The exam consists of a series of short and longer essays.

5 short answers (about 1-2 paragraphs)

  • you have a choice of six
  • The short essays are directly taken from the red terms at the beginning of each lecture powerpoint.
  • They are like identifications but in addition to telling me what the term means you should write a paragraph explaining why it’s important and connect it to its historical context. For example if I ask you about Woodrow Wilson I’m not looking for his biography paraphrased from wikipedia (adamantly NO).  Rather, connect him to some of the terms and themes of this course such as Progressivism and faith in government to solve social problems, a more interventionist federal government and moving away from American isolationism in foreign policy, or even race relations and the rise of the KKK in the 19-teens. You don’t have to cover everything of course, but again, I’m not looking for facts about Wilson’s life you read on the internet but rather his importance as a figure as we’ve discussed it in this course (in lectures, forums, documents, and the textbook). 
  • Each short essay is worth 20 points. 

2 long essays (4-5 paragraphs)

  • You have a choice of 4 and need to write 2 (one cumulative, one 20th century or non-cumulative).
  • A good essay will include references to documents we’ve read though you are NOT expected to  quote them directly like in a formal paper. So for example, if you are talking about the Early Cold War and the development of anti-communism as a form of American identity refer to NSC-68 or the Truman Doctrine.  
  • Each long essay is worth 50 points.

DO NOT USE OUTSIDE SOURCES. It’s a plagiarism trap.  If I see language from Wikipedia you will receive a 0 at best and be reported for plagiarism at worst.  Don’t do it. Just use your documents, powerpoints, and textbook to answer the questions. This is an EXAM not a formal paper. You are not to do outside research. Just answer the questions as if you were in class taking a 3 hour final exam.  I know this will probably take you longer than 3 hours since you are able to use your materials but it really shouldn’t take you more than 5 or 6 at the very most or you’re doing more than you should and getting too caught up in details. 

Please number your essays. Short Essay 1, Short Essay 3, Cumulative Essay 1, Non-Cumulative Essay 2 etc. 

Submit you exam below when you are finished in WORD of PDF form. NO .pages will be accepted. No copy and past.  Your file must end in: .doc, .docx, or .pdf. 

Final Exam

Short Essays/Ids: Write on FIVE of the following (not six). Note you do not have to directly address the question or image. Make sure your answer goes beyond defining and answers WHY this term is important and what it tells us about American history. Connect to documents for best results.

About 1-3 paragraphs. (20 points each).

1.    Truman Doctrine and/or Containment

How was American Foreign Policy articulated in the late 1940s and 1950?

2.  Barry Goldwater

Why the candidate who got trounced in the Election of 1964 merit so much attention, even today?

 3.Southern Strategy  

 What major electoral transformation occurred in the United States, particularly the South,  over the course of these three elections (1964-1972)?  

4. Second-Wave Feminism

What was the goal of Second-Wave feminism and how does it fit in the larger history of dissent in the 1960s and 1970s?

5.  Red-Lining

How does this practice that lasted from the 1930s to the 1960s speak to the arguments made by people like SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael or President Johnson at Howard University in the wake of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts (1964-64)?

 6. Bill Clinton

In what ways did President Clinton’s presidency reflect the Zeitgeist of the 1990s?

Cumulative Long Essay: Write on ONE of the following. This is a comprehensive essay and should be about 4-6  paragraphs. Make sure support your argument referring to historical texts and figures. 50 points)

1. Race in America

The Civil War was followed by 12 years of Reconstruction meant to rebuild the South, integrate African-Americans in to (Southern) American society, and repair the rift that had torn the nation asunder.   About a century later, the Civil Rights Movement it can be argued aimed to complete the failure of Reconstruction. Write an essay about the struggle for civil rights in the United States beginning with Reconstruction.  Address ALL of the following:

  1. In what specific ways were the Civil Rights Movement and Reconstruction connected? (i.e. aims/goals, tactics, targets, participants etc.)
  2. What was the state of civil rights in the United States between these two periods (ca. 1890-1950)
  3. Why did the civil rights movement gain momentum in the 1950s?

 Make sure refer to the documents to support your argument.

2. Who and what is American?

What “American” means and who has the right to call themselves one  has evolved and been fiercely contested between 1865 and 2019. It was finally legally defined in 1868 with the Fourteenth Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (emphasis mine)

Though the context of the Fourteenth Amendment was the attempt to integrate freedmen into the American polity during Reconstruction this Amendment to the Constitution came to redefine not just citizenship but civil rights (regarding equality before the law) and civil liberties (regarding individual rights protected by law).  Write an essay in which you discuss the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment in the context of BOTH of these terms (civil rights and civil liberties).

Address at least TWO of the following:

  1. Immigration and Nativism (specifically the New Immigration of the 1880s, immigration acts of 1921 and 1924 (quotas), and/or the anti-immigrant nativism of the last few decades) including the issue of undocumented Americans.
  2. The meaning of “natural born” and the concentration and/or internment of Native Americans (reservation system in the 1880s-1920s) and the
  3. The history of “un-American” ideologies (or so deemed by the majority). (Ex: the Red Scares (1920s, 1950s, 2008 ff.), the Espionage Act (WWI), religious liberty)

Make sure refer to the documents to support your argument.

Non-Cumulative Long Essay: Write on ONE of the following. This is a comprehensive essay and should be about 3-5  paragraphs. Make sure supportyour argument referring to historical texts and figures. (50 points)

1. The Modern American Political Spectrum 

Two major electoral realignments took place in the United States between the Great Depression and the 1980s that fundamentally redefined the meaning of liberalism and conservatism.    These two shifts continue to define American politics in 2019. Write an essay in which you discuss ALL of the following:

  1. What is modern liberalism and why did it emerge in the 1930s?
  2. When and why did the consensus around modern liberalism begin to break down?
  3. When and why did a conservative consensus emerge?
  4. How do (modern) liberalism and conservatism define freedom differently. What is at stake?

 Make sure refer the documents to support your argument. 

2.  America’s Changing Place in the World

America’s place in the world has changed dramatically over the course of the twentieth century.  Write an essay in which you analyze the changes and transformations in American foreign policy from Pearl Harbor, through the Vietnam War and its aftermath, to the “second Cold War” of the 1980s and the collapse of communism in 1989/91.  You must address ALL THREE periods:

  1. World War II
  2. the Cold War
  3. Post-Cold War (1991-2019)
Punctual Essays
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