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THE COMPARE & CONTRAST ESSAY PACKET
UNDERSTANDING WORDS
Before students plan and write essays, they must understand the tasks that the prompts ask them to perform. This begins with understanding the words that prompts use.
Compare and Contrast prompts ask students to either compare and/or contrast. It is critical that students understand the difference so that they perform the correct tasks. The prompts may ask students to compare OR to contrast or to compare AND to contrast
PART A

Using a dictionary, define these words. Include any close synonyms.




              1. COMPARE


  1. CONTRAST

PART B


Answer the questions and be prepared to discuss your answers.


  1. If a prompt asks a student to compare, what must he or she do in the essay?


  1. If a prompt asks a student to contrast, what must he or she do in the essay?


  1. Predict what will happen on the grade of the essay if a student is asked to contrast but compares OR if a student is asked to compare and only does differences?

Name: ___________________________________ Period: __________ Date: _____________
PARTS OF A PROMPT
Compare and contrast essays begin with a prompt. The prompt will specify the actions a student is required to perform. It will also specify a definite chronological period from World History and provide two to three geographical or cultural regions from which a student may choose. All compare and contrast essays will follow this format. It will also designate a specific historical theme used within the AP World History course guide.
In their essays, student must address all parts of the prompt. This means that in the course of the essay, a student has to have a comparison, a contrast, mention both regions/countries, and the time period. If the prompt specifies themes to discuss, then students will also have to discuss each of the themes at least once. There is a higher and lower standard on the rubric.
Use the following Compare and Contrast essay prompt to assist with these exercises.


Compare and contrast the treatment of women in any TWO Post-Classical societies:


  1. East Asia

  2. Southwest Asia and North Africa

  3. The Americas




PART A: UNDERSTANDING THE PARTS OF A COMPARE & CONTRAST PROMPT

Answer the questions in the provided space.


        1. What action verbs are used in the specific prompt?



        1. What synonyms for these verbs could you use to accomplish the same action?



PART B: The Time Period

Compare and Contrast Essays for AP World History will specify a time period. Students are expected to not only recognize the time periods, which are based on the chronological perimeters of the AP World History Course Guide but major developments within each period.


  1. What time period does the prompt specify?



  1. Summarize any developments during this time period that you can remember. If you cannot remember, use your text or the College Board subject guide and summarize major developments which you might need to know.

PART C: themes
Prompts will also identify one or more of the FIVE overarching themes used in the AP World History course guide (see page 5 of the 2007-2008 Guide). Two acronyms or pneumonic devices (SCRIPTED or PERSIAN) help students remember these themes – you need to teach one or the other, or both. The prompt may specify one only theme or it may specify two or three. If the prompt specifies a theme, a student must address that in his or her essay. However, if the prompt only identifies one or two themes it is always best for the student to divide the theme into some of its parts or sub-themes related to the prompt.


SCRIPTED

PERSIAN

SOCIAL STRUCTURES

  • Economic, Social Classes

  • Gender Roles, Relations

  • Inequalities

  • Family, Kinship

  • Racial, Ethnic Constructs

POLITICAL


  • Political Structures

  • Forms of Government

  • Empires

  • Nationalism, Nations

  • Revolts, Revolutions

CULTURE

  • Cultural

  • Intellectual

  • Arts, Architecture

  • Family, Lifestyles

  • Literatures

ECONOMIC


  • Agricultural, pastoral production

  • Economic Systems

  • Labor Systems

  • Industrialization

  • Capitalism, Socialism

RELIGION

  • Religion

  • World Views

  • Philosophy

  • Secularism, Atheism

  • Ideologies and “isms”

