Constructing the Essay: an Example
Essay Prompt: Explain the statement: “Columbus’s voyage began a process that
changed the world forever.” Use specific examples as you consider cultural and
Opening As the first European to reach the Americas in modern times,
Statement Christopher Columbus - and his contemporaries - indeed “changed the
Thesis, Essay The exploration of the West Indies in the 16th century launched a
“Map” complex era of democracy, destruction, and global interaction, which has
continued to today’s world.
Topic Sentence 1 The opportunity for new countries and new ideas arose out of
Supporting Paragraph #1
SFI Spain was soon followed to the Americas by the Portuguese, French, and
English. In search of religious freedom, the Puritans came from England
sailed to Plymouth, Massachusetts where they sought to establish a
This ideal of religious freedom laid the groundwork for a country of
Wrap-Up sentence, political and religious freedom, which gave birth to the United States and
relates to thesis introduced democratic ideals that the world had not previously seen in
Topic Sentence 2 Unfortunately, not all the effects of discovery were positive. Almost
immediately after Columbus reached Hispaniola in 1492, Europeans
raced to the Americas to lay claim on the uncharted territory and the
people that inhabited it.
Spanish explorers Hernando Cortes and Francisco Pizarro discovered
Supporting Paragraph(s) #2
and quickly destroyed the Aztec and Incan empires respectively.
Employing the “encomienda system,” the Spanish forced the Natives to
work under harsh conditions in return for fair treatment. The English
colonists and the Native Americans had a similar relationship. War
killed many in both groups and the Europeans also passed smallpox to
the Natives. The Natives had little immunity to this European disease
and died by the millions.
Since the Europeans needed a labor force in the Americas, they
looked to Africa. Thus began the Triangular Trade - the transatlantic
trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. By 1860 roughly two
SFI million African slaves inhabited North America. After almost 350 years
in slavery in North America, the problem still exists.
Though it slowly improves, racism still pervades many parts of the
Wrap-Up sentence, United States and the wrongs done to the Native Americans and African
relates to thesis slaves cannot be righted.
Topic Sentence 3 The slave trade was part of an extensive trade network that developed in
the 15th century. Columbus’ discovery established new economic
systems and an unprecedented global community.
Supporting Paragraph #3
After Europeans established themselves in the Americas, the Columbian
Exchange began between Europe and Asia and the Americas. Trading
plants, animals, and diseases, this exchange increased the products’
availability world-wide. This extensive trade resulted in a new type of
economy as mercantilist and capitalist theories developed. Mercantilism,
a theory that held that a country’s power depended on its wealth,
encouraged Europeans to have a favorable balance of trade. Capitalism
developed as private companies invested resources to become wealthy.
Wrap-Up sentence, These economic systems and global interactions continue as countries
relates to thesis work in a capitalist market to exchange products.
Synthesize major Some hail Columbus as the man who established the free world and free
points trade, while many others blame him for many of the atrocities done to
Reviews and It is unfair to credit only Columbus for transforming the world at 1500,
reaffirms thesis but his discovery laid the foundation for some of the complexities of the