How do I earn the context point in AP Euro?
⏱️ 2 min read
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First Steps 👣
🖊️ In order to determine the type of context you must provide, you need to know what you're writing about.
- Essay prompts are designed to focus in on specific time periods and areas within history (politics, economics, religion, etc.).
- The purpose of context is to provide an overview of the circumstances surrounding your era or event. Consider the causes of the essay you're writing. Specifically, what specific events and trends contribute to it?
Think Chronologically 🕒
🖊️ Think about evidence from similar themes in previous time periods.
- For example, if you're writing about religion in the Renaissance, you could look at religion during the Middle Ages.
- Your essay's full context could look like this: "During the Middle Ages, Catholicism and the fear of hell ruled every aspect of a commoner's life. Nearly all resistance, whether it was the Jacquerie or the English Peasants Revolt of 1381, was quickly suppressed and managed. Any deviation from aristocratic rules and expectations was grounds for heresy. Corruption was rampant during this time, and the Church was involved in many abuses of power including simony and nepotism."
- This context is strong as it sets the stage for the religious fracture and conflict of the Renaissance. Furthermore, it can be used to segue into your essay's thesis.
Think Laterally 🔗
🖊️ Another option is to use evidence from the same time period, but across different themes.
- If you were presented with the aforementioned prompt, you could use social and political developments during the Renaissance to contextualize religious changes.
- This context for the same essay could be: "Renaissance society emphasized the individual and began to allow slight deviation from traditional teachings. The invention of the printing press increased the number of literate individuals in the upper classes. Beyond this, political issues like the Holy Roman Empire's hold over German states became a catalyst for dissent of all types, including religious."
Context Tips 💡
🖊️ Context should always be at least couple sentences long, to cover all of the point's requirements. Due to its short length and connections to previous eras, it works best when written in front of the thesis.
- Ensure your context relates to your essay's thesis, otherwise you won't earn the point. Be sure to establish a clear line of reasoning which directly connects your context to evidence provided later in the essay.
- Make sure all of your essay's evidence is specific. If done well, clarity and specificity set you up to earn the complex historical understanding point later.
Want to Learn More?
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