Essay Exam #1 asks for an interpretive thesis and three primary sources. A and B-level examples written by students.

From History 111: US History

The Progressive Era in the United States was a time when women were expanding their role in society. Modern conveniences had paved the way for women to become interested in many different areas that they previously did not have the time to consider such as education, political activism, and social concerns. However, not everyone was content to see women changing their traditional functions. Many men of the Progressive Era felt threatened by the changing roles of women away from their primary occupation as traditional homemakers. 

Some men feared that if their wife pursued an education, she would no longer be content with her traditional role of homemaker. In the 1901 photograph by R.Y. Young titled, "The New Woman Wash Day" a man is shown glaring at his wife as he does the laundry while she sits contentedly reading a paper entitled "Truth." Although the photograph is humorous, it illustrates an underlying uneasiness that men felt as women pursued more intellectual pursuits. They were afraid that women would not be content to continue in their traditional roles and that they might have to contribute to the household duties. In reality, due to time saving appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators, and ready to wear clothing, women were able to pursue outside interests and still maintain a home.

Many men believed that if their wife became involved in political activism they would ignore their traditional duties of wife and mother. In Tom Fleming's 1915 political cartoon, "The Home or Street Corner for Woman – Vote No on Woman Suffrage" he reflects the fear of men of that era by depicting a sweet, loving mother holding a cute baby on the left side and a demonic, shrew like woman holding a flyer for a political rally on the right side with the words "what do you prefer?" The cartoon was used to persuade men to vote no on women's suffrage. If women did not have the right to vote, they would remain home and continue in their traditional roles. The message of the cartoon was that if one's wife was involved in political activism she would turn into a crazy person that was not involved with her family. She would ignore her maternal responsibilities and put her political activism first. In actuality, women activists like Margaret Sanger were devoted mothers as well as important political activists. 
Some men were worried that if women got involved with social issues, they might be forced to change their immoral but lucrative business practices. During this era, women had the time to be very concerned with the terrible conditions that existed for the poor. Child labor was unregulated and rampant due to the new industrial machines and assembly lines that a child could work. Prostitution was accepted and considered necessary so as not to burden a wife, primarily due to a lack of information on sex. The October 9, 1915 political cartoon by Merle De Vore Johnson, "I did not Raise my Girl to be a Voter" comments on those fears by showing a girl labeled "anti" singing to a chorus of men labeled "procurer, dive-keeper, child labor-employer, grafter, cadet, and sweat shop owner" while a man labeled "political boss" conducts her. The message of the cartoon reflects the opinion of the day in that if women did not get the vote, those types of men would be able to go on with their immoral business practices; if women did get the vote they would use their power to change those practices. These types of businessmen were correct to feel threatened by the social activism of women of this era. Women formed the National Consumers League and worked to enact important reforms such as child labor and sweatshop reforms.

 Because of time saving appliances and consumer goods, the Progressive Era gave women the freedom to pursue educational, political, and social activities. However, this new ability for women to pursue interests outside of the home was a new situation for men as well. Some men felt threatened by women's change from traditional homemaker to intellectual and/or activist. Many were against Women's Suffrage and the changes they felt would occur with women obtaining the right to vote. They were wrong to be afraid that women could not be loving wives and mothers as well as social and political activists. However those engaged in immoral business practices were right to feel threatened by socially and politically motivated Progressive Era women who did indeed work to to enact important social and political reforms.

From History 104: Western Civilization

While the discoveries of the 17th century revealed challenges to established religious views, many of science's strongest proponents remained true to their faith in God. This dedication to a religious point of view goes beyond mere fear of the repercussions of the church. These men believed deeply in a God who had created the universe and had stamped His mark upon it. Instead of recanting God, they sought a deeper understanding of Him by going beyond established church doctrine and studying His actual handiwork.

Johannes Kepler, despite a life deeply marked by the religious mania of the Thirty Years War, consistently sought a course that allowed him to navigate between the sometimes contrary points of his own learned faith, the religious zealots of the time and his own discoveries on how the universe worked. Confronted with seemingly questionable biblical passages, such as the "Long Day" described in Joshua 10 he was quoted: "It is not the purpose of the Holy Scriptures to instruct men in natural things." In his Platonic Solid model of the solar system, he sought to describe the geometric precision with witch God had created the universe.

Here is a link to a drawing of Kepler's model, dated 1596 (a little early, but had great impact on the 17th century. Kepler lived until 1630).

