John Brown - Civil War Slavery - Reconstruction - Social Science Essays

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Question Description

TS 3.4: Was John Brown an Irrational Terrorist?

TS 4.1: Was the Civil War Fought Over Slavery?

TS 4.5: Did Reconstruction Fail as a Result of Racism?


  • Write a Thesis paragraph response for each issue that follows the social science writing methodology for the course located in your syllabus.
  • Thesis paragraphs must contain: Context, Complexity, Well-Reasoned BECAUSE thesis statement (Opinion-B/C-Rational), and an essay map (three separate sentences that follow your thesis derived from the rational of your thesis.
  • Each paragraph will be graded following the Essay Grading rubric

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Social Science Essay Directions/Rubric Note: Essays MUST follow the proper social science format as articulated below: Step 1: Write a single THESIS PARAGRAPH: (30 Points) *All of these parts must be included in a single thesis or introductory paragraph: A. (3 points) SET THE CONTEXT by explaining the political, economic and social history surrounding the topic/issue question. Be sure to use historically accurate specific examples and restate in your own words the specific topic/issue question (don’t parrot) (3-5 complete sentences). Ask yourself:  Does my paragraph begin with detailed historically accurate context associated with the topic question? B. (2 points) COMPLEXITY: Show understanding of OTHER POINTS OF VIEW to the issue AND include EXAMPLES (use specific Taking Sides authors whenever possible). (2-4 complete sentences) Ask yourself:  Does my paragraph provide complexity which articulates opposing viewpoints such as both Taking Sides author's POV separately? C. (10 points) THESIS STATEMENT SENTENCE: Clearly state your own opinion about the topic/issue question by take declarative position, backed up with a well-reasoned “BECAUSE” three part rationale. (Your thesis should always be a complex sentence.) (AGREE BECAUSE WHY or DISAGREE BECAUSE WHY). Must be a single complete sentence only and your thesis sentence MUST be underlined! Do not use first person or use qualifier or transitional words or phrases to begin your thesis (I believe. . ; Although . . ; On the other hand . . , ECT.) The thesis statement is the most important part of the essay as it is what you are going to prove and it must be able to be lifted out of the essay and stand on its own as a declarative statement. Never use or refer to secondary sources or quote in your thesis as it should be all you. Ask yourself:  Does the paragraph contain an underlined Opinion- Because-3 Part Rational that does not contain 1st person references; states the author's own opinion; contains a complex rational that can easily be expanded into three sub topics? D. (15 points) THREE SUBTOPICS: Sometimes called the essay map. After your underlined thesis statement write “There are three main reasons that support this position.” Then, using structural indicators (first, second, finally) provide THREE single sentence subtopics that are each direct extensions of a portion of the thesis three part thesis rational. Each single sentences subtopic, derived from a portion of the thesis rational MUST demonstrate how or why the subtopic proves a portion of the three part thesis rational.  “First” Subtopic 1: An ANALYSIS and/or EVALUATION topic that PROVES a major part of your main thesis rational (remember to show or say HOW/WHY).  “Second” Subtopic 2: An ANALYSIS and/or EVALUATION topic that PROVES a major part of your main thesis rational (remember to show or say HOWWHY).  “Finally” Subtopic 3: An ANALYSIS and/or EVALUATION topic that PROVES a major part of your main thesis (remember to show or say HOW/WHY).  Each subtopic is worth up to 5 points.  Do not use first person, quote or use secondary sources. Subtopics are all you.  Each subtopic will then be used as a topic sentence for the three body paragraphs. Taking Sides Thesis Paragraph Examples Example 1: TS Question: "Was the Pequot War Largely a Product of Native American Aggression?" Poor Response: In the 17th century the Pequot Indians held a conflict filled relationship with the settlers of the Massachusetts Bay colony. Between the colonist and the Pequot Indians there were many disputes over the different lifestyles of each party. I believe Native peoples aggression was not a product of The Pequot War, the natives decided to act on their own will and were aggressive to us before any attacks on them were announced or decided upon and the concept of war was foreign to them but not to us. Prior to the “war” when “colonist” in “the bay” settled the Pequot tribe was its own microcosm. They, the Peqouts, decided that they would destroy the settlers land. The set fire to people, crops and farms. They even kidnapped women while the siege on that Fort began. The English men then decided to take actions. Hundreds of natives were under attack and fighting back. Some were takneas prisoners and many others died. The natives gave a reason to the Englishmen and from their the issued the attack. Better Response: Beginning from the first contact between Europeans and Native Americans, Indo-Anglo relations were always marred by their cultural differences, with relations wavering from cordial to ones filled with tensions and violence. One such instance took setting in New England, where a series of murders and assaults exchanged between the colonists and Pequot tribe eventually culminated into a battle that ended with a deaths of many Pequots. However, who holds responsibility for the outbreak of the Pequot war is continued to be debated between historians. Author Steve T. Katz challenges the view of those who believe colonists intentionally started the war as a deliberate genocide, arguing that colonists had justification to be afraid of the Pequots and were simply acting out of self-preservation rather than with intent to start a war. Professor Alfred A. Cave asserts that the racial characterization of the natives as savages was the catalyst for the war as motivation within the decision to eradicate the threat to create a safe frontier for Puritans. Native Americans were the main cause of the Pequot war because of brutality perpetrated by the natives, Pequot Indians continued to exist past the war and that the war was premeditated by the colonists. There are three main reasons that support this position. Firstly, the outbreak of war was not solely a matter of cultural prejudice but had arisen due to a feeling of necessity brought on by the brutality previously perpetrated by the Pequot and the failure to solve diplomatically. Secondly, the idea of complete genocide is challenged as Pequot Indians continued to exist past the war though they were scattered among different tribes. Finally, there is no real indication that the purpose of the attack on the Pequot fort was to massacre all the natives as credible accounts and actions do not align up with the idea that the battle was premeditated. ...
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