ESSAYS

(Write on two (2) items.  20 points each; 40 points total; 15points for the basic discussion of the 5 Ws: the who, what, why, where, and when of the item; 5 points for a statement of its significance, impact, or consequence).   

Try not to take the word “Short” too literally.  While it is not intended that you write extensively, you must write enough to demonstrate that you know the item and why it is important.  One or two sentences is not enough!     Be sure to make some statement about the significance, consequence, impact, or results of the thing in the context of the period examined by this test.  That is, what is MOST important about it?  

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Note, however, that the statement of significance or importance is worth a substantial number of the points.   A blow-off “this was important because it was . . .” is not good enough.  You have to develop a discussion, not necessarily long-winded but one that clearly tells the reader why this item was significant and what its consequences were.  Keep in mind there are usually several reasons why something is important and there are both immediate consequences and long-term ones.  Don’t confine yourself to one thing. 

Be sure to include dates and examples as appropriate.  

For many of the items, I provide some prompts to guide your answer.  I do not intend that those are the only things you say about an item. Those merely are specific points you must incorporate into your answers.   Each discussion must describe the item, give enough context, and give a significance or consequence.

REMEMBER:  for each item, it is assumed you will discuss context, the 5 Ws of the item itself, and the significance.  The prompts are simply things that must be part of that larger discussion.

1.  The “Red Scare”.  What was the “Red Scare” and what caused it?  If the Red Scare was directed at any person or group, who were they?   Discuss some of the events that characterized the Scare.  What happened as a consequence? 

2.   Technologies of Industrial War.   Both world wars saw dramatic advancements in the weapons and technologies of war-fighting.  Many of these revolutionized how armies and navies  fought and inflicted unprecedented casualties on both the fighting forces and civilians.  Describe about three on these from each war (so that would be about 6 total, even split).  Be sure to discuss what the weapon technology did, why it was different, and what the significance or consequences were.   Your examples do not all have to be in lethal application of force.  Rather, you could draw some from areas like logistics, communications, mass production, etc.

3.   Scottsboro Case – describe the particulars of the case but also, what does it say about the social attitudes of the time? How did it come out, both short- and long-term?

4.   The Chicago Exposition or World’s Fair.  What, when,and when was it?  What did the Exposition say about America, culturally and socially, at that point? Did the Exposition change American culture in any way and, if so, how?  It would be appropriate to contrast the central Exposition with the Midway.   

5.   Domestic Impact of World War Two.   The war years between about 1940 and 1946 had significant impact on women and minority groups in the United States.  Discuss the experience of the war years on African-Americans, women, and one other minority group of your choice.   That is, your essay will discuss three different groups.

6.  The role of alliances in bringing on World War One.  By 1914, the major powers of Europe were entangled in a series of alliances.  Describe the basic structure of the “alliance system”, who was involved, the motivations of major powers, and how this led to a general war in Europe.  Eventually, there came to be two major war-time alliances.  What were they and who was included in which?

7.  Coney Island in retrospect.   Towards the end of Amusing the Million, Kasson discusses interpretations of what Coney Island meant to different observers.  For example, critics of the “genteel tradition” welcomed the cultural innovations that Coney Island represented while others saw its larger effect as a new form of subjugation of the masses, an “opiate” in the words of Maxim Gorky.  Kasson mentions at least three such differing perspectives.   Discuss and contrast these views of Coney Island cultural and social impact. 

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