Galileo Galilei, was twice being put on trial and convicted by the Holy Roman Inquisition (1615 and 1633) yet remained a devoted catholic until the day he died. Under constant attack for his support of the Copernican view of heliocentrism, he nevertheless held true to his position that while not every passage of scripture should be taken entirely literally, it was still the Word of God. Both of his daughters were entered into convents, where they lived most of their lives. Modern scientists as notable as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking have called him the father of modern science, and yet the man himself never saw his views as in any way alienating himself from God.
Here is a link to a page from his notes on discovering the moons of Jupiter, which clearly did not fit into the accepted dogma of celestial "spheres."

Galileo's own hand, 1609

Giordano Bruno, despite constant harassment by the Catholic Church, continued to study and teach theology until he was eventually burned at the stake for his heretical ideas and freakishly powerful memory. Bruno proposed that the sun was but another star and that the universe was filled inhabitable planets, which might contain intelligent beings. For that and a complete astonishment in the memory abilities he displayed through mnemonics, every work he ever wrote was banned by the church. Even so, at his trial in Venice he claimed never to have reneged on his Catholicism after having to flee to the then protestant city of Geneva.

Here is a link to a woodcut from Bruno's Articuli centum et sexaginta adversus huius tempestatis mathematicos atque philosophos, Prague 1588 (Yes, a little early, but as he died in February of 1600, 17th century sources are limited).

It can be concluded that for the mighty scientific minds that gave us the world we have inherited, a belief in God was not contrary to an empirical and rational understanding of the universe.

From History 105: History of England

Throughout the early history of the areathat is now England, many monarchs ruled the lands, often with an ironfist. Until the time of the Normanconquest, however, power was relatively decentralized through the numeroussmall kingships of the land. Normankings consolidated these smaller kingships underneath a more centralized, andtherefore more powerful, reign. The abusive behavior of Norman-born kings - and the ensuing outcry from the people- heralded the inception of the ideal of an English monarch's powers being limited.

Starting in the early 12th century, the heavy-handed ruling of Norman kings had started stirring voices of dissent amongst the commoners. An excerpt from the Worchester Chronicle titled "Those who work, Those who fight, Those who prey- The Dream of Henry I" (1140, a fictitious dream in which the current monarch, Henry I, is confronted by the angry appeals of farmers and knights who demand lower taxes. Though imagined by the producers of the pamphlet,this brief article reveals that the greater populace desired to have a voice in the king's decisions. The third segmentof the dream reinforces this idea, showing King Henry I submitting to the people's desires by instating lower taxes for the next seven years. The publishers must have felt that they were truly acting as the public's voice if they did not cower from the possibility ofHenry's swift vengeance for such flagrant slander. This indicates support not only amongst thelowest peasants, but also amongst minor nobles and other law keepers.

Discontent with Norman rule drove some to outright revolt in attempts to bring relief from the oppression suffered. Book 2, Chapter 5, The Church Historians of England, volume IV, part II (William of Newburgh, 1189, describes a revolt by the Welsh that was put down at a mere inconvenience to the Norman king, Henry of Essex. This revolt, though by itself unimpressive,was more importantly a symptom of the discontent of the people under Henry's domination. The book's author, William of Newburgh,described the revolt's cause in no certain terms, but makes it known that the central issue was that of money owed to the king. For generations, smaller kingdoms had existed and many of those owed homage to "overlord" kings, meaning a yearly tribute toa high king was by no means new, yet the Welsh found it necessary to renege on their payments. For such dramatic actionto occur there must have been wide discontent, even outrage, at the cost ofsubmission to the Norman kings. In the end, the threat of annihilation brought the Welsh to surrender themselves againto Norman rule, but this short-lived rebellion speaks volumes on the people's opinion of the Normans.

By the early 1200's, Norman rule had become so outrageous that nobles took direct action to limit the power held by the king. After suffering extreme taxation and other offences, nobles directly underneath the king formulated the Magna Carta (1215, Lane's 105 Document Workbook). Thisdocument was the first written record of laws that established limits on a monarch's powers to the effect of protecting the rights of free men. King John, upon duress, signed the document,establishing its formal legitimacy, though he ignored the document shortly after the ink had dried. As it was morecommon for nobles to squabble over the lands that each controlled, the collaboration required to devise this edict must have required significantpressure on the wallets of the involved nobles. Though unsuccessful in actually restraining the Norman domination, the Magna Carta (1215, Lane's 105 Document Workbook) stoodas a symbol of the inalienable rights of free men and nobles alike.

Underneath the iron fist of Norman control the people of England sought the means to protect the rights of all men despite the oppressive rule of the monarch. The Worchester Chronicle excerpt (1140,,the chapter from The Church Historians of England (William of Newburgh, 1189,,and the Magna Carta (1215, Lane's 105 Document Workbook) are three separate documents that together create an image of popular discontent with the rulingNorman kings. These documents, though theevents described were mostly ineffective, reveal that the ideals of limitation of an English monarch's power had its humble beginnings during the era ofNorman oppression.