AP World Document Analysis HIPP/HAPPY Practice & Feedback

11 min readjanuary 2, 2021

Eric Beckman

Eric Beckman

AP World History: Modern 🌍

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Practicing using the HIPP/HAPPY strategy is a great way to prep for the AP exam! Review practice student responses for a document analysis prompt from Content Intern Jed Quiaoit and corresponding feedback from Fiveable teachers Melissa Longnecker and Evan Liddle.

The Document Analysis Practice Prompt


One of the skills AP World History: Modern holds you accountable for is document analysis - the ability not to only introduce a document but to deconstruct and break it down to smaller components to explore separately.
Recap: We use the HIPP strategy. You might also know it as HAPPY but worry not, it has pretty much the same idea.
H: Historical Context - what was going on at this time period?
I: Intended Audience - who/whom is the document meant for?
P: POV - who/what is the document representing?
P: Purpose - why is the document created?
This prompt here is a good one for practicing all of the HIPP/HAPPy categories, but you won’t need to be this thorough on the exam. Just pick one characteristic for each document you are sourcing, describe it briefly, and explain why it is relevant to understanding the document and/or your argument. That way, you can fit sourcing for multiple documents in your 45 minutes of writing time!


Here are four documents from the Modern period, c. 1750 to 1900. With your historical knowledge of Unit 5 (revolution and industrialization), try to analyze at least 3 out of 4 documents. The more documents you practice analyzing, the more confident you’ll be in doing so in a timed fashion!

Document Analysis Samples and Feedback

Student Sample 1

Document 1: Document 1 was compiled during a time of Enlightenment thought in the 17th century. People began to use a source of reason behind their thoughts and believed that nature, humanity, and god were all intertwined towards better society not just one. Enlightenment thinkers believed they could help create better societies and better people. Joh Locke’s Audience was the people of the time in Europe and beyond who were subjugated to rulers who justified their rule using the theory of divine right. His purpose was to ensure that people had three basic rights to their lives, the right to life, liberty, and property. It was the job of the government to protect these rights and the people had the last say in whether or not these rights were being protected in the correct manner.
Document 2: The document was written during a time of Female led uprisings towards patriarchy and male dominance in life. Women around the world led protests and fought for social changes and believed women deserved the same privileges as men. The audience of the document are the millions of women who wished to have power like the men in their societies and wanted to be more than a household item and uneducated human being. Mary Wollstonecraft likely wrote the Vindication to stirrup the feelings of those subjugated women and have them lift up their voices towards the injustice they were facing. One women alone wasn’t enough to end the injustice, but if every women stood up for their rights they could possibly achieve something.
Document 4: This document was written during period of Industrialization in England in which the working class experienced staggering amounts of manual labor and worked restless hours in the mills or coal mines. The audience of this document is the government of England who didn’t take much action to protect the working class men and women, so Engels wishes to push more action to be taken to protect the endangered lives of these people who are pale and prone to disease. This is significant because he may exaggerate the extent to which the appearance fo these workers looks unhealthy and dull just to persuade his readers that something needs to be done.

Teacher feedback:

Great job with this HIPP/HAPPy practice! You have a good understanding of each of these categories, and you’ve done a great job applying them to each of the documents. I notice that you’re also going beyond describing the characteristic into explaining why that matters, which is the key to this skill on the DBQ. Keep up the good work!

