Ap world History-Essential Questions to Know foundations unit

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AP World History-Essential Questions to Know


1. What does civilization mean?

2. How is the term "civilized" misused?

3. Compare and contrast the terms "civilized," "barbarians," and "inferior peoples."

4. Describe the culture of Paleolithic hunting and gathering societies.

5. What is the difference between hunting and gathering societies and intensive hunting and gathering societies?

6. Where were the first sedentary agricultural communities established? How are the first sites connected to the spread of sedentary agriculture?

7. How did the Neolithic agrarian revolution transform the material life and social organization of human communities?

8. What is the importance of private property in civilization?

9. What is the connection between irrigation systems and civilization?

10. Why did the earliest civilization emerge in Mesopotamia?

11. How did the Sumerians politically organize early Mesopotamia?

12. What factors defined civilization in Sumerian culture?

13. Why were cities important in Mesopotamian civilization?

14. Was writing indispensable to civilization?

15. What are some of the great social losses associated with civilization?

16. What was the form of political organization in ancient Egypt?

17. What other early centers of civilization developed in the Middle East and Africa besides Mesopotamia and Egypt?

18. In what ways was Harappan civilization like Mesopotamian civilization?

19. What is the evidence for an autocratic form of government in Harappan society?

20. What were the causes for the decline of Harappan society?

21. What impact did the Aryan migration have on the level of Harappan civilization?

22. How was Aryan society organized?

23. What was the nature of the formative Chinese agricultural system?

24. What was the nature of the political organization of Shang China?

25. What was the social organization of Shang China?

26. What was the relationship between Shang religion and the development of writing?

27. What do we know about the status of women in each civilization?

28. How does the percentage of the earth inhabited by civilizations compare to that for migratory societies? What is the reason for the difference?

29. Define the two principal types of human ecological adaptation.

30. Define the two intermediary patterns of human ecological adaptation.

31. What are the types of pastoral nomadism and where are they located geographically?

32. Discuss pastoral nomadic social organization.

33. What was the nature of nonmilitary relationships between nomads and civilizations?

34. What was the nature of the military relationships between nomads and civilizations?

35. Why were nomads unable to generate civilizations of their own?

36. What were the political, social, and economic consequences of the period of the Warring States?

37. Describe Confucius's political philosophy.

38. What changes in Confucius's political philosophy were made by his disciples?

39. Describe the Daoist alternative to Confucian political philosophy.

40. What was the significance of the Qin dynasty?

41. Discuss the impact of Sunzi's political philosophy.

42. How did the Han institutionalize Confucian political philosophy?

43. Discuss the status of each of the following groups during Han times: scholar-gentry, women, peasants, merchants, artisans.

44. How does Greek civilization compare and contrast to other civilizations?

45. Define a polis. How did the polis change between 800 and 400 B.C.E.?

46. How did Greek city-states work together? Why were they often separate?

47. Compare the political structure of Hellenistic Greece to that of the Greek world before 400 B.C.E.

48. What was the function of philosophy in Greek culture?

49. What, according to the authors, were the principles of Greek culture?

50. Why was the Greek economy so market-oriented?

51. Discuss the role of slavery in Greek economic and social life.

52. Discuss the status of women in society. What effect did class position have on women's roles?

53. Compare and contrast Roman civilization to Greek civilization.

54. Describe the republican constitution of Rome.

55. How did the territorial expansion of the republic affect the society and politics of Rome?

56. Compare and contrast Greek and Roman culture.

57. Describe the constitution of the Roman Empire.

58. Compare and contrast Greek and Roman social organization.

59. Why did Christianity spread within the Roman empire?

60. How did the status of women in the Roman empire compare with women's position in other contemporary empires?

61. What was the legacy of the Roman empire to successor Western civilizations?

62. What were the fundamental patterns of Indian civilization?

63. What were the sources of pre-imperial brahmanic authority?

64. How was the caste system organized?

65. How did the rise of Buddhism represent a challenge to the brahmans?

66. Compare and contrast the organization of the Maurya and Gupta empires.

67. What were the keys to the brahmans' recovery in India?

68. Compare the status of women in classical India with other contemporary societies.

69 Compare and contrast the civilizations of the Americas with those of the Old World.

70. How did humans get to the Americas?

71. Discuss the origins of sedentary agriculture and staple crops in the Americas.

72. What were the similarities and differences among the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya, and Toltec civilizations of Mesoamerica?

