The Populist and Progressive reformers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries brought about widespread changes to American politics, economics, and society. In this essay, we want you to consider the ethics and civics of these reformers and their policies. Who were these reformers and what motivated them? What methods did they use to further their goals through civic engagement? What ethical considerations did they make in pushing reforms? How successful were they in achieving these goals?
HINT – DO NOT discuss one reform movement or reformer and then the next, that is NOT what this prompt is asking. What we want you to consider are the ethical motivations of the reformers, the civic engagements they pursued, and how American society responded to these reforming impulses (so are they successful in changing American life or not, do Americans of the time think these are ethical policies to pursue for the public good or do not middle-class people push back, etc.) Keep the focus on ethics/civics here.
Note 1: Successful responses will consider a broad range of evidence in support of arguments. Take a few moments to consider how you would respond by making a list of both "ethics" and "civics" related to the policies and actions of the reformers and how the rest of society perceived these reforms. Be sure to have a mixture of big/broad ideas and specific/detailed evidence in your argument.
If you are confused about the definitions of "ethics" or "civics" go back and look at previous "ethical discussions" that were participation choices in discussion - you need not have participated to read through the conversation. If you are still confused, contact your coach.
Note 2: We DO NOT want summaries. Summaries will not earn a high grade. "A papers" utilize rule of three analysis (including strong rule of three thesis statements in the introduction and each paragraph of the body), specific and detailed historical facts as evidence, analysis instead of summary, consider change over time and historical geography (as necessary in response to the prompt), and properly cite both primary and secondary sources.
Note 3: Required length is 2-3 pages (introduction, 3 paragraphs of the body, conclusion).
RULE OF THREE THESES - Do you have a well thought out and clear overall thesis in your introduction? Do you have a thesis statement for each of your three paragraphs of the body? Do the paragraphs of the body follow the overall thesis statement?
EVIDENCE - You must have solid evidence for each point you raise in the thesis. Evidence is not simply a statement, there must be an explanation of how that evidence supports the thesis statement.
Example: If you were writing a paragraph on the causes of the Cold War, you might use the Baruch Plan as an example. Simply writing "the Baruch Plan was a cause of the Cold War" in your paragraph would not be enough and would not be analytical. However, the following sentences do provide a good analysis of this piece of evidence:
"One cause of the Cold War was the failure of the United States and the Soviet Union to agree upon a plan for nuclear disarmament after World War II. The Baruch Plan, presented by the US, would maintain the American atomic weapon advantage for the foreseeable future. This played into Stalin's suspicions of the Americans' true motivations toward the USSR."
Did you use the minimum number of primary sources? secondary sources?
HISTORICAL ACCURACY, CLARITY, AND LOGIC
Did you analyze (not summarize)? Is your argument clear and does it make sense? Is it historically accurate? Does your evidence prove your point? Does your analysis answer the prompt? Have you considered the concepts of ethics and civics, change over time, and any historical geography factors in your essay?
Have you properly cited? Have you used Turabian/Chicago? You must also FOOTNOTE. Parenthetical cites are NOT allowed.
GRAMMAR, SPELLING AND MECHANICS
Is the essay up to college standards for grammar and spelling? Is it an analytical essay? Does it meet minimum length and formatting requirements?
Although the Populist and Progressive reformers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were motivated by a desire to improve the lives of Americans, their efforts to achieve their goals through civic engagement often had mixed ethical and civic outcomes. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the United States experienced significant political, economic, and social changes. In response to these changes, a number of reformers emerged in the form of Populists and Progressives. These reformers were motivated by a desire to improve the lives of Americans and to combat the increasing power of corporate and political elites. To achieve their goals, they sought to implement a variety of civic engagement methods.
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