization | Turning Point:


Identify reasons for and against it being a Turning Point AND the extent to which it was or was not a TP.
X = counter argument, why something was or was not a turning point
A & B = argument, why something was a turning point, organized by categories
Y = your assertion statement








The DBQ

  1. How to USE the Documents in the DBQ:



The most unsophisticated way to reference a document in a DBQ essay is to do the following, “According to ‘Document 1’ blah, blah, blah.” “Document 1 says this, document 2 says this . . . etc.” Instead, you should show the reader that you understand the documents and more importantly you understand the content of the document and employed it properly within the argument of your paper. DO NOT quote the documents. In order to get full credit (2 points) for document usage on the DBQ, you must be HIPP and you must use ALL of the documents. Document usage in the DBQ will include (at least one of the levels of analysis must be employed):

H: historical context; I: intended audience; P: purpose; P: point of view.


It would look like: “The Clayton Antitrust Act was passed under Wilson’s administration when progressives were desperately seeking help in enforcing anti-trust legislation under a relatively inefficient Sherman Antitrust Act. The purpose was to give some enforcement power over anti-trust legislation to the federal government, even though the actual usage of the law was used against labor unions. (Doc 1)”


  1. How to Bring in Outside Information in the DBQ?



Evidence BEYOND the Documents equals one point on the DBQ rubric. The example must be different from the evidence used to earn other points on the rubric. The point is not awarded for merely a phrase or reference. Responses need to reference an additional piece of specific evidence and explain how that evidence supports or qualifies the argument. This is not simply name dropping, you cannot just rattle off a list of proper nouns expecting to receive outside information credit. You also cannot give context to a document and expect to get outside information credit, this is a much larger element. This is bringing in something, not found in the documents, which is used to help support your overall argument. It does NOT have to be a separate paragraph, it can be used to support either your X or A/B (preferred) paragraphs, but needs to be a substantial contribution to the overall argument.
Substantial contribution = 3 or 4 solid sentences, which add to the main point you are making.
As with other parts of the DBQ, you will also reference this at the end of the usage in a parenthetical reference. (outside information)

The required references in the DBQ essay are as follows: (contextualization), (thesis), (documents), (outside information), and (synthesis).

Contextualization (Broader Context) – the Opening Paragraph (first 3-4 sentences)

Contextualization

C3 - Situate historical events, developments, or processes within the broader regional, national, or global context in which they occurred in order to draw conclusions about their relative significance.


#1: Situate the topic of the essay within the broad historical context of the time, then #2: draw a conclusion about the topic, why was this event so significant? What led up to this event under investigation and what were the larger issues going on during it.

Britain as a World Power

Social Contract Theory John Locke
Rebellion American Revolution Civic Virtue
Natural Rights Republicanism

Americans Asserting Authority


Example: “The broad context to which the American Revolution was a small part of, concerned the attempts of the British Empire to maintain control over its colonies. This power struggle would determine the fate of the British, and indeed, other European countries, as a leading world power. Both their financial and political institutions required the existence of these satellite colonies, taxes and raw materials were necessary requirements to maintain their position in the world. The need to maintain control over its colonies was an essential element to maintaining that world status, thus the American Revolution was not simply a minor rebellion within a tiny colony, but a much larger revolution which would lead ultimately to the downfall of the greatest nation in the world and would give birth to the next great world power.” (contextualization)
Synthesis (Other Context) – the Concluding Paragraph

Synthesis

C4 - Make connections between a given historical issue and related developments in a different historical context, geographical area, period, or era, including the present.


Similar in Kind, but at a Different Time: Ask yourself, what other period (SKDT) makes sense to compare it to? Think of it in terms of what would make sense on a Venn diagram? Would you compare the French Indian War to the passage of the 15th Amendment? No. The American Revolution? Yes. Would you compare the Market Revolution to the Publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin? No. The 2nd Industrial Revolution? Yes. Once you find a good period, MAKE TWO SOLID CONNECTIONS (NOT vague generalizations).

Topic of Essay ?





Alien and Seditions Acts

15th Amendment

Invention of TV

American Revolution Civil War



Chinese Exclusion Act

Seneca Falls Convention

Uncle Tom’s Cabin
You begin the synthesis point of the essay with the following. “The [topic of essay] can be compared to the earlier / later period of [synthesis topic] in two ways…” Then establish 2 common connections between the two periods.
Example: “The American Revolution can be compared to South Carolina and in general Southern Cession prior to the U.S. Civil War in two ways. First, both groups saw themselves fighting for what they perceived as injustices from a tyrannical government. Southerners viewed the injustices of the Northern government in the same light as the Americans viewed the British, so much so, they utilized many of the same points of the Declaration of Independence. Second, both groups invoked the Lockean social contract theory, which allowed the throwing off any government when it failed to meet the needs of its citizens as a natural right.” (synthesis)

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