Final Exam Essays (Fall 2009)

Hist 102: World History Since 1500
Fall 2009
Final Exam Essays
20% of the course grade

Final Exam Essays Due at Noon on Tuesday, December 15th

The test will consist of two essays, equal in value, which you will choose from the following list:

  1. Compare and contrast the liberation of Latin America in the early 19th century and the decolonization of Africa in the late 20th century.
  2. Describe the effects of the world slave trade on sub-Saharan Africa. (Don’t spend time talking about slavery in the Americas or elsewhere; focus on Africa).
  3. Describe the world economy around 1700. Include trade, flows of silver and gold, the role of agriculture, major exporters and the state of technology. How are things changing?
  4. Did the Columbian Exchange benefit Native American populations in any way, or was it entirely disastrous?
  5. How did the Industrial Revolution affect Asia? How do Asian nations respond to the economic and military power of the West after industrialization?
  6. Locke and Hobbes had very different ideas about the role of government and the rights of the individual. Describe their ideas, especially their differences. How have those ideas influenced political history over the last 300 years, and which of these thinkers is closest to our present-day ideas about rights and government? (globally, not just the United States)

Both Essays are due in my office (RH 406F)

before noon on Tuesday, December 15th.

There will be no extensions or late papers accepted

except in cases of documented medical emergency.


This test covers the entire semester: textbooks, documents, and lectures.

  • This is a take-home essay examination, so I am expecting two real essays, with introductions, thesis statements, paragraphs, conclusions, etc.
    • You may think of it as two essays each worth about one-tenth of your course grade; that’s certainly how I calculate it.
    • Don’t assume that “an answer” will be easily found in one section of one book. These essays require broad knowledge and analytical thinking.
    • Be concrete: evidence is always more convincing than generalization or simple logic.
    • The grade is based primarily on the strength of your argument as an answer to the question: thesis, evidence (completeness and handling), logic.
    • Polished prose is not required, but basic courtesies like correct spelling and writing in grammatical standard English will be expected.
    • Be careful to address all parts of the question: when asked to pick between two choices, for example, it’s not enough to say what the positive argument for your side is without discussing the possible arguments for the other side.
    • Clarity is crucial; structure is essential to a clear and effective argument.
  • Citations and Plagiarism
    • failure to acknowledge the source of your ideas or information is unacceptable. Plagiarism will result in no credit for the exam. Poor paraphrasing and poor citation will be penalized.
    • A Works Cited or Bibliography page is not required unless you use sources outside of the course readings and lectures. You must cite the source of information and ideas that are outside of “general knowledge,” including information from your course texts. Format of the notes is up to you: I prefer footnotes for my research, but parenthetical citations are fine as well; any format will be fine as long as it is used consistently and it clearly identifies the source and page of your information.
    • These questions can be answered more than adequately with reference to assigned readings and lectures. You are welcome to do more research and include outside sources if necessary, but you must be sure that they are relevant and of sufficient quality to enhance your argument. Using outside sources instead of course materials will result in penalties.
  • Technical Details
    • Make sure that your name, section, e-mail address and the question are clearly indicated at the beginning of each essay, and that each essay begins on a separate page. Title pages are not required, but feel free to give your essay a title.
    • There is neither a minimum nor a maximum length for these essays, but I would be surprised if you could answer any of them in less than 1000 words or needed more than 2500.
    • Double-spacing and title pages are not required, but readable type and font are.
    • Both Essays are due in my office (RH 406F) before noon on Tuesday, December 15th. There will be no extensions or late papers accepted except in cases of documented medical emergency. Emailed files will only be accepted as proof of completion; printed essays must be delivered no later than 4pm Tuesday, and must be identical to the emailed files.

2 comments to Final Exam Essays (Fall 2009)

  1. [...] your final, email me. Otherwise, I’ll have the tests ready to hand back when you hand in the final essays. Now, on to grade the book reviews! Create a free edublog to get your own comment avatar (and [...]

  2. [...] haven’t graded the finals yet, obviously, but I did sort them out to see which questions were most popular (and make sure [...]

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