Final Exams: Take-home and In-Class

15% of the course grade.

You have a choice on your final exams:

1. write three essays during the final exam period in response to the final exam questions, which will be selected from the study questions. You may take the exam at either of the times assigned to this class – Monday, December 15th at 9am (WH 202) or Wednesday, December 17th at 11 am (RH 307).


2. write two essays at home in response to the take-home essay questions, due in my office (RH 406F) before 10 am on Wednesday, December 17th.

You must tell me, in writing or by email ( which option you will chose no later than the day of the last test, Wednesday, December 10th. If you chose the second first option, you will also need to tell me which time you will take the test at that time.

Option 1: In-class Final Exam

You may take the test at either time, if you have no conflicts with other exams. You must tell me in advance (Dec 10th), which session you will be attending. There are no make-up exams offered except in cases of documented medical emergency.

  • Monday, December 15th at 9am (WH 202)
  • Wednesday, December 17th at 11 am (RH 307).

You will pick the three questions from the six questions on the test. Those questions will come from the following list:

  • Who had the greater impact on world history: Napoleon or Hitler? Why?
  • 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).
  • Was the British importation of opium into China a sign of Chinese strength or weakness? Explain.
  • What technological and/or scientific development had the greatest impact on family life over the last five hundred years? Describe the effects of this technology on structure or behavior of family units and how that affected society generally.
  • North America developed industrial democracies in the 19th century while Latin America remained economically weak and politically unstable. Why?
  • Contrast the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen or the US Declaration of Independence with the 1948 UN “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” What new rights are enumerated, and why?
  • “The Soviet Union was just another empire, and the Cold War just another competition between empires.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
  • Did the Columbian Exchange benefit Native American populations in any way, or was it entirely disastrous?
  • How has Islamic belief changed over the last 500 years? How much of the world’s Muslim population has been affected by these changes?
  • Is anti-semitism more racist or nationalist? What other factors help explain its prominence in 19th and 20th century European culture?

· Since you don’t know which six questions will be on the test, you need to be prepared to answer at least eight of the questions above. Pre-writing and memorizing eight essays probably won’t work for most people. What does work is planning: think about the structure of your answer; make sure you know what terms, names and dates are important to include (the chapter study guides are useful checklists).
· Answer the question: since you have the questions in advance, the emphasis in grading will be in how completely you cover the relevant material and whether you really have answered the question.

Option 2: Take Home Essays

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

1. What were the three most important long-term effects of the French Revolution? Note that effects can be positive or negative, and that long-term effects means that you don’t have to give a history of the French Revolution itself. What role does Napoleon play in these effects?

2. What is nationalism? When does it begin to be a significant factor in world events? Is it becoming more or less significant at the beginning of the 21st century?

3. Write an analysis of agriculture from 1500 to present focusing on either its economic role or environmental impact. This is not a general history of agriculture, but an economic or environmental analysis. Issues to consider include: the place of agriculture in the overall economy and the share of farmers in the population; regional variations; changes in technology, fertilizers and crops; the Columbian Exchange; general lifestyle changes.

4. Discuss the evolution and expansion of human rights from 1500 to present. In addition to the expansion of enumerated rights, discuss the limitations on rights, who grants rights and how they are protected, and the extent to which these rights are local versus global. You will want to take note of assigned readings in particular: “Süleyman the Lawgiver”, Niccolo Machiavelli, excerpts from The Prince, Tokugawa Shogunate Laws for the Military House, The Declaration of Independence, Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

5. How has the legal status and economic position of women changed over the last five hundred years? What are the most important turning points in women’s rights and family systems?

6. Write a political history of Christianity since 1500: How has the religion of Christianity influenced and been affected by political institutions and events? Remember to include the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox branches of Christianity, and remember that Christianity is a world-wide religion in this period. Though doctrine may play a role, the focus of this essay should be on the interaction between religious institutions and populations with nations/states/governments, etc.

7. How did the Industrial Revolution affect Asia and Africa differently? Why?

Both Essays are due in my office (RH 406F)
before 10 am on Wednesday, December 17th.

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.
o This is a take-home essay examination, so I am expecting two real essays, with introductions, thesis statements, paragraphs, conclusions, etc.
o Don’t assume that “an answer” will be easily found in one section of one book. These essays require broad knowledge and analytical thinking.
o Be concrete: evidence is always more convincing than generalization or simple logic.

· You may think of it as two essays each worth about one-thirteenth of your course grade; that’s certainly how I calculate it.
o The grade is based primarily on the strength of your argument as an answer to the question: thesis, evidence (completeness and handling), logic.
o Polished prose is not required, but basic courtesies like correct spelling and writing in grammatical standard English will be expected.
o Clarity is crucial; structure is essential to a clear and effective argument.

· Citations and Plagiarism
o 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.
o 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.
o 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
o 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 fresh page. Title pages are not required.
o 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.
o Double-spacing and title pages are not required, but readable type and font are.
o Both Essays are due in my office (RH 406F) before 10 am on Wednesday, December 17th. 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 5pm Wednesday, and must be identical to the emailed files.

“[History is] an accumulative science, gradually gathering truth
through the steady and plodding efforts of countless practitioners
turning out countless monographs.” — Gordon Wood

“[History is] little else than a long succession of useless cruelties.”
— Voltaire

“[History is] the doubtful story of successive events.”
— Bosanquet

“[History is] the most difficult of all the sciences.”
— Fustel de Coulanges

“A country without a memory is a country of madmen.”
— George Santayana

“God cannot alter the past; historians can.”
— Samuel Butler

“I’d rather be caught holding up a bank than stealing so much as a two-word phrase
from another writer; but … when someone has the wit to coin a useful word,
it ought to be acclaimed and broadcast or it will perish.” — Jack Smith