Prompt: Evaluate the relative importance of domestic and foreign affairs in shaping American politics in the 1790's. (1994, question 3) Step 1



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APUSH/Writing Your First Free-Response Question (FRQ)
Due Date: Monday, November 2, 2009

Worth: Test Grade

Format: Typed, Double-Spaced, 12-font

Punctuality: Due at the beginning of class. If you are absent, you must have someone turn it in for you.



Prompt: Evaluate the relative importance of domestic and foreign affairs in shaping American politics in the 1790's. (1994, question 3)
Step 1: Reading the Question

1. What is the time frame of the essay question?


2. What, if any, geographic areas are involved?
3. Underline the operative word(s) (analyze, assess the validity, evaluate to what extent, etc.) found in the question. Explain, in your own words, what this operative word(s) wants you to do.
4. Underline the words which comprise the core of the question.
5. Now, in your own words, explain exactly what this question is asking you to do. Begin with the words: “This question wants me to…”
Step 2: List/Brainstorm some specific evidence (hard facts) of DOMESTIC events/affairs that took place in the 1790’s.

Step 3: Now you need to explain how these domestic hard facts that you chose shaped American politics.

Step 4: List/Brainstorm some specific evidence (hard facts) of FOREIGN events/affairs that took place in the 1790’s.

Step 5: Now you need to explain how these foreign hard facts that you chose shaped American politics.

Step 6: Reflect on your hard facts and now ask yourself, “Based on my prior knowledge, do I think that domestic and foreign affairs shape American politics?” You need to take a stance!

Examples of combinations:



  • Yes, domestic affairs shaped American politics. Yes, foreign affairs shaped American politics.

  • No, domestic affairs did not shape American politics. No, foreign affairs did not shape American politics.

  • Yes, domestic affairs shaped American politics. No, foreign affairs did not shape American politics.

  • No, domestic affairs did not shape American politics. Yes, foreign affairs shaped American politics.

Step 7: Reflect on your hard facts and think about how you will organize your information.

  • For example, will one body paragraph be dedicated toward domestic events and another toward foreign? OR, will one body paragraph be dedicated toward George Washington’s administration and another toward John Adams? Other organizational methods are welcome.


Step 8: Writing a Preliminary Thesis Statement

  • An ideal thesis statement:

  1. Fully addresses the question asked;

  2. Takes a position with regard to the question asked; and

  3. Provides organizational strategies that will be used in the essay.

        • Do NOT merely restate the wording of the prompt.

        • Add sophistication by incorporating a complexity statement: ex. “Although…”, “Despite…”, “However, ….”

        • A thesis statement can be two sentences long.

Brainstorm thesis here:



Step 9: Outline/Brainstorm the introduction of your essay.

Advice about your Introduction



  • Your introduction paragraph should “set the stage” (providing background information about the era, for example).

  • Your intro should NOT go into too much depth. If it does, what’s the point of the rest of your essay?

  • Your thesis should be the last sentence of your introduction. Thesis statements, remember, can be more than one sentence long.

  • Your introduction can be a mere 3-4 sentences long.

Brainstorm intro here:


Step 10: Writing Your Body Paragraphs

Advice about your Body Paragraphs



  • Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence which defends your thesis statement and directly answers the question and support it with as much specific relevant factual information as you can.

  • Use specific names, dates, places, events, and terminology of history. Instead of just saying “loosening of British control of her colonies,” you should use the terminology “salutary neglect.”

  • DO NOT merely list or describe information but use it to prove your thesis. Explain how and in what way the specific information supports your point of view. Avoid essays in which you merely describe information in a random manner without relating it back to your thesis.

  • End with a sentence that ties the paragraph together and links it back to the thesis statement. In some cases, this sentence might also serve as a transition to the next paragraph.

  • Your strongest argument should be included in Body Paragraph #1. Next strongest argument in Body Paragraph #2, and so forth.

Brainstorm Body Paragraph #1 here:


Brainstorm Body Paragraph #2 here:
Brainstorm Body Paragraph #3 here:
And so forth (depends on how many body paragraphs you choose to use)

Step 11: Writing Your Conclusion
Advice about your Conclusion

  • Should reinforce the significance of the evidence presented in the essay to the question asked. Should answer the question “So what?”

  • Do not introduce new information into your conclusion.

  • Do not contradict your thesis.

  • Make sure that your conclusion summarizes the information in the thesis paragraph, but uses different words.

  • Should you wish, this would be a good time to link what you know about this topic to some future event.

  • Don’t try to make your essay relevant to today’s world. “This event made us what America is today.”

Brainstorm your Conclusion:


Rubric/1790’s Essay Name_________________________________________________

Prompt: Evaluate the relative importance of domestic and foreign affairs in shaping American politics in the 1790's. (1994, question 3)

Thesis (20 points)

  • Contains a well-developed thesis that evaluates how domestic and foreign affairs shaped American politics in the 1790s.

  • Contains a limited or undeveloped thesis.

  • Lacks a thesis or simply restates the thesis.

Analysis (20 points)



  • Supports the thesis with an effective analysis of how domestic and foreign affairs shaped American politics in the 1790s.

  • Has some limited analysis of how domestic and foreign affairs shaped American politics in the 1790s.

  • Deals with the question in a general, simplistic, or superficial manner.

Evidence/Hard Facts (20 points)



  • Evidence for BOTH domestic and foreign are thorough, balanced, and accurate.

  • Evidence might stronger for one topic than another, showing imbalance. Supports thesis with some relevant information.

  • Contains very few hard facts.

Organization (20 points)



  • Is clearly organized. Topic sentences begin each body paragraph.

  • Shows acceptable organization.

  • Is poorly organized. Information is presented randomly.

Grammar/Mechanics (20 points)



  • Is well-written. Sentences are coherent and fluent. Writing is sophisticated and uses transitional phrases. Essay is readable and understandable.

  • Shows acceptable writing; language errors do not interfere with the comprehension of the essay. Might not be as sophisticated but essay is still readable and understandable.

  • Includes numerous grammar errors that make it difficult to understand: spelling, not using 3rd person, not using past tense, etc. Use of run-on sentences or fragments.

Late: The essay is considered on time if it is turned in during the respective block. Minus 5 for after your respective block, minus 10 per calendar day it is late.






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