1.RELIGIOUS


  • Religion

  • Belief Systems

  • Philosophies

  • Ideologies

  • Secularism, Atheism

INTERACTIONS

  • War, Conflict

  • Trade, Commerce

  • Exchanges, Migrations

  • Diplomacy, Alliances

  • Transnational Organizations



2.SOCIAL


  • Gender Roles, Relations

  • Family, Kinship

  • Racial, Ethnic Constructions

  • Social, Economic Classes

  • Lifestyles

  • Elites, inequalities

POLITICS

  • Nations, nationalism

  • Empires

  • Forms of Government

  • Revolts, Revolutions

  • State-building, expansion

3.INTERACTIONS


  • War

  • Exchanges

  • Globalization

  • Trade and Commerce

  • Regions, Transregional Structures

  • Diplomacy and Alliances

TECHNOLOGY

  • Science and Industry

  • Invention, Innovation

  • Power

  • Transportation

  • Communication

4.Arts and sciences


  • Art, Music, Writing, Literature

  • Technology, Innovations

  • Intellectual

  • Math & Science

  • Education

ECONOMICS

  • Industrialization

  • Economic Systems

  • Capitalism, Socialism

  • Business Organizations

  • Labor, Labor Organizations



5.NATURE


  • Demography, Settlement Patterns

  • Urbanization, Cities

  • Migration, movement

  • Human/Environment Interaction

  • Land Management Systems

  • Region

DEMOGRAPHY

  • Demography, Disease

  • Human, Environment Interaction

  • Patterns of Settlement

  • Geography, Region

  • Agriculture, Pastoralism







              1. Based on the prompt, what theme are required to discuss?



              1. In the above prompt, there is only one broad theme. To fully discuss this theme it is best if you break it down into two or three sub-topics. What topics would you use to better discuss your answer from above?


PART D: The GeographIC Focus
Failure to understand cultural and political geography can be disastrous during the Compare and Contrast essays (as well and the Change, Continuity over Time). If a student is asked to write about East Asia and includes Vietnam, a Southeast Asian country in the essay, the essay could be invalid. Or if a prompt specifies Southwest Asia and a student includes India, a country of South Asia it will change the focus of the essay. All compare and contrast essays specify geographic or cultural regions that a student should use. This requires students to understand the cultural regions included in the AP World History Course Guide. But that is not all. Students need to know that the College Board often alternates between asking for a cultural region such as Latin America and a physical region such as Southeast Asia. A student needs to be careful not to confuse the two types of regions. Additionally regions change over time, which students are required to know. And students need to know at least two countries within the region. If you are not sure, please consult the map in the AP World History course guide and a map of modern countries.


        1. What regions does the above prompt ask you to use?




        1. Identify at least two major countries in each region?



        1. If the essay prompt asks a student to use Sub-Saharan Africa, what smaller regions exist within this broad term? What one major AP World History cultural region is NOT included in this geographic term?


        1. How does the term Latin America differ from the term “the Americas”? What major countries could you use to support a thesis about Latin America but not the Americas?


        1. If the prompt asks you to use the Southwest Asia, what countries would qualify for this essay? How would the use of the region “the Middle East” differ from Southwest Asia? Does this differ from saying Southwest Asia and North Africa?


        1. Most textbooks speak of the West while also identifying a region called Western Europe? How do the two differ? What countries might you include in the West but not Western Europe?


        1. When speaking of Eastern Europe, what major historical states should you remember to discuss?

Name: ___________________________________ Period: __________ Date: _____________
WRITING A THESIS
All essays must have an acceptable thesis, which address the issues and themes specified in the prompt. One of the simplest and most successful ways is to use a format called WAHP3 – “What is it about, how will you prove it - give me three ways?”
For instance if the prompt was “Compare and Contrast the formation of empires in any two Classical civilizations (a) the Mediterranean; (b) South Asia; and (c) East Asia” an acceptable thesis sentence would look something like this: While both the Classical Roman and Han Empires centralized power and militarily expanded their frontiers, the Roman Empire did not utilize a political philosophy to structure and rule their empire while the Han Emperors used a blend of Legalism and Confucianism. The “WA” part of the thesis is empire formation in Rome and Han China while the “HP3” includes (1) both centralized power and (2) both used militaries to expand; and one difference (3) different political philosophies. Please note that this thesis contains themes specified in the prompt (empire building), two regions (Rome and Han China), at least one comparison (there are two) and at least one difference, and the time period. Please note that is critical to include the time period because without it an essay might not be historical valid.
It is best in the thesis statement to make at least two significant and direct comparisons – one should be a similar and one a difference (if the prompt asks you to compare). It is not acceptable to simply say “the two civilizations were similar and different.” This is paraphrasing or copying the prompt. A student must qualify the prompt by fleshing it out in detail.
A thesis may constitute two sentences but they must be next to each other. Many of my students have separate “WA” and “HP3” sentences.
Use the following prompt to assist with these exercises.


