Comparative Practice 2011 whap/Napp The Question

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Comparative Practice 2011 WHAP/Napp

The Question:

2011 Comparative Essay from the World History AP

Analyze similarities and differences in the rise of TWO of the following empires.

A West African Sudanic empire (Mali OR Ghana OR Songhay)

The Aztec Empire

The Mongol Empire
The Basic Core Rubric:

1. Has an Acceptable Thesis. [1 Point]

2. Addresses all parts of the question, though not necessarily evenly or thoroughly.

[2 Points but Partial Credit May Be Given]

3. Substantiates thesis with appropriate historical evidence.

[2 Points but Partial Credit May Be Given]

4. Makes at least one relevant, direct comparison between/among societies. [1 Point]

5. Analyzes at least one reason for a similarity or difference identified in a direct comparison. [1 Point]

The Expanded Core Points:

  • Expands beyond the basic core of 1 – 7 points


1- What must an acceptable thesis for a Comparative essay contain? ______________________________________________________________________________

2- What does it mean that all parts of the question must be addressed although not necessarily evenly or thoroughly? ______________________________________________________________________________

3- What is historical evidence? ______________________________________________________________________________

4- How many direct comparisons must the student make? ______________________________________________________________________________

5- What must the student analyze? ______________________________________________________________________________

6- How might a student “expand” beyond the basic core? ______________________________________________________________________________

Pre-Writing Reading:

Northern nomadic invasions probably caused the collapse of the Toltec Empire around 1150. The center political power shifted to the valley of Mexico and its large chain of lakes. The region became the cultural heartland of postclassical Mexico. It was divided politically into many small competing units. The militant Aztecs (Mexica) migrated to the region during the early 14th century and initially served the indigenous inhabitants as allies or mercenaries. Around 1325 they founded the cities of Tenochtitlán and Tlatelolco on lake islands. By 1434, the Aztecs had become the dominant regional power.

The Aztecs were transformed by the process of expansion and conquest from an association of clans to a stratified society under a powerful ruler. Central to the changes was Tlacaelel, an important official serving rulers between 1427 and 1480. The Aztecs developed a self-image as a people chosen to serve the gods. The long-present religious practice of human sacrifice was greatly expanded. The military class had a central role as suppliers of war captives for sacrifice. The rulers used sacrifice as an effective means of political terror. By the time of Moctezuma II, the ruler, with civil and religious power, dominated the state.
The Aztecs expanded the existing Mesoamerican practice of human sacrifice to an unprecedented scale. Symbolism and ritual, including ritual cannibalism, accompanied the sacrifices. The balance between sacrifice motivated by religion and sacrifice motivated by terror is still under debate. The Aztecs had other religious concerns besides sacrifice. They had a complex mythology that explained the birth and history of the gods and their relation to humans. Religious symbolism infused all aspects of life. The Aztecs had a cyclical, fatalistic view of history; they believed the world had been destroyed before and, despite the sacrifices, would be destroyed again.
Conquered peoples lost land and gave food as tribute. In and around the lake, the Aztecs developed a system of irrigated agriculture. They built chinampas, artificial floating islands, that permitted the harvesting of high-yield multiple yearly crops. Aztec peasant production and tribute supplied the basic foods. Clans in each community apportioned land among people, nobles, and temples. There were periodic markets for exchange. The great daily market at Tlatelolco was controlled by a merchant class (pochteca) that specialized in long-distance luxury item trade.
Each of the Aztec city-states was ruled by a speaker chosen from the nobility. The ruler of Tenochtitlán, the Great Speaker, surpassed all others in wealth and power. He presided over an elaborate court. A prime minister, usually a close relative of the ruler, had tremendous power. There was a governing council, but it lacked real power. During the first 100 years of Aztec expansion, a powerful nobility and emperor had taken over authority. Military virtues became supreme as the state religion, and the desire for more tribute and captives for sacrifice drove the Aztecs to further conquests. The empire was not integrated; defeated local rulers often remained in place as subordinate officials. They were left alone if tribute and labor obligations were met. Revolts against the exactions were ruthlessly suppressed. The Aztec system was successful because it aimed at political domination and not direct control.” ~ World Civilizations

The Rise of a West African Sudanic empire (Mali or Ghana or Songhay):

The Rise of the Aztec Empire:

The Rise of the Mongol Empire:

The Essay’s prompt:

Analyze similarities and differences in the rise of TWO of the following empires.

