DBQ Construction:  The Real Roaring Twenties

Below is a typical essay prompt for analysis of the 1920s.  Rather than simply respond to it with an essay, we will be approaching it from two different angles:
    1. Completing some of the "pre-writing" activities for such an essay;
    2. Developing this simple essay question, called a Free Response Question or FRQ on the APUSH Exam, into a Document-Backed Question or DBQ.


The stereotypical view of the decade following World War I is the image of the Roaring Twenties where the roaring was the sound of jazz, speakeasies and the celebration of prosperity.  Historians, however, disagree with this stereotypical view and argue that the roar of the 1920s was the sound of conflict.

To what degree and in what ways was the decade of the twenties defined by a clash of cultures in America?

Required Reading

The following web sites are not provided for you to consult; they are for you to read.  Specifically, I want you to pay particular attention to the essays at the Clash of Cultures web site, as it should be the primary source for your thesis.  Follow the essays through to the end, and if you have difficulty with the web site, ask for assistance.

Clash of Cultures Web Site--Read the introductory essay and each of the essays on:
First Red Scare Essay

Sacco & Vanzetti Trial Account

PART 1: Essay Pre-Writing

  After reading the essays at the web sites above, develop the following in response to the prompt:
  1. A solid thesis in response to the prompt:
  2. A list of outside information for such a response, including 15-20 specific terms:

PART 2: Document-Backed Question

After completing the first task, select Primary Sources to support your thesis, including:

On a separate sheet of paper, provide an explication of each document, including the following:

Primary sources may be taken directly from the web site readings.  Clicking on the "Index" link on the left-hand navigation bar of each Clash of Cultures essay will take you to a page with a wealth of primary source documents.


Your final submission should be put together as a single, unified submission in the following manner:
  1. Prompt followed by your thesis statement;
  2. List of outside information;
  3. Primary sources excerpted (in the case of text) & inserted into your word document;
  4. Explication of your primary source documents.