Compare and contrast the treatment of women in any TWO Post-Classical societies:


  1. East Asia

  2. Southwest Asia and North Africa

  3. The Americas



PART A: WRITE A THESIS

              1. Based on the prompt, write a thesis using East Asia and Southwest Asia/N. Africa.


              1. Based on the prompt, write a thesis using Southwest Asia/N. Africa and The Americas?

Name: ___________________________________ Period: __________ Date: _____________


THE INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH
As are the Document Based Question and Change and Continuity over Time essays, the Compare and Contrast essay in AP World History is graded through a process called Core Scoring. Students must earn all points of the Basic Core before earning points of the Expanded Core. No matter how sophisticated an essay is if a student misses on indicator of the Basic Core, he or she cannot earn points of the Expanded Core.
Some teachers teach students to write a simple thesis sentence. While it is true that a single sentence can earn the thesis indicator point on the rubric, good teachers and good students demand a higher level or performance. In AP World History, teach the student to write a thesis or introduction paragraph.
The introduction paragraph is the single most important paragraph you will write; the second most important is the first body paragraph. These two contain the first ideas and proofs a grader will read. The quality or lack of quality of these sentences can prejudice a reader about your whole essay. Introduction paragraphs need contain only two sentences – a hook and a thesis sentence. But hook sentences or historical introductions add color and are the attention grabbers that start an essay. They most resemble newspaper headlines. The best hooks tell the history of the essay prompt’s topic leading up to that essay prompt. A thesis paragraph usually begins with a historical introduction. Students should tell the history of the topic and region leading up to their thesis statement.
One student in particular, in her essay on who would win a war between Sparta and Athens used this hook and thesis:
Once upon a time two boys were born in Ancient Greece. One was born in Athens and given a quill, a scroll and sent off to gymnasium; the other born in Sparta was given a sword and shield and sent off to army camp. While some dreamers argue that the pen is mightier than the sword, in the Peloponnesian War, Sparta’s sword defeated Athen’s pen for military, social, and economic reasons.
Based on the prompt “Compare and Contrast the formation of empires in any two Classical civilizations (a) the Mediterranean; (b) South Asia; and (c) East Asia” a thesis paragraph would look something like this:
Both the Roman Empire and Han China were the products of processes and historical states which preceded them. After 509 BCE the Roman Republic began the imperial process by conquering neighboring lands and peoples and settling colonies across the Mediterranean; on the other hand, the Han Chinese inherited the ruling philosophy of Legalism and borders of China from the Qin Dynasty. While both the Classical Roman and Han Empires centralized power and militarily expanded their frontiers, the Roman Empire did not utilize a political philosophy to structure and rule their empire while the Han Emperors used a blend of Legalism and Confucianism.
I also suggest a pneumonic device called “Hook it, hit it, three times, go out.” “Hook it” means introduce your topic with a hook or historical introduction; “hit it” means write a thesis; “three strikes” means elaborate on the thesis in three ways; and “go out” means go into your body paragraphs and begin discussing the thesis.

PART A: WRITING HOOK SENTENCES OR HISTORICAL INTRODUCTIONS



Compare and contrast the treatment of women in any TWO Post-Classical societies:


  1. East Asia

  2. Southwest Asia and North Africa

  3. The Americas


Based on the essay prompt, can you think of some creative and interesting hooks or historical introductions about Post-Classical Women? Please write two below.
1.

2.

PART B: INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH – BRINGING IT TOGETHER


Ideally hook sentences should act as signposts to the thesis. They should not be cryptic or difficult to understand. Using the thesis sentences and the hooks you wrote above, write out two introductory paragraphs.





Name: ___________________________________ Period: __________ Date: _____________



ORGANIZING OF YOUR ESSAY
The body paragraphs which follow should compare and contrast three themes or groups. Do not create two paragraphs solely on the two geographic regions. Nor is it quality writing to create one paragraph on similarities and one on differences. Create paragraphs using themes from the College Board Course Guide (see SCRIPTED or PERSIAN) and within each compare and contrast your two regions or states. Maintain parallel order as articulated in your thesis sentence. And each paragraph should have a detailed and specific topic sentence.
Based on the prompt “Compare and Contrast the formation of empires in any two Classical civilizations (a) the Mediterranean; (b) South Asia; and (c) East Asia” our thesis paragraph was:
Both the Roman Empire and Han China were the products of processes and historical states which preceded them. After 509 BCE the Roman Republic began the imperial process by conquering neighboring lands and peoples and settling colonies across the Mediterranean; on the other hand, the Han Chinese inherited the ruling philosophy of Legalism and borders of China from the Qin Dynasty. While both the Classical Roman and Han Empires centralized power and militarily expanded their frontiers, the Roman Empire did not utilize a political philosophy to structure and rule their empire while the Han Emperors used a blend of Legalism and Confucianism.
The second paragraph or first body paragraph would discuss the similarities of centralized power in the Roman and Han Empires; the third paragraph would discuss the similarities of military expansion; and the last paragraph would deal with the differences between Han and Roman political philosophies.
Students must substantiate the thesis with appropriate historical evidence. It is not sufficient to make a statement without use of proof or evidence. Students should use evidence, which is clear and detailed. In each paragraph, students should cite include key vocabulary, dates, historical events, persons, trends, and occurrences. The simplest formula is to have one fact per comparison category; if the paragraph is on centralized power in the Roman and Han Empires, your paragraph should have at least one piece of evidence on Roman and one on Han. More is always warranted AND use comparative vocabulary. An example is
In Classical Rome Augustus Caesar attempted to centralize power through the creation of an emperor. He controlled the military, oversaw the appointment of governors and their operations and appointed members to the Senate. Similarly, Han China’s emperors also oversaw the bureaucracy and centralized all functions within the state under his control. Both dispatched embassies and received ambassadors, and commanded armies in battle. However, the Han centralization differed from the Romans in that the Han had a professional bureaucracy answerable to the emperor and a more secure idea of dynastic succession; in Rome bureaucrats often came from the Roman elite or the military and their loyalty was questionable. Their primary concerns were not to the state or emperor but personal aggrandizement or future glory and rank. Additionally, for the 400 years of Han rule with the single exception of the rule of Wang Mang, all emperors came from the same dynasty unlike Rome where Augustus and his successors never clearly established a method for picking the next emperor and dynasties changed regularly. Emperors were often made by the revolt of legions or through complex deals between contenders.