Student Sample 2

Doc 1] Locke’s point of view as an Enlightenment thinker makes him more likely to value reason and practical thought, such as that established earlier by Francis Bacon’s empiricism, and therefore illustrates the new perspectives taken on state development as a result of these intellectual developments. This is clearly evident in Locke’s establishment of natural rights and the social contract, and therefore, the author’s point of view helps to illustrate that new methods of thinking are translating to new governmental applications; these new developments in government furthermore directly influence the revolutions that succeed them, and therefore the changes not only in governmental philosophy, but in the governments themselves come about as a result of this point of view.
Doc 2] The context of the Enlightenment, the development of practical thought, and the developments of Locke’s natural rights and the overall context of political and social change succeeding the Enlightenment makes Wollstonecraft more likely to express these ideals for social change in gender structures, and furthermore makes her more likely to apply a value on practical thinking that challenges tradition. This point of view therefore leads into an example of the Enlightenment’s value of practical thought, and especially in how that practical thought caused the social and political changes of this time.
Doc 3] The historical context of this painting emphasizes the idea and the effects of Enlightenment thinking in governance, and how the emphasis on social change as apparent in the surrounding crowd (presumably members of the Third Estate in France) was a result of this Enlightenment thought. Specifically, ideals such as Locke’s natural rights and empiricist thinking emphasizing practical ideals makes the members of the Third Estate more likely to enact this form of political and social change, and therefore illustrates that the advances in intellectualism, especially their effects on social groups as emphasized in the document, are what incited the political and social upheavals of processes such as the French Revolution.
Doc 4] Though Engels’s purpose in emphasizing the ideal of socialism (as developed through the context of the Industrial Revolution’s aftermath on the health and safety of workers) possibly compels him to exaggerate the conditions of the workers as he describes in Manchester, it is apparent that Engels produces a direct resistance to capitalist thought and the industrial demand placed onto workers. Therefore, although the purpose in opposition to capitalism causes Engels to over exaggerate its negative effects in spite of its positive effects on living conditions, the purpose itself emphasizes the resistances to and the intellectual limits placed on the industrialization of Europe, as well as the Industrial Revolution’s limitations in its positive effects. Developments such as the bicycle and their increases in quality of living contrast Engels’s viewpoint, however existence of tenements and slums, living spaces created by owner classes because of the need for labor by factories, supports Engels’s viewpoint as emphasizing the negative effects of industrialization.
Furthermore, Engels’s point of view (when combined with the situation of post-Enlightenment Europe) makes Engels more likely to apply these observations to the purpose of producing an alternative economical structure opposing the capitalistic processes in the Industrial Revolution. This point of view provides a stronger resistance to industrialization as a whole, and, though intellectual effects of the Enlightenment are prominent in promoting the industrialization of Europe such as that of Adam Smith and laissez-faire economics, Engels’s point of view illustrates the more prominent resistances from Enlightenment thought and therefore the limitations in the Industrial Revolution because of practical and empiricist thinking.

Teacher feedback:

This is a really thoughtful and thorough analysis of each of these documents. You have a good grasp on the detailed content for this time period - way to go! I notice you’ve incorporated outside evidence into your analysis, which is a really interesting way to do it. One note about doing that: the AP readers can only give you credit for sourcing OR outside evidence at a time, so be sure that you finish your sourcing analysis before moving on to additional evidence so that you don’t miss out on points you deserve.

Student Sample 3

Document 1: The document was written in the Early Enlightenment era and in this era, people like John Locke and Thomas Hobbes were debating about the relationship between people and the government or the social contract. This explains the topic of discussion in this passage and Locke talks about how in order to govern, a government must provide the people with natural rights. This was Locke’s definition of the social contract and his point of view differed from that of Hobbes who thought that government should take away people’s rights. Locke’s purpose in writing this document was to get the majority of governments in Europe to give its citizens natural rights and not be oppressive. Locke’s ideas went on to cause revolutions against unjust governments.
Document 2: Document 2 was written by Mary Wollstonecraft a feminist in the Enlightenment era to argue for women’s rights. The author wrote this passage to get people to give women more rights and argue that women are not weak. The author wants women to also be educated like men and wants equality and that is why she argues about how women are useful to society in this document. As she has the point of view of a woman, she will know more about the capabilities of a woman than a male philosopher. In the Enlightenment era or Age of “Isms” feminism was one of the movements going on and feminists like Wollstonecraft wrote other documents like “The Declarations of Rights of Women and Citizen” in response to the French not including women in “The Deceleration of Rights of Man and Citizen”. They also held conventions like the Seneca Falls Convention to try to get women to have equal rights. The author’s opinion was shared by many other people of the time period.
Document 3: The document shows many French soldiers assembling under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte and in this time period, the French Revolution was ending. This meant the end of the Reign of Terror going which went on in France where radical revolutionaries like Robespierre started executing many nobles. In this time period, a military leader named Napoleon rose to power and put an end to the instability in France. This explains why people and soldiers depicted in the painting are seen to be submissive to Napoleon who has taken charge. The artist has the point of view of someone who was not actually there when this scene took place and this is just a rendition so the artist will have gotten some facts wrong for certain. The purpose of this document would be to inform others in that time about the End of the French Revolution and the Rise of Napoleon.

