dbq essay writing

What is a DBQ Essay?

DBQ essay stands for a “document-based question” essay, and it is a form of an essay that requires the student to analyze, answer, and describe historical events based on the source documents provided. DBQ essay is commonly used in the AP History exams including AP US History, AP History European and AP World History. The purpose of a DBQ essay is to provide students with the task of scrutinizing, analyzing, extracting, and interpreting relevant historical evidence or information from the resources provided by the lecturer. Due to the unfamiliarity of the DBQ essay to many students, it has become clear that many students are faced with an uphill task of preparing as well as writing an outstanding DBQ essay. This should no longer be a problem! An important point to know is that DBQ essays are similar to other essays such as argumentative essays. The only major difference is that when writing a DBQ essay, you will have to base your argument on the information sources provided.

How to Prepare for DBQ Essay Writing

Just like other essays, a DBQ essay requires adequate preparation, practice as well as proper planning. Therefore, for you to write and submit an outstanding DBQ essay, you will have to focus and dedicate your time in reading and writing a lot. Moreover, familiarizing yourself with such tasks will give you the confidence to write a DBQ essay in the future. Also, through researching, reading, and reviewing different history resources you will have a wide knowledge and understanding of various historical topics.

Another proper way of preparing yourself when writing DBQ essay is to establish a personal baseline to help assess your progress and skills on the DBQ essay writing. By doing so, you will be able to identify your weaknesses, strengths and consequently improve your abilities to analyze and write in accordance with the instructions. On top of that, you should read and understand the prompt question to know what is being required of you. Ensure that you have understood all the keywords in the instructions so as to answer appropriately.

How to Write a DBQ Essay

In most cases, DBQ essays for exams have a time limit of approximately 60 minutes. This means that you will be given 15 minutes for analyzing and understanding the prompt as well as the source documents. The remaining 45 minutes will be for writing the context that you have obtained from the documents. Therefore, when reading the prompt, you will need to identify and understand the used keywords such as the period in which an event happened, the effect of the historical event on the society among any other keyword used. Since the answer you provide is based on the information documents, you will also have to brainstorm by thinking outside the box so as to get broad ideas and information to include in the DBQ essay.

How to Start a DBQ Essay

  • Essay outline

Once you have understood the DBQ essay question, you can start the writing process by creating an outline that will help you structure your work. Generally, a DBQ essay outline contains an introduction, a body part as well as a conclusion part.

  • Develop a thesis

As you brainstorm, write down your ideas and points concerning the topic in question. This will help you create a strong thesis statement for the DBQ essay in accordance with your understanding and interpretation of the question as well as the content contained on the source documents.

  • Start with an introduction

When writing a DBQ essay introduction begin by giving a brief historical context on what, when, who and where the historical event happened. Include a tentative thesis on the topic in the discussion as well as the purpose of the essay. Also, briefly highlight the points that you will use to support your thesis.

How to Write the Main Part of a DBQ Essay

The body paragraphs of your DBQ essay should contain detailed arguments, evidence, facts, and information to support the thesis statement. In addition to that, you can also present a broader context with more relevant historical information, evidence or examples that are not included in the source documents. Such information helps to back up your argument as well to showcase your understanding of historical events. Most importantly, the main part of your essay should have a logical and coherent flow. When transiting from one point to another, use transitional phrases to connect the points as well as the thesis statement of the topic in question. Moreover, since the main part of a DBQ essay should consist of several paragraphs depending on the question instructions and historical context contained in the source documents, it is, therefore, important to elaborate each supportive point on different subparagraphs.

How to Conclude a DBQ Essay

Similarly, to other types of essays, the conclusion in a DBQ essay should restate your thesis statement. You should also summarize the main points supporting the thesis statement without introducing new ideas or points that are not included in the body part of the essay. You can also conclude by telling the readers on the importance of the topic in question in the shaping today’s world.

DBQ Essay Examples

Positive and Negative Impacts of the Industrial Revolution

In the 18th century, England was going through tremendous political, economic and social transformation. Some of these changes were as a result of the Industrial Revolution that brought significant change to how goods were being produced. England being the pioneer of the Industrial Revolution also helped spread it to other parts of Europe, North America as well as other parts of the world. The industrialization had a great impact on the people both socially and economically. Many scholars have over years researched on the positive as well as the negative effects that Industrial Revolution had on the people.

The industrialization and innovation of manufacturing technology escalated the demand for manufactured goods. According to Document 2, this meant that the industries required a large workforce to help run the machines as well as produce goods in large quantity. Many people benefitted by acquiring advanced skills beyond the craftsmanship that was the most common mode of producing goods. Due to these skills and massive production of goods, wages and income were increased thus elevating the living standard of many households. Document 1 states that as a result of better living standards, many people migrated from rural areas in search of work opportunities available in the industries thus resulting in urbanization. It also resulted in mushrooming of slums as people built homes and shelters near the industries.

However, despite the many benefits of the Industrial Revolution, there were also several challenges experienced such as child employment. Many industries were employing young children to provide cheap labor. Child health was deteriorating due to poor working conditions. Also, children exploitation such as overworking and low payment were also rampant. According to Document 3, children were also exposed to hazardous machinery that caused injuries, body harm as well as consequent deaths. The working areas were also overcrowded and polluted making it difficult for workers especially children to breath well thus causing sickness. Despite the Industrial Revolution impacting the lives of many people positively or negatively, it ushered technological advancement and civilization.

Causes of the Civil War

The American Civil War is an important era in U.S. history that took place between 1861 and 1865. The civil war was essentially a consequence of the enslavement of the black minority. The official start of the war was on 12th April 1861, when Confederate soldiers decided to destroy Fort Summer. Later, the war spread out all over the United States. However, most of the fighting took place in Tennessee and Virginia.

While slavery is often viewed as the main cause of the American Civil War, there are many other causes that fueled the start of the civil war such as the many cultural and political differences between the South and the North. Most people still debate the actual reason of the American Civil War to date, and according to James McPherson, the war was as a result of the adamant differences between the slave states and free states with regard to the national government’s power to ban slavery in regions that had not become full states.

The Civil War broke out as a result of the institution of slavery and even more so after the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, took office in 1861. Reacting to his disregard of the campaign pledge to end slavery, seven slave states in the south seceded to form the Confederate States of America. The government failed to recognize the legality of such an action and added that it would discredit democracy and in due course fragment the other regions in the United States.

Other notable causes of the Civil War included: The South’s reliance on slave labor to drive its farming economy, the states in the South felt that the federal government was taking away their power and rights, and the continued expansion and development of the North as the South was left behind. However not all outcomes of the Civil War were bad, the war led to significant technological advancements that later on ushered the dawn of the 19th century.