Mesoamerica Thematic Essay

GLOBAL REGENTS THEMATIC ESSAY TOPICS AND DBQ SINCE 2001 (Global Regents Review Sheet)

ESSAY TIPS FOR BOTH ESSAYS

 

NOTE - THE COMPLETE ESSAYS AND EXAMS CAN BE FOUND AT THE BOARD OF REGENTS WEBSITE. THIS IS MERELY A BRIEF SUMMARY OF WHAT THE ESSAYS WERE ABOUT.

2017

January

THEMATIC - Needs and Wants - Select two natural resources and/or products. Explain why they were needed, and how they impacted a civilization, empire and/or a reigion.  (Coal, Oil, Diamonds, Salt, Gold, Tea, Spices)

DBQ - Actions taken by the British Empire to control India, and the impact of their rule on the people and/or region.

 

2016

January

THEMATIC - Imperialism - Select a country that engaged in imperialism, explain why they imperialized, and how imperialism affected the conquered and/or the conqueror. (Britain, Japan, France, Spain)

DBQ - Impact of Laws on society: Tukugawa Shogunate, Nazis, Republic of South Africa.

June

THEMATIC - Geography - Explain how two geographical obstacles were overcome by technology. (terrace farming,  caravel ships over the Atlantic, roads in the Andes, canals)

DBQ - Division of countries and its effect on people: Germany post WWII, Palestine, and British India.

August

THEMATIC - Belief Systems  - Explain two religions and show how they influenced society and/or a region. (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism)

DBQ - Problems caused by pollution and urbanization, and the degree to which these problems have been solved.

 

2015

January

THEMATIC - Geography - choose two geographic conditions and show how they influenced social, political, and/or economic history of a country or region.  (Monsoons in India, Nile Floods, island isolation for Japan, Greek mountains separate each polis, ancient rivers).

DBQ - People who spoke about problems: Bartolome de Las Casas, Robespierre, and Gandhi.

June

THEMATIC - Belief System Movements - Explain a central principle of a belief system, and how that belief system spread and influenced a society or region. (Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, or other belief systems)

DBQ - Decline of Empires and the impact on society: Rome, Ottoman Empire, British.

August

THEMATIC - Movement of People and Goods - Explain how two groups or ideas moved from one place to another. Discuss how the movement influenced a group or society. (Religions, sugar, silk, salt, Columbian Exchange)

DBQ - Actions of people looking to increase power: Stalin, Pol Pot, Louis XIV.

 

 

2014

January

THEMATIC - Human Rights - Choose 2 defenders of human rights, explain how they defended human rights, and the extent to which they were successful. (Gandhi's civil disobedience, Mandela ends apartheid, Locke promotes life, liberty, and property rights in the Enlightenment)  

DBQ - People changing environments (irrigation in Egypt, construction in Mesoamerica, coal mining in Great Britain) 

 

June

THEMATIC - Change - Individuals who Challenged Tradition - Choose two people who challenged tradition and evaluate the success of their challenge. (Gandhi and civil disobedience, Martin Luther and the Reformation, Lenin and Russian Revolution)

DBQ - Turning Points of the plague, Treaty of Nanjing, and assassination of Franz Ferdinand.

 

August

THEMATIC - Change - Leaders who brought change - Discuss how two leaders came to power, one policy or practice of each leader, and how that policy affected the people. (Gorbachev and Glasnost/Perestroika, Napoleon's Code,  William and Mary's Glorious Revolution and Bill of Rights)

DBQ - The global issues of armed conflict, disease, and child labor.

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2013

January

THEMATIC - Change - Collapse of Governments. Choose 2 government collapses and explain their circumstances and results. (Roman Empire leads to fragmented Europe, execution of Louis XVI ends the monarchy and eventually leads to the Reign of Terror, fall of the Shah leads to Iranian Revolution and rise of the Ayatollah, fall of Communism creates new nations and war in Eastern Europe)

DBQ - Effect of salt, cotton, and sugar on societies and regions.

