US History Passages Application and Critical Thinking Discussion

Part I: Short-Answer Questions (20 points)

1. Read the thesis statement from a historical essay. Determine which type of claim the author is making (claim of fact, definition, policy, value, or cause and effect) and why the claim fits this designation. Finally, provide an example of the type of evidence the author should use to best support the claim. (4 points)

Washington, D.C., should not become the 51st state, because making our nation’s capital a state provides no economic benefits, nor did the Founding Fathers intend for it to ever become a state.

I believe that the author is making a claim of policy because it uses the key word “should not”. The author should provide a judgement evidence as the type of evidence.

2. Read this passage and identify one example of correlation. Also explain why the example you have chosen does not represent causation. (4 points)

Health officials believe all people should begin composting — saving vegetable and other organic waste rather than throwing it away in the trash. The compost can then be used to fertilize gardens, which will increase the output of each garden and lower grocery bills. Trash bills will also be lower, since there won’t be as much trash to be hauled away each week.

The example of correlation could be the part where the author states “Health officials believe all people should begin composting — saving vegetable and other organic waste rather than throwing it away in the trash.” However, it can’t be represented as causation because throughout the passage, it only explains the benefits of composting and not about why specifically Health officials believed in composting.

3. Read the two passages from primary sources about the Atlantic slave trade and make a historical argument based on the information they contain. Then compare how the two sources interpret the events described. (4 points)

Passage 1: Olaudah Equiano

This passage is from the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano, an African man sold into slavery.

The first object which saluted my eyes when I arrived on the coast was the sea, and a slave ship . . . waiting for its cargo. These filled me with astonishment, which was soon converted into terror. . . . I was immediately handled and tossed up to see if I were sound by some of the crew; and I was now persuaded that I had got into a world of bad spirits, and that they were going to kill me. . . . I was soon put down under the decks, and there I received such a salutation in my nostrils as I had never experienced in my life: so that, with the loathsomeness of the stench, and with my crying together, I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat. . . . I now wished for the last friend, death, to relieve me; but soon, to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables; and, on my refusing to eat, one of them held me . . . and laid me across I think the windlass, and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely. . . . But still I feared I should be put to death, the white people looked and acted, as I thought, in so savage a manner; for I had never seen such instances of brutal cruelty; and this is not only shown towards us blacks, but also to some of the whites themselves.1

Passage 2: Alexander Falconbridge

This passage is a firsthand account of a British doctor who worked aboard slave ships. He later became an advocate for ending the slave trade.

On being brought aboard the ship, [the men] are immediately fastened together, two and two, by hand-cuffs on their wrists and by irons riveted on their legs. They are then sent down between the decks and placed in an apartment partitioned off for that purpose. The women also are placed in a separate apartment between the decks, but without being ironed. An adjoining room on the same deck is appointed for the boys. Thus they are all placed in different apartments.2

4. A teacher grades American history exams and returns them to the students. She asks if there are any questions about the test. One student insists the exam was unfair because of some of the questions. The teacher says it’s important to study hard, that all the students had the same test, and that students should be expected to remember everything they have learned about history from other teachers and always be prepared to be tested on it.

Infer what the student’s original claim might have been and what counterclaim the teacher made in response. (4 points)

5. Imagine you are a historian studying a battlefield journal written by a soldier serving in World War I. Describe the process of interpreting the information within the journal, as well as how you would determine whether the evidence in the journal is valid. (4 points)

Part II: Application and Critical Thinking (20 points)

6. The Cold War was the ideological, political, and economic conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union following World War II. During the Cold War, each country tried to limit the other country’s influence around the world by building nuclear weapons, supplying weapons and money to other countries to gain their support, and spreading false information about the other. While the two countries never came into direct, open conflict with each other, they did come into indirect conflict numerous times. This included the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world seemed on the edge of a nuclear war.

A historian has made the claim that too much is being made of the Cold War and that it was never a significant threat to world peace, as proven by the fact that the United States and the Soviet Union never went to war.

Read these excerpts from speeches given by Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, and John F. Kennedy during the Cold War. Use the information from the three passages to write a historical essay that responds to the historian’s claim. Be sure to include an introduction paragraph with a thesis, body paragraphs with at least three pieces of evidence supporting your thesis, a counterclaim to your thesis, and a refutation of that counterclaim. Finally, include a conclusion paragraph restating your thesis and the evidence supporting it. (20 points)

Passage 1: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev addressed the UN Assembly in 1960 after U.S. military aircraft allegedly entered Soviet airspace.

We saw a dangerous manifestation of the work of these forces last spring when the aircraft of one of the largest States Members of the United Nations, the United States of America, treacherously invaded the air space of the Soviet Union and that of other States. What is more, the United States has elevated such violations of international law into a principle of deliberate State policy. The aggressive intrusion into our country by a United States aircraft and the whole course of the United States Government’s subsequent behaviour showed the peoples that they were dealing with a calculated policy on the part of the United States Government, which was trying to substitute brigandage for international law and treachery for honest negotiations between sovereign and equal States.3

Passage 2: Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro made a speech in 1961 after the United States sponsored the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, a Soviet ally.

Our position is that we will fight to the last man, but we do not want direct aggression. We do not wish to suffer the destruction that aggression would bring. If the aggression comes, it will meet the total resistance of our people.

. . . They are the ones who are bringing the world to the brink of war through their warlike spirit, their own contradictions, and their economic problems which cause them to provoke a series of crises in order to maintain their war economy. Their factories run only when they are building war material. Their regime is marching toward a crisis. It is not like our economy, which is perfectly planned.4

Passage 3: U.S. president John F. Kennedy addressed the United States after it was discovered that the Soviet Union had placed nuclear weapons in Cuba, just 70 miles from the U.S. border.

I want to take this opportunity to report on the conclusions which this Government has reached on the basis of yesterday’s aerial photographs which will be made available tomorrow, as well as other indications, namely, that the Soviet missile bases in Cuba are being dismantled, their missiles and related equipment are being crated, and the fixed installations at these sites are being destroyed.

The United States intends to follow closely the completion of this work through a variety of means, including aerial surveillance, until such time as an equally satisfactory international means of verification is effected.5

Prof. Angela


Calculate Price

Price (USD)
Need Help? Reach us here via Whatsapp.