World History since 1500
Final Reflection Essay – Guidelines
For this assignment you will select one of the topics below and explain—in a 500- to 750-word essay—
why it is the most important historical development since 1500. In order to explain your selection, you
should consider both the impact at the time of the event and its lasting historical consequences. Your
essay must be submitted through CougarView by December 2nd.
Here are the options for the topic you will explore in your essay:
* European colonialism/imperialism
* the Atlantic Revolutions
* the World Wars (One and Two)
* The Cold War
Note that there is no one “correct” selection; it is up to you to make the argument for why the topic you
select is most important.
These are large topics that may be interpreted broadly, so your explanation should identify the specific
events or elements that deserve emphasis. For example: European colonialism can be linked to many
important world historical developments (including the slave trade, the spread of Christianity,
globalization, and/or other topics). You should not attempt to list or discuss all of them in this short (2
to 3 double-spaced pages) paper; rather, you should focus on explaining the particular elements that best
support your argument, while still keeping an eye on “the big picture.”
In your essay you must refer to evidence from the course (lectures, primary sources, documentary
videos) that supports your argument. It should not be necessary for you to conduct additional research
to complete this assignment; however, any outside sources you use must be cited, along with relevant
materials from the course.
Like your other historical essays, you should construct this not as a statement of your opinion (“I
believe,” “seems to me,” etc.), but rather as an objective interpretation of the facts available.
As with most essay writing, organization is important. A typical format for an essay of this length
would consist of three “body” paragraphs, each focusing on one of your main points; with an
introductory paragraph and a conclusion to frame your interpretation. You will probably find it is best
to write your introduction and conclusion after writing the body paragraphs, when your interpretation
begins to take on a clearer shape.
Contact Dr. Tompson ([email protected]) if you have any questions about this
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