June

THEMATIC - Change - Revolutions. Choose 2 Revolutions and explain their historical circumstances and effects. (French Revolution, Russian Revolution, Neolithic Revolution, Green Revolution)

DBQ - Technological advances by the Mongols (bow and stirrup), Spanish (caravel ships for exploration), and in India (railroads).

August

THEMATIC - Armed Conflict. Explain the circumstances of two armed conflicts and how they affected a country or specific group. (French Revolution, World War I, World War II, Sepoy Rebellion, Opium War)

DBQ - Economic development leads to change in Mexico, Botswana, and China.

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2012

January

THEMATIC - Individuals who developed or modified ideas. Explain the historical circumstances that led to the idea, an action taken because of this idea, and how the idea affected society. (Gandhi's civil disobedience, Martin Luther's 95 Theses, Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto).  

DBQ - Transportation methods unify and/or control regions. (Railroads, canals, and roads).

 

June

THEMATIC - Geography promoting or limiting interactions. Choose two geographic features, and show how they either limited or promoted human interaction. (Island geography isolated Japan, Mountains isolated the Greek polis, Sahara Desert isolated North from Sub-Saharan Africa, Nile River and Mediterranean Sea increased interactions).

DBQ - Autocratic rule helped and hindered a ruler's country. Shi Huangdi, Peter the Great, and Louis XIV.

 

August

THEMATIC - New technology changing existing technology. Describe two innovations and their effects on society or the world. (Gunpowder, printing press, nuclear power, aqueducts).

DBQ - Protest movements and reactions of the government to such protests. Women's Rights in Britain, Anti-Apartheid in South Africa, and pro-democracy in China.

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2011

January

THEMATIC - Geographicalfeatures influencing history and development of history. Select 3 features. (Industrial Revolution in England, Japan's isolated island, fertile crescent of Mesopotamia)

DBQ - Heliocentrism, Marxism, and Natural Rights. Choose two and explain the idea, as well as the impact on society.

 

June

THEMATIC - Technology. Show the positive or negative effects of two innovations (astrolobe, nuclear weapons, satellites)

DBQ - Human Rights violations in Ukraine, Rwanda, and Cambodia.

 

August

THEMATIC - Change - Choose two global issues since WWII, and show how solutions to those issues. (Nuclear Weapons, Deforestation, Terrorism, AIDS, Pollution)

DBQ - Conquest of the Mongols, Ottomans, and Spanish. Explain the reasons for conquest, how it was achieved, and the impact.

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2010 

January

THEMATIC - Culture and Intellectual Life. Choose two philosophers or leaders, and explain their impact. (Gandhi, Locke, Mao, Napoleon, Aristotle)

DBQ - Agrarian, Green, and Neolithic Revolution.  (Choose 2)

June

THEMATIC - Change. Choose any 2 individuals who changed the world and explain how. Explain the specific idea and how it influenced a group or region. (Locke, Bolivar, Marx, Mandela)

DBQ - Geography. Choose from deserts, monsoons, and cold climates.

August

THEMATIC- Select a Nationalistic movement, explain causes, events, and results. (WWI, WWII, Otto von Bismarck, Bolivar)

DBQ - Belief Systems and their impact on society.

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2009

January

THEMATIC - Geography as either a promoter or hindrance to cultural diffusion. Choose 2 examples. (Japan's isolated island, Greek polis affected by mountains, the New World across the Atlantic Ocean)

DBQ - Leonardo da Vinci, Toussaint L'Ouverture, or Mohandas K. Gandhi. Choose 2, and explain achievements and impact on society.

June

THEMATIC - Human Rights Violations. Choose 2 examples, explain the history and why rights were violated, then discuss actions taken to end the violation. (Holocaust, pogroms, apartheid, Tiananmen Square.)

