Ap Us History Introduction Paragraph Essay


Guide to Writing an Effective Essay

[Note: For this example I will be using an essay written by me responding to: " Did life in the colonies to1750 reflect the values of freedom, justice, equality and republican government as was claimed by 1776?Consider social, economic, and political experiences of the colonists"]

Introduction Paragraph:

In my opinion

, this is the most important part of every essay. A strong introduction will set the reader'smood and attitude towards the essay in a positive direction while a weak opening paragraph can causelack of interest. First and foremost we need a hook or a sentence or two used to real the reader in.

“O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” (US National Anthem) is a phrase that most  Americans are familiar with. According to America's founders, freedom, liberty, equality and republican government were all words that reflected American values since the start of the colonies in Jamestown in1607.

Most people

are in fact familiar with this phrase and can relate to the essay. After we create a hook (for our purposes) we will write a thesis. The This is the main idea of the essay, stated in a single sentence,called the thesis statement. You must limit your entire essay to the topic you have introduced in your thesis statement. Your Thesis can be put anywhere within your essay but it is recomended to put it in your introduction for the sake of flow.

The colonies up to the year 1750 failed to demonstrate the values they proclaimed due to inequality for all people (especially blacks and women), limited freedom of religion, injustice to the innocent, and thecolonies being under the control of England.

The thesis clearly

states my opinion on the matter and includes all of the arguments I present within myessay. This thesis was written during an in class essay and litterally took about 30 seconds to come upwith. If you are writting a thesis for a take-home essay, it should include more advanced vocabulary. (Athesaurus is your best friend here!) After your thesis you should include a sentence or two as transitioninto your essay.

Compared to parts of Europe the colonies were actually farther behind in reflecting these values thanmost other countries.

Body Paragraphs:

Note that this

section is entitled "Body Paragraphs meaning there should be more than one. These paragraphs convey your main ideas, points, or analysis on the topic/question you are writting about. In myessay I had four body paragrphs (one for each argument I provided in my thesis). Each paragraph shouldinclude facts supporting your argument. These facts should be clear and concise and may be taken fromyour personal knowledge or from history. Due to the exam being an AP US History exam... you probablywant your facts to come from history. As long as you provide good historical insight and information inyour essays you should do well. Most teachers grading the exams will not take points off if you missed adate by a year or so. Here is my first body paragraph for reference:

Inequality was a major injustice of the colonies not only since their start but chiefly since 1619 whenthe first slave market arrived in Virginia. Slaves were by no means equal to any other group in society.


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.


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