Nov 17, 2021 Uncategorized

History Analysis “Document Based Question”


Hello! The prompts are at the bottom of the source and prompt page, pick whatever one feels best for you. I also have the requirements attached below. Thank you!

AMH DBQ Paper Assignment Guidelines: Edited: Spring 2019
• DBQ stands for “Document Based Question” in which a historical question is tied to a
primary source.
• You will use the primary source to help you answer the question provided. There are
two important things to keep in mind when writing a DBQ response. First, be sure to
answer the question completely and second, be sure to use details from the source to
support your answer.
• You should use the source directly. In other words, you need to quote directly from it.
That said, do not assume the quote will speak for itself. In order to properly analyze the
primary source, you need to EXPLAIN/ANALYZE the quote. For instance, look at the
Incorrect: Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence that
among the rights that our Creator gives us are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of
Thomas Jefferson then went on to attack King George III. Beginning with his
harsh taxation…
Correct: Thomas Jefferson argued in the Declaration of Independence that
Americans have several God-given rights and that among these rights are “life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness.” When referring to the right of life, Jefferson is not just
suggesting the creation of life or the act of having children but also the protection of life
at every stage. By suggesting that liberty is given to Americans by their Creator, it can
be argued that Jefferson believes that we have freedom of choice, thought, and action
as long as our personal freedom does not violate the freedom of others. Finally, it is
interesting to see how Jefferson writes “the pursuit of happiness” since to the founding
father, happiness is not guaranteed rather, Americans are free to make their own
To Jefferson, King George III has violated all three of these God-given rights to
the point that the monarch believes his power allows him to challenge our Creator’s
• As you can see from the correct example, I used the quote to directly reference the
document/source and then I took the time to explain what it all means. This is where
historical analysis or interpretation comes into play. Notice that this is just one
interpretation of this section of the Declaration of Independence. Another
student/historian can see things in a different way but as long as they support their
argument with a solid explanation, they are just as correct as my own response.
• As far as length, I always say that your DBQ should be as long as it takes to answer the
question. That said, it should still follow the standard format of an introduction, body,
and conclusion. Therefore, your DBQ analysis needs to be AT LEAST four paragraphs
• The introduction for your DBQ should provide appropriate background information to
the topic. For instance, using the example from above, I could explain briefly how/why
the Declaration of Independence was created and what it accomplished. Here is where
you use your prior knowledge on the topic from the course to set the stage so to speak.
You may also choose to begin to address the DBQ (question).
• The body for your DBQ should be where you use direct references to your document to
answer the question. Here is where you really chip away at the DBQ question and
answer it. For instance, had the DBQ question been “How does Thomas Jefferson justify
separation from Great Britain in the Declaration of Independence?”…I could explain how
King George III denied the rights of the Americans through taxation, invasions of privacy,
etc. You want to be careful to allow the source to do the talking and not allow personal
opinion to enter. You can easily prevent this by avoiding using I, me, my, we—notice in
the correct analysis example above, I do not use these terms but instead say what
Jefferson is thinking and feeling through his writing. Again, be sure to explain/analyze
the document when answering the question. Do not just say “Thomas Jefferson justifies
separation because right here he says this…” Instead, explain what the document says!
• Finally, the conclusion should return to the overall question by wrapping up any loose
ends. Here you are looking at the document and the question as a whole. You may
want to summarize your earlier arguments. By the time you get to your conclusion, you
should be able to look back at your paper and evaluate how successful you were at
answering the DBQ question completely.
• In terms of citations, we will use a simple in text citation that would relay basic
information. For the example above we may just state in parenthesis at the end of a
quote the following: (Jefferson, Declaration of Independence). Basically, state the
author and then the source or type of source. For instance, had you analyzed a soldier’s
letter during WWII, you may cite it like (Jennings, Letter) or a diary of a young girl during
the Great Depression, you may cite it like (Brown, Diary).
• Below are some other reminders that will help you with your historical analysis:
o Always write in the past tense.
o If you refer to a historical person, always use either their full name or their last
name. NEVER call them by their first name—you are not on a first name basis
with these people!
o 12 Size Font, Times New Roman, Double or Single Space (it is up to you)
o Be sure to analyze your quotes—do not end a paragraph on a quote.

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