Midterm Paper #1

Write on one of the following questions:

  1. Discuss the rise of American commercial and industrial power during the late 19th century? What were the factors contributing to this growth? How did the business leaders of the period drive this economic growth? Are they to be admired as great entrepreneurs of their time, or as the reputed “Robber Barons” of later years?
  2. Explain U.S. entry into the Spanish-American War showing American responses to the revolt against Spanish rule in Cuba during 1895-1898. To what extent did public sympathy for the cause contribute to war, or was this more to do with self-interest?
  3. Discuss the development of American culture during the post-Civil War decades of the 19th century in terms of art, science and literature. Cite examples of each.
  4. How did World War I change America? How did the war transform the country both internally and externally? Do you think that this change would have eventually occurred without the war? Did the change benefit America or hurt it, in your estimation? Give your reasons.

In addition to course materials you should look into several additional sources of information. Your essay should be interpretive and analytical, seeking to explain the “whys” of your questions, and should be grounded in solid factual support and argument. You do not need to footnote your paper, but should include a bibliography.  Maximum words = ca. 1500.


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  • Original content contributed by Leon Waszak of Cerritos College to Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative