The Railroads

write an essay/ reflection question (1-3 sentences) for up to two units/ themes/ topics

(up to 2 points each)

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  1. The Railroads
  2. The Progressive Era in California (constitutional reforms)
  3. California’s Environment
  4. The Great Depression, the Popular Front, and/or The New Deal


Short Answer Questions

Answer 4 of the following for 15 points each

answers should be around one page typed and double-spaced.

(it’s ok to go up to a page and a half, but you don’t need to)

Just type your answers after the questions you are responding to. You can add as much space as you want.



14-15 points: A clearly written answer that responds to every element of the question, shows a clear understanding of the material, and cites specific and relevant examples from the readings/ lectures, and which is not only easy to understand, but written in a compelling tone, with few grammatical errors

12-13 points: A clearly written answer that responds to every element of the question, and which shows some understanding of the material, and which cites specific examples from the readings/ lectures. Writing might be a little rough (though still consistently comprehensible), few spelling and grammatical errors

10-11 points: A somewhat confusing or unclear response which responds to most elements of the question, but which shows a limited understanding of the material and/or cites irrelevant examples. Writing suffers from both a lack of clarity and from a number of careless errors of grammar/ spelling

8-9 points: a confusing or awkwardly written response which does not respond to the question or exhibit a clear understanding of the material, or site relevant examples (i.e. it is not clear from the answer that you have done the reading or paid attention to the lectures) and which has significant errors

Less than 8: suffers from all of the above problems and is considerably shorter than a page.


  1. What were the major issues that led the state of California to amend its Constitution in 1879? What were they trying to fix, and to what extend did they succeed?


  1. Each of the historians we read on the New Deal (Eric Rauchway, Kathyrn Olmstead, and Michael Denning) articulate specific arguments in their respective books. What is the main argument in each of these texts (Why the New Deal Matters, Right out of California, The Laboring of American Culture)? What do each of these books try to convince you of? Support with quotes from the text for each.


  1. How did patterns of Black voting change between the late 1800s and the late 1930s? Why did this/ these change(s) take place? Provide evidence from the readings and/or the lectures


  1. Did the constitutional reforms of 1911 make California into a more or less democratic state?


  1. What did progressives in California want to accomplish? What did they accomplish? What have the lasting impact(s) of progressive-era reforms been in the state of California. You don’t need to list everything, but be specific.


  1. We have looked at labor struggles in the 1870s, the 1910s, and the Depression years. Choose one of these three periods and, with reference to specific events, summarize the main labor/ labor rights issues facing California in that period.


  1. What impact did The Second World War have on communities of color in California (and beyond)?


  1. How did Big Business in California respond to the New Deal?


  1. What did Anarchists want and how did they try to get it? Make sure you cite both the lectures and Beverly Gage’s article (course materials)


  1. Describe one way that the relationship between California’s natural environment and California’s built environment has shaped California history.


  1. What was the Popular Front? What were the politics of the Popular Front? What impact did the Popular Front have on American art and culture? Cite lectures and/or readings (Denning).



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