DBQ - Economic and Social Changes during the Middle Ages, Globalization, or Industrial Revolution (choose 2)

August 

THEMATIC - Belief Systems. Choose 2 and explain impact on society. (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism)

DBQ - Usage and control of waterways and its political or economic effects.

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2008

January

THEMATIC - Change - Describe non-political revolutions (Scientific, Neolithic, Industrial, etc). Discuss the change and impact on society.

DBQ - Russia under the rule of Peter the Great, Germany under Adolf Hitler,and China under the rule of Mao Zedong. Choose 2 and explain impact on society.

June

THEMATIC - Belief Systems. Choose 2 and explain the religion, and the influence on followers life. (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism)

DBQ - Genocide, Weapons of Mass Destruction, threats to the environment. Choose 2. Describe the problem, and attempts to end it.

August

THEMATIC - Geography ... Humans modifying lands or environment. Choose 2 (Berlin Wall, Great Wall of China are examples given.)

DBQ - Migrations ... Choose 2. Jews to Palestine and Israel, Hindus and Muslims between India and Pakistan, and Africans to the Americas. Describe impact.

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2007

January

THEMATIC - Human Rights Violations. Choose two groups who experienced human rights violations, and the extent to which it was resolved. (Holocaust, Tiananmen Square, Cambodia, pogroms)

DBQ - French Revolution. The causes and impact.

 

 

June

THEMATIC - Political Change. Choose 1 example and explain why a government wanted change, how they changed, and the result. (Meiji Restoration, 5 Year Plan, Rise of Fascism, etc)

DBQ - Manorialism, Mercantilism, Communism. Choose 2 of these economic systems.

August

THEMATIC - Political Systems. Explain 2 systems and how they changed the world. (Communism, Monarchy, Direct Democracy, etc)

DBQ - Natural Resources helped or hindered societies. Coal, water, diamonds, oil.

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2006

January

THEMATIC - Change / Philosophers. Choose two philosophers or leaders and explain how they changed one nation. (Bismarck, Lenin, Gandhi, Locke, etc)

DBQ - Discuss imperialism from the point of view of both the imperialist, and the colonized.

June

THEMATIC - Conflict. Explain one conflict, its causes, opposing groups, and resolution. (French Revolution, WWI, WWII, Apartheid, Crusades)

DBQ - Positive and Negative effects of the Industrial Revolution.

August

THEMATIC - Trade Routes. Discuss 2, and explain the positive or negative effects. (OPEC, EU, Silk Roads, Trans Sahara Trade)

DBQ - The Cold War affecting other nations around the world (Europe, Asia, Latin America).

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2005

January

THEMATIC - Change / 20th Century. Choose 2 20th Century political events, explain them, and show their impact on society. (Rise and Fall of Communism, Cultural Revolution, End of apartheid, Berlin Wall construction or dismantling, etc)

DBQ - Conquest of the Mongols, Spanish, and French. Choose 2. Show the political, social, and/or economic impacts of their conquests.

 

 

June

THEMATIC - Global Problems. Explain causes of a global problem, and ways it has affected a nation or region. (Desertification, spread of disease, deforestation, overpopulation, etc)

DBQ - Causes and outcomes of Wars.

August

THEMATIC - Change / Leaders. Choose two leaders who created change. Explain the situation, how change occurred, and how it affected society. (Gandhi, Bolivar, Lenin, Napoleon, Mao Zedong)

DBQ - Printing Press, Steam Power, Atomic Bomb. Explain how technology changed the world. Choose 2.

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2004

January

THEMATIC - Change (Individuals) Choose two historical figures, explain their ideas, and how they positively or negatively affected the world. (Gandhi, Bolivar, Stalin, Locke, Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini, Gutenberg, Mandela, Mao, Aristotle)

DBQ - Neolithic Revolution, Scientific Revolution, Green Revolution. Choose two and explain the changes resulting from them.

 

June

THEMATIC - Turning Points. Choose two turning point events, explain them, and explain their impact. (French Revolution, WWI, WWII, Renaissance, Crusades)

DBQ - British Imperialism. Discuss the causes, and negative effects.