A West African Sudanic empire (Mali OR Ghana OR Songhay)

The Aztec Empire

The Mongol Empire

The Thesis Statement:


Write one body paragraph of the essay [Now, it is time to analyze the similarity or the difference – to explain how and why this similarity or difference occurred and how and why it impacted people in the empires]:


Checklist for the Essay:

  • An acceptable thesis statements needs to be comparative, stating at least one specific similarity and at least one specific difference.

  • Good essays do not include evidence that is outside the time period or any of the stipulated regions.

  • Every paragraph must be comparative.

  • A good response provides analysis and uses this analysis as an explanation of a reason for a similarity or difference

Rate Thesis Statement A:

The rise of the Mali Empire and the Mongol Empire both had massive effects on their respective regions where they were located. While the rising of both resulted from their implementation of religious tolerance, Islam was predominant in Mali, while in the Mongol Empire, complete religious toleration existed with no predominant religion exerting itself. Also, while the Mongols brutally attacked already established states, Mali arose by much more peaceful methods, although warfare did happen, and it arose from regional kingdoms. The Mali Empire and the Mongol Empire arose in different regions with different methods with regards to violence, but also shared some key aspects as well.”

My Grade for this Thesis Statement: ___________________

Rate Thesis Statement B:

The Aztec Empire in the Americas and the Mongol Empire over in Asia have many similarities and differences regarding religion, trade, and views.”

My Grade for this Thesis Statement: ____________________

1. Chinampas played an important role:

(A) Because they allowed for a high level of productivity.

(B) The canals they created eventually led to inter-clan warfare.

(C) They required a system of slavery that endured for centuries.

(D) Because they allowed the Aztecs to develop coffee plantations.

(E) None of the above.
2. What was the nature of the Aztec administration of subject territories?

(A) The Aztecs placed members of the royal family as rulers over subject peoples.

(B) All territories became part of a singular administration run by a trained bureaucracy much like the Byzantine Empire.

(C) Conquered territories were often left relatively unchanged under their old rulers as long as they recognized Aztec supremacy and paid tribute.

(D) The Aztecs established a military administration with subject territories controlled by regional generals.

(E) The Aztecs required the conquered territories to adopt all the Aztec procedures under threat of terror.
3. Between 800 and 1500, as the frequency and intensity of contact with the outside world increased, what was the most significant effect on sub-Saharan Africa?

(A) the arrival of the Portuguese

(B) the arrival of Christianity

(C) the arrival of Islam

(D) the arrival of Chinese merchants

(E) the growth in state-building

4. What was the status of Mongolian women during the Yuan dynasty of China?

(A) Mongolian women lost status as they fell under the social apparatus of the Confucian ideology.

(B) Mongolian women suffered social and political isolation as Mongol men adopted the preference for women who had undergone foot binding.

(C) Mongol women were increasingly prevented from participating in hunting and martial activities, although they retained some influence in the household.

(D) Mongol women embraced the ideology of their new Chinese society.

(E) Mongol women remained relatively independent, refused to adopt the practice of foot binding, and retained their rights in property.
5. The story of Sundiata was about

(A) The heroic deeds of the lion prince in establishing the Mali empire.

(B) The misery of slaves captured and traded in the Mediterranean basin network.

(C) The coming of Islam as a dominant faith in sub-Saharan societies.

(D) The rise of the Swahili city-states.

(E) None of the answers are correct.
6. The conversion to Islam of rulers of the kingdom of Ghana and the Mali Empire

(A) Stimulated commercial relations with Muslim merchants.

B) Meant that Islamic faith was imposed forcibly on their entire societies.

C) Facilitated the export of Muslim African slaves by these two states to other Islamic countries.

D) Transformed the role of women in those cultures.

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