Name: ___________________________________ Period: __________ Date: _____________




MAKING COMPARISONS


Students must make two or more relevant, direct comparisons between or among societies. Students should organize their essays by grouping in a relevant manner. The acronym P.E.R.S.I.A.N. or S.C.R.I.P.T.E.D. will suffice, and they should use three major groups. Within the groups, the student should compare and contrast the two civilizations. They set up directed comparisons. Often students fail to make direct comparisons or contrasts. One of the simplest ways is to use vocabulary which sets it up. Listed below are words denoting “similar” and “different.” There are variations based on word combinations and tenses but this list should provide some assistance in making directed comparisons.


SIMILARITY


Similar

Similarly

The same as

In comparison

Comparatively

Both

Also

Comparable

Commensurable

of the same order

worthy of comparison

Measure up to

Match up with

Parallel

Analogous

Analogical

Collatable

Correlative

Like

Equal

CORRESPONDING


DIFFERENCES


In contrast

Differently

On the other hand

Even though

Although

Whereas

But

Incomparable

Incommensurate

Dissimilar

Unlike

Distinct

Distinctive

Oppose

Heterodox

Difference

Distinction

Dissimilarity

Varies

Variation

Divergence

Disparity

Inequality

Contrary

Otherwise

Distinct

Pecularly



PART A: USE OF COMPARATIVE VOCABULARY
In the passage below, circle or underline words which set up a compare and contrast.
In Classical Rome Augustus Caesar attempted to centralize power through the creation of an emperor. He controlled the military, oversaw the appointment of governors and their operations and appointed members to the Senate. Similarly, Han China’s emperors also oversaw the bureaucracy and centralized all functions within the state under his control. Both dispatched embassies and received ambassadors, and commanded armies in battle. However, the Han centralization differed from the Romans in that the Han had a professional bureaucracy answerable to the emperor and a more secure idea of dynastic succession; in Rome bureaucrats often came from the Roman elite or the military and their loyalty was questionable. Their primary concerns were not to the state or emperor but personal aggrandizement or future glory and rank. Additionally, for the 400 years of Han rule with the single exception of the rule of Wang Mang, all emperors came from the same dynasty unlike Rome where Augustus and his successors never clearly established a method for picking the next emperor and dynasties changed regularly. Roman emperors were often made by the revolt of legions or through complex deals between contenders.

Name: ___________________________________ Period: __________ Date: _____________




ANALYSIS



Within a Compare and Contrast Essay, students must analyze at least two reasons for a similarity or difference identified in a direct comparison. Remember: the analysis point must begin with a direct comparison and explain why the similarity or difference arose or occurred. Such a construction could be:
France and Mali both had decentralized political structures yet for different reasons. France had to give local nobles power in order to repel Vikings and to halt invasions. Paris and the king were too distant to respond to local problems immediately and swiftly. Had power not been granted locally, France could have been destroyed in the early Post-Classical Age. Afterwards, the French kings tried to reclaim power. Mali however came about by conquest. The Sultan of Mali conquered an enormous area and established a tributary relationship with the defeated rulers. The defeated subjects had to pay yearly tribute but could continue ruling. The Sultan rarely intervened unless tribute was not paid. They had to fight to prevent their subject provinces from throwing off the sultan’s rule.