Teacher feedback:

Your responses here show that you have a good grasp on each category in HIPP/HAPPy, and you’re well on your way to developing some great sourcing analysis in your DBQ.

Student Sample 4

Document 1: At the time this document was written was the Age of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was when people began to focus on individualism and reason rather than tradition. John Locke played a significant role in the Enlightenment as he fought for peoples’ natural rights and for people to have freedom, equality, and independence, which influenced peoples’ everyday lives and freedom.
Document 2: Wollstonecraft fervently demands her purpose to fight for womens’ rights and equality to men as she explains how Russeau’s statements are meaningless. At the time this document was written was the Age of the Enlightenment, which inspired people such as Wollstonecraft to fight for a change and have more freedom and rights. Wollstonecraft demands that women should have more education and better societal views to have equality.
Document 3: The artist’s purpose is to address that the Third Estate rose to power after the Third Estate as the artist portrays Third Estate members elevated to the army and in control. However, the artist her/himself could be a member of the Third Estate, which could cause her/him to portray the Third Estate as superior.
Document 4: Engles angrily denounces his point of view that the working class underwent horrific conditions by being exposed to diseases, looking pale, and seeming like they underwent brutal conditions. However, Engels aligned with Karl Max’s communistic views and could be over exaggerating the brutal conditions that workers underwent to motivate people to give the working class better treatment.

Teacher feedback:

For document 2, if you wish to do historical context then focusing on the Enlightenment would be a good way to go as you show.
For Document 3, Purpose is never to “show something” or “inform someone” it is always to bring about a desired action or result. To make something happen. However your Point of View, the artist being a member of the Third Estate is a possibility, and you could develop that further.
Document 4, “denounce” should not be in that part of the sentence it makes it seem like you are saying Engles did not say those things. However as a point of view it okay.

Student Sample 5

Doc#1- Because John Locke is a philosopher and believes in reform, he wrote this document looking to see change in the society. He did not agree with the system of rule in France which was an absolute monarchy, but he believed that everyone is born with natural rights and it is the government’s responsibility to protect those rights.
Doc#2- Because Mary Wollstonecraft is a woman, she believes in women having equal rights as men. During that time though, women had little rights and were perceived as being owned by the man and were mostly honored by their femininity. Wollstonecraft was looking to change these ways, which was why she wrote this document.
Doc#3-The artist created the image to inform the general public about the aftermath of the French Revolution. In the middle of the area is a large guillotine which was used to chop people’s heads off, predicting that the author was warning and alerting the people of France. The aftermath, as shown by the image, looked to be dangerous and negative.
Doc#4- Fredrich Engels wrote this to alert and warn the people of England of the brutal and dangerous working conditions that the working class had to work in. Writing this, he seems to want to see change in England. During this time though, the conditions were of the following: dangerous working conditions, little pay, and children were also working many hours a day. Fortunately, not much after this was written, Britain passed the Factory Act of 1883 limiting work hours, prohibiting children working, and the working conditions improved. Ultimately, Engels may be exaggerating the working conditions in order to make reform for the country.

Teacher feedback:

For document 3, if that is an attempt at purpose then this would not get the reasoning point. Purpose as a reasoning point is an objective or desired action. Simply telling or informing or celebrating is not a desired action. Consider perhaps that the purpose of this painting was to convince other nations of Europe to overthrow their monarchs by demonstrating the power of the people to execute their own king.
If document 4 is meant to be purpose, then you would need to specify what Engles wanted to do. Again purpose is always an objective or a desired action. However, as historical context it is fine.
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