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An Example of a 7 on an AP essay

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GoPunchRocks's picture
Joined: Oct 2005
An Example of a 7 on an AP essay

Many people ask me for an example essay to base theirs off of. I needed a question that nobody could possibly plagerize from and i finally found one. This essay recieved a 7 from a teacher who gardes AP essays from the actual exam.

I was marked down because I didn't take a stand in my body (i was trying to remain as neutral as possible which was a mistake.) Any analysis you have comes from your opions. He commented that my intro and conclussions were supperior.

The Question:
Compare and contrast your summer reading from The American Pageant with your reading from Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.

The Essay:

The period of the American Industrial Revolution was a time of extreme change for the standard American because during that time an excessive gap between classes appeared. To say the least, the country took the ideas of one of its greatest founders and presidents, Thomas Jefferson, and shredded them into tiny, little pieces. His dream of a nation of rural farmers and an economy based around small business could never exist in the newly industrialized capitalist America. The economy was in the hands of just a few of the large business owners and the nation’s first millionaires. Even the United States government had to turn to them for help in a time of crisis. Generally the hot issue for debate during this time was who should be in control - big business or the standard American worker. Since the Industrial Revolution changed the course of that the nation was following there is significant room for arguments. Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and The American Pageant are two superior sources for comparing alternate views during the era. Howard Zinn tends to take a more Jeffersonian view of things and supports the lower middle class workers over the big business of the time while The American Pageant generally finds that the industrialization of America was for its betterment.

The industrialization of America changed the United States from a nation of farmers to a nation of city dwelling factory workers. Depending on who you asked, this change would be considered either a transformation or a turnover for the worse. The American Pageant quickly took a stand on the issue of revolutionizing American Industry by identifying the change as “dazzling” while Howard Zinn might take on the view of the change being unfair and single minded. Also, The American Pageant identifies city life as ”alluring” and that people “flocked” to them while Howard Zinn would say that the only reason people went to the city is because they were forced to move by the rich elites of the time. Howard Zinn’s writing tends to focus on the injustice the upper class inflicted against the lower class. The American Pageant takes the position that big business and industrialization were for the better of the country despite their ties to corruption and political scandals. Alternatively, A People’s History of the United States takes a more pro individualism and anti-big business stand. Zinn sees the factory owner as the enemy of the factory worker and compares their relationship to that of a slave owner and his slaves. The workers relied on the money to survive despite the rapid rate pay rates were dropping during post reconstruction years. Similarly to slaves, the workers could not fight for higher wages because the large amount of immigrants pouring into the country during that time was enough to displace any rebels. The American Pageant tends to post the facts suggesting that the mistreatment of workers, although undeniably horrible, was a necessary step to in the process. By using titles like “Miracles of Mechanization” or “The Supremacy of Steel” they are suggesting that the industrial change was a good process.

The general tone of both authors is clearly supportive of their views. For instance, another key movement of the post reconstruction time was the formation of Labor Unions and the start of the “Populist” Party. Zinn saw these movements as justifiable processes which brought not only “black-white unity” but a “spreading [of] new ideas and a new spirit.” The fight of the mistreated and abused factory workers against their employers was even more acceptable to Zinn than the American Revolution, which he claimed was orchestrated by the political white elites. The American Pageant identifies the strikers and “populist[s]” as radical and uses words like “attacked” to suggest the movement was unwarranted or unprovoked. Also, both sources highlight the bloodshed during the strikes and riots. However, Zinn tends to focus on the bloodshed being an act of aggression against the rioters while The American Pageant tends to see the violence as the next step the police or government used to control them.

Aside from sharing diverging views on various issues, both sources tended to agree during certain instances. Both Zinn and The American Pageant agreed that the treatment of the factory workers was brutal and that the acquisition of the “robber barons’” wealth was at some points underhanded and corrupt. Both sides had matching facts and gave the information in relatively similar ways. Also, both books are in harmony regarding the unfair conditions of the working class and both provide identical explanations for them. Corruption, bribery, and secret refunds were all ways that the monopolies of the Industrial Revolution stayed on top and eliminated their competition and neither source disagreed on the underhanded nature of their use. Despite their difference in views on the character of labor Unions, both Zinn and the American Pageant agreed that unions were a major influence on the time.

Comparing the American Pageant and A People’s History of the United States is difficult because Zinn’s book has just one author while the Pageant has three credited authors. It would be close to impossible to determine if a single view was shared by all three authors. Most likely, the chapter is a compilation of their work together and as a result the information is influenced by a variety of views. When comparing the presented information, the influence of a writer’s opinions on their work becomes extremely obvious. Zinn’s support of the average American is extremely prevalent throughout his book and he demonstrates a strong contempt for the upper class and the wealthy elites. A majority of events and actions during the Industrial Revolution were motivated by economic interests rather than for a common well-being and as a result the lower class was at a disadvantage and suffered from the unbridled, and sometimes unfair, competition between industrial giants. The American Pageant attempts to see both sides of the line because it is a textbook and its primary goal is to teach the history and not to establish a view on it. Both books have different purposes and are, therefore, very different by nature and opinion but they both manage to teach the history in an accurate, justifiable means.

GoPunchRocks's picture
Joined: Oct 2005

The essay is exactly 1000 words fyi.

Shadow's picture
Joined: Sep 2005

tl:dr (too long:didn't read)

But it's good to have an example of a quality essay up here.

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