PART A: ANALYSIS
Based on the thesis from previous exercises, write a comparative sentence with facts that analyzes why a similarity or difference occurred. In other words, prove what you write.
While both the Classical Roman and Han Empires centralized power and militarily expanded their frontiers, the Roman Empire did not utilize a political philosophy to structure and rule their empire while the Han Emperors used a blend of Legalism and Confucianism.
Explain a Similarity.







Explain a Difference.







Name: ___________________________________ Period: __________ Date: _____________




CONCLUSION PARAGRAPH

This is the least critical paragraph you will write. National graders insist you can forget a conclusion and still receive the highest score. But when you write research papers later in college classes, you will learn you cannot do this. It is the last time you can tell your reader what your thesis or main idea was. Therefore, learn to conclude in some appropriate manner. Whatever you do, do not waste an inordinate amount of time concluding. The time is better spent on analysis and interpretation.


Most critically, however, a conclusion can function as a thesis IF your thesis is missing or does not meet the criteria of the rubric for the point. Consequently, a conclusion is critical.
PART A: SIMPLE CONCLUSION
Conclusions can be one sentence. You can restate the prompt or paraphrase your thesis, which is adequate but simplistic. Your conclusion should resemble your thesis and contain what your essay was about and what three ideas you used to prove it. Reread your thesis used in previous exercises. Write a simple conclusion.

PART B: LONG CONCLUSION


Reread your thesis from the Expanded Core. A superior conclusion of one sentence should mirror this type of thesis. As my students repeatedly point out, this may mean a “compound, complex sentence.” Write a long conclusion.

PART C: ELABORATE CONCLUSION
Because of time constraints, elaborate conclusions are often too time-consuming to write. Nevertheless, they have their value and place. The best writers tend to follow this pattern. Restate your thesis in a manner different than the beginning. And then tell what happens after the time period in question. For example
While both the Classical Roman and Han Empires created a centralized, militarily powerful state, Rome never relied on a philosophical framework for governance. In the end both Classical Rome and Han China experienced increasing decentralization and military decline as the center lost control of the provinces, in the Roman cases to Germans while the Han lost power to rebellious nobles and provincial governors. In the end, Legalism and Confucianism failed to save the Han state while a new philosophy, Buddhism began to spread in China. Likewise the Roman cultural idea of gravitas and veritas (seriousness and truthfulness) gave way to the Christian tenets of love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself.

Name: ___________________________________ Period: __________ Date: _____________


POLISHING TIPS




There are several other tips to writing a superior essay. Each is listed below. Read the following prompt and thesis sentence.




“Compare and Contrast the formation of empires in any two Classical civilizations (a) the Mediterranean; (b) South Asia; and (c) East Asia”




While both the Classical Roman and Han Empires centralized power and militarily expanded their frontiers, the Roman Empire did not utilize a political philosophy to structure and rule their empire while the Han Emperors used a blend of Legalism and Confucianism.


PART A: PARALLEL STRUCTURE AND INTERNAL ORDER




Parallel structure organizes subsequent paragraphs based on the internal order of ideas outlined in the thesis sentence. When students write thesis sentences, they should put their stronger points first and weaker points last. Read the thesis above. Circle and number the points. Write the exact order below.


PART B: NUMBER OF PARAGRAPHS

At the minimum, students need four paragraphs – the thesis, the conclusion, and at least two if not three body paragraphs. The body paragraphs should not conflate ideas into one paragraph. Different themes should be separated into their own paragraphs. The number of paragraphs should match the number of points in your thesis plus introduction and conclusion paragraphs. Also skip two lines between paragraphs. Based on the above thesis sentence, how many paragraphs would an essay require?



PART C: TIME TO PREPARE, TIME TO WRITE, TIME TO CORRECT
Students forty minutes to read, prepare and write Compare and Contrast essays. Spend five minutes organizing your essay with a brief outline. Use thirty minutes to write. But save five minutes to reread the essay and to make corrections. Check to see that you have addressed all portions of the prompt. If you have left something out, and want to add ideas, insert them in the margin or at the end of the essay but find some way to tell the reader where the new portion goes.
PART D: “I.E. vs E.G.”
In the prompt the College Board may use a terminology when identifying themes. In one recent essay it said “e.g. politics, social, and economics.” E.G means “for example” in Latin. I.E. means “that is.” When the College Board prompt uses ‘e.g.’ it means a student may use the examples provide. If the prompt says ‘i.e.’ then the student MUST use these examples.

