How Great Was Alexander The Great Dbq Essay

What is a truly great leader? It is someone with courage, discipline, creativity, remarkable achievement, and integrity. Unfortunately, Alexander the Great does not have any of these valuable traits to be called a “great” leader. Even though Alexander left a mark in history’s book, it was a mark of

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a brutal tormenter. Alexander the Great was born in 356 B.C.E. in a kingdom on the edge of northern Greece called Macedonia. (B.G.E.) His parents, Phillip and Olympia, constantly adored and spoiled him.

They hired a famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, to teach him academic subjects, politics, sports, and warfare. (B.E.) As he grew older, an inner beast was growing inside of him and at last it exploded when his father died, and Alexander was only then able to take the throne. But who would want an unjust leader, who is an egomaniac, a ruthless narcissist, and whose empire would not last?

Alexander the “not-so-great” was a psychotic maniac with a huge ego. He was conceded and had absolutely no concern for others. For example, when Alexander’s army was struggling across the hot, dry desert of sand, he could’ve taken them around the desert, so they didn’t have to suffer. (doc.D)

Also, every new place Alexander went to he founded a new city and named it after himself….. Alexandria!!! In total he named eleven cities after himself. Because he was spoiled and everyone treated him like he was royalty at a very young age, he came up with the idea that he was part god and told everyone to treat him that way. (B.E.)

There were always consequences for when people tried to stand up against Alexander. One example is in the battle with Tyre, when they refused to surrender, so he wouldn’t let them be and ordered his army to destruct and destroy all of Tyre into little pieces.(Doc.C) Therefore, because of his lack of concern for others and huge ego, he was proven, once again, to be Alexander the “not so great”!!!

A second reason Alexander was not great at all was because

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he was a ruthless narcissist who had savage relish. Evidence to prove my opinion is how he killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people that were slaughtered by Alexander and his army in only four major battles.(Doc.E)

Alexander’s main goal was to conquer many territories. Also, during the battle of Tyre his army killed thousands of people and sold the thirty thousand remaining survivors into slavery. How is that the act of a “great” leader? To add on to all the other horrifying murdering he also crucified two thousand men who didn’t even harm him!!!This shows that Alexander was nothing but a brutal murderer!

Many people wonder why Alexander’s empire did not last. Well, I will tell you why! The first thing that Phillip the Second of Macedon did was name an heir to the throne after he died and it was Alexander. But as soon as Alexander gained the throne all he cared about was conquest and he didn’t seem to plan ahead, because after he died he didn’t name a successor who would expand the empire, therefore his whole empire collapsed. (Doc.E)

Besides an empire as vast as his took at least 11 years of hard work and conquering to build. Unfortunately it only took 10 years to destroy it which showed what a poor job Alexander did with leadership. Because of Alexander’s ignorance and foolishness towards his empire, he became an irresponsible leader, instead of a caring, great man, as the world thinks he is.

In conclusion I believe that Alexander should not be called great anymore and that people should see the villainous side of him. Though, he did have some good points in his life. For example he built an incredibly vast empire, spread Greek art and literature, and was a major influence on Julias Caesar.

However, the three reasons presented above- he was a big egomaniac, a ruthless narcissist, and his empire did not last- show that when all is said done, Alexander is not at all what our history books claims him to be. In my opinion I don’t think Alexander the Great should be called a “legend” of history, but a moronic monster!

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Deneen MRC Katie Lyons discusses whether the Code of Hammurabi is just or unjust in this DBQ lesson.

Think DBQs are only for Advanced Placement students?

Please think again.

While many of our history teachers use materials from  The DBQ Project’s Mini-Q binders successfully in 9th-12th grade classrooms, the original target audience was middle school.  In fact, because these Mini DBQs contain less documents to analyze and some really great scaffolded supports, students as young as 2nd grade have actually completed units.

As with any rigorous CCSS-aligned undertaking, implementation of a DBQ Project Mini-Q involves lots of thoughtful planning ahead of time.

Luckily, we have teachers across our network who have learned how to do this really well, whether it be in an 11th grade US history class or a 6th grade literacy block that combines social studies and ELA.  From planning with them and observing their classes, I’ve learned that there are 4 keys to successful DBQ units in middle school and beyond.

1.  Tie it to a Theme

While especially important for teachers who are trying to thread social studies into a literacy block, aligning a DBQ to other topics students are studying makes it even more powerful and can minimize the time needed to build background knowledge.  Some great examples include:

  • using the Revolutionary War novel My Brother Sam is Dead as a whole class read aloud, while completing the “Valley Forge: Would You Have Quit?” Mini-Q

  • tying the “What Caused the Dust Bowl?” Mini-Q to a science unit on weather

  • incorporating the “Early Jamestown: Why Did So Many People Die?” Mini-Q into an ELA unit with an essential question focused on survival

2.  Study Structure

Look at the question the DBQ is asking to ascertain what type of essay students will need to write and how difficult the process will be.  For instance, a simple two-side question like “How Great was Alexander the Great?” has proven to be surprisingly easier than the more complicated “What was Harriet Tubman’s Greatest Achievement?”  In the first example students seem to have very little trouble finding evidence as to whether Alexander was great or not great; whereas, in the 2nd they must mine the documents to determine what Harriet Tubman’s 5 great achievements before ranking those achievements at which point the can finally argue which is the greatest.

3.  Modify, Modify, Modify

There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching the documents in a different order than they are presented or even in leaving out a document that students may not need to write a proficient essay.  In fact, not only does the great history education thinker Sam Wineburg argue that it’s ok to modify primary sources in his article “Tampering with History: Adapting Primary Sources for Struggling Readers”, he provides tips on how to do so.

Also as mentioned before, The DBQ Project’s Mini-Q Binders have some excellent supports in them that make for great modifications like the Guided Essays, which provide students with DBQ essay specific sentence stems.

4.  Model, Model, Model

Often it’s important to demonstrate the rigorous thinking that’s needed to analyze documents in order to write an argument-based essay for students.  Don’t be afraid work through an entire document for students as you would a read aloud.

And because many of the types of primary sources may be unfamiliar to students, it might make sense to practice with something that is. For instance, analyzing a map of the school to determine the best route to the cafeteria before digging into one that follows Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage to Mecca.

Wondering what DBQ actually looks in an AUSL middle school classroom?  Please check out this video of Deneen MRC Katie Lyons, teaching a DBQ during her time at NTA.

Wondering what else you should consider while planning?  We have terrific resources for you:

Any other questions? Leave them in the comments below!

 

 

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