Industrial Revolution A Push Dbq Essay

The thesis requirement according to the AP US History Rubric:

Responds to the prompt with a historically defensible thesis/claim that establishes a line of reasoning.

Historically, the thesis is the biggest struggle for students.

Yet the thesis is the most important part of the DBQ. Why is the thesis the most important part?

The thesis sets the tone for the whole essay and clearly outlines the arguments the essay will defend.

Simply put, without a strong thesis, you cannot have a strong essay.

How do you create a strong thesis?

Follow these three steps.

1) Establish a historically defensible claim

A historical defensible claim simply means is the argument you present in the thesis historical accurate.

For the thesis, you must make a claim or an argument. This claim/argument is what you will be supporting and defending throughout the essay.

So if your claim/argument is not historical accurate, or historical defensible, then you will not be able to support it with historical evidence.

2) Establish a line of reasoning

A line of reasoning is simply the reasons you present to support your argument/claim.

Any good thesis will make a historical defensible claim/argument.

A line of reasoning is- what are your reasons for making this historical defensible claim/argument.

Typically, each of the reasons you provide in your thesis will each be addressed in a body paragraph.

So the line of reasoning lets the exam reader know what your body paragraphs will be about.

3) Evaluates the prompt

The prompt will ask you to evaluate the extent of a historical development.

Your thesis must clearly state your evaluation of the extent of the historical development.

One way to think about it: To what degree did the development influence the time period provided in the prompt.

For some examples, look at the “Grader’s Perspective” below.

BONUS) Practice writing a thesis

Yes, it is ok to practice writing a thesis.

In fact, Chris and Paul HIGHLY recommend you practice writing a thesis.

Practice writing a thesis.


Go find to the College Board website and get the released essay questions and practice writing a good thesis for the essays.

One last thing.

And make sure to read this part.

The thesis should be 2-3 sentences long.


Prompt: Evaluate the relative importance of different factors that caused the movement for American Independence between 1754 and 1776.  In your response, consider both the underlying forces and specific events that contributed to the growing support for independence.

Practice: Write a practice thesis for the prompt above.

When you are done, click the toggles below.

Which of these theses is most likely to get the thesis point?

Another way to ask this question is which thesis clearly outlines the student’s position on the topic, and states exactly what the student will defend in the essay? Let’s look at the three thesis examples again.

Thesis #1: The student does not establish a line of reasoning for their essay. Stating the colonists were angry does not indicate the factors that caused this anger. The introduction sentences also do not introduce the relative importance of any factors.

Thesis #2: The thesis is found in the introduction paragraph. It states that British violated economic and natural rights and states the relative importance by elevating natural rights by stating that there is no liberty without protections of natural rights.  Though the thesis is simplistic, it gets over the bar by making a claim it will try to substantiate.

Thesis #3: The student correctly identifies the underlying forces for the revolution as economic discrimination against the colonists and violations of enlightenment principles by the Crown. The student also maintains that the economic reasons for revolting were more significant thus pointing directly to the relative importance of the two factors.

READER TIP: If the prompt asks the student to “evaluate” or state “how much”, the thesis must state to what extent. If you do not specifically evaluate to this extent, you will not get the point.

Where should you put the thesis?

Ideally, the thesis should be placed in the introduction.

However, the thesis can be in the conclusion.

Why is the introduction better?

Because if the thesis is the first thing you write, it will then be in the introduction and it will give you direction and clarity on what to write for the remainder of the essay.

The Industrial Revolution is typically most closely associated with European countries, but it also had a profound impact within the United States.  It was certainly spurred on by the movement in Europe, but it also became intrinsically American. The Industrial Revolution’s importance in America cannot be glossed over when you are studying for the AP US History exam. To fully understand how America got from the Revolutionary War to where we are now, you will need to understand the Industrial Revolution. Lucky for you, we are here to help.

In order for you to really understand the Industrial Revolution’s impact on America, you will need to have a general knowledge of the Industrial Revolution as a whole.

So what exactly was the Industrial Revolution?

The Industrial Revolution wasa period (mid-1700s to mid-1800s) marked by rapid industrialization and economic changes.

Okay, I know you aren’t supposed to use the word in a definition, but it just makes sense here. Basically, it was a really quick rise in industry (factories, mass production, you get the picture). Instead of just living a subsistence lifestyle and only providing enough goods for someone to take care of their immediate family, people started to specialize in producing certain things or providing certain services. This led to not only increased ability to produce things, but it also led to a reliance on obtaining goods from others. If a family that used to provide everything for itself is now spending all of its time producing quilts to sell to others, they are going to need a way of getting food, clothing, and other essentials. In this way, a market is created, and industrialization takes hold.

That is a very, very brief overview of the Industrial Revolution. There is obviously a lot more to it.  It was a time period of great change, and it was one in which European ideas had a profound impact. Most historical studies put a much heavier emphasis on the movement in Europe and Britain’s rise to power during this time. However, its importance in American history cannot be missed.

Why is the Industrial Revolution important for APUSH?

First off, it is a good idea for you to know some of the details leading up to the Industrial Revolution. You will want to know about things like Eli Whitney and the cotton gin, the widespread use of the steam engine, the importance of steamboats and railroads as a means of transportation, and the effect of the telegraph on interstate and international communication. You will want to have somewhat of an idea about Adam Smith and the division of labor.  These things shaped much of the Industrial Revolution.

Second, you need to understand how industrialization shaped the regional and national economy.  People and regions began to specialize in producing certain goods, largely depending on what kinds of resources were available to them.  As they started to specialize in certain markets and goods, different regions became dependent on each other. For example, the South was necessary to the national economy as they produced the cotton needed for textile production up in the North. This interdependence and emphasis on American resources caused there to be a greater importance placed on American land, which helped lead into westward expansion.

Third, it is crucial to have a grasp of how the Industrial Revolution shaped the American way of life. Prior to industrialization, America was mostly just focused on agriculture, and it was made up of small farm communities. As specialization occurred, factories developed, and new markets were created, cities and towns grew in importance. A second phenomena known as urbanization took hold, as a newly formed middle class started to take residence in bigger industrial cities. Also, labor unions started to form to combat poor working. So much of what we know about modern day American life is a result of this period.

Now what?

When you are getting ready for the AP US History (APUSH) exam, you do not want to miss the importance of the Industrial Revolution. It is a good way for you to show your ability to analyze change over time, one of the key skills you are being tested on in this course.  Besides that, understanding the period of the Industrial Revolution and the effects of that movement will help you understand the course of American history after that time period. You’ll be much more prepared to talk about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Depression if you can talk about the Industrial Revolution.

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