Use the readings and other course materials to write a 3-5 page (when typed and double-spaced with standard font and margins) essay in response to one of the following prompts. Your essay must be at least 3 full pages in length.

1. The economic changes of the late nineteenth century United States led to some very significant social changes for different groups of people. For example, the lives of many workers, women, farmers, African Americans and Native Americans all changed as a result of post-Civil War industrialization. Your task is to describe and analyze what you think are the most significant social changes to develop during this time period. You won’t be able to talk about everything / everyone; instead you will need to choose what changes you think were most significant and then justify your choices using HIST 202 course materials.


2. What were the most significant impacts, both positive and negative, of late nineteenth / early twentieth century American imperialist expansion and the Spanish American War for the United States? Describe and analyze what you think it meant for our country (the nation, economy, and/or ordinary people — Americans, Puerto Ricans and Filipinos, etc..) to first acquire Hawaii and then win the war against Spain (and annex more territories) and thus become an imperial power. Be sure to address the multiple perspectives of imperialists and/or anti-imperialists and justify your unique interpretation/answer, based on HIST 202 course materials.


3. What were some of the most significant successes and failures of early twentieth century Progressive reforms in the United States? In other words, what reforms did Progressives achieve/not achieve and in what ways did they succeed/fail to fully address the social divisions and deepening inequalities that plagued American society during this time period? Be sure to look at all sides and a variety of reform efforts, as they were presented in our readings and other HIST 202 course materials.


4. Propose your own prompt!?! If you choose this option, then it is essential that you submit a written prompt and get Alison’s approval in advance, otherwise your paper will not be accepted. Your prompt must address the time period and themes covered by weeks two – six and it must require you to analyze multiple perspectives and develop your own unique interpretation/written response (aka you will have to choose a particular focus and then defend your choice, using the evidence – HIST 202 texts & other materials.).
Grading Guidelines / Rubric (Be sure to…):




Sample Solution

Sample solution

Dante Alighieri played a critical role in the literature world through his poem Divine Comedy that was written in the 14th century. The poem contains Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The Inferno is a description of the nine circles of torment that are found on the earth. It depicts the realms of the people that have gone against the spiritual values and who, instead, have chosen bestial appetite, violence, or fraud and malice. The nine circles of hell are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed and wrath. Others are heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Dante’s Inferno in the perspective of its portrayal of God’s image and the justification of hell. 

In this epic poem, God is portrayed as a super being guilty of multiple weaknesses including being egotistic, unjust, and hypocritical. Dante, in this poem, depicts God as being more human than divine by challenging God’s omnipotence. Additionally, the manner in which Dante describes Hell is in full contradiction to the morals of God as written in the Bible. When god arranges Hell to flatter Himself, He commits egotism, a sin that is common among human beings (Cheney, 2016). The weakness is depicted in Limbo and on the Gate of Hell where, for instance, God sends those who do not worship Him to Hell. This implies that failure to worship Him is a sin.

God is also depicted as lacking justice in His actions thus removing the godly image. The injustice is portrayed by the manner in which the sodomites and opportunists are treated. The opportunists are subjected to banner chasing in their lives after death followed by being stung by insects and maggots. They are known to having done neither good nor bad during their lifetimes and, therefore, justice could have demanded that they be granted a neutral punishment having lived a neutral life. The sodomites are also punished unfairly by God when Brunetto Lattini is condemned to hell despite being a good leader (Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). While he commited sodomy, God chooses to ignore all the other good deeds that Brunetto did.

Finally, God is also portrayed as being hypocritical in His actions, a sin that further diminishes His godliness and makes Him more human. A case in point is when God condemns the sin of egotism and goes ahead to commit it repeatedly. Proverbs 29:23 states that “arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” When Slattery condemns Dante’s human state as being weak, doubtful, and limited, he is proving God’s hypocrisy because He is also human (Verdicchio, 2015). The actions of God in Hell as portrayed by Dante are inconsistent with the Biblical literature. Both Dante and God are prone to making mistakes, something common among human beings thus making God more human.

To wrap it up, Dante portrays God is more human since He commits the same sins that humans commit: egotism, hypocrisy, and injustice. Hell is justified as being a destination for victims of the mistakes committed by God. The Hell is presented as being a totally different place as compared to what is written about it in the Bible. As a result, reading through the text gives an image of God who is prone to the very mistakes common to humans thus ripping Him off His lofty status of divine and, instead, making Him a mere human. Whether or not Dante did it intentionally is subject to debate but one thing is clear in the poem: the misconstrued notion of God is revealed to future generations.



Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). Dante’s inferno: Seven deadly sins in scientific publishing and how to avoid them. Addiction Science: A Guide for the Perplexed, 267.

Cheney, L. D. G. (2016). Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno: A Comparative Study of Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccaro. Cultural and Religious Studies4(8), 487.

Verdicchio, M. (2015). Irony and Desire in Dante’s” Inferno” 27. Italica, 285-297.