Writing a Source-based Essay for aice- paper 1

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Writing a Source-based Essay for AICE- Paper 1

  • 40% of the Cambridge Exam
  • Tentatively scheduled for May 7, 2015
  • Topic = German & Italian Unification
  • Topic of your first source-based essay = Oliver Cromwell

Make a comparison chart

  • Source 1
  • Source 2
  • Source 3
  • Source 4
  • Source 5
  • Praise
  • Criticism
  • Degree of praise
  • Degree of criticism
  • Verdict?

Skills Required.

  • Contextual knowledge
  • Comprehension of source based content
  • Cross-referencing at least 2 documents
  • Understanding of provenance
  • Weighing evidence in terms of bias and reliability
  • Reaching a reasoned judgment
  • Developing a focused and balanced argument

The prompt will always consist of:

  • A collection of source material, some primary, some secondary. No more than 600 words to read and analyze.
  • A 2-part question:
    • (a) – comparison of sources = 15 points
    • (b) – analysis of sources = 25 points

Part (a) of a Source-based Prompt

  • Content knowledge & AWARENESS of provenance and historiography = 3 pts.
  • A developed comparison of at least 2 sources = 8 pts.
  • Evaluation of the sources = 4 pts.
  • Total of 15 points for part (a)
  • An introduction is not needed. Get straight to the similarities and differences. Conclude with 1 sentence.
  • This is a “starter” paragraph
  • MAKE SURE TO STAY ON TOPIC – THE ISSUE LISTED IN THE QUESTION ONLY. Go back often and read the question to make sure you’re not veering off topic.

Part (b) of a Source-based Prompt:

  • Content knowledge & awareness of provenance = 5 pts
  • Analysis – quality of answer = 8 pts.
  • Grasp of sources – use of grouping = 6 pts.
  • Source evaluation = 6 pts.
  • Total of 25 points for part (b).
  • Conclude with 3 to 4 sentences.

So, to apply this strategy to your O.C. essay:

  • Part (a)
    • “To what extent do Sources 1 and 2 agree about the character of Oliver Cromwell?”
      • Compare the 2 sources – grasp what they are saying
      • Evaluate the sources for bias, provenance, attitude towards O.C.
      • Include background content knowledge and show an awareness of provenance

O.C. Source-based Essay

  • Part (b)
    • “Oliver Cromwell was a cruel and ruthless man who was more villain than hero. How far do the sources support this statement?”
      • Analysis – quality of answer
      • Grouping the sources as a way of organizing answer
      • Source evaluation – bias, provenance, historiography
      • Content knowledge

Source 1 – Edward Ludlow (Edmund Ludlow) Militant Puritan who breaks with O.C.

  • Religious radical, republican, and regicide
  • Military man, first served with a Wiltshire regiment, later (after 1645) served in the N.M.A.
  • Baptist (Puritan) Levellor, MP from Wiltshire, assisted with Pride’s Purge, fought in Ireland with the NMA
  • Refused to sign the Protectorate appointment, criticized Cromwell as having taken absolutism too far, circulated pamphlets critical of the Lord Protectorate.
  • He tried to prevent the assumption of power by O.C.
  • He was ordered home from Ireland in 1656, interviewed by O.C., exiled to Essex and heavily watched for suspicious activity designed to overthrow O.C. and reinstate the “Commonwealth.”
  • Opposed to the Restoration – he was a Republican – opposed to any strong ruler (King or Protector ) as head of state.
  • Forced to flee to Switzerland where he lived in exile. Probably the last survivor of the regicides.
  • An autobiography = A Voyce from the Watch Tower … turned into a memoir: The Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow in 1698-9. Censored by fellow Republicans to remove militant Puritan sentiments. Corrected in 1970 when portions of the original documents were revealed.

Please note the re-designed prompt questions.