August

THEMATIC - Economic Systems. Identify one society and one economic system used in that society. Give two features of that system, and show its impact on the society. (Industrial Revolution in England, Communism in the USSR.)

DBQ - World Epidemics. Describe why they spread, and the impact on a society or societies.

  ESSAY TIPS FOR BOTH ESSAYS

2003

January

THEMATIC - Change, Revolutions. Choose a revolution. Give the causes, effects, and changes that resulted. (French Revolution, Russian, Iranian)

DBQ - Geographic features affecting Japan and England.

June

THEMATIC - Conflict. Choose 2 ethnic, cultural, religious, or political conflicts. Show the causes and effects. (Crusades, Holocaust, Tiananmen Square Massacre)

DBQ - Neolithic Revolution, Age of Exploration, Fall of Communism. Choose 2 and explain why its a turning point, and if that turning point was positive or negative.

August

THEMATIC - Geography Physical and Human. Choose one society before 1500 AD, and explain how it was influenced by a geographic feature. (Mountains in Greece, Monsoons in Asia, Ganges River in India, Nile in Egypt, Fertile Crescent) Do the same for a people after 1500 AD. (England is an island, the Industrial Revolution began there. Russia could not be invaded by Napoleon or Hitler.)

DBQ - Nationalism and a positive or negative influence around the world.

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2002

January

THEMATIC - Geography. Choose 2 nations or regions and show how geography affected their history. (river valleys of Egypt or Mesopotamia, Monsoons or Himalaya Mountains in Asia)

DBQ - Economic changes to society.

 

June

THEMATIC - Geography. Human activity has altered the land. Show the change to the environment and how it helped or hindered society. (Irrigation, terrace farming, canal systems, use of nuclear power.)

DBQ - Human rights violations after WWII.

August

THEMATIC - Change. Choose two individuals who brought about change, and explain the effects of that change. (Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther, Locke.)

DBQ - Mass movement of people. Political, economic, and social implications. 

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2001

January

THEMATIC - Economic change. Show how industrialization affected 1 nation. Show 2 ways that it led to changes for workers. Show how workers, reformers, or the government responded to these changes.

DBQ - French, Chinese, and Iranian Revolutions. Choose 2, and show the causes, results, and degree of success.

June

THEMATIC - Geography. Select 1 geographic feature and how it affected the development of a society. (Fertile crescent, Japan isolated on an island, natural harbors of England, etc)

DBQ - Industrialization leading to environmental problems.

August

THEMATIC - Turning Points. Show 2 turning points in history. Show the causes and impacts. (French Revolution, Neolithic Revolution, WWI)

DBQ - Women in society. Social or political impacts on women in different societies.

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home> units >unit 4>The rise of Mesoamerican empires

D. The rise of Mesoamerican empires: Aztec and Incan empires before 1500

1.

Human and physical geography

2. Organizational structure
3. Contributions
4.

Trade


Focus Questions

In what ways did physical geography lead to the development of sedentary, semi-sedentary, and non-sedentary settlements in the Americas?
How did sedentary, semi-sedentary, and non-sedentary cultures differ?
Why were Europeans attacked by sedentary cultures?
To what extent can Mesoamerican empires be compared to classical civilizations in Afroeurasia? In contemporary 15th century Afroeurasia?
What were some of the technological advances of these Mesoamerican empires?
What evidence is there of environmental damage in the Americas prior to the arrival of Columbus?
What were the roles and status of women in the Aztec and Incan empires?

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Vocabulary

Amerindianmatriarchy
aylluMayan calendar
Aztec calendarMayan mathematics
Aztec sacrificial offeringsmessengers
causewayMoche
codexmummies
demographernon-sedentary settlements
demographic dataobsidian
endemicpatriarchy
gender rolesquipu
gender statussemi-sedentary
glyphsedentary settlements
immunizedsettlements


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Scholarship

Christian, David and William H. McNeill. 2004. Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. Berkley: University of California Press.