Name: ____________________________________________ Period: __________ Date: _____________
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Mastery requires students to practice the Compare and Contrast essay. Ideally this requires frequent opportunities to write essays and have teachers score them. When a student has a weakness or does not grasp a concept or perhaps cannot master one of the indicators the simplest way is repeat the above exercises using different prompts. Below are prompts based on the AP World History Subject Guide.


  1. Compare and contrast any of the following two religions or philosophical systems for gender systems and social hierarchies




  1. Hinduism

  2. Confucianism

  3. Buddhism

  4. Judaism

  5. Hellenic philosophies

  6. Christianity




  1. Compare the Hindu caste system with other systems of social inequality in the ancient and classical worlds of Rome, Greece, Mesoamerica, the Andes, or China.




  1. Analyze the roles and functions of cities in major Post-Classical societies (Islamic, West European, East Asia, Western Africa, Eastern Africa).




  1. Compare and contrast the Aztec OR Incan Empire with one Classical Civilization (e.g. Hellenic Greece, Roman Empire, Zhou China, Han China, Mauryan Empire, Guptan Empire).




  1. Compare Russia’s interactions with any two: Ottoman Empire, Ming/Ching China, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe.




  1. Compare and contrast any two coercive systems of labor in the Modern Era




  1. Caribbean Slavery

  2. Slavery in English colonies

  3. Slavery in Brazil

  4. Spanish Mita in South America

  5. West African slavery

  6. Muslim slavery in S. W. Asia

  7. India Hindu castes

  8. East European serfdom




  1. Compare nationalism and nationalist movements during the Modern and Contemporary Eras in any two of the following pairs: China-Japan, Cuba-Philippines, Egypt-Nigeria, and India-Vietnam.




  1. Compare and contrast patterns of decolonization in Africa, India, Southeast Asia or the former Soviet Union.




  1. Compare the impact of Western consumer societies on any two nations outside of Western Europe and Anglo-North America.

NAME: ______________________________________________ PERIOD: _______ DATE: ___________________________
CHART: COMPARE & CONTRAST TWO CIVILIZATIONS
COMPARISON REGION/EVENT: _______________________ _________________________

COMPARISON THEMES (3): _______________ ________________ _________________

(For themes, use SCRIPTED)



THESIS




1ST

Region or Event

2nd

Region or Event

Key


Similarities and Differences

Analyze one reason

why each theme is similar/different

1st Topic Sentence














2nd Topic

Sentence














3rd Topic Sentence














CONCLUSION

SNAPSHOTS: TEACHING COMPARE AND CONTRAST UNITS


Most teachers will cover chapters and content in their classrooms in the sequential order provided by the textbook. For the purposes of the May Advanced Placement exam however teachers must learn to assess information in a format described by the Advanced Placement Course Guide. This involves writing essays in one of these three formats: compare and contrast, change over time, and the Document Based Question. Snapshots are all taken directly from the Advanced Placement Course Description for world history. In general they approximate most nearly the “Compare and Contrast” essay. While there are many missing cultures and civilizations, which could be included, because of time constraints those not included in the course description are probably best not used in your teaching and assessment. Nevertheless, I will identify in red italics cultures which you might want to include.


  1. THE ANCIENT AND CLASSICAL WORLDS: TO 600 C.E.


For many reasons, the Mesoamerican and Andes cultural regions prior to 1521 are truly ancient and classical civilizations. I suggest teaching these civilizations at the same time you do the traditional ancient and classical Afro-Eurasian civilizations.


  1. Compare and contrast Paleolithic and Neolithic cultures.




  1. Compare and contrast any two of these cultures:




  1. The Neolithic Revolutions

  2. Early civilization

  3. Pastoral nomadism

  4. Shifting agriculture




  1. Compare and contrast any of the following two religions or philosophical systems for gender systems and social hierarchies




  1. Hinduism

  2. Confucianism

  3. Chinese and Japanese popular religion including religious Daoism, Shintoism

  4. Philosophical Daoism

  5. Buddhism

  6. Judaism

  7. Hellenic philosophies

  8. Christianity

  9. Generalized Polytheist religions including shamanism




  1. Compare and contrast the collapse of classical civilization in the Mediterranean and South and East Asia; determine why the collapse was more severe in the Mediterranean than these other two regions.




  1. Compare the Hindu caste system with other systems of social inequality in the ancient and classical worlds of Rome, Greece, Mesoamerica, the Andes, or China.