  • Part (a)
    • “To what extent do Sources 1 and 2 agree about the character of Oliver Cromwell?”
    • Part (b)
    • -- “Oliver Cromwell was a cruel and ruthless man who was more villain than hero. How far do the sources support this statement?”
  • Sources 2 and 3

Come, I will put an end to your chatter. You are no Parliament.

  • What does O.C. mean by these statements?
  • What do historians think Ludlow thought of these statements?
  • Can you add a date to this incident? What were O.C.’s motives for disbanding this Parliament?
  • What is Ludlow’s attitude towards Cromwell?
  • How does this quote compare to Hyde’s statements in Source 2?

Dismissal of the Rump

Come, I will put an end to your chatter. You are no Parliament. = Dismissal of the Rump

  • O.C. is out of patience with the Rump Parliament.
  • Rump had not written a Constitution, as promised.
  • Rump had agreed to dissolve, but stalled.
  • Ludlow had assisted with Pride’s Purge. Point that out. He was a militant Puritan. But NO AUTOCRAT.
  • 1653, British Commonwealth, not a military state, yet.
  • One month after this closing of Parliament, O.C. will request the Puritan churches of Britain to send representatives for a “Saint’s Parliament.”
  • Hyde’s term “spirit” could be a reference to Cromwell’s passionate “providentialism.”
  • Parliament means, literally, “talking place.”
  • It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.
  • Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.
  • Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
  • Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?
  • Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
  • Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?
  • Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance. 

Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God's help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.
  • I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.
  • Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. 

In the name of God, go!
  • Full text of Cromwell’s speech:

Edward Hyde, Lord Clarendon

  • Lawyer and MP to Short and Long Parliaments
  • Opposed to some of Charles I’s new taxes, but opposed to Puritans agenda to diminish the power of the King
  • A behind-the-scenes moderate advisor of the King, upset over the King’s extreme action in arresting members of P.
  • A member of the Royalist Council of War, never fought, but was with Charles in Scotland. Kept pushing for a Constitution that recognized the power of Parliament – which angered Charles I.
  • To get rid of him, Charles appointed him guardian of the Prince of Wales (young Charles II.) Forced to join Henrietta in Paris.
  • He wrote a history: History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars In England – hoping to warn future Kings of the danger of opposing Parliament.
  • Stayed with Charles II throughout the 1650s, hoping to prevent him from converting to Roman Catholicism.
  • A reasonable, Parliament-minded supporter of the English monarchy. Given a title, 1st Lord of Clarendon by Charles II after the Restoration.
  • His daughter, Anne, becomes pregnant by James, the brother of Charles II. A hasty marriage.
  • Fall from power: he criticized the hedonistic behavior of Charles II and suffered trumped charges that resulted in the loss of his title and his office in government. He fled to France and worked on his History book.
  • History book considered flawed and rife with bias. It reads like a bitter expose of a man determined to vindicate his actions.

…greatest liar alive….also a stirrer,…courage and worked hard….more wickedness…even his wickedness has a great spirit….forced foreign countries to obey him, and he ruled with an army that worshipped him. Edward Hyde, Lord Clarendon

  • What is Hyde’s assessment of O.C.?
  • Hyde’s provenance?
  • Could O.C.’s wickedness be related to the disbanding of Parliament mentioned by Ludlow?
  • It is clear from Ludlow that O.C.’s army will do his bidding.
  • Similarities
  • Differences
  • Similarities (of character)
  • Differences (of Cromwell’s character)
  • Make a chart to help with part (a) of the prompt.

A general guide to writing a paragraph:

  • P = make ONE point PER paragraph
  • E = explain that point
  • E = give an example of the point or an illustration of the point
  • R = relate the point back to the prompt

A comparison of Sources 1 and 2

  • Ludlow is a supporter-turned-hater who exposes O.C.’s willingness to disband P and NOT wait on them to put a Constitution in place…
  • Hyde is a Royalist supporter who actually has some respect and admiration for O.C. – and criticizes him, as well.
  • Both “haters” but one criticizes and the other recognizes O.C.’s courage and passion.

