Format/Technical: All exams must be typed, 4 pages (double-spaced) in length, with 12-point font and 1 inch margins. Quotations and paraphrasing from outside sources or the textbook must be properly cited with Turabian/Chicago-style footnotes (NOT in-text MLA style citations).[1] It must also include a separate bibliography at the end with full citations. When in doubt: cite it. I expect all exams to be thoroughly proofread – points will be taken off for misspelling and grammar – word processing programs do this for you, there is no excuse.

Essay Topic: Applied History

You work at the Office of the Historian at the United States Department of State. One of the functions of this office is to prepare “policy-supportive historical studies for Department principals and other agencies.”[2]

In this essay, you will pretend that you have been called upon by the State Department to provide historical insight and policy analysis into one of the five following crises:

* Russia has invaded Ukraine (not just Crimea), and the US must decide how to respond.

The Department of State is seeking historical perspective, with an eye toward figuring out what the US position should be in these sensitive situations. Your job is to provide that perspective.

Your task in this essay, whichever situation you choose, is three-fold:

* You will create a plausible (fictional) situation around your example, describing what happened, when it happened, and what appears about to happen. To do this, you will use 2-3 news sources on the subject (all 3 situations have a variety of news stories talking about their possibility). Your sources must be mainstream news sources, but they do not need to be U.S. sources. This should be about 3 paragraphs. 20 points.
* You will then provide two viable policy approaches that the United States could take toward the situation. This should be 2 paragraphs. 20 points.
* Finally, you will spend most of your essay explaining why you support one of the options over the other, based on the specific historical experience of the country/region, and especially on US foreign relations with the country/region. Are there historical tensions that caused this event to happen? Based on history, what is likely to happen if the US responds in one way versus another? What does history tell us about the way the country/region will respond to our action or inaction? Is it important to understand the legacies of the past before the United States takes action here? Why or why not? You will want to be as specific as possible here and use credible sources to back up your arguments. This should be 2-2.5 pages. 40 points.

*All essays must have a clear conclusion, follow the format and citations guidelines, be written well, and be free of errors. 20 points.

Helpful Websites and Places to Get Started:

Office of the Historian, US Department of State: (many resources on the history of US foreign policy, and on individual countries)

“Zelensky’s Midterm Report Card,” Foreign Policy, November 29, 2020,

“Putin’s Karabakh victory sparks alarm in Ukraine,” Atlantic Council, November 11, 2020,
“A New Front Opens in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Borscht,” The New York Times, November 11, 2020,

“Congressional hearing seeks ways to stop Russia’s war against Ukraine,” Kyiv Post, March 15, 2020,

“Anti-Russian Protests Erupt in Ukraine, Despite Virus Threat,” The New York Times, March 17, 2020,

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