Body paragraphs

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Once you have an introductory paragraph with a well-developed thesis that answers the prompt…

You MUST PROVE THAT YOUR THESIS IS CORRECT by supporting / explaining it with evidence (FACTS!) This is done in your body paragraphs.

Facts are not just to be listed! You must always explain how your fact relates to / proves your thesis. This is ANALYSIS and it is what gets you the big points!

There will be the same number of body paragraphs as there are partitions in your introductory paragraph. The body paragraphs of your paper will be in the same order as stated in your introductory paragraph. No exceptions.

Formatting the Body Paragraph – For the LEQ

  1. TOPIC SENTENCE – from partition. Must stand alone in directly answering one part of the question.

  2. CONTEXT – specific to the topic of your body paragraph

  3. FACTS (Outside Information) & ANALYSIS – make up the rest of the body paragraph

Formatting the Body Paragraph – For the DBQ – We will get to this later!

  1. TOPIC SENTENCE – from partition. Must stand alone in directly answering one part of the question.

  2. CONTEXT – specific to the topic of your body paragraph

  3. FACTS (Outside Information + Use of Documents) & ANALYSIS (H.A.P.I.) –make up the rest of the body paragraph

Practice LEQ

To what extent did absolutism affect the power and status of the European nobility in the period 1650-1720? Use examples from at least TWO countries. (I chose France and Prussia, but Austria or Russia are acceptable as well)

First things first – Set up your chart and collect context for your body paragraph

Idea for CONTEXT – End of Religious Wars (1648), The Fronde in France 1648-53, Age of Absolutism, Mercantilism, Baroque, continued exploration and colonization.


Facts – absolutism & nobility

Analysis - affected power/status to what extent?


Parlements not involved in taxation after Fronde

Intendants carry out laws, Louis = center of power Nobles participate in elaborate court rituals Nobles live at Versailles, close to Louis

Power and status of nobles in France under Louis XIV were greatly restricted, more so than in any other country


Junkers do not pay taxes

Junkers have control over land & Serfs

Junkers must let King tax their Serfs

Junkers serve as commanders in the army

Given much power in these two areas

Controlled here. Must allow King to tax

Must serve in army, but at high commander status.

Make sure you know your thesis and partitions BEFORE you begin to write!

Intro Paragraph – Between the years of 1650 and 1720, many countries in Europe turned to Absolutism as a form of government. Absolutism was one response to the chaos and disorder caused by the previous century of religious warfare and upheaval that had devastated most of Western and Central Europe. By 1650, the Thirty Years War had just ended and countries were looking to build strong governments that would ensure order and stability, and for many countries, absolutism was the system of government that was enacted. France and Prussia were two countries that had absolute rulers in this time period. In France, under Louis XIV, the nobility’s power and status were both greatly restricted as Louis created a purely absolutist state. In Prussia, on the other hand, the nobility’s status was restricted as they were subordinates of the king, however they were awarded greater freedoms in controlling their own lands and peasants. Overall, absolutism as a governmental system did restrict the rights and status of the nobility in favor of power for the monarch. In France, the restrictions were absolute, the nobles had no power and were dependent on the king, and in Prussia, the nobles were afforded certain rights in order to remain loyal to the monarch.

