DBQ Tips - ap us history

DBQ Tips
Presents a thesis that makes a historically
defensible claim and responds to all parts of
the question. The thesis must consist of one
or more sentences located in one place,
either in the introduction or the conclusion.
Thesis Examples
Manifest destiny and territorial expansion did more to divide
the United States than unite the apparent unstable country
during the time period of 1830-1860.
Manifest Destiny and territorial expansion drastically divided
the United States from 1830 to 1860 because of the
expansion of slavery, but also from tension in the political
parties, and dividing the people either to be pro-slavery or
Thesis Examples
Manifest Destiny both united and divided the united States
to certain extents. It united the United States through land
expansion but divided it due to political reasoning's.
When assessing the impact this territorial mindset had on the
American people it is clear that to a large extent, Manifest
Destiny and territorial expansion was directly responsible for
the division among the United States at the time. This is
because it furthered the debate on slavery, created internal
conflict as well as with other nations, and resulted in societal
Argument Development
Develops and supports a cohesive argument that
recognizes and accounts for historical complexity
by explicitly illustrating relationships among
historical evidence such as contradiction,
corroboration, and/or qualification.
Suggested Outline- each body paragraph
What is your POINT? (topic sentence, what your
paragraph is about)
What is your SUPPORT? (textual evidence in the form of a
paraphrase, or any other important information that can
support your point)
What is your EXPLANATION? (explain how your support
proves your Point; this is the How, Why, and So What?)
Document Analysis
Utilizes the content of at least six of the documents to
support the stated thesis or a relevant argument.
Explains the significance of the author’s point of view,
author’s purpose, historical context, and/or audience for at
least four documents.
By using his inaugural address, Polk knew the decision was not
popular by any means.
The author is President James Polk right after he was inaugurated
to become President. He thinks that the United States needs Texas.
Situates the argument by explaining the
broader historical events,
developments, or processes
immediately relevant to the question
(Setting the Scene Paragraph).
Contextualization= 1st Paragraph
 From 1830-1860 the United States was a delicate nation. The North
and the South were dividing and growing deeper in their divisions,
slavery was becoming more controversial, the population was
increasing, and settlements westward were growing. New
technology such as the railroad was developing and helping to
increase communication throughout the entirety of the land.
Another important development from this time period was the ideal
of Manifest Destiny.
Evidence Beyond the Documents
Provides an example or additional piece of
specific evidence beyond those found in the
documents to support or qualify the argument.
brainstormed a
list of options IN
Must use as evidence
to prove a point, not as
Synthesis (2-3 Sentences in the
Conclusion Paragraph)
 Extends the argument by explaining the connections between the
argument and ONE of the following:
 A development in a different historical period, situation, era, or
geographical area.
 A course theme and/or approach to history that is not the focus of the
essay (such as political, economic, social, cultural, or intellectual
 While John Sullivan originally thought that it was American’s god given
right to inhabit all of the land across America, it ultimately backfired for
America as well as multiple nations across the world. The German
Empire practiced the same idea of territorial expansion pre WW1.
However, for German’s, going after a “Place in the Sun” actually set
them on a path of demise and ultimately resulted in the empire falling
at the end of WW1. The fall of the German Empire only foreshadows
the failure and inability of territorial expansion for the United States.
Thus, Manifest Destiny and territorial expansion backfired on the United
States and only increased a division among the American people
because it furthered the debate on slavery, created internal conflict as
well as with other nations, and resulted in societal (political) differences
and divides.
 Paraphrase the documents-don’t quote
 Complex thesis is better than a simple thesis
 Put the background information at the beginning of the 1st paragraph
 Put synthesis in conclusion paragraph
 Manifest Destiny does not require a “the” in front of it
 Check your capitalization
 “In my opinion” = NO
 STAY inside the time period
 Refer to our Presidents by their last names