Course: ap u. S. History teacher

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COURSE: AP U.S. History TEACHER: Mr. Gaughan

Course Overview
AP U.S. History is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S. History. As a survey course oriented toward preparing students to master these skills, AP U.S. History will cover the broad scope of information, helping students to develop those skills to make conclusions based on informed judgment.
Core Texts
Kennedy, David M, Lizabeth Cohen and Thomas Bailey. The American Pageant: A

History of the Republic. 13th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006)
Ancillary Readings will be assigned for each unit. These readings will introduce students to recent scholarship as well as investigate changing historiography.
Course Structure
The AP U.S. History course is divided into 12 academic units, covering the broad sweep of U.S. History. Every 2-3 weeks, unit assignment sheets will be provided, outlining reading assignments, daily topics, discussion questions, and daily work. Test dates will also be announced. Students are responsible for keeping up with all assignments. Class will be a combination of lecture, discussion, and group work. Period quizzes will be given to check for understanding. Periodically student essays, reports, and presentations will be required; all essays will be graded using the 9-point rubric developed by the College Board found at the end of this syllabus
Each unit will be framed by an essential question related to the content and tied to the major themes of U.S. History. Class discussions will draw back to this essential question.
Course themes:
The AP U.S. History course is centered about 12 broad themes of U.S. History, as identified by the College Board:

  • American Diversity

  • American Identity

  • American Culture

  • Demographic Changes

  • Economic Transformations

  • Environment

  • Globalization

  • Politics and Citizenship

  • Reform

  • Religion

  • Slavery and It’s Legacies in North America

  • War and Diplomacy

These themes will be woven into the course content through the year, drawing connections to events over the different eras in U.S. History. Class discussions, projects and readings will each focus on one or more of the course themes.

Unit 1: The Colonial Era (to 1763)

Kennedy, Cohen and Bailey, American Pageant, Chapters 1-5

Takaki “The Giddy Multitude” Different Mirror
Content/Discussion Topics

Transatlantic encounters, including a comparison of pre-Columbian America, Africa, and Europe; Models of European colonization in the Americas; Push-pull factors in the colonization of British North America; the growth of British North America, especially the development of the Chesapeake and New England colonies, focusing on political, economic, social, and religious patterns.

DBQ: Comparison of the Chesapeake and New England colonies
Unit 2: The Revolution and the Early Republic (1763-1789)

Kennedy, Chapter 6-9

Anderson, Fred. The War that Made America. Chapters 26 & 27

Fischer, David Hackett, Paul Revere’s Ride. Appendix

Content/Discussion Topics

Growing friction between Britain and its North American colonies in politics, economics, and social patterns; growth of American resistance; the military course of the war; the Article Government and the development of the Constitution; social effects of the American Revolution

DBQ: The role of the French and Indian War in the development of the American Revolution.
Unit Three: The Early Federal Period (1789-1820)

Kennedy, Chapters 10-12

Ellis “The Dinner” Founding Brothers
Content/Discussion Topics

The shaping of the first national government; the formation of the two-party system; foreign policy initiatives in light of the struggle between Britain and France; ideas of Republican Motherhood; expansion into the Transappalachian West; consequences of the War of 1812; the Monroe Doctrine

Unit Four: The Growth of the United States (1820-1850)

Kennedy, Chapters 13-17

Takaki “Emigrants from Erin” A Different Mirror
Content/Discussion Topics

The American System and the Era of Good Feelings; the Age of Jackson, especially the Nullification Crisis, the Bank Crisis and Indian Removal; the development of the two-party system; shifting immigration patterns; social reform movements, especially the Second Great Awakening, the growth of utopian communities and the development of the Women’s Rights movement; early American industrialization; manifest destiny and western settlement; the War with Mexico

FRQ: Manifest Destiny and Imperialism
Unit Five: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

Kennedy Chapter 18-22

Ayers “What Caused the Civil War?” What Caused the Civil War?: Reflections on the South and Southern History.