Body Paragraph #1 (First partition from Intro Paragraph) – In France, under the strong absolutist rule of Louis XIV, the nobility were restricted to having almost no power and to constantly competing for status and favor from the king. As a young king, Louis XIV was witness to a series of revolts by the French nobility known as the Fronde. These revolts lasted from 1648-53 and greatly scared Louis, which caused him to permanently distrust the nobles of France. His absolutist policies towards the nobles were the most restrictive of any state in Europe. One of the first actions undertaken by Louis was to dismiss the Parlements, and not allow them to be involved in the approval of new taxation. The Parlements were a group of nobles who acted as advisors to the king and who held political influence over him in certain matters. This dismissal greatly reduced the power of the nobles, as Louis now had sole authority over levying new taxes for his country. This was a step by Louis in removing the nobles from having any control over government at all. As Louis centralized his power as an absolute leader, he created a bureaucracy to carry out all of his laws in a uniform manner across all of France. To ensure that the bureaucracy would be effective, Louis employed intendents to enforce laws and keep an eye on the country. The indendent system for Louis’ bureaucracy greatly restricted the local authority of the nobility, who used to control their lands for the King. Now, Louis was able to appoint individuals himself to take care of the countryside, which greatly reduced the traditional power that the nobles held there. In addition to greatly restricting the power of the nobility in government actions and throughout the countryside, Louis also reduced their status by forcing them to participate in elaborate court rituals to win his favor. By forcing the nobles to compete for his favor, he reduced their status by elevating his own as an absolute ruler. All nobles wanted Louis to favor them so they could be rewarded by his powerful station. The rituals were so elaborate and essential to the nobles, that they spent most of their time fighting among themselves rather than participating in any meaningful governing. In addition to court rituals, Louis also reduced the power and status of his nobility by his creation of the Palace of Versailles. The palace was not only a sign of Louis’ absolute authority and power, but also a way of further controlling his nobles and reducing their power. Since he was able to keep most of his nobles at his court and living with him, they were unable to return to the lands that they owned and control things there. They also were constantly under the watchful eye of their King who would keep them in line at all times. The nobility of France were severely restricted in their power within the absolute state.

NOW…Take out a sheet of paper and write Body Paragraph #2 (Second Partition from Intro Paragraph) on your own!


After you have completed your body paragraphs, it is time to end your essay! You did it! There are two main components you MUST HAVE in your conclusion paragraph:
1. RE-STATEMENT of your thesis – reiterate what it is you spent the entire essay proving. Answer the
prompt once again, and summarize what you accomplished in your essay. This is your second chance to get the thesis correct.

2. SYNTHESIS (THIS IS WORTH ONE POINT)– extends the argument by explaining the connections between the argument and ONE of the following:

a) A development in a different historical period, situation, era, or geographical
area (This one is the best way to get Synthesis points)
b) a course theme and/or approach to history that is not the focus of the essay
(such as political, economic, social, cultural, or intellectual history)

c) a different discipline or field of inquiry (such as economics, government, and politics, art history, or
anthropology) This one is tough. Try for first two

- The synthesis point requires an EXPLANATION of the connections to a different historical period, situation,

era, or geographical area, and is NOT awarded for merely a phrase or reference.

- Show HOW and WHY

- Go above and beyond the prompt

- Needs at least a couple of sentences

- You are essentially going outside and beyond the question for this component.

The power and status of the nobility was greatly affected under absolutist regimes throughout Europe. In France under Louis XIV, the nobles were greatly controlled politically by losing their right to be in Parlements, and by having to obey Louis indendants and bureaucracy rather than have local control. They were completely controlled socially by living at Versailles and participating in elaborate court rituals. In Prussia, the nobles were also greatly controlled, but did have some more rights. They had to allow the king to tax their serfs, and had to serve in his army, but were allowed to control their serfs, land, and were exempt from taxes. It is this harsh absolutism that will eventually lead the oppressed nobility and upper middle classes in France to begin to aggressively question their government during the Enlightenment. Without the harshness and suppression of his nobles and population, Louis XIV would not have aroused such discontent and questioning of how the government should be run.

The absolutism of Louis XIV would inspire leaders in other parts of Europe, such as Peter the Great of Russia, who modeled himself after the western leader. Peter’s suppression of his nobility through the Table of Ranks is reminiscent of Louis suppression of the nobles through court rituals. The idea of both men was to keep the nobles under their watchful eye and keep them busy to avoid any upheaval.

  1. Different time, situation, era, geographic location

  2. Course theme that is NOT focus of essay

  3. Different discipline or field of inquiry

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