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Essay Questions for US History (One Hour)

1. It is generally thought that sectionalism in the US in the 19th century was a force, which was antagonistic to nationalism. Debate the merits of this view.

2. The efforts to prohibit the tendency of US business to consolidate, grow big, and monopolize were ill conceived and impossible of achievement. Discuss this statement in terms of business trends, legislative enactments, and presidential policy in terms of two of the following periods: Jacksonian, 1829-1837, post-Civil War, 1866-1890, Progressive, 1901-17; and Reagan, 1981-1989.

3. Utilitarianism. Social Darwinism, and Pragmatism were three ideologies that were very congenial to people on the US in the 19th century. Define the philosophies, indicate their country of origin, and explain why they found such a ready acceptance.

4. The spirit of imperialism in the US in the late 19th century was nothing more than a revival of the spirit of Manifest Destiny . Why or why not do you agree with this statement?

5. The strength of the French and English Empires in North America seemed so uneven in the 18th century, if you take as your measuring stick population, trade, agricultural wealth, or geographical compactness, that is it surprising that the French should have been such a threat to the English as they were from 1703 to 1763. Discuss this statement in all of its aspects and also explain why the English were ultimately victorious

6. Marxian socialism and anarchism were imported into the US but they failed to take root in the US labor movement. Explain why they did not and which were the countervailing ideologies.

7. American political parties may rise and fall but there has been a basic continuity between those that are “conservative” and those that are “liberal.” Apply this generalization to a discussion of the Federalist and why parties, examining the ideas of each. Note the differences as well as similarities.

8. Many of the Founding Fathers were inspired by French writers and the US achieved its independence only because the French aided. How, then, does one explain the anti-French spirit so prevalent in the first half of 2003?

9. Did Franklin D. Roosevelt use Hamiltonian means to achieve Jeffersonian ends?

10. Discuss the effects of invention and technological innovation on all forms of agriculture, 1790-1940.