  2. Compare and contrast ancient and classical sedentary cultures based on cities with pastoral, nomadic societies.




  1. Compare and contrast the development of institutions and traditions (political, social, economic, or intellectual) in any two of these classical civilizations:




  1. China

  2. India

  3. Greece

  4. Rome

  5. Mesoamerica

  6. Andes




  1. Compare any two of the interregional trading systems:




  1. Mesoamerica

  2. Mediterranean

  3. Southwest Asia

  4. South Asia

  5. East Asia




  1. Compare and contrast the political and social structures of any two of the following ancient civilizations:




  1. Mesopotamia

  2. Egypt

  3. Kush-Meroe

  4. Indus Valley

  5. Shang China

  6. Mesoamerica (Olmecs, Mayan)

  7. Andean South America




  1. Compare and contrast the intellectual accomplishments of the classical Chinese and Mediterranean civilizations (Hellenic, Hellenistic, and Roman).




  1. Compare and contrast the rise, development and spread of Buddhism and early Christianity.




  1. Compare and contrast the popular movements and settlement patterns of any two of these peoples: Indo-Europeans/Chariot Peoples, Germans, Polynesian, or Bantu.



  1. THE POST-CLASSICAL PERIOD: 600 TO 1450




  1. Compare and contrast Japanese and Western European feudalism. (Note you might want to consider adding Zhou feudalism).




  1. Compare and contrast political and social institutions in Western and Eastern Europe.




  1. Analyze the roles and functions of cities in major societies (Islamic, West European, East Asia, Western Africa, Eastern Africa).



  1. Compare trading alliances and patterns of trade in any two of these regions:




  1. Northern Europe (Hansa)

  2. Mediterranean (Venice, Genoa)

  3. Abbasid Muslim world

  4. The Silk Road of Central Asia

  5. Trans-Saharan Trade Route

  6. East Africa/ Swahili cities

  7. The Indian Ocean.




  1. Compare the roles of politics, social classes, and gender in Christianity and Islam.




  1. Analyze gender and social systems and any changes over time as caused by interactions and religions such as the impact of Islam and Neo-Confucianism.




  1. Compare the Aztec and Inca Empire.




  1. Compare European, Sub-Saharan African, South Asian, and Southeast Asian contacts with the Islamic world.




  1. Compare the impact of the Mongol Empire on cultures and institutions in Eastern Europe, Middle East, and East Asia.




  1. Compare the impact of Turkish invasions on the Byzantines and Islamic worlds.




  1. Compare the Christian Crusades and Islamic Jihads.




  1. Compare schisms in Christianity (Roman Catholic-Orthodox) and Islam (Sunni-Shia).




  1. Compare interactions in any two regions during this time period:




  1. Pre-Columbian Americas

  2. Eastern Europe

  3. Western Europe

  4. Sub-Saharan Africa

  5. Islamic World

  6. South Asia

  7. East Asia

  8. South East Asia

  1. THE EARLY MODERN PERIOD: 1450 TO 1750




  1. Compare and contrast state structures of 1 European and 1 Afro-Asiatic empire;




  1. France

  2. Portugal

  3. Spain

  4. England

  5. Holland

  6. Russia

  7. Austria

  8. Ottoman Empire

  9. Safavid Empire

  10. Mughal Empire

  11. Ming Chinese Empire

  12. West African Forest State

  13. West African Sahel State

  14. Japanese Shogunate




  1. Compare Russia’s interactions with any two: Ottoman Empire, Ming/Ching China, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe.




  1. Compare and contrast systems of gender and social inequalities in the Early Modern Age in any two countries, one European or European colonial empire and one non-European state.




  1. Compare the colonial administrations of any two of these nations: Spain, Portugal, England (UK), France or the Netherlands.




  1. Compare Mesoamerican and Andean systems of economic exchange.




  1. Compare and contrast any two coercive systems of labor




    1. Caribbean Slavery

    2. Slavery, English North American

    3. Slavery in Brazil

    4. Spanish Mita in South America

    5. West African slavery

    6. Muslim slavery in S. W. Asia

    7. India Hindu castes

    8. East European serfdom




  1. Compare economic systems and commerce of any two nations, one European and one non-European during the Early Modern Age.




  1. Compare the process of empire-building of one European and one Afro-Asiatic empire (gun-powder empire);




  1. France

  2. Portugal

  3. Spain

  4. England

  5. Holland

  6. Russia

  7. Austria or Prussia




  1. Ottoman Empire

  2. Safavid Empire

  3. Mughal Empire

  4. Ming Chinese Empire

  5. West African Forest State

  6. West African Sahel State

  7. Japanese Shogunate


  1. MODERN ERA: 1750 TO 1914




  1. Compare the causes and phases on the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain or the United States with Russia or Japan.




