Posted: June 14th, 2022

History Essay


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1. Part of the exam is assessing how appropriate the documents you chose to use are to your topic. Please be careful in your choices.

2. Terms will not be considered correct unless you engage how Judt approaches them. This does not mean you simply need to cite from Judt once, but if you disagree with his approach you must take into consideration his argument. You are free to use additional sources (online, library, etc) but no term will count unless you also include Judt’s treatment of it. 

3) Essays should keep track of temporal issues – you can make an argument about causes, but you should have a clear idea about timeline, and influence.



You must write an essay of no less than 1250 words and no more than 2,000 words, based on a clear thesis. That thesis must construct an original argument that links no less than seven terms from each of the groups. The purpose is not simply to compare and contrast, but to make an argument about larger processes, trends or concepts that encompass those terms. 

You may use your lecture notes, the primary texts, and the Judt textbook. However, use on-line sources only as additional material (after you used Judt or lecture for each of the terms). Please make sure you identify the terms from Judt correctly. Make sure you cite your sources appropriatey.

• This isn’t the professor being capricious; online information may differ from the material we’re working with, because it’s outside of the context of the class. 

There are multiple possible arguments that you can make; there is no single “correct” answer. There are, however, many possible wrong answers. See “tips” below.



Three documents of your choice from course reading packet.

Four of the following:




4) EDC (European Defense Community)

5) Bretton Woods 

6) “Treaty of Rome”

7) Welfare state

8) Western European Economic Miracle


Hints and Tips

• Look to make a relatively sophisticated argument. Don’t go for low-hanging fruit or facile comparisons. 

• You must cite your evidence — variously from Judt, lecture or the texts.

• The temptation will be to write an “8-paragraph” essay — an intro, a paragraph on each term, and a conclusion. Avoid this. Think about what’s your argument; then think about how you could break that argument down into 3 or 4 major points; and think about how each term, text or source relates to those sub-points.

• Be careful about broad assertions. You have to make some, since you have relatively limited data — but that doesn’t mean you can make arguments about change over 4 decades without engaging differences in context.

• Since this is a take-home, I won’t forbid you from using additional concepts from the three course texts, the assigned readings or other sources. However, material from outside the class isn’t what I’m looking for — be wary! And remember that the key thing is to use the seven terms from the list above to construct your argument; additional material can help, but don’t let it overwhelm the assignment. 

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