Instructions, Topic, Example & Rubric for
HIS 1102 Document Exercise
Instructions & Topic
Write an essay of about 600-1000 words, excluding references, using any combination of 4 or more
documents (primary sources) from the Document Exercise folder and/or any of documents provided for our
Weekly Topic discussions through Week 7.
Compare at least three (3) eras in terms of one (1) topical area: What do you see as the key similarities
and differences among these eras on this subject [You ll get extra points for covering all eras.]
ways of seeing the world maps /models
social organization classes/roles and importance of family/society vs individual
views of ethnicity, nationality, and citizenship
roles and status of women
political organization/types of government/rulers
economies — industry/agriculture/commerce
Age of Absolutism and Revolutions
Industrial Revolution and Nineteenth Century up to World War I
World wars and postwar era to about 1960 (Note: You MUST include this era.)
NOTE: Do NOT write on the same topical area you used for your midterm exam essay for example, if you
wrote your midterm about women, choose religion, political organization, or some other topic.
Support the points in your essay by including specific examples from specific documents. Be sure to use
quotation marks to identify any directly-borrowed material. Follow that quotation with at least a short citation
to the source.
Use at least 4 documents (primary sources — not just discussion in your textbook or a website that simply
talks about the topic). A key part of the goal is to let the sources (of the time you re discussing) speak for
themselves not say what someone else said they said. You may use any of those in the folder provided
in the Document Exercise folder. You may use additional primary sources you might find on the internet.
However, if you do that, let me know, so I can check and be sure they re suitable and to insure that you re
giving me a valid reference not cribbing something from someone else s work, which is plagiarism.
Clearly identify where you got each example. if the document is longer than two pages, indicate what page
or pages you re referring to. Include a complete list of documents with full citations in a separate Worked
Cited section at the end of your essay. For example:
. One Egyptian folk tale told of a magician who found that his wife was having an affair with a
page. The magician formed a crocodile from clay and sent it to eat the page when he came again.
(rev. Nov 2016)
(1) This tale shows both the Egyptians ideas about magic and about the proper punishment for
1. Egyptian Folk Tale (11th Dynasty) – “An Egyptian Folk Tale” – “Tales of the Magicians – Khafra s
Tale” in MyHistoryLab Multimedia Library,
http://wps.prenhall.com/hss_frankforter_west_2/95/24476/6266052.cw/index.html downloaded 6
Your essay should run about 600 to 1000 words, excluding your references. (I won t penalize you for
running longer than that, but if you re getting more than about 1300 words, you re probably doing
something wrong. Let me know, so I can look at it for you and maybe help you out.)
Submit your essay for grading using a link in Learning Modules. I d encourage you to upload a draft at least
2 or 3 days before the essay s due, so you can check for excessive matching. (The rules are a little looser
on this exercise than on most essays. If you re using good selection of source material to support your
essay, you may start to run up toward 30% matching or so, excluding your references, which don t count
unless I have a reason to believe that you re actually simply copying somebody else s work. Even so,
matching from any single source definitely shouldn t come close to 20%. If it does, the same general rule of
no credit will apply here.)
Let me know by email if you re ready to have me grade your essay before the deadline. If I don t hear from
you before then, whatever I find uploaded in Assignments is what I ll grade.
Rubric: I ll use the following rubric to score your essay.
(rev. Nov 2016)
Instructor s Comment: The following essay, written by a student in a prior class, using a different textbook, is an
excellent example of what I d like to see.
There s a very clear opening paragraph that starts with an overall point or conclusion (thesis) that is
specifically tied to the times and places we re concerned about.
The rest of the first paragraph explains in a little more detail what the first sentence means.
The next several paragraphs expand on those sentences and provide direct support by referring to specific
parts or characteristics of several documents that relate to the different periods.
Phrases taken directly from the documents are enclosed in quotation marks, with a number identifying the
specific document at the end of the quoted material.
At the end of the essay is a complete listing of each reference/document used.
The essay is almost entirely free of spelling and grammatical errors.
Total number of words, including references, was 989.
Even counting the citations at the end, the percentage of matching sources was only 15% — which means
that the vast majority of the wording here is the author s.
As a result, the final score for this essay, using the rubric, was 92% — very high.
Prior Student s Essay
A comparison of four codes of law from Mesopotamia, Rome, Byzantium, and Spain dating from 1790 B.C.
to 1453 A.D. demonstrate that early civilizations had a need for codified laws to regulate human conduct in
organized communities since ancient times. Among the similarities identified were the needs for similar laws, the
role of monarchs in establishing codes, and the trend to base laws on the applicable laws of earlier civilizations
rather than the invention of original codes. Among the differences identified were the prevailing concerns of the
different civilizations, the roles of laws within their communities, and the intent of the laws that governed life.
