The Do’s and Don’ts of a DBQ Essay
Write in
person only:
 The United States was…
 America…
 The country felt…
 America was justified for declaring war on Great Britain. The
Do not use first person: DON’T USE – WE, US, OUR, I
 Our nation
 We wanted to fight the British
 I think America was justified for declaring war on Great Britain
because they were violating maritime rights….
Write in PAST tense only:
 Thomas Jefferson explained….
 Americans wanted to go to war with the British
 Thomas Jefferson says that Alexander Hamilton….
Properly cite each document:
 Name of source +verb + analysis of document + (#) =  Ms C.
 Calhoun believed declaring war on Great Britain was the only
way America could defend its honor and gain respect. (Document
 George Hay, a Virginian state legislature said……
Incorrect citation:
 DON”T directly cite the document
o “To show that our republican government was competent
to assert its rights, to maintain..”
 Documents can’t talk
o Document one said…
o In document 2, Calhoun believed declaring war on Great
Britain is the only way we could defend America’s honor
and gain respect.
 Don’t give out too many details
o George Hay, author of An Essay on the Liberty of the
Press, written in 1799 said…
Incorporate key facts/give ownership to what each side argued (You
are teaching the reader about the topic)
 Democratic Republicans voted in favor of war with ninety eight
Don’t leave out vital information:
 98 people voted in favor of war (don’t make general statements)
Check grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.
 When starting a sentence with a number, spell it out.
o Ninety eight Democratic Republicans voted…
 Can use numbers within the sentences
 Their political beliefs
Don’t make grammar, spelling, punctuation mistakes
 There political beliefs