  1. Compare the American or French Revolution with one of these revolutions: Haiti 1798; Latin American 1820; Mehmet Ali in Egypt 1822; Mexico 1911, Russia 1905; Taiping Rebellion 1850; China 1911; or Iran 1910.




  1. Compare the reactions to foreign interference of any two of these states: China, Japan, Ottoman Empire, Southeast Asia, and India.




  1. Compare nationalism and nationalist movements in any two of the following pairs: China-Japan, Cuba-Philippines, Egypt-Nigeria, and India-Vietnam.




  1. Compare forms of Western intervention in any two regions: Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia.




  1. Compare the roles of elite in Latin America with those of Western Europe before 1850.




  1. Compare the spread of Christianity and Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa.




  1. Compare industrial development in Brazil or South America with economic developments in China, India, or Russia.




  1. Compare and contrast any two colonial empires including methods of government, economic development, and social changes: France, Great Britain, United States, Russia, and Japan.




  1. Compare the movement by populaces to settle interior lands in any two frontier societies: United States, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, and China.




  1. Compare the process and problems of urbanization in any two of these cities: Tokyo, London, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bombay, Cairo, Constantinople, and Mexico City.




  1. Compare the process of modernization as opposed to Westernization in any two non-European nations in the 19th or 20th century.




  1. Compare and contrast the importance of trade and international economic relations on any two civilizations, one European and one non-European. Non-European can include Eastern Europe specifically Austria-Hungary and Russia. Non-European nations should include the Ottoman Empire, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, India, Egypt, China, and Japan.


  1. THE CONTEMPORARY ERA: 1914 TO PRESENT




  1. Compare and contrast the impact and consequences of World War I on any two regions: Eastern Europe, Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.




  1. Compare and contrast the impact and consequences of World War II on any two regions: the Middle East, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Africa.




  1. Compare and contrast 20th century totalitarian movements or authoritarian ideologies in one European nation (Germany, Italy, or USSR) with one non-European nation (China, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Apartheid-era South Africa, contemporary Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Vietnam, Korea, Cuba, or Nicaragua). Hint: compare Fascist/Nazi like movements or Communist movements.




  1. Compare and contrast patterns of decolonization in Africa, India, the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia. (Important countries include Algeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Congo, Rhodesia-Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, India, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Philippines, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and the Baltic states). You might additionally consider how Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq compare/contrast).




  1. Pick two revolutions (Iranian, Russian, Cuban, Chinese) and compare their effects on the roles of women. Consider adding Nicaragua and Vietnam.



  2. Pick any two contemporary revolutions (Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Cuban, Nicaraguan, Vietnamese, Algeria, India) and compare the causes and issues of the revolution and the groups who supported each.




  1. Compare the legacies of colonialism and patterns of economic development in two of three regional areas: Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.




  1. Compare ideas of nationalist ideologies and movements in contrasting European and colonial environments. (Compare one European nation – Great Britain, France, Germany, or Italy with one example of colonial nationalism such as India, China, Vietnam, Algeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, or Kenya).




  1. Compare the different types of independence movements.




  1. Compare the role and problems associated with military rule in any two non-Western nations.




  1. Compare the impact of Western consumer societies on any two nations outside of Western Europe and Anglo-North America. Examples can include Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Kenya, India, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and post-1992 Russia, China, and Eastern Europe.

  2. Compare major forms of 20th century warfare. (Examples can include the US and France in Vietnam, the British in Malaya, the Chinese Civil War between the Nationalists and Communists, the Germans in Yugoslavia, the US and USSR in Afghanistan, the Israelis against the PLO and Palestinian Intifada, the Peruvians against the Maoist Shining Path Other examples include trench warfare, unrestricted submarine warfare, total war, guerrilla war, blitzkrieg, and nuclear war.)




  1. Assess proposals and models for economic growth in the developing world and their political and social consequences. Hint: this may include the North-South discussion and economic worlds’ model.




  1. Compare and contrast gender roles and women’s rights movements during the 20th century in any two of these regions: Eastern Europe, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia.




  1. Compare and contrast the impact of technology on any two non-Western nations.




  1. Compare and contrast contemporary trans-national organizations and their impact on international relations in any two non-Western countries. Organizations can include The League of Nations, The United Nations, military alliances such as SEATO, COMECON, ASEAN, the World Trade Organization, multi-national corporations, and other modern non-governmental agencies.




  1. Compare environmental concerns, problems, and policies in any two regions (Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe).



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