Change and Continuity Over Time (CCOT) EssaysThis is a featured page

This essay asks students to access how larger global issues and themes such as gender, trade, technology, and environment have changed and remained the same. If any one essay will give students difficulties, it is likely that this essay will. Students will not only have to identify areas of change, but also areas of continuity across chronological periods, and will have to compare two or more chronological periods within one geographic area. Students will all have the same prompt but will be able to choose between different geographic regions to answer the question.

Use the following prompt for this exercise: “Between 1750 and 1914, trace the changes and continuities in economic structures and labor systems in any one of these regions: (a) East Asia; (b) Eastern Europe; and (c) Sub-Saharan Africa.”


Organization is critical in this essay. While the thesis and conclusion paragraphs are similar to both the Document Based Question and the Compare/Contrast essays, the body paragraphsshould bebased on chronological periods. There should be one paragraph for each time period.


Again students will have to have an acceptable thesis
. Make sure that theses mention global issues and time periods addressed or implied in the prompt. Based on the above prompt, an acceptable thesis would be: “While many states of Eastern Europe such as Bohemia, parts of Germany and southern Russia industrialized between 1750 and 1914 and developed important middle and laboring classes, other parts of the same region such as the Balkans, Poland, and Eastern Russia remained largely agricultural and dependent on rural labor including tenant farming.” This prompt includes the time period – 1750 to 1914; the region – Eastern Europe; a change – industrialization and the rise of new classes; and a continuity – agriculture and older style farming structures. The global issue is economic structure and labor systems.


Students must address all parts of the prompts although not thoroughly or evenly
. There are upper and lower standards. To receive two points, the student will need to address the whole time period from 1750 to 1914, change, continuity, economic structures and labor systems. Students should differentiate between the time periods and issues included in the prompt. This is best accomplished by dealing with the different parts in separate paragraphs. The simplest way is to create three body paragraphs based on time periods – one beginning at 1750, one around 1850 (a mid-point) and the third around 1914. Within each paragraph discuss the global issues, changes and continuities. Then begin each paragraph with a sub-thesis based on one part of the thesis.

Students must substantiate the thesis with appropriate historical evidence. It is not sufficient to make a statement without use of proof and evidence. Students should use evidence, which is clear and detailed. Appropriate vocabulary, persons, events, and individual states are critical. For instance, “In 1750, Poland, Russia, Austria and the Ottoman Empires ruled Eastern Europe. All three tended to have weak industrial bases and large peasant populations including serfs. Commerce was neither encouraged nor discouraged and commercial classes remained small. Yet Russia had begun to develop industries as part of Peter the Great’s modernizations but the country remained dominated by serfs and almost devoid of a middle or commercial class. He and later rulers permitted economic innovation and rewarded economic success if it increased Russia’s military might and provided exportable commodities and if it did not disrupt the serfs or cause them to rebel. The Russian rulers declined to solve the issue of serfdom if the noble estate owners supported the ruler’s centralized control and economic policies.”

Students must analyze the process of change and/or continuity.
This requires students to address the topic across all relative chronological periods, and show changes and continuities. Most importantly, it requires students to explain at least one reason for any changes or continuities of the period. Having three paragraphs based on chronology helps accomplish this. Continuing from the above paragraph, “By 1850 however, Russia had begun to change both economically and in labor systems. In 1855 the Russians lost the Crimean War with France and Great Britain. Reformers believed that Russia had to modernize economically and socially if Russia were to remain a great power. In 1861, the serfs were emancipated to provide workers for future factories. However, while the serfs were freed, land reform did not occur and the serfs did not receive the best of land to farm. The best land remained in the possession of the landed elite. Russia began to build railroads and infrastructure in an attempt to support industry and trade. Nevertheless, agricultural interests continued to dominate Russia. While Western style capitalism struggled to be born, the Russian government tried to protect the economy from competition and too rapid of change. It financially supported the development of these industries and changes but often ignored the plight of the rural poor.


By 1914, like Japan, Germany, the United States, and parts of Austria, Russia had experienced the Second stage of the Industrial Revolution in many regions and sectors of the economy fueled by exports and foreign capital. Huge steel, coal mines, and cement factories arose in parts of the Ukraine and near St. Petersburg which included the rise of a class of factory workers. The Trans-Siberian Railroad spanning the continent was nearly complete. Additionally, commercial classes including bankers and professionals appeared as Russia became one of the largest exporters of grain, petroleum, coal, and minerals. However, the vast majority of Russians did not experience this change remaining largely disenfranchised peasants and tenant farmers existing at a near subsistence level. And the state limited changes to the economic system out of fear of socialism and radical changes.”


Students must use relevant historical and global context effectively to explain change over time and/or continuity.
This includes discussing the wider world as it relates to the topic. In the second body paragraph (1850) a simple statement about a similar situation somewhere else in the world is enough to earn this point. For example, Russia was not alone in these changes. Japan, too, had to abandon an older economic system based on hierarchy and tradition in favor a western-like industrial base including export industries, factory workers, and technical experts. Japan was forced open to western influence by Perry in 1854 and beginning with the Meiji Restoration began to industrialize and modernize its economic and labor bases.


And students need to conclude.
They need to do this in case their theses fail. A conclusion often is as good as a thesis. The conclusion need not be elaborate. While Russia eventually became an industrial nation with an important worker class and managerial class by 1914, much of Russia’s economic and laboring systems namely the predominance of the peasants and the lack of true economic competition from 1750 remained unchanged. This single sentence took the great change – industrialization and the emergence of a worker class – and the single greatest continuity – the continued predominance of the peasants and lack of a economic competition and combined them into a conclusion. The sentences also contain the beginning and end dates. As such it could be a thesis, which would receive a thesis point even if it is in the last paragraph.


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Word Document CCOT Essay Prompts.doc (Word Document - 34k)
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Word Document CCOT Essay Chart.doc (Word Document - 31k)
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Word Document AP CCOT Rubric.doc (Word Document - 36k)
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