Analysis of these documents demonstrates that civilizations, since ancient times, needed to establish law
codes to regulate the lives of their citizens and to maintain a generally organized peace. These early civilizations
had many of the same values and concerns within their communities as evidenced by the use of remarkably similar
law codes over a significantly extended period of time. All the codes contained laws that established rules
concerning paternal authority, marital issues, property and inheritance, and liability and torts issues. Although all
the codes are remarkably similar there were different emphases within their codes, and each code addressed areas
that reflect the unique values of the civilization served by their code. The legacy of Hammurabi s code is the
concept of an eye for an eye: if a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out . For the
Romans torts seemed to be a prevailing concern. Among the Twelve Tables, table 8 contains the most laws; all
dealing with civil wrong doing and obtaining remunerations for claimants . The Justinian Code is similar to the
earlier codes but it reflected a more sophisticated civilization. This is illustrated by the introduction of the concept of
case predicate law and the need to train professional jurists . A simple code could not address all of the issues
that could arise in Byzantine communities so they needed citizens that were trained in law to judge cases utilizing
(rev. Nov 2016)
not only the code but also earlier precedents in points of law. The Visigothic Code from Spain integrated Catholic
Canon law with civil law.
All of the documents examined demonstrated the need for monarchs in ancient times to establish or
endorse law codes to reinforce their authority and to help them maintain peace and control. Although the four
civilizations examined all had codes endorsed by their monarchs they differ significantly in their sources of law.
The Code of Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, circa 1790 B.C. would indicate that he was a wise ruler that made
decrees that were codified . The Twelve Tables from Rome, circa 451 B.C. was composed by a commission of
10-12 men and later ratified by the Centuriate Assembly in 449 B.C. . The Justinian Code from Byzantium, circa
535 was a compilation of legal writings that were assembled by the jurist Tribonian . The Visigothic code of
Spain was enacted circa 642 and later promulgated in 654 by Hispanic kings. These kings both established civil
laws, but the Visigothic code derived much of its authority from Church law .
Hammurabi s code was the first of the four codes examined to be created. The codes that followed
Hammurabi s code assimilated those rules that pertained to them and added new rules that reflected their unique
values. Instead of inventing original codes for each civilization, each code was influenced to some degree by the
code that preceded it. Within table 8 of the Twelve Tables there is evidence of influence from the code of
Hammurabi. If anyone has broken another s limb there shall be retaliation in kind unless he compounds for
compensation with him . This is a reflection of the eye for an eye concept. Within section IV paragraph 7 of
Justinian s code there is reference to the Twelve Tables The penalty for injuries under the law of the Twelve
Tables was a limb for a limb .
The role of laws within each civilization was unique. Although they were all instruments of control within
their respective civilizations they represented in some cases significantly different purposes. The code of
Hammurabi was less a code of laws and more of an attempt by Hammurabi to portray himself as the source of
justice to his people . For the Romans the Twelve Tables represented a consensus of the values of their
society as determined by appointed legal experts. These rules established the instruments of control for their
government. The Justinian Code was an attempt to formalize the practice of juris prudence within a sophisticated
civilization and provide a common operating structure for a long lasting and culturally diverse empire. The
Visigothic Code represented an attempt to unite a nation under a common religion and provide a policy instrument
to oppress a Jewish minority and purge competing Muslim influences.
The analysis of these historical documents illustrates that one of the most significant defining traits of any
civilization is their code of law. Having an established code of law serves to define the identity of a community and
illustrates their values and instruments of societal control. A comparison of these documents identifies the
influence of earlier codes on modern legal principles and illustrates the process of legal evolution versus legal
1. The Code of Hammurabi (Mesopotamian, circa 1790 B.C.) http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/MESO/CODE.HTM,
downloaded 12 June 2010, edited by Dr James W. Williams for HIS 1101 10T5 document exercise.
2. The Twelve Tables (Roman, circa 451-449 B.C.) http://avalon.law.yale.edu/ancient/twelve tables.asp,
downloaded 6 May 2010, edited by Dr James W. Williams for HIS 1101 10T5 document exercise.
3. The Institutes (Justinian s Code) (Byzantine, circa 535) http://www.fordham.edu./halsall/basis/535institues.html,
downloaded 12 June 2010.
4. Visigothic Code (Spain, circa 650) http://libro.uca.edu.vcode/visigoths.htm, downloaded 17 June 2010, edited by
Dr James W. Williams for HIS 1101 10T5 document exercise.
5. Spielvogel, J. (2009). Western Civilization, Boston, MA: Wadsworth
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