Final Exam, History 205

Cumulative Question


Nuts and Bolts:

Because of the scope of the cumulative question, and analysis required for an effective answer, I am providing you with the question in advance to allow you time to consider it. This is not a take-home exam question in the traditional sense, however. That is, you should simply prepare your ideas in your mind in advance, but not prepare them formally on paper in advance. Thus, you will not turn in your answer to the cumulative question, but write them in your bluebook out of your head on exam day.

Because this is a cumulative question, its scope is obviously rather broad. Your job, then, will clearly not be to duplicate everything which has been said on the wider subject of post-Civil War reform, but to get to the heart of the issues. Your detailed answer should be centered around the two reforms you select below. Again, because you are being given the question in advance, I would expect you to consult your course readings and textbook to flesh out a fuller understanding of the issues you choose.

I will re-print the question on your final exam itself, of course.

Don’t forget your greenbooks!



The Question:

We have examined a number of reform attempts/movements in the history of the United States from 1877 to the present. What timeless qualities of American character motivate this American impulse for reform, and Americans’ view of their country having a unique role to play in the world? Do you think this impulse for reform is uniquely American (at least in the degree of the impulse-- i.e., if you think other nations also have a consistent impulse for reforming themselves, is the American impulse any greater than others?)

            Select among the list of reform movements below to determine what, in your opinion, was the most successful movement for reform since 1877 and why. Then select what you believe to be the least successful and why. (Give detailed explanations to support your reasons for both selections.)

            Are there still areas for reform of American society which are necessary? If you believe there are, cite a few in detail and what, in your opinion, are the solutions. (Again, be specific.) If you do not believe America needs reform, explain why critics who disagree with you are misguided (that is, explain the flaws in the arguments in those calling for reform).


Selection of Reforms

Progressive Movement

Civil Rights Movement

Counterculture, Student & Anti-Vietnam War Movements

President Roosevelt’s Second New Deal

2nd Red Scare/Anti-Communist Domestic Movement