The Arc of History

History H106Final Examination ReviewNote: there will be Part I and Part II, each worth 50% of your total exam grade.Part I: Post-midterm essay (50%):Two of the following three essay questions will be on the exam. You must choose to write on one. Be sure that your essay contains an introduction and thesis, THREE body paragraphs that make wide use of evidence from the readings and lectures, and a conclusion.A. The Cold WarFocusing on United States foreign policy, domestic policy, and culture, discuss the ways in which the Cold War influenced America in the second half of the twentieth century. Ultimately, do you think America’s national character was changed or reaffirmed during the Cold War?B. Social movements & politicsLooking at World War II, 1960s, and 1990s, discuss the ways in which people have influenced government, and government has influenced people. Ultimately, which do you think has been more influential at determining national development: people or government?C. Popular cultureLooking at the 1950s, 1970s, and 1980s, discuss the role of popular culture in America. Ultimately, has popular culture generally reflected American society or has it generally shaped American society?Part II: Comprehensive essay (50%):Two of the following three essay questions will be on the exam. You must choose to write on one. Be sure that your essay contains an introduction and thesis, FOUR body paragraphs that make wide use of evidence from the readings and lectures, and a conclusion.A. The “Arc of History”“The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice” is a statement by Unitarian minister Theodore Parker (1810-1860) and evoked by Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) during the Civil Rights Movement. It follows the idea that human society is gradually improving. Apply this sentiment to the experience of FOUR of the following groups of Americans—American Indians, blacks, women, immigrants, workers, and business interests—from 1877 to the present. Is the “arc of history long, but bends towards justice”?B. War and changeCharacterized by animosity and destruction, wars have also allowed fertile ground for change. Looking at the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War, discuss how wars have shaped America. Ultimately, have wars been a progressive or regressive force in American history?C. Historical forcesHistorians argue amongst themselves as to what forces wield influence over the past. Discuss economic, political, social, and cultural developments in American history from 1877 to the present with an eye to weighing their relative influence. Ultimately, which of these four forces do you think has been most influential in American history during this period?

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