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THE LONG ESSAY QUESTION (LEQ):
Historical Thinking Skill = Comparison
Rubric Requirements:
A.
THESIS [1 point]
Ø The thesis of any APWH essay is your essay’s primary argument (the big point you want to
make!)
Ø Where is this done?: Your introductory and conclusion paragraphs should ONLY
include your thesis. Your conclusion thesis should have any errors corrected that you
may have made in your introductory paragraph (hence, the conclusion thesis is a “reworked” thesis).
Ø The thesis for the LEQ (comparison) must include:
o Identification of the region(s)/civilization(s) to be analyzed
o Identification of the time period to be covered
o Address the prompt fully by providing multiple, relevant, & focused similarities &
differences
§ Include at least either 2 similarities & 1 difference OR 1 similarity & 2 differences
Ø The thesis may be composed of one or more sentences.
Ø Let’s look at some examples and non-examples for a possible prompt…
Sample Prompt: Compare and contrast the diffusion of religions in Afro-Eurasia during the period
of 600 BCE to 600 CE.
Ø Examples of bad thesis statements:
o “There were many similarities and differences in the diffusion of religions in Afro-Eurasia during
the period of 600 BCE to 600 CE.”
o “Between 600 BCE and 600 CE, China and Rome can be compared and contrasted in the
diffusion of particular religions.”
o “Between 600 BCE and 600 CE, Buddhism and Christianity were both diffused by means of the
Great Silk Road, but the religions that were adopted by China, India, and Rome differed.”
Ø Example of a good thesis statement:
o “In Afro-Eurasia, during the period of 600 BCE to 600 CE, both India and China
adopted Buddhist traditions, whereas the Roman Empire did not and eventually adopted
Christianity as its official religion instead. However, Buddhism and Christianity were both
diffused by means of the Great Silk Road. In addition, the central governments of Han
China and Mauryan India promoted the diffusion of Buddhism throughout their respective
empires.”
B.
ARGUMENT DEVELOPMENT: USING A TARGETED HISTORICAL THINKING SKILL
(COMPARISON) [2 points]
Ø 2 parts: 1) Argument Description + 2) Argument Explanation
Ø Where is this done? The body paragraphs!
Ø 1) Describe at least 3 comparisons (2 similarities & 1 difference OR 1 similarity or 2
differences) = 1 pt.
o Ex: “In comparison, Buddhism and Christianity were diffused by means of the Great
Silk Road.”
Ø 2) Analyze or explain the reasons for at least 2 of the comparisons
(similarities/differences) = 1 pt.
o Answer: “WHY did this similarity or difference exist?”
o The explanation cannot be superficial. Dig into it!
o Ex for the comparison above: “This was possible because the Silk routes
provided direct overland links between the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia,
and East Asia. The Great Silk Road was further linked to other trade routes:
The Mediterranean Sea and Roman roads in the West and the Indian Ocean to
the South. Because the Roman Empire included territories linked directly by the
Great Silk Road, Mediterranean Sea, and Roman roads, Christianity diffused
rapidly from its origins in Israel in the Middle East. Likewise, Buddhism was able
to diffuse from India to China via Great Silk Road connections across the
Himalayas. At their peak, the Roman Empire and Han China protected extensive
areas of the Great Silk Road with their powerful armies. This promoted merchant
activity. As a result, the merchants not only brought their goods to sell in each of
these empires, but they also introduced new faiths.”
C.
ARGUMENT DEVELOPMENT: USING EVIDENCE [2 POINTS]
Ø 2 parts: 1) Providing historical evidence + 2) Use the historical evidence to fully
substantiate a thesis
Ø Where is this done? The body paragraphs!
Ø 1) Refer to at least 5 pieces (altogether) of relevant historical evidence (historical
facts) that can be used to support your arguments of comparison (similarities/differences
= 1 pt.
o Examples of historical facts that could be used to prove that the Great Silk
Road was used to diffuse both Buddhism and Christianity: St. Paul established
churches in the Middle East, Emperor Ashoka sent Buddhist monastics and
ambassadors to lands around India, Buddhist and Christian monasteries were
established on the Silk Road
Ø 2) Use the historical evidence to fully substantiate (prove the truth of) a thesis = 1 pt.
o Explain how the evidence supports your argument of comparison. Dig deeper
into the evidence
o Do this for at least 3 pieces of evidence.
