Tutor profile: Klaus N.
What is the most important style of writing to teach social studies students?
For the field of history in particular and social studies more broadly, I think that teaching students argumentative writing is most important. In my own experience, most of the writing I did in high school was narrative or informational. The primary mode of writing expected of me as a history major in college was argumentative, however - I was required to develop a specific argument about a document or subject, to formulate that argument as a thesis, and to write an essay that supported that thesis point-for-point in a structured way. The development and defense of a thesis is in my opinion more difficult than informational writing, which basically involves summarizing one or more texts. While I could do this well by the time I entered college, I spent much of my freshman year figuring out how to write argumentative papers at a college level, and as such it is my feeling that the public school system failed to prepare me adequately for that experience.
Subject: World History
Was imperialism mutually benefitial?
Imperialism is a process by which certain nations situated at the core of a global economic system exert political and economic influence and control over societies at the periphery of that system. Peripheral countries do accrue certain benefits from the arrangement, such as investments in transportation and certain infrastructure, particularly infrastructure related to resource extraction. Peripheral areas also participate in a cross-cultural exchange, with food, language, and customs penetrating the periphery as well as being exported back to the colonial metropole. The relationship can not really be described as mutually benefitial, however, due to the deeply unequal nature of the relationship. Imperial powers by nature extracted resources and exploited populations in peripheral regions. These regions did not receive fair economic compensation for these extraction activities. The political entities that came to exist in the periphery were largely imposed by imperialist powers, and do not reflect the cultural and political dynamics in those regions. Finally, the very manner in which imperialism integrates peripheral regions into the global economic system is designed to keep them peripheral, essentially relegating them to a marginalized position for the foreseeable future.
Subject: US History
How did Westword Expansion challenge and promote American unity?
The period of rapid westward expansion in the U.S. between 1790 and 1860 served to both unify and divide the nation. The vast swaths of land that were opened up to American settlers following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 united the white European establishment in the mission to colonize and civilize the West under the banner of Manifest Destiny. It also excaberated certain tensions, however, in particular causing widespread disagreement over whether the new land would be incorporated as slave or free territories. Political disagreements over the expansion of slavery into the Western territories played a major role in the outbreak of the Civil War.
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