Evaluate the extent to which technological advancements in the 20th century transformed American society.
Questions that you should think about to guide your essay response:
- What were the major technological advancements of the 20th century?
- How did these technologies impact the daily lives of Americans?
- What were the economic implications of these technological advancements?
- How did technology influence American culture and social norms?
- Were there any negative consequences or challenges brought about by these advancements?
Sample Perfect Essay:
How the Essay Earns a Perfect Score:
The APUSH (Advanced Placement U.S. History) exam has specific standards and criteria for grading the Long Essay Question (LEQ). Let’s analyze how the provided essay meets these standards impeccably:
- Thesis/Claim (1 point): For an essay to earn this point, it must present a clear, precise, and defensible thesis. The sample essay accomplishes this with the statement, “The 20th century witnessed an unprecedented surge in technological advancements that reshaped the very fabric of American society.” This thesis not only directly addresses the prompt but also sets a clear direction for the subsequent arguments.
- Contextualization (1 point): The APUSH standards emphasize the importance of situating the argument within a broader historical context. The essay adeptly does this by introducing major technological advancements of the 20th century, such as the automobile and the internet, and hinting at their transformative impact on American society.
- Evidence (2 points): To earn these points, students must support their thesis with specific historical evidence. The essay excels in this area by detailing the rise of the automobile, the significance of television, and the advent of the internet. Each piece of evidence is directly tied to the central argument, showcasing how these technologies transformed various facets of American life.
- Analysis and Reasoning (2 points): This criterion requires students to demonstrate a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the topic. The essay shines in this regard in two primary ways. First, it delves into the societal implications of each technological advancement, from the growth of suburbs due to automobiles to the democratization of information with the internet. Second, the essay showcases a complex understanding by weighing both the positive impacts and the challenges brought about by these advancements, such as job displacements and privacy concerns.
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