Modern China

Primary Source Analysis Essay 1
World History Since 1500
Modern China Essay

The goal of this essay is to make an evidenced-based argument in the field of history. You will be stating a thesis, supporting it with evidence from selected primary source documents, and answering potential objections to your argument.

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This assignment will be used to assess the Leadership and Ethics Core Program Learning Objective 2.3 which states: “Students will demonstrate knowledge and appreciation of the diversity of human experience encountered in world history and contemporary society.”

In this essay students will examine change over time in the People’s Republic of China since its establishment in 1949. Using the course textbook, Linda Benson, China Since 1949 (3rd ed. Routledge, 2016), students will select an issue in modern Chinese society (see possible topics below) and explain changes that have occurred since 1949 up to the present times.

Specific Instructions:
1. The essay should be between 4-5 pages in length (12 point font, Times or Times New Roman, 1 inch margins).

2. Essays must include the following:
a. An introductory paragraph which: 1) introduces the general topic, and 2) **states a clear thesis.**

b. Two paragraphs which provide historical context for your argument. In this section, you will provide a brief historical overview from the Communist Party takeover and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 up to the present. Obviously, you will not have the space for much detail in this section of your essay. Instead, you will want to focus on broad themes. For example, a good strategy might be to provide some general information about China under Mao Zedong in the first paragraph and then how things have changed under the reformist government of Deng Xiaoping and his successors in the second paragraph.

**Please do not use any other sources (including internet sources) for background information in this section. You have more than enough information in the Parts 1 and 2 of the Benson textbook.**

c. In the main body of your essay, you will support your thesis with evidence from the primary source documents in Part 4 of the Benson textbook. You may use indirect citations (in which you summarize the primary source) or direct citations (in which you quote the exact words of the source, indicated by quotation marks). In both cases, these should be cited properly according to the MLA style guide.

d. Following the main body of the essay, you should include one or two paragraphs in which you answer potential objections to your argument. Here you should anticipate possible areas of disagreement with your argument and respond to them. Are there places in your argument where the evidence could be interpreted differently with different conclusions being drawn? Identify these potential objections and provide a response to them.

e. A concluding paragraph which restates your thesis, sums up your argument, and says something about the significance for world history of changes in the People’s Republic of China since 1949.

3. MLA Citation style
a. When citing Parts 1 and 2 of the Benson textbook in the historical context of your essay cite the author as Benson since she is the one who wrote this introductory historical survey. For example: “China’s spectacular rise to global prominence is one of the most remarkable stories of our time” (Benson 2). [Please take careful note of the formatting. For instance, note the placement of the second quotation mark, and the placement of the period at the end of the sentence. Note also that there is no comma between Benson and the page number.]

b. When citing the primary sources in Part 4 to support your argument cite them by document number for the purposes of this essay. For example: “When the final struggle began Ching-ho was faced not only with those hundred accusations but with many many more” (Doc. 4, p. 148). [Be aware that if you were accessing these sources independently, you would not cite them this way. You would cite them by the original author. Since they are collected for you in this book, citing them according to document number seems to be the simplest way of doing it.]

**Please note that when you are citing the primary source documents in Part 4 of the textbook, the introductory paragraph that appears in italics is not part of the primary source and should not be used as such. This is Linda Benson’s brief introduction and explanation of the document that follows in regular type.**

4. Due Date:
a. **Monday, May 4. Submitted to Canvas by 11:59pm.

General suggestions:
1. Your thesis should be clear, specific, and concise. This will help provide a clear structure to your paper.

2. Before you begin to write, start with an outline. This will help you visualize all the component parts of your paper and how they fit together.

3. Write strong topic sentences for each paragraph. The topic sentence (first sentence in a paragraph) is extremely important. It states the topic of the paragraph, and all the other sentences of the paragraph should be clearly related to the same topic. This provides coherence to your paper.

4. Write strong transitional sentences. Depending on your writing style, the concluding sentence of one paragraph or the beginning of the topic sentence in the next paragraph should be written in such a way as to provide a smooth transition from one paragraph to another.

5. Be sure to leave enough time for proofreading and editing of your final paper. Read it several times and make corrections of spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors as you go. Also, make sure that there is a logical flow in your writing. Each sentence should flow logically from the previous sentence and each paragraph should flow logically from the previous paragraph. Frequently stop to ask yourself: “Is this clear?” or “Does this make sense?” If you struggle with writing, make an appointment with a writing tutor to review your paper with you.

Writing Prompts

Choose one of the following prompts as the basis for stating a thesis and constructing an historical argument.

“Describe changes in the People’s Republic of China, since 1949 to the present, in . . .”

1. The Chinese economy.
2. The progress of democratic values and freedoms in China.
3. The condition of women and their role in Chinese society.
4. The Chinese family.
5. The condition of the environment in China.
6. Disparities between rural and urban areas on China.
7. Religious freedom in China.
8. Educational opportunities in China.
9. Healthcare in China.
10. Foreign policy and international relations.
11. China’s political leadership (Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping to Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping).

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