The APUSH long essay is worth 15% of your entire score. To get the coveted 5 on the exam, you’re going to need to write a solid APUSH long essay. Start by reading through the two prompt options, and choose the one you feel more confident in writing about. The prompts fall into 4 categories:
- Patterns of connectivity (argue whether history changed or remained the same)
- Compare and contrast
No matter which type of essay you face, here are 4 steps to help you write a good APUSH long essay.
Focus on Writing a Solid Thesis
Your thesis is the most important part. It’s going to set up the entire essay. It’s also the first thing that the grader is going to see, so start with a strong thesis!
Your introductory paragraph should be about 2-5 sentences in length. Start with a hook before including your thesis. Your thesis should be original. Don’t just copy the question prompt!
Make sure that your thesis contains the following three things:
- Your stance (or answer) to the prompt
- A counterargument to address
- The 3 strongest supporting points for your thesis
Describe and Explain Your Supporting Points
To support your thesis, you need three specific examples. If you’re having a hard time coming up with examples, think about PERSIA: political, economic, religious, social, intellectual, and artistic.
Describe each example as much as possible. Then, don’t forget to reflect back to the thesis. This is the most important part, so spend plenty of time circling back to the thesis for each point.
When writing the body paragraphs, try to connect to events from different time periods, geographical areas, and themes whenever possible. Making connections is especially important when it comes to the rebuttal for your argument.
Synthesis across history is important to show that you have a deep understanding of U.S. history and that you’ve developed the historical thinking skills you need.
Don’t Forget the Conclusion
Some people skip over the conclusion. With only 35 minutes to write a polished essay, they would rather spend time developing the introductory and body paragraphs.
However, if you’ve practiced your timing for the APUSH long essay, you should have a few extra minutes for a conclusion. The conclusion should restate your thesis and strongest points in different words.
You’ve spent the entire school year preparing for your APUSH long essay. You’ve studied the concepts and themes. You have the information that you need to write a 6-worthy essay. Follow these tips as you practice writing APUSH long essays, so you can practice crafting these essays within the 35-minute time period. The more you practice, the better prepared you’ll be to write your essay on exam day.
About Jamie Goodwin
Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!
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While a number of the most important reform movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries grew out of efforts to combat the negative effects of industrialization, the main focus of their efforts was not the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the natural environment. Although some reformers, such as Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, were deeply worried about the consequences of economic development on the natural environment, the most influential, most effective reformers were primarily concerned with the impact of the rise of big business on small businesses, industrial workers, and consumers, and with corruption in government that reformers believed resulted from the economic power of large corporations.
Farmers were upset at what they regarded as arbitrary and excessive railroad rates and abuses such as rebates to big business like Standard Oil. These farmers were among the first and most outspoken advocates of reform in the late 19th century. Pressure from the Farmers’ Alliances convinced Congress to pass and President Cleveland to sign the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, a piece of legislation designed to regulate railroad rates and prohibit corrupt practices such as rebates. By 1890, these Farmers’ Alliances had entered politics in a number of Southern and Midwestern states and succeeded in pressuring Congress to pass the Sherman Antitrust Act, outlawing all “combinations in restraint of trade.” By 1892, a national People’s Party had been organized, nominating a third-party presidential candidate and electing several members of Congress. The Populist movement, a reform movement attempting to combat the negative effects of industrialization and the rise of big business, was now in full swing.
Beginning at the state level and with strong support in many urban areas, a new progressive movement reached the national level during the first years of the 20th century. Supported by President Theodore Roosevelt, progressive reformers, like the Populists, sought to strengthen railroad regulation and both enforce and further strengthen the antitrust laws. In 1902, President Roosevelt not only forced mine owners to submit to arbitration to settle a nationwide coal strike, he also asked his attorney general to file an antitrust suit against the Northern Securities Company, a large railroad holding company. After the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision to break up the Northern Securities Company in 1904, Roosevelt went on to strengthen the Interstate Commerce Commission’s ability to regulate railroad rates by pushing the Hepburn Act through Congress in 1906. A few years later, another progressive reformer, Woodrow Wilson, succeeded to the presidency, and he managed to further strengthen the antitrust laws by pushing the Clayton Antitrust Act through Congress in 1914.
While railroad regulation and antitrust actions attracted the most attention of reformers during the period 1880–1920, some efforts were made by reformers to mitigate the effects of industrialization and commercial expansion on the natural environment. President Roosevelt used his executive authority to put thousands of acres of public lands aside for national parks, saving them from commercial exploitation. In 1908, he convened a conservation conference at the White House in an effort to further mitigate the damage that mining and manufacturing were doing to the natural environment, especially in the West. President Roosevelt also pushed for the establishment of the forest service and appointed a conservation-minded ally, Gifford Pinchot, to head that agency. Finally, even after retiring from office, Roosevelt supported Pinchot in his efforts to prevent President Taft’s secretary of the interior, Richard Ballinger, from opening additional public lands to commercial exploitation.
Thus, both the populist and progressive movements sought to combat the negative effects of industrialization and economic expansion by focusing primarily on railroad regulation and the strengthening and enforcement of antitrust legislation. Nevertheless, some progressive reformers like Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot did pay significant attention to preventing further damage to the natural environment and helped to found the modern conservation movement.