Now, what to do about the “historians?”

  • For Cromwell
  • Neutral
  • Against Cromwell
  • 1.0 Ludlow
  • .25 Hyde
  • .5 Hyde
  • .5 Historian 1952
  • .25 Historian 1952
  • 1.0 Source 4
  • 1.0 Source 5
  • .75 for Cromwell
  • 3.75 against O.C.
  • Do these documents present a balanced treatment of the man, Oliver Cromwell?
  • Even an enemy has something good to say.
  • A supporter can “turn” enemy.
  • Seems to want to set the record straight.
  • Keep in mind that Hyde had a run-in with Charles and fell from power.
  • Only 2 of the 5 sources defy the statement. The other three support. Now get into provenance.

The praise

  • Source 2 & 3 – successful in crushing rebellion in Scotland and Ireland. Kept the U.K. together.
  • Source 3 = peace and order after civil wars
  • Source 2 (Hyde, who had a run-in with C2) = passion, courage, Puritan work ethic

The criticism

  • Source 1 = dissolved Parliament (hypocrite, same thing Charles had done)
  • Source 2 = liar, hypocrite, wicked
  • Source 4 = brutal suppression of Irish
  • Source 5 = strict enforcement of Puritan laws – exposed as being extreme and brutal.

The historiography

  • After 1660 – reviled and hated
  • 1700s = dictator who ruled with force
  • 1800s = Whigs restored his reputation, statue of him outside of Parliament – “greatest Englishman of all time.”
  • 1930s = compared to Hitler, Mussolini
  • 20th = complex character influenced by his religious beliefs.
  • 2002 = BBC poll = 3rd greatest Briton, behind Winston Churchill and I.K. Brunel

Analyzing a source: sustained judgment of the sources.

  • Who wrote it?
  • When was it written?
  • What is the context? (What was happening at the time or what was the typical attitude of the times?)
  • Who was the intended audience?
  • Motive – why was it written?
  • What does it actually say?
  • How strong is the argument?
  • How does what it says compare with our subject knowledge and WHAT OTHER SOURCES SAY?
  • Can the source be trusted? Is it reliable or unreliable?

Common Weaknesses

  • Over-reliance on basic comprehension of source contents
  • Face-value interpretation only
  • Absence of contextual knowledge
  • Lack of effective cross-referencing between sources
  • Assumptions about bias
  • Unsupported assertions
  • Lack of focus on the specific question, lack of balance, or disjointed
  • Failing to use all the sources in part (b). Using the wrong sources for part (a).

To re-cap:

  • The O.C. essay will consist of this prompt:
    • (a) “To what extent do Sources 1 and 2 agree about the character of Oliver Cromwell?” (15 points)
    • (b) “Oliver Cromwell was a cruel and ruthless man who was more villain than hero. How far do the sources support this statement?” (25 points)
  • Of course, the grade will be worth more than 40 actual points. I will make it a test grade worth 160 points.


  • Understand and ANSWER the prompt questions.
  • Explain similarities and differences in part (a).
  • Don’t summarize what the source is saying: evaluate it.
  • Drop in history details when you can.
  • Show that you are in control of the sources.
  • Take time to think and plan, THEN write.
  • PEER
  • Don’t make the examiner work too hard to find your answer.

Some reminders:

  • Even though your five sources seem short, there is a wealth of information to be gleaned from them. Don’t be fooled by their brevity.
  • Please do not disregard this truth.
  • Go through each with a “fine-toothed” style. You need to become very familiar with each of them.
  • You must use all five sources in the essay.
  • You will have one hour to write this essay in class, when I am finished teaching the English Civil Wars, the Interregnum, the Restoration, and the Glorious Revolution.
  • You will also have the “Tombstone” test on this unit. There are two family trees on the test AND a map.

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