73. What were the major cultures of North America?

74. What was the nature of social organization within Andean society?

75. Compare and contrast Andean and Mesoamerican civilizations.

76. How did the diffusion of agriculture and iron metallurgy in Africa demonstrate relationships to core civilizations?

77. What was the scope and nature of the migrations of the Bantu-speaking peoples?

78. How did the western African state of Ghana rise to prominence?

79. What were the similarities between the Celtic, Germanic, and Slavic cultures of Europe?

80. What was the nature of the indigenous culture of Japan prior to the 5th century C.E.?

81. How did Japanese society change during the 5th and 6h centuries C.E.?

82. What changes do the authors think necessary for identifying a new period in world history?

83. How did political instability affect China and India?

84. What are the causes for the fall of the western Roman Empire?

85. What were the results of the fall of the western Roman Empire?

86. Compare and contrast the doctrines of Buddhism and Christianity.

87. How did the map of civilization alter as a result of cultural diffusion after the disruption of the classical empires?

88. What was the fate of the nomadic invaders who contributed to the downfall of the classical empires?


1. What was the nature of bedouin society before Muhammad received his revelations?

2. How did Islam address the fundamental problems in Arabian society?

3. How was the succession dispute over the office of caliph finally settled?

4. What was the nature and extent of the Umayyad Empire?

5. What events led to the fall of the Umayyads?

6. How did the Abbasid Empire differ from the Umayyad Empire?

7. What were the achievements of the Arab phase of Islamic development ending in 750?

8. Did women in the Islamic world have more or less freedom than women in other contemporary societies?

9. What were the causes for the weaknesses of the later Abbasid Empire?

10. What was the position of women in the Abbasid Empire?

11. Describe the economy of the later Abbasid Empire.

12. Discuss theological developments within Islam during the Abbasid Empire.

13. Discuss the stages of Islamic incursion into India.

14. To what extent were Muslims successful in converting Indians to Islam?

15. What do the authors describe as the "common elements" in African societies?

16. How did Islam originally enter Africa?

17. What were the Sudanic states and how were they organized?

18. How did Islam and the beliefs of indigenous societies fuse among African peoples?

19. What was the connection between East Africa and Islam?

20. Where did cultures in Africa develop that were not impacted by Islam? What was the nature of their organization?

21. Why do the authors spend more time talking about cultures introduced into Africa than indigenous African cultures?

22. What is the significance of the Byzantine Empire to the civilization of Europe?

23. Compare and contrast the development of civilization in eastern and western Europe.

24. How does Orthodox Christianity differ from Roman Catholicism?

25. Discuss the similarities in Byzantine and Chinese political organization.

26. What are the reasons for the decline of the Byzantine Empire?

27. How did the Byzantine Empire influence the development of Russia?

28. How did Eastern Europe fall behind Western Europe in terms of political development?

29. What defines the postclassical period in Western Europe?

30. What were the signs of vitality in Western Europe?

31. Define manorialism and feudalism.

32. What developments in ninth and tenth-century Western Europe pointed the way to political and economic recovery?

33. Describe the various political units of Western Europe between 1000 and 1400.

34. How was theology linked to classical rationalism during the Middle Ages?

35. What were the signs of economic prosperity after 1000?

36. What were the political values of the Middle Ages?

37. What were the crises of the later Middle Ages?

38. What was the relationship of the Aztecs to the Toltecs?

39. What was the political and economic organization of the Aztec empire?

40. What was the social organization of the Aztec empire?

41. What was the political and economic organization of the Inca empire?

42. What was the social organization of the Inca empire?

43. How did the other Indian groups of the Americas differ from the imperial cultures?

44. How were American societies different from European society?

45. How did the Sui rise to power and why did they collapse?

46. In what way was the rise of the Tang associated with the Confucian renaissance?

47. What accounts for the decline of the Tang dynasty?

48. In what way was the Song empire weaker than the Tang?

49. What were the aspects of economic prosperity during the Tang-Song era?

50. Discuss the status of women during the Tang-Song era.

51. What was the overall impact of the Tang-Song era on Chinese history?

52. What innovations were made during the Tang-Song era?

53. What led to the failure of the Taika reforms and what was the political result?

54. Describe the nature of Japanese government between the Gumpei wars and the Onin war.

55. What was the nature of Japanese society and economy during the period of the daimyos?

56. How was Sinification imposed on Korea and how did it affect the social development of the country?

57. What accounts for the cultural differences between Vietnamese and Chinese?

