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Suggestions and corrections would be most appreciated; history assignment

Christy B

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This is my daughter's assignment -- short essay. I have all sorts of ideas of what is wrong with it, but I'd like your un-influenced opinions first.



Early Differentiation between England and Her Colonies

The differences between the British colonies in America and Great Britain itself can be viewed as economic, social, and political. The British thought the colonists were inferior to them because of some of these differences. The American colonists (who at this point identified themselves by their colony, as Virginians, Carolinians, Georgians, etc.) did only what was functional and survivable in their situation.

Great Britain and the American colonies differed economically for multiple reasons. One such reason was the amazing plethora of resources in the New World. There was land, where forests grew and tobacco could be planted. The forests were used for lumber to build ships, forts, houses, and other structures (Schweikart and Allen 50). Tobacco was exported back to England, where the habit of smoking was becoming popular, largely due to the influence of Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer in Jamestown, Virginia (Schweikart and Allen 18). The people of America had more control over their economy. They were encouraged to own land and profit from it; and in order to survive, they traded with Spain and France -- in spite of English mercantilism laws. The economy of early America was based on labor. Now the common, poor, or even criminal from England had opportunity to prosper if they sailed for the New World, because any man could now own land and learn any trade (Schweikart and Allen 44).

Class distinction was a major difference between America and Great Britain’s social climates. There was, at this time, a higher regard for the “common†man and laborer in America (Morgan 609). Regardless of your family tree, if you had a strong back and could shoot a musket, you were welcome in the New World. Gun ownership was extremely prevalent in colonial America, and became a factor in the later revolution (Schweikart and Allen 72). Gentlemen who were quite prosperous in England would not survive in the new world unless they were willing to do manual labor. Labor was in a definite shortage at this point in history, therefore new laborers were highly valued. Hard work and determination, not pedigree, were of more value in early America. This can be clearly seen by the examples set by the Jamestown colony, which found itself on the verge of disaster more than once, because “Englishmen simply did not envisage a need to work for the mere purpose of staying alive†(Morgan 600). The change of attitude toward labor marks a change from English society to American society. Another step from English to American society was the integration of Native American practices. Colonists used many farming techniques, and also started integrating a few Indian words into their language (Schweikart and Allen 41). There were also a greater percentage of literate people in the colonies than in Great Britain. The colonists valued reading for its practicality. They were now able to read editorials and almanacs.

The basis of unity “outside the realm of religion†(Schweikart and Allen 37) can be viewed as a political difference. One of the biggest reasons for much of the immigration to the colonies was freedom of religion (Schweikart and Allen 27-31, 35) If the state was controlled or guided by any one religion, this freedom would be lessened, if not eliminated. This was just one difference in politics between Britain and America. The ocean of distance between American colonies and their ruler (Schweikart and Allen 49), meant that the king didn’t know what was going on in the colonies until months after the fact. The result was a functional democracy, and the colonies had an “aura of independent policy-making processes†(Schweikart and Allen 37) with more rights and greater leniency, going back as far as 1700; long before†America†had formally broken ties with Great Britain (Schweikart and Allen 25). Gun ownership, private land ownership policies, and a militia system were all results of the democracy.

The differences between eighteenth century Britain and its early American colonies were significant and eventually irreconcilable. Sometimes it is hard to believe that the colonists originally came from the motherland. The economic, social, and political differences drove the colonies from the rule of Great Britain, and into the America we have today.

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Guest DynamoWriting

Good morning, Christy!


I took a few minutes to read your daughter's history essay, and here are my thoughts:



  • Simple sentences without too much flowery language.
  • Use of concise words!
  • Research well integrated without direct quotations (this is lovely!)
  • Great general organization of thoughts. One idea definitely flows to the next (which is rare even in college + graduate students, WOW).
  • Grammar + mechanics are strong.

To consider:

  • I can't tell for sure where her paragraphs break up, but it seems like she was stuck on the 5 Paragraph structure and tried to throw an umbrella over each of her 3 sub-points--many of which could have been expanded on with her own interpretation of the information.
  • Some missing links between information such as, when she mentions that America was big on labor + then says "any man could work". Why could any man work? Why does having an economy based on labor mean that any man can work?
  • Because of this, it seems a tad bit choppy.
  • To improve on this, I suggest that she break up the paragraphs where she throws in new concepts and expands on them-- making them very clear to the reader. I want to have an image (a movie, if you will) playing in my head of what her paper is discussing.
  • To make this easier (and FUN) for her, just tell her to write the paper in her own words. Like, "So some British dudes came and landed in America and started doing hard physical labor. I'm not sure why. I guess it's because they had to. There was nothing there!"
    • By doing this she can stop feeling so formal (which I'm sure isn't fun for her) and make sure that she really understands the concepts before she explains them to the reader!



Hope this helps! Let me know if she tries this last exercise... I'd love to know what you think of it!

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Thank you SO MUCH!!!


My daughter is one of a handful of students I am tutoring in a co-op/hybrid/dual-enrollment high school/college American history course. (It's hard to explain.)


She actually did get a B on this paper -- sad to say I was a little bit surprised! BUT -- she was complimented on the very things you pointed out as excellent, and told to correct the things you suggested.


I'm quite, quite intrigued by this. This is our first year in Classical Conversations. All of the other students have been using a writing curriculum which I personally despise, for two reasons: 1. They are taught to deliberately use "flowery language" which I find forced and artificial. However, my daughter's paper suddenly started to look very "plain" beside theirs, and I was second-guessing myself. 2. The program, in my opinion, does the students an incredible disservice in teaching a half-donkeyed approach to citation and documentation. This I knew couldn't be my imagination.


Sure enough, so far she is the *only* student who was given full credit for citation, and the *only* student who wasn't marked off for using "cliches" and "inappropriately dramatic" language.


I stand vindicated in my opinion of that writing program, and plan to pull my younger daughter out of it immediately.


I AM going to have all of my students try your fun exercise!!! What a great idea. I will let you know how it works!


Thanks again for your very helpful comments. My co-tutor told me that I was being WAY too hard on my daughter!

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