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PART A: IDENTIFICATIONS (4 points total — 1 POINT EACH — CHOOSE FOUR)
Choose FOUR of the following topics. In a short paragraph, use your own words to
identify what the topic is, argue how it relates to pre-colonial and/or colonial history, and
show how one of our readings helps to explain its relevance to history. Do reference the
reading informally. (For example: According to the authors of The American Yawp,
commodity money was defined by location. Because tobacco was an essential moneymaking good in Virginia, it was what was used as commodity money in Virginia. * Note: If
you choose commodity money when doing your identifications, you can use these ideas,
but make sure you add to it. Give your identification a little something fresh. *)
Grading criteria for Identifications — one point each: Identifications are assessed for (a)
accuracy, (b) thoughtfulness, (c) clarity, and (d) engagement with evidence (sources in the
ESSAY (11 POINTS TOTAL)
Write a 500-to-800-word argument-based essay in response to the following prompt:
Physical Materials or Ideas: Which was more important? Based on early pre-colonial and
colonial history (covered in modules through 2/3), were physical materials or ideas more
impactful to people’s lives? Physical materials are any of the “things” that we can
experience physically. Germs are experienced physically via health or sickness. Food,
tools, clothes, shelter, and money are physical materials, as is nature and our
environment. Ideas would include social norms, cultural values, ideologies,
religions/spiritual ideas, as well as ideas about race, gender, age, ability, etc.
How to approach this essay: First, for the purpose of this argument-based essay, pick a
side and make an argument. Then, support your argument with examples from diverse
groups of peoples alive during the pre-colonial and colonial historical period. (You can’t
cover everyone and every time period, but do cover a solid range of peoples.) Use your
own words for this short essay. Use the class sources — text and videos — to find your
Grading criteria for Essay (11 points total):
Argument: 4 points:
o Does your essay have a clear and specific argument that answers
o Is your argument compelling? (Do you make a persuasive case?)
o Do you anticipate differing points of view and engage with them?
Evidence: 5 points:
o Do you use evidence to defend your argument? Is the evidence
o Do you use a range of evidence — like historians/experts
(represented in American Yawp and videos) as well as some primary
sources (words/drawings from that time)?
o Does your evidence cover a range of peoples? And does your
evidence address both pre-colonial and colonial times?
Clarity: 2 points:
o Does your paper flow clearly?
o Is your writing free of distracting technical errors (such as grammar,
spelling, and punctuation)?
o Is this paper written mostly in your own words (rather than a series
of block quotes)?
o If the essay uses informal language, is it blended intentionally with
o Unless you use a direct quote, you don’t have to cite your sources.
If you use an outside source, then you should cite it in either MLA
or Chicago Style (Links to an external site.) format.
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