Big Question 9

How did changes in the Early American Republic’s economy impact working people’s lives?

Use these links: American Yawp, Chapter 8, Sections I, II, IV, & V and Ben Franklin’s World podcast #28, “Building the Erie Canal,” with historian Janice Fontanella


Your task is to respond to this question in approximately 1 double-spaced page. Points will not be deducted for exceeding 1 double-spaced page, but you should make every effort to be economical with your writing. Avoid direct quotations unless they are absolutely necessary, and include only text that is most directly relevant to the point under discussion. Include only your name at the top of the page; do not include a title, the class information, etc.

Your Big Question Response should achieve all of the following:

–Synthesize (integrate information from) the various sources of information from the week. This includes any reading (textbook and primary source), lecture content, class discussions, podcasts, or films that occurred over the past week. Responses that discuss information only from the textbook, lecture, or one other source of information will lose points. Indicate where your information is coming from, and point out any strengths or weaknesses of a given source of information.

–Explain your idea(s). The Big Question cannot be answered completely by a narration or summary of events. Use intentional language (see below) to call the reader’s attention to important evidence and connections between different pieces of information.

–Communicate your analysis clearly in your best prose. Proof read your Big Question Response for spelling and grammar, and make sure you are using the correct terminology when discussing particular events, concepts, places, and people.

Writing Tips

–Synthesizing: think carefully about what sources of information relate most directly to the question. You do not necessarily need to draw information from all of the sources in a given week. But you want to avoid leaving relevant information on the table. Use your writing to identify where your information is coming from and what its strengths and weaknesses are.

> Using phrases like “According to the authors of Freedom on My Mind” or “In the podcast xxxx, historian Jane Doe argues that…” helps to establish the credibility of the information that follows.

Conversely, it might be necessary to question or fill in the gaps in other sources, especially primary sources.

> A sentence that starts with something like, “While John Doe’s diary offers a rich description of xxxxx, it overlooks…” indicates to the reader that you are making an analytical point about the source of information and not just restating what the source says.

–Explaining: formulating a historical explanation requires language that emphasizes points of similarity or difference; adds on to a point that was already made or a piece of evidence that was already presented; puts historical events in their correct sequence; and highlights causes and effects.

> Comparisons: also, similarly, likewise

> Contrasts: on the one hand/on the other hand, although, conversely, nevertheless, despite, however

> Adding: in addition, moreover, further, too, besides

> Sequencing: first (etc.), last, next, finally, subsequently, later, ultimately

> Cause/effect: consequently, as a result, because, accordingly, thus, since, therefore, so

–Communicating: use language that you are comfortable with and that gives the most straightforward explanation of your ideas. Use fewer words whenever possible. When proofreading, try to read aloud (preferably to a friend) in order to catch incomplete or run-on sentences, clunky phrases, and other not so easily detectable writing issues.

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