 

Diamond, Jared. 1997. Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

 

McNeill, William H. 1998. Plagues and Peoples. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press.

 

Pacey, Arnold. 1990. Technology in World Civilization: A Thousand-Year History. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.

 

Pomeranz, Kenneth. 2000. The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.


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Helpful Hints

It is important to provide students with the much broader understanding of Native Americans that scholars have constructed in the past three decades.
Students should understand that, prior to 1491, the Americas contained a large population of indigenous peoples.
Have students apply social science methodologies to demographic statistics and draw conclusions regarding pre-encounter populations of the Americas.
Have students compare and contrast the cultures of sedentary and non-sedentary populations.
When students study such empires as the Mongols, Aztecs, and the Inca, it is important to caution them not to hold to rigid, ethnocentric definitions of civilization.
Have the class create a graphic organizer that illustrates the social, political, economic, and religious aspects of Incan and Aztec societies. Conduct a seminar using these graphic organizers that compares and contrasts the societies.
Teaching about the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas involves making decisions about how best to demonstrate to the students how these well-developed civilizations became as advanced as they did despite the overwhelming environmental obstacles they faced, and how their decisions either helped or hindered their survival.

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Resources for Teachers (Books/Articles, Visuals/Music)

Braudel, Fernand. 1981.The Structures of Everyday Life: Civilization & Capitalism, 15th-18th Century, Vol. I. New York: HarperCollins.

 

Cameron, Ian. 1990. Kingdom of the Sun God: A History of the Andes and Their PeopleNew York: Facts on File.

 

Chasteen, John Charles. 2001. Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America. New York: W. W. Norton.

 

Clendinnen, Inga. 1991. Aztecs, An Interpretation. New York: Cambridge. University Press.

 

Cook, Sherburne F. and Borah, Woodrow W. 1971. Essays in Population History: Mexico and the Caribbean. Berkley, California: University of California Press.

 

Denevan, William. 1992. The Native Population of the Americas in 1492.2nd editionMadison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press.

 

Flexner, Stuart. 1992. The Pessimist’s Guide to History. New York: Avon Books.

 

Gillespie, Susan D. 1992. The Aztec Kings: The Construction of Rulership in Mexican History. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

 

Hassig, Ross. 1988. Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

 

Horna, Hernan. 2001.La Indianidad:  The Indigenous World before Latin Americans. Princeton, NJ: Markus Weiner Publishers.

 

Katz, Friedrich. 2004. The Ancient American Civilizations. London: Book Sales.

 

Keen, Benjamin and Haynes, Keith. 2000. A History of Latin America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

 

Mann, Charles C. 2005. 1492: New Relations of the Americas Before Columbus. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

 

Milton, Joyce. 1986.

The Serpent and the Robe: The Pre-Columbian God Kings. Boston Publishing Company.
 

Murra, John V. 1980. The Economic Organization of the Inca State. Greenwich, Conn: JAI Press.

 

The Ibero-American Heritage Project: Latinos in the Making of the United States of America, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: TEACHER GUIDE and READER. Albany, NY: The State Education Department.

 
Film
The Americas Before the Europeans(Part of The World: A Television History). Social Studies School Service.
 
1995. Lost Civilizations: The Inca. Time-Life series.
 
Music
Native American Stories in Classical Flute Music. Laura Zucker. Audio CD, 2000. Cantilena Records.

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Learning Experience(s)

Population and Settlement Patterns of the Americas During the Pre-encounter Period

Available in PDF, HTML, WORD
Handout 1  , Handout 2 
Handout 3a, Handout 3b 
Handout 4, Handout 5


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Assessments

Editor's Note: All state examinations are aligned to the New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies and Social Studies Resource Guide with Core Curriculum. The chart below specifies where these alignments have occurred (from June 2000 to the present).

Editor's Note: To date there have been no thematic or DBQs addressing this subsection.


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