Ø Ex: “One of the people that was particularly important in spreading the ideas
of Jesus along the Great Silk Road, Mediterranean, and Roman roads, was Saint
Paul. According to the Bible, Paul was an early Christian convert from Syria.
Paul inspired other preachers and established some of the earliest churches in
the Middle East and along the Mediterranean coast. An outcome of this early
evangelism was that Christian monasteries were eventually established in the
Middle East along the Great Silk Road.”
· In this example, it is explained how St. Paul helped spread
Christianity along areas of the Great Silk Road (thus supporting the
argument that the Great Silk Road was used to spread the religions
of Christianity and Buddhism).
D.
SYNTHESIS [1 POINT]
o Extend the argument by explaining the connections between the argument and ONE
of the following:
i.
**A development in a different historical period, situation, era, or
geographic area**
ii.
**A course theme and/or approach to history that is not the focus of the
essay (such as political, economic, social, cultural, or intellectual
history)**
iii.
A different discipline or field of inquiry (such as economics, government,
art history, or anthropology)
o Where is this done? In a separate paragraph just before the conclusion paragraph.
Ø Ex: “Just as the Great Silk Road was used by travelers and governments to diffuse
Buddhism and Christianity in the period of 600 BCE to 600 CE, the next era saw a new
religion expand far more effectively across the Silk Routes. The Post-Classical Period
witnessed the diffusion of Islam along the Great Silk Road. Though Islam lacked
monastics to diffuse the faith, Islam spread primarily due to military conquest, merchant
activity, and the evangelizing efforts of Sufi mystics. Islam was usually religiously tolerant
as long as a head tax was paid by the subjects of Islamic governments, so Christianity
and Buddhism continued to be practiced along the Great Silk Road.”
· In this example of synthesis, the diffusion of religions along the Great
Silk Road in the classical period is linked to the diffusion of the religion of
Islam that diffused during the next period (post-classical, 600 CE to 1450
CE).
· Note: Synthesis is not a passing reference. It is more deeply
discussed and has clear links to the prompt.
6 POINTS TOTAL POSSIBLE
Grading Scale for LEQs:
0 = 28
1 = 40
2 = 52
3 = 64
4 = 76
5 = 88
6 = 100
_____________________
Essay Structure:
Introductory paragraph = Thesis statement (must be the last thing in the intro paragraph!)
1st Body Paragraph = Similarities + Evidence + Substantiate thesis w/evidence
2nd Body Paragraph = Differences + Evidence + Substantiates thesis w/evidence
3rd Body Paragraph = Synthesis
Conclusion paragraph = Re-worked thesis statement (must be the first thing in the conclusion
paragraph!)
Additional Tips for the APWH Essays:
o Indent all paragraphs
o Never write in first-person (no “I”, “me”, “we”, “you”).
o Avoid writing “fluff” or “filler”. The essays do not have to meet a specific page requirement.
What is more important is that you answer the prompt fully and meet/exceed all rubric
requirements!
o All statements of comparison/contrast must be focused.
· Rather than saying, “The diffusion of religions in Afro-Eurasia differed”, state the specific
difference that exists between the diffusion of religions.
· This is much better: “Both India and China adopted Buddhist traditions, whereas the Roman
Empire did not and eventually adopted Christianity as its official religion instead.”
o Cue word/phrases that express comparisons/contrasts: like, similar to, also, unlike, in the
same way, likewise, compared to, in contrast, on the contrary, however, although, even though,
but, still, nevertheless, conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one
hand….on the other hand…
o Each body paragraph should be spent analyzing a major topic that you point out in the thesis.
o The first sentence of each body paragraph should reflect the main idea of that paragraph. It
should be one of your comparisons (which could be a statement of similarity or difference) that
you first identified in the thesis.
· Ex: Topic sentence of the 1st body paragraph = “One major difference in the diffusion of
religions in Afro-Eurasia was that both India and China adopted Buddhist religious beliefs and
practices, whereas the Roman Empire failed to do so. Instead, the Roman Empire eventually
adopted Christianity as its official religion.”
o In the body paragraphs, identify and discuss only one similarity or difference at a time.
o It is entirely unnecessary to define key terms/concepts (ex. “patriarchy” or “centralization”).
Get right to the point!
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