American History Assignment | History
Choose ONE question from below. Answer the question in about 1,200-1,500 words (equivalent to 4-5 typed, double-spaced pages, 12 font, one inch margins). Clearly identify which question you answer. You must address more than one country in the Americas in your answer. Strong essays will draw on multiple course readings, presentations, and films, and will have a thesis statement introducing your argument, a body in which you make your argument using specific examples from readings, films, lectures, and discussions, and a conclusion that draws the various parts of your discussion together. Clarity of writing, correct grammar usage and spelling, and attention to the question prompt will be part of the grade. Proofread carefully. I highly recommend going through a full edit/revision before submitting your essay. Refer to the rubric to see the weight of different aspects for the grade.
Only use course readings, powerpoints, assigned films, and notes you take when reading, watching, viewing class materials. Do not use wikipedia or ask.com or other internet sites. While it should be clear from in-text references that you are drawing on multiple readings, do not worry about bibliographic citations or page numbers for information that you are using in your synthesis, unless you use a direct quotation, in which you should give the author and page number. The purpose of these essays is to explicate in your own words an analytic synthesis of relevant information in assigned course materials. If you do use quotations, from primary sources or one of the texbooks, the quote CANNOT BE MORE THAN 6 WORDS. There is no single “correct” answer to these questions. You can craft an argument that concentrates on a particular aspect or sub-question of a question, but be sure to deal in some way with each part of the question you are answering, and be sure to address more than one country (i.e. essays only about Mexico or only about the United States or only about Brazil will lose points)..
Consider to what extent Independence represented a watershed (i.e. a turning point) in the Americas. Include political, economic, and cultural aspects of life in the Americas throughout the nineteenth century in your assessment. How different was life in the U.S. and in Latin American/Caribbean settings in 1900 than it was in the late 1700s? What changed, when, and why? What continued after Independence and into/through the nineteenth century and why? Was the impact of Independence for people shaped by gender, class, ethnicity, and/or privilege? To what extent does this question depend on who one was and what group(s) one belonged to? Who enjoyed rights of property and citizenship in new nations? Who did not?
How do the histories of the United States of America and specific Latin American/Caribbean nations compare from the colonial period through the end of the nineteenth century? What commonalities do they share? Where do their histories diverge? What key moments, events, and/or ideas have shaped the relationship of the United States to the rest of the Americas in the nineteenth century, and how have they done so?
The modern history of the Americas is largely one of democratic political systems and capitalist economic systems–in short, liberalism. Using examples from course readings, presentation materials and film, discuss the process of liberal governance in the Americas in the nineteenth century. To what degree did people of different classes (elites, middle class, working class), ethnicities, and genders benefit or not benefit from the implementation of constitutional rule, political and economic rights, political parties and elections, market economies, etc. Who exercised power in different countries in the Americas in the nineteenth century? Where and when were the limits of liberalism challenged, by whom, and in what ways?