Constitutional Changes

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Note from Mr. O:
Remember that when you are writing a DBQ the essay should read the same as a regular essay and the document usage should not disrupt the flow of your argument. Make sure that your thesis and your argument clearly focuses only on the task at hand: to answer the question or prompt, to have a clear direct argument with a clearly defined position, and utilize as many documents and as much outside information as evidence to support your position. Your evidence, whether from the documents or outside information, needs to be presented in the context of the question (in this case as evidence of constitutional or social change or lack thereof) with analysis conveying its significance. Any evidence not framed in the context of the question is irrelevant and will not help your score.

The strongest essays argued that while Constitutional changes were clearly revolution pointing to the 13th-15th Amendments as the clearest example as well as the expanding and contracting role of the president, and general victory of federal power over states’ rights; social changes, while forming either a temporary revolution or one in theory, ultimately were not significant enough to be considered revolutionary when considering the backlash that occurred by the end of the period (or some argued that despite the backlash it was still revolutionary which is fine too if done effectively).

Common Problems:
1. Failure to clearly understand what the question is asking – “Revolution” as in drastic change – or failure discuss if change was truly revolutionary 2. Focusing on if changes were good or bad rather than drastic. 3. Southern “secession” or “seceded” not “succession” or “succeeded”!!!!! 4. Lack of enough specific outside information to support argument 5. Using historical narrative (telling the story of the era) instead of creating an argument 6. Weak topic sentences – should either introduce social or constitutional change 7. Thesis statements that don’t...
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