Ap u. S. History Essay Guide for Unit V



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AP U.S. History Essay Guide for Unit V


The following DBQ (Document Based Questions) and essay questions are the actual questions that were originally found in the Advanced Placement United States History Exams that have been held since 1971. Learn from the past and anticipate answering similar questions on the AP Exam this year...

1. 1972 Exam (Question 8): “Supreme Court decisions reinforce state and federal legislation.”


  • Assess validity for three decisions of the Supreme Court prior to the Civil War.

2. 1973 Exam (Question 10): Why did the institution of slavery command the loyalty of the vast majority of antebellum southern whites, despite the fact that only a small percentage of them owned slaves?



3. 1974 Exam (DBQ): To what extent was President-elect Abraham Lincoln responsible for the defeat of the Critteriden proposal on the territorial expansion of slavery?



4. 1981 Exam (DBQ): How and why did the lives and status of Northern middle-class women change between 1776 and 1876?



5. 1982 Exam (DBQ): John Brown's raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. in October 1859, involved only a handful of abolitionists, freed no slaves, and was over in two days. Although many Northerners condemned the raid, by 1863 John Brown had become a hero and martyr in the North.



  • To what extent and in what ways do the views about John Brown expressed in the documents illustrate changing North-South relations between 1859 and 1863?

6. 1983 Exam (Question 4): How do you account for the failure of Reconstruction (1865-1877) to bring social and economic equality of opportunity to the former slaves?



7. 1987 Exam (DBQ): "By the 1850's the Constitution. originally framed as an instrument of national unity, had become a source of sectional discord and tension and ultimately contributed to the failure of the union it had created."



  • Using the documents and your knowledge of the period 1850-1861, assess the validity of this statement.

8. 1988 Exam (Question 4): "I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races." How can this 1858 statement of Abraham Lincoln be reconciled with his 1862 Emancipation Proclamation?



9. 1992 Exam (Question 4): Discuss the political, economic, and social reforms introduced in the South between 1864 and 1877. To what extent did these reforms survive the Compromise of 1877?



10. 1996 Exam (DBQ): In what ways and to what extent did constitutional and social developments between 1860 and 1877 amount to a revolution?



  • Use the documents and your knowledge of the period from 1860 to 1877 to answer the question.

11. 1997 Exam (Question 4): Analyze the economic consequences of the Civil War with respect to any TWO of the following in the United States between 1865 and 1880.



    • Agriculture

    • Labor

    • Industrialization

    • Transportation

12. 2000 Exam (Question 3): Assess the moral arguments and political actions of those opposed to the spread of slavery in the context of TWO of the following.



    • Missouri Compromise

    • Mexican War

    • Compromise of 1850

    • Kansas-Nebraska Act

13. 2003 Exam (Question 4): Evaluate the impact of the Civil War on political and economic developments in TWO of the following regions. Focus your answer on the period between 1865 and 1900.



    • The South

    • The North

    • The West

14. 2005 Exam B (DBQ): In the early nineteenth century, Americans sought to resolve their political disputes through compromise, yet by 1860 this no longer seemed possible. Analyze the reasons for this change.



    • Use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1820-1860 in constructing your response.

15. 2005 Exam (Question 3): To what extent did the debates about the Mexican War and its aftermath reflect the sectional interests of New Englanders, westerners, and southerners in the period from 1845 to 1855?



16. 2006 Exam (Question 3): Explain why and how the role of the federal government changed as a result of the Civil War with respect to TWO of the following during the period 1861-1877:




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