“ ordinary ” people — middle H u m a n i t i e s
Use the assigned readings from Weeks 1 through 5 (including Jung, Reisler, and Zinn), along with screencast lectures, primary sources, and discussions, to write a 3-5 page essay in response to one of the prompts below. Your paper should be well organized to include a brief introduction, body of your essay, and brief conclusion. You should be sure to include a clear statement of your thesis (main argument) and sufficient evidence to support your claim. Do not simply summarize readings or lectures. If you paraphrase or quote from the readings, be sure to cite your sources, by placing the text’s author and page number in parenthesis after the quote, or in a footnote. You will be evaluated based on your ability to follow these directions as well as your success in engaging the debates, themes, and issues raised in class readings and discussions. In addition, the clarity of your argument, compelling interpretation, creativity in style, and presentation will figure in your grade. Be sure to type your essay in 12-point font (double-spaced), use one-inch margins, and note your name, the course, date, and your essay title at the top of your essay. Please also indicate at the top of your essay which prompt you are responding to.
Choose and respond to one of the following:
Essay Prompt #1
The period of American history between 1860s and 1930s was defined to a significant degree by the modernization of the U.S. economy and the expansion of U.S. political power. How did these developments impact what we might think of as “ordinary” people—middle- and working-class people of no particular eminence or authority—between the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries? And, how did these people respond to conditions they faced?
Essay Prompt #2
During the period between 1865 and 1940, the United States redefined its role on the world stage. In your view, what was the nature of the U.S.’s role in the world during this period? What motives drove U.S. involvement in global affairs? What was the impact?