APUSH Short Answer Question Example 1

After answering Question 1 from our APUSH Short Answer Questions, scroll down to read a sample response. Our APUSH SAQ examples will show you exactly what a great answer looks like. We have also included a detailed explanation of the scoring.

1. Read the excerpt provided and then respond to parts a, b, and c.

“The Roaring Twenties were marked by a clash of cultures. As cities grew, rural areas began to lose political power. The urban-rural divide manifested in the form of cultural tensions, with urban areas embracing modernity and rural areas holding onto traditional values. The Scopes Trial, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, and the Prohibition era are all emblematic of these tensions.”

— Dr. Jane Smith, The Twenties: A Decade of Tension, 2015.

a. Identify and explain one specific event mentioned in the excerpt that exemplifies the cultural tensions of the 1920s.

b. Describe how urban and rural areas differed in their cultural values during the 1920s, as suggested by the excerpt.

c. Provide one additional example (not mentioned in the excerpt) from the 1920s that further illustrates the urban-rural cultural divide.

Sample Perfect Answer:

a.) The Scopes Trial exemplifies the cultural tensions of the 1920s. It was a legal case in 1925 where John T. Scopes, a high school teacher, was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. The trial highlighted the conflict between modern scientific beliefs and traditional religious values.

b.) According to the excerpt, urban areas during the 1920s embraced modernity, likely adopting progressive views, embracing new technologies, and being more open to cultural and social changes. In contrast, rural areas held onto traditional values, possibly resisting rapid societal changes and maintaining more conservative and religious views.

c.) The flapper culture of the 1920s further illustrates the urban-rural cultural divide. In urban areas, many young women began to challenge traditional norms by wearing short skirts, bobbing their hair, and partaking in activities that were previously deemed inappropriate for women, like smoking and dancing in jazz clubs. This new, liberated “flapper” image starkly contrasted with the more conservative expectations for women in rural areas.

How This Answer Earns a Perfect Score:

The provided answer effectively addresses all three parts of the prompt in alignment with APUSH scoring standards:

  1. Contextualization and Use of Evidence: The student accurately identifies the Scopes Trial and provides a brief yet comprehensive context of its significance in the 1920s cultural tensions. By doing so, they demonstrate a clear understanding of the event within the broader historical developments of the decade.
  2. Comparison: The student’s description of the differing cultural values of urban and rural areas based on the excerpt showcases their ability to compare and contrast historical developments. They elucidate the embrace of modernity in urban areas and the retention of traditional values in rural areas, providing a nuanced understanding of the cultural dynamics of the 1920s.
  3. Historical Examples: By introducing the flapper culture as an additional example, the student effectively supplements the information from the excerpt with outside knowledge. This demonstrates their ability to draw from specific historical examples to support their arguments, a key component of APUSH scoring criteria.
  4. Argument Development: The answer is structured in a clear and logical manner, with each part directly addressing the respective question. The student’s arguments are concise, accurate, and well-supported, showcasing their ability to construct a coherent response based on historical evidence.

In summary, the answer demonstrates a clear understanding of the topic, effectively utilizes historical evidence, and aligns with key APUSH scoring standards, making it worthy of a perfect score.

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