DBQ practice essay

Can someone grade this DBQ? The prompt was “Evaluate the extent to which Christianity changed societies in Latin America in the period 1500–1800.” I did this in 45 mins but I feel like it’s too long and it’s not even finished.

In the early 1500s, a monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the local Catholic church, which listed out the things that he believed the church was doing wrong. By the time his ideas had been formed into a movement, which had caused a lot of change, missionaries were traveling all around the world to spread Christianity to native peoples of previously isolated areas. One such area that they traveled to was Latin America. The people there worshipped their own gods, and had been practicing various forms of idolatry for several generations. However, the Christian missionaries were determined to convert these peoples into Christians. In the period 1500 to 1800, Christianity changed societies in Latin America by making the people practice Christianity by force (Docs 2 and 5) and also causing there to be a blend of religions that had not previously been there (Docs 1, 3 and 4). However, the Christian missionaries were not always successful in fully converting the natives.
One way that Christianity changed societies in Latin America was by the missionaries essentially forcing the people to practice their religion against their will… The author of Document 2, who was a native of Betaza, Mexico, says so plainly. His testimony clearly states that during the services held by the priests, “they order people to sing a Christian devotional song.” This shows that the natives did not agree to participate in the ceremonies, they were simply forced to. In fact, many such missionaries were recognized for their efforts, such as Huldrych Zwingli of Switzerland. Another document that supports this claim is Doc 5. The author of this document has a unique point of view, as he was an emissary from the King of Spain, who was writing about Jesuits in Paraguay, who had previously taken drastic measures to convert people, such as book burning. In this document, he says, “The Jesuits had certain clever Indians learn a few sermons, which they preached in the town square… they contained a good deal of nonsense which the speaker drew out of his head…” This shows that while the Jesuits clearly attempted to convert this group of natives, they were not entirely successful in doing so.
Another way that Christianity changed societies in Latin America was that they caused a blend of religions that had not previously existed. For example, in Document 1, the author, who was a Catholic priest himself and was most likely writing to the other priests to advise them on what to expect when trying to convert a lot of people at once, states that the natives did not fully turn away from their idolatry ways. Instead, they “mix their idolatrous ceremonies with good, holy things…”. This shows that there was now a blended religion, one that was half Christian and half idol worship that had already been in place. Another example of a blend of religions is shown in Doc 3. It is written by a resident of Brazil, and he is describing a healer woman in the town. He says that she would travel to people’s homes and cure them with native methods, but curiously, she said that, “God told her on these occasions what she was to do.” This again shows a blend of religions, because although this healer is using native methods and even has an altar in her canopy, she still believes that she is called by God to heal people.

I don’t see a clear thesis in your essay?

Also, I think that you would be better served by individually addressing each document, instead of lumping multiple documents together.

what do you mean, individually address?

For example, you say: “In the period 1500 to 1800, Christianity changed societies in Latin America by making the people practice Christianity by force (Docs 2 and 5) and also causing there to be a blend of religions that had not previously been there (Docs 1, 3 and 4).” If you expanded on these ideas and addressed the content of each document individually and then connected all of the documents together, you would form a more developed argument. I hope this helps!

1 Like

ok I think that makes sense. How can you get complexity in there as well?

Personally the way that I gained complexity on every single DBQ I wrote this year was by connecting the prompt to another issue outside of the time period(s) mentioned in the prompt.

can you give an example of that please

isn’t that sort of like outside evidence or contextualization?

I’m not quite sure… but I managed to get the complexity point. Also, this is in the rubric: “Explaining relevant and insightful connections within and across periods” with reference to the complexity point.

ok thanks

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