Drivers of History
Historians often argue about what the drivers of history really are. Some argue the truedrivers ofsocial changes in history are individuals and charismatic leaders. Others say itis the power of the masses, organized into social movements. A third group denies thatany of these are the major drivers of change. Use media, readings, and any other classmaterial we have covered thus far to argue: (1) key individuals; (2) masses organizedinto social movements; or (3) other forces that were the primary cause of a major eventin this course. As the major event that you examine, you may choose any such eventfrom the course. Examples include: the abolition of slavery; the failure ofReconstruction; the U.S. turn toward empire; U.S. constitution building overseas;desegregation; or the narrowing of affirmative action.You may choose to focus more on questions of how certain doctrines relevant to thesmajor events developed or on the broader historical changes that were afoot.Thesis statements might include:1. The failure of Reconstruction was primarily due to a mass social movement: theorganization of white supremacist Southerners into the Ku Klux Klan and theconsequences that followed.2. Desegregation resulted because a handful of luminary jurists made the rightarguments at the right time.3. Affirmative action came under sustained attack because of underlyingsocio-economic dynamics and not because of sustained opposition frominfluential figures or social movements.4. The abolition of slavery was the result of enslaved people laying down their toolsand picking up arms.You are encouraged to choose your own thesis, though you are permitted to use oradjust the theses provided too.