Writing Question

Learning Goal: I’m working on a writing question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Analytical Essay 2 Prompt

Write a 750-word response to the following prompt:

How did the role of the federal government in American life change between World War I

and World War II (c. 1919-1941)? Who were the key players in this transition, and what

were the key events? How might we understand and describe the shifting role of the

federal government across time? How were the activities of the federal government

related to the expansion or limitation of American freedom?

In formulating your answer, choose three different individuals/groups that we have

discussed in the middle section of the course (modules 6-9). Explain how each of them

defined, explained, and imagined the proper place of the federal government in American

economics, culture, and society. You should also compare these contrasting views of the

role of government. What were the points of agreement and disagreement? Could

multiple perspectives coexist, or were they mutually exclusive?

Be as specific as possible, and be sure to use the assigned readings to defend your


Answers that are too short or too long (more than 50 words in either direction) will lose points.

Your answer must quote and cite at least three different documents from the required reading

for Modules 6 through 9. Documents from other modules do not count for the purposes of this


Your answer will be checked for plagiarism using Turn-It-In.

Your answer should be based on material covered in class lectures and in the assigned reading

for this course. DO NOT CONSULT OTHER SOURCES. I do not want to know what Google

tells you about this topic. All the information you need to answer this question can be found in

the assigned reading and in your class notes.

Some tips on formatting and length:

  • 750 words is not much! It’s about three double spaced pages (1” margins, 12 point font).
  • Be brief, especially in your introductory paragraph. Get right to your argument, don’t

waste words describing everything we’ve covered in the course. There’s no need to make

sweeping statements like “Since the beginning of U.S. history….”

  • The prompt asks several different (but closely related) questions. You do not need to

answer each and every one of them, but you should try to address most of them (at least

in passing) in your essay.

  • Suggested format:

o 75 words: Introductory paragraph that ends with a clear thesis statement (that

is, your argument and your answer to the question asked in the prompt)

200 words: body paragraph 1, which should contain your first example and a

quotation from your first document.

o 200 words: body paragraph 2, which should contain your second example and a

quotation from your second document. A transition paragraph between paragraphs

should address the similarities/differences between your first and second example.

o 200 words: body paragraph 3, which should contain your third example and a

quotation from your third document. A transition paragraph between paragraphs

should address the similarities/differences between this example and your first

two examples.

o 75 words: a concluding paragraph that compares your three examples and

reiterates (not word-for-word!) your thesis from the introduction.

You MUST introduce and contextualize your quotes. We’ve read dozens of documents this term.

You must tell your reader what document you’re quoting.

  • GOOD: Southern African Americans had their own definition of freedom. “We claim

freedom as our natural right,” black residents of Nashville stated in a petition, “and ask

that in harmony and co-operation with the nation at large, you should cut up the roots the

system of slavery.” As these petitioners noted, the work of freedom remained

incomplete, even after emancipation.

  • BAD: Southern African Americans had their own definition of freedom. “We claim

freedom as our natural right, and ask that in harmony and co-operation with the nation at

large, you should cut up the roots the system of slavery.”

The second example is extraordinarily confusing for your reader. Who are you quoting? Are

these your words? Introduce your quotes, and then explain them in your own words.

You should also try to avoid extended quotations. In almost all circumstances, you shouldn’t be

quoting more than one or two sentences at a time. When you’re trying to quote a longer passage,

intersperse your own words as necessary. When I see paragraph-length citations I start to worry

that you’re just trying to fill up space…

Historians use Chicago Manual of Style, Humanities format. Use footnotes, not parenthetical/in-

text citations.

Cite the documents from Eric Foner’s Voices of Freedom as follows:

  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Home Life,” in Eric Foner, ed. Voices of Freedom, Vol. 2, 6th

Edition (New York: W.W. Norton, 2020), 14-17.

You do not need to cite my video lectures. Consider these to be common knowledge shared by the class.

Submit your document as a Microsoft Word file – or a similar word processing file. Do not

convert the file to a PDF.

Please include a word count on your pape


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