For part 2 of the Unit 1 Exam, choose ONLY 1 essay question from the list below, which covers chapter 15 and part of chapter 16 in the textbook. Grades will be based on the content of the answer and must be more than 300 words in length. Direct quotes do not count toward the required word count.
Part 2 Essay Questions:
1 – What did freedom mean for the ex-slaves? Be sure to address economic opportunities, gender roles, religious independence, and family security.
2 – Reconstruction witnessed profound changes in the lives of southerners, black and white, rich and poor. Explain the various ways that the lives of these groups changed. Were the changes for the better or worse?
3 – Stating that he “lived among men, not among angels,” Thaddeus Stevens recognized that the Fourteenth Amendment was not perfect. Explain the strengths and weaknesses of the Fourteenth Amendment. What liberties and freedoms did it extend in the nineteenth century—and to whom? How did it alter the relationship between the federal government and the states?
4 – Who were the Redeemers, what did they want, and what were their methods? How did the Redeemers feel that their freedom was being threatened by Radical Reconstruction? Conclude your essay with a comment on how you think the federal government should have responded to the Redeemers.
5 – Was Reconstruction a success or a failure? Or was it something in between? In your response, consider land policy, key legislation during Presidential and Radical Reconstruction, southern politics, racial and political violence, and northern “fatigue” with Reconstruction. Be sure to make clear what you mean by success and failure.
6 – The debate surrounding the creation and ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment divided one-time political allies over the matter of women’s suffrage. What were the arguments for and against including a woman’s right to vote in the Fifteenth Amendment? What did this debate say about the boundaries of freedom defined by Reconstruction?
7 – What role did the government play in defining, protecting, and/or limiting the liberty of American workers during the Gilded Age?
8 – Henry Demarest Lloyd wrote in Wealth against Commonwealth (1864), “Liberty and monopoly cannot live together.” Based on your knowledge of the Gilded Age and the industrial revolution, assess the validity of this statement.
9 – How did the labor movement launch a sustained assault on the understanding of freedom grounded in Social Darwinism and in the liberty of contract?
10 – Compare the motives and methods of the various social reformers active in the Gilded Age. How did the efforts of thinkers such as Henry George, Laurence Gronlund, and Edward Bellamy differ from those of the Protestant and Social Gospel reformers of the period? Were any of these approaches more successful than others? Why, or why not?
For part 3 of the Unit 1 Exam, choose ONLY 1 essay question from the list below, which covers part of chapter 16 and all of chapter 17 in the textbook. Grades will be based on the content of the answer and must be more than 300 words in length. Direct quotes do not count toward the required word count.
Part 3 Essay Questions:
1 – Sitting Bull stated, “The life my people want is a life of freedom.” Likewise, Chief Joseph simply asked the government for equal rights enshrined by the laws. Describe what freedom meant to the Indians and how that conflicted with the interests and values of most white Americans. Also, explain why white Americans did not allow Indians the opportunity to have American citizenship.
2 – The West experienced tremendous growth after the Civil War; nowhere was this more apparent than in California. Write an essay on the consequences of population growth on the western landscape, looking at farming, livelihoods, the impact of the railroad, the growth of Indian reservations, and the subjugation of Indian peoples.
3 – What might account for the emergence of a mythic “Wild” West during the Gilded Age? Given the rapid post–Civil War expansion of industry beyond the Mississippi River, why would perceptions of a West, at once a lawless but timeless romantic frontier dominated by cowboys and Indians, permeate American popular culture in the late nineteenth century? (In composing your answer, consider the impact of the second industrial revolution.)
4 – Explain why Americans increasingly came to feel that they were being denied economic independence and democratic self-government during the late nineteenth century.
5 – How did the Populists seek to rethink the relationship between freedom and government to address the crisis of the 1890s? Why was their platform considered radical? How did their platform seek to guarantee freedom?
6 – Chronicle the process that developed in the South of chipping away the freedoms granted to blacks during Reconstruction. Give careful consideration to how the Civil War was remembered by white America. By 1900, what conditions did African-Americans in the South face? How did they respond to these conditions?
7 – Analyze the consequences of American rule in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines. Did the citizens prosper? Enjoy freedom? Accept American rule? Comment on the consequences for the United States with regard to the statement made by Eric Foner in the text: “Thus, two principles central to American freedom since the War of Independence—no taxation without representation and government based on the consent of the governed—were abandoned when it came to the nation’s new possessions.”
8 – Explain the controversy that the war in the Philippines and the annexation of the Philippines triggered over the relationship between political democracy, race, and American citizenship.
9 – Discuss some of the freedoms and restrictions experienced by American women after 1880. How did some women’s lives seem to change for the better, while others’ did not? How would you explain the disparity in their situations? Support your answer with specific examples from the text.
10 – Discuss the many obstacles faced by Chinese immigrants to the United States in the late nineteenth century. Among the immigrant groups arriving in the United States in the late nineteenth century, how were arrivals from China singled out for particular discrimination by Americans? Why do you think the Chinese received such unique treatment?
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