58. What was the nature of Vietnamese government following the expulsion of the Chinese?

59. What were the common elements of Chinese culture passed to all three of the satellite civilizations?

60. How was East Asian civilization different from other postclassical civilizations?

61. What were the signs of decline in the Middle East and in China?

62. What accounts for the relative rise of the West?

63. Describe the nature of the Italian Renaissance. In what way was it a strictly Italian experience?

64. What was the nature of early Western exploration and colonial patterns?

65. What accounts for the relative decline of civilizations outside the world network?

66. Summarize the transitions taking place in world history ca. 1400.

67. What was the nature of the military organization established by Chinggis Khan?

68. What was the nature of the administration of the Mongol empire under Chinggis Khan?

69. What was the impact of the Mongol conquest of Russia and of the Islamic heartlands?

70. What was the impact of the Mongol conquest on Chinese society and political structure?

71. What were the positive aspect of the Mongol conquests?

72. How did the conquests of Timur-i Lang contrast with those of the Mongols?


1. What is the historical periodization of the major pattern change in Western Europe? What are the major trends?

2. What are the major differences between the Italian Renaissance and the Northern Renaissance?

3. What Protestant churches were established by the Reformation? What was the nature of religious warfare?

4. Do the religious differences between Europeans resemble the arguments between different groups of believers in the other major world religions?

5. Describe the causes and results of the commercial revolution.

6. What was the scientific revolution? What were some major discoveries?

7. What are the elements of absolute monarchy? Where did absolute monarchs develop?

8. What was the Enlightenment? How did it expand on the scientific revolution?

9. What technological innovations made the global domination of the West possible?

10. Describe the early exploration of the world by the West.

11. What was the Colombian exchange?

12. Define the terms "core area" and "dependent zone."

13. What areas remained outside the new global economy prior to 1600? What areas were added in the seventeenth century?

14. How did British and French North America differ from other European colonies?

15. What were the results of the creation of a world economy?

16. How did the Mongol occupation affect Russian civilization?

17. What was the nature of Russian expansion under the Ivans?

18. What was the impact of Westernization under Peter the Great?

19. What was the extent of Westernization under Catherine the Great?

20. What was the nature of Russian serfdom?

21. Why did Russia become economically dependent on the West?

22. What is the basis for the culture of the Russian masses?

23. What characteristics did Eastern Europe share with Russia?

24. What aspects of Iberian society were transferred to the New World?

25. What model for American colonization was established in the Caribbean?

26. What was the nature of the exploitation of Indians in the Americas?

27. Discuss the economy of the American colonies.

28. Discuss the nature of the Spanish system of government in the American colonies.

29. How did the discovery of gold and diamonds change the economic organization of Brazil?

30. Describe the social hierarchy of the American colonies.

31. What was the nature of the 18th-century reforms in Portuguese and Spanish colonies?

32. What were the similarities and differences between the three Muslim empires?

33. What were the causes of Ottoman decline in the 17th century?

34. What were the similarities and differences in the decline of the Abbasid and Ottoman empires?

35. Compare and contrast the social and economic organization of the Ottomans and Safavids.

36. Discuss the reasons for the failure of the Mughal dynasty.

37. What weaknesses were common to all of the Muslim empires?

38. Discuss the stages in the Portuguese exploration and penetration of Africa.

39. Trace the changes in the volume of the Atlantic slave trade between 1450 and 1850.

40. What was the demographic impact of the African slave trade on the sub-Saharan region?

41. Discuss the arguments concerning the profitability of the Slave trade.

42. How did the slave trade affect African state formation?

43. What was the Mfecane and how did it affect southern Africa?

44. What was the social structure of American slave-based societies?

45. Why did the slave trade come to an end?

46. What was the nature of the Asian sea trading network?

47. What did the Portuguese discover when they arrived at Calicut and how did they respond?

48. How were the Dutch able to displace the Portuguese and how did their participation in the Asian trading network differ from the Portuguese?

49. Where did the Europeans establish tribute systems?

50. How successful were European Christian missionary efforts by the early 1660s?

51. How did the Ming restore the traditional Chinese forms of government?

52. Why did the Chinese withdraw from commercial expansion?

53. What steps led to the restoration of the Japanese shogunate?

54. Why did the Japanese resort to isolation as a response to European expansion?

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