Writing Workshop: Geography, Industrialization, and Imperialism

The graphic organizer includes facts about Great Britain and Japan.
Column A: Great Britain
The British Empire stretched across Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.
Column B: Japan
Japan expanded into Manchuria between 1930 and 1939.

A student made this graphic organizer to help write an informative essay. What fact could be added to either column?

An island nation with a strong navy is easier to defend.

The map shows the British Empire in 1900.
This map could help a writer draft a document-based essay about the British Empire because it
demonstrates the spread of British imperialism all over the world.

Read an excerpt from an informational document.
In comparing the advantages of England for manufacturing with those of other countries, we can by no means overlook the excellent commercial position [location] of the country—intermediate [middle] between the north and south of Europe, and its insular [inward looking] situation, which, combined with the command of the seas, secures our territory from invasion . . . . [O]ur ports command an unobstructed passage to the Atlantic and to every quarter of the world.
—Edward Baines, History of the Cotton Manufacture in Great Britain,1835
Which detail best supports the thesis that Britain’s geographic advantages supported trade?

“an unobstructed passage to the Atlantic”

As writers revise document-based essays, they should make sure to include relevant facts and
details

Read the opening line from a draft of an informative essay.
Draft: Britain increased its trade with China.
This sentence is not effective because
it lacks information and details.

Read the excerpt from an informational document.
Trade was necessary to the functioning of the Japanese economy. When Japan entered the first stage of its modernization in the nineteenth century, it had become dependent on other parts of the world for markets and raw materials. Raw materials for heavy industry were so strategically important they were placed in separate category from the rest of Japan’s imports. As a result, it was essential to ensure the security of the areas that supplied Japan and the trade routes that must be traveled, to ensure a reliable supply. Iron for the steel industry was of particular concern as Japan was almost wholly dependent upon imports . . . . The nearest major sources of iron were in Manchuria and northern China.
—From Japanese Imperialism, 1987

Which facts support the thesis that trade helped Japan modernize its economy? Check all that apply.

Japan considered raw materials to be important.
Japan depended on imports to obtain iron.
Japan ensured the security of trade routes.
Japan located major sources of iron in China.

Read an excerpt from an informational document.
To some Japanese, the most important national security objective was the unselfish one – to establish a special relationship with China, strengthening the region to allow it to turn back the tide of western imperialism.
To others, the selfish objective had to take priority. No matter the cost, Japan’s own security and economic survival had to be considered ahead of Asian values. Unless Japan became more powerful, there was no way to save East Asia from the west. Japan could only be made powerful through the economic exploitation of its neighbors.

Which detail best supports the thesis that Japan benefited from imperialism?

“economic exploitation of its neighbors”

During the revision phase, a writer should make sure a document-based essay includes
relevant facts and examples.

The graphic organizer includes facts about Great Britain and Japan.
Column A: Great Britain
The British Empire stretched across Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.
Column B: Japan
Japan expanded into Manchuria between 1930 and 1939.

A student made this graphic organizer to help write an informative essay. What does the organizer imply about Great Britain and Japan?

Both nations were imperialist.

The graphic organizer includes facts about Great Britain and Japan.
Column A: Great Britain
The British Empire stretched across Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.
Column B: Japan
Japan expanded into Manchuria between 1930 and 1939.

A student made this graphic organizer to help write an informative essay. What fact could be added to column B?

There were excellent harbors on the Pacific Coast.

When writers revise informative essays, they should make sure they have included facts from the documents and from
outside information.

To support the thesis of a document-based essay, a writer must include both
facts and details.

Read the excerpt from an informational document.
I was in the East End of London yesterday and attended a meeting of the unemployed. I listened to the wild speeches, which were just a cry for “bread, bread, bread!” and on my way home I pondered over the scene and I became more than ever convinced of the importance of imperialism. My cherished idea is a solution for the social problem, i.e., in order to save . . . the United Kingdom from a bloody civil war, we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands to settle the surplus population, to provide new markets for the goods produced by them in the factories and mines.
—Cecil Rhodes, 1895

Which detail from the excerpt best supports the thesis that British imperialism was necessary to gain land for farming?

“acquire new lands to settle the surplus population”

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