I. Primary source analysis II. Making connections III. Topical Essay

I. Primary source analysis (20%) Suggested length 250-300 words, about 1 page
Examine this source: This is a version a poster shown in class as it appeared in the New York Daily Forward, a Yiddish-language newspaper, on November 1,
1936 (shortly before the 1936 election). Note that it is not an advertisement, but a kind of visual editorial, i.e. sponsored by the paper rather than an
outside client placing an ad. The translation reads as follows: top-center Forward; top-right, Art Section; below, Roosevelt, The Worker’s Choice.
Now consider this question: In class we discussed how this poster illustrated how workers (and Americans in general) pushed FDR to shape New Deal policies
towards goals he might not have originally intended. How does this image’s appearance in a Jewish newspaper affect that interpretation? Does it reinforce or
complicate, expand or narrow the claim? In your answer, be sure to discuss the visual details as well as the context for the image, and consider what else
about the Great Depression era might it relate to.
II. Making connections (40 pts.) Suggested length = 500-600 words, about 2 pages.
Choose three sources assigned in the syllabus from the Great Depression to the 1960s (Oct 8-Nov 7). You may choose any sources you like which will help you
to answer the question, with the one restriction that each source MUST be drawn from a different week
Using these three sources as your central examples, write an analytical, thesis-based essay that answers the following question:
Taken together, F.D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms – of expression and of religion, from fear and from want – represented a new and renewed vision of national
ideals that many mid-century Americans embraced. According to your sources, how and why did these ideals become significant in a changing American economy,
culture, politics, or foreign policy between the 1930s and the 1960s
A few notes:
• Your response should develop a thesis that declares a particular focus or angle on the question. We don’t expect you to be able to cover each ideal
individually, so you will want to spend some time thinking about how to define and limit your scope. You may, for example, choose one or two ideals to focus
on rather than all, or illustrate how different ideals became important at different moments. Being explicit about how and why you decided upon the
theme/thesis/selection of sources is part of developing a well-argued essay.
• Proving whether or not the nation lived up to the ideal(s) is less important than explaining WHY and HOW they continued to be important ideals for many
Americans, despite some major changes in American life in those four decades. And, an ideal can remain significant, even if its definition might change over
time or if people interpret it differently.
• For your three central sources you should choose those labeled Sources in D2L, whether they are readings, images such the Dust Bowl photographs, or videos
including I Love Lucy and the Eyes on the Prize documentaries that we watched in class. Lecture material and Foner are not generally considered sources in
this case, although it may be helpful to refer to those or other sources besides the central ones you choose. Be aware, however, that you have limited space
and the main focus of your analysis should concentrate on the three examples. You should organize your essay around those three and use others to help with
context.
III. Topical Essay (40 pts.) Suggested length = 500-600 words, about 2 pages.
Answer ONE (1) of the following questions in an analytical, thesis-based essay. Be sure to offer a clear response to the question, draw upon historical
contexts learned in the course, and discuss relevant and specific examples drawn from articles, sources, and lectures. Do not base your essay entirely on
lecture material; you should incorporate at least three (3) relevant course readings into your answer (i.e. sources, the Davidson & Lytle article, and
the Foner text).
a) The Cold War policy of containment generated new American mindsets in two arenas: the nation’s relationship to global politics, and the approaches to life
at home. While the 1959 “Kitchen Debate” clearly illustrated that these two arenas became closely linked, in which area would you argue containment made the
most significant impact between the late 1940s and the early 1960s: foreign policy or domestic culture?
OR
b) It sometimes seems like the Civil Rights Movement came from nowhere, started with the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and that only
young people were brave enough to protest. But there is also evidence to suggest a longer history of activism and contextual factors that contributed to its
success. Which would you argue was more responsible for Civil Rights victories in the 1960s: the intensity and actions of the younger generation or the
legacy and context they relied upon?

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