University of California Elite Rule of the Ancient States Assessing Mesopotamia and Maya Essay

Question Description

Early states were led or ruled by a very small elite minority within society. Examine how
these elites managed and manipulated economic, coercive, and ideological/social sources
of power to gain political authority. For this paper, compare and contrast EITHER:
A. Mesopotamian and Mayan civilization
B. Egyptian and Aztec civilization
…with respect to the presence and use of each of the sources of power. Particular states
may have emphasized some sources over others. Why do you think they did so? Make
sure to include discussions of each source of power: economic, coercive,
ideological/social, and how they were used to gain political authority.
Answer the question completely in a well developed 4-6 page essay, double-spaced,
Times New Roman font and 1 inch margins. Follow the format guide found on
GauchoSpace. You will need to combine lectures, films, the GauchoSpace readings, and
3 OUTSIDE SCHOLARLY SOURCES to adequately address the questions. You
should CITE these 3 outside sources and the Fagan and Durani textbook regularly within
the text and prepare a bibliography of references cited. The World Prehistory textbook
should serve as an excellent introduction and guide to the issues involved in the
questions. The 3 outside sources should be taken from scholarly books and/or
journal articles that you find in the library (web pages do NOT count as one of the
four minimum sources and in particular do NOT cite Wikipedia). If you are uncertain
how to find sources, you should take advantage of our excellent library and librarians, as
well as web resources like JSTOR, which provides a huge searchable database for journal
articles. Read the prompt carefully and be sure that your paper addresses all of the issues raised in
• Brief (1 paragraph) description of what you will be accomplishing in this paper.
Be sure to include a thesis statement that explains your argument about why the different states developed similar or contrasting strategies deploying the sources
of power. Also include a brief statement of how archaeologists have approached
this question.
• Brief description of each of the Sources of Power (Coercive, Economic,
• Compare and contrast how elites in each civilization deployed these sources of
power to exercise political authority. Why did they use similar or contrasting
strategies? This can be organized either by civilization or source of power.
• How have archaeologists used different kinds of evidence to address this?
• Brief summary of findings.
o What are the implications about how elites created and maintained
political authority in each civilization?

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