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Unit One Exam Essay
The first part of your essay should explain the positions of the two speakers (Lincoln/Douglas, for Unit One. What did each speaker argue for, and why? How was their vision for the future different from that of their opponent? Label this part of your essay “Comparison.” This section of your essay should be about a page long (about 250 words). In the next two parts, write brief essays that identify, from the documents we have studied, two documents that in your view most influenced the broad political position represented by each speaker. Each part will thus focus on a single document—one for each of the two arguments you are exploring. For each document, explain the argument of the document, the purpose of the author, the context in which the author wrote the document, and the relationship of this document to the ideas of the appropriate speaker. Label these sections by the title of the document you are analyzing. These sections should each be about a page long each (about 250 words). In the final two parts, write a brief essay that shows how each position developed over time. How have the kinds of ideas embodied in the writing of the two speakers (Lincoln/Douglas or Reagan/Cuomo) developed in American history? To do this, you will need to identify the most important episodes, conflicts, or arguments that most shaped or defined the evolution of the position you are discussing. Political positions develop and evolve over time as public figures use ideas, values, and vocabularies to resolve practical problems in the present. They do this by taking ideas, values, and ways of talking about public problems developed by earlier people, and applying them to the problems of the day. Thus, broad ideas or arguments are not static in time—they acquire new meanings, as new public figures adapt them to their own most pressing needs. What it means to show positions evolving over time, then, is to show how in dealing with new problems, historical public figures appropriated and modified older positions, and applied them to address their own concerns. Your essays should show the change in ideas from the beginning of the time period covered by the unit (1603-1865 for Unit One; 1865-1988 for Unit Two) to the debate between the two public figures under discussion. Label these sections of your exam essay by the speaker whose ideas you are explaining. For example, if you are writing a section describing the development of Lincoln’s ideas, label the section “Historical Development of Lincoln’s Ideas.” These sections should each be about four pages long (about 1000 words).
You should develop your essays using the materials assigned for this class. Refer to the lectures or to the David Reynolds textbook, America: Empire of Liberty. Use quotations from the documents assigned from Classics of American Political and Constitutional Thought or from the course web site. Use your Common Place books to help support your analyses.
Remember that this is an exam covering the appropriate material we have been reading across the respective units of this course. Use this essay as an opportunity to show off your mastery of the material we have read and studied together.
1. Use 12 point Times Roman type and one inch margins.
2. Use double spacing.
3. Use paragraphs as the unit of composition. Your exam should consist of a series of paragraphs, each with a clear topic sentence and each focused on a single main idea. Most of you have taken or are taking a class devoted to written communication—be sure to apply what you are learning in that class to the written work you do for this one.
4. Paginate your work.
5. Title page: Include the usual elements of a cover page (ie., your name; the date you completed the assignment; the name of the course for which you are completing this work, GHIST 225: United States History; the name of the professor who is teaching the course, Dr. Kevin Hardwick); the name of the person who teaches your discussion section, and who will grade your work (Kevin Hardwick or Rachel Carey). 6. Citations: Every quote you use should be followed by a citation. The purpose of a citation is to provide your reader with the information necessary to look up the quotation for him or herself. See the instructions for how to craft citations, which you can find on Canvas. In addition, every paragraph you write should conclude with a citation to the secondary sources you used (eg. The ANB, Oxford Reference Online, Encyclopedia Brittanica, or the David Reynolds textbook, your notes to a specific lecture). Again, the purpose of the citation is to provide your reader with the information necessary to look up the information for him or herself.
The first part of your essay should explain the positions of the two speakers (Lincoln/Douglas, for Unit One. What did each speaker argue for, and why? How was their vision for the future different from that of their opponent? Label this part of your essay “Comparison.” This section of your essay should be about a page long (about 250 words).