McPherson James. “We Were in Earnest” For Cause and Comrade

McPherson, James. “As Commander In Chief . . “ this Mighty Scourge.
Content/Discussion Topics

Rise of Sectionalism; the politics and economics of slavery and the growth of the abolition movement; differences between the North and the South; strategies and events of the Civil War; Reconstruction plans and politics; the end of Reconstruction.

DBQ: The 1850’s and the Prelude to the Civil War

Unit Six: Growth of the Industrial United States. (1877-1914)

Kennedy, Chapters 23-24

Zinn “Robber Barons and Rebels” A People’s History of the United States

The Growth of American Industry; harnessing new technology, capital, labor, and markets; development of trusts; growth of organized labor.

Semester Examination
Unit Seven: Populists and Progressives (1877-1920)

Kennedy, Chapters 25-26, 28-29

Hofstadter, Richard. The American Political Tradition. Chapters 9 and 10.
Agricultural change and the movement west; struggles with native Americans; development of the Populist movement; growth of American cities; role of Immigration; the development of the Progressive Movement.
DBQ: Changes in American agriculture in the late 19th century
Unit Eight: The Age of Imperialism (1880-1920)

Kennedy, Chapters 27, 30

Turner “The Significance of the Frontier in American history”

American overseas expansion; The War of 1898; reactions to American expansion; foreign policy programs (Open Door Policy, “Biog Stick” diplomacy, Dollar Diplomacy, and Missionary Diplomacy); U.S. neutrality and entrance into World War I; Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the Treaty of Versailles

FRQ: U.S. Entry into World War One
Unit Nine: Prosperity, Depression and the New Deal (1920-1945)

Kennedy, Chapter 31-33

Hofstadter, American Political Experience. Chapter 12

Return to “Normalcy”; reaction to Progressive Era (Red Scare, KKK, Prohibition, Fundamentalism); the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance; influence of the automobile; business growth; Boom-Bust cycles; Potential causes and effects of the Great Depression; Hoover’s Volunteerism; FDR’s New Deal, especially the ideas of Relief, Recovery and Reform; Criticism of the New Deal; Long-term effects of the Depression and the New Deal.

DBQ: Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt
Unit Ten: World War II and the Cold War (1930-1960)

Kennedy, Chapters 34-36

Truman Memoirs

Isolation v. Intervention (American First, neutrality acts, lend-lease, quarantine); the entry of the U.S. into World War II; general strategies and events of WWII; the Home Front, including Japanese relocation, the changing workplace, and demographic shifts;

wartime diplomacy; beginnings of the Cold War; the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan; the Korean War
DBQ: The Decision to drop the Atomic Bomb
Unit Eleven: Times of Turmoil and Reform (1950-1972)

Kennedy, Chapters 36-39


Demographic shifts in the U.S., including the Baby Boom and the growth of suburbia; the Red Scare and McCarthyism; Cold War strategies (Brinksmanship, Flexible Response, MAD); the Civil Rights Movement, including popular and government responses, Supreme Court cases; War on Poverty and the Conservative response; Vietnam War; the rising Protest movement; Nixon Doctrine and Vietnamization

Unit Twelve: The Modern Era (1972 – Present)


Kennedy, Chapter 39-42

Reagan, First Inaugural Address


Increased disillusionment with government; Nixon Administration, including Watergate and détente; the Carter Administration; rise of OPEC and the inflationary economy; Iran-Hostage Crisis; the Reagan Administration; resurgence of the Cold War; Reaganomics; the Bush and Clinton Administrations

Review for the AP Examination
AP Examination – Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Students are expected to read all assignments in a timely manner to enable them to follow and contribute to class. Quizzes will be given to monitor the students’ compliance with and comprehension of the readings. Classwork, participation, reports and essays, and classroom projects will be of significant importance.

Late work is not tolerated. Assignments are due on the date announced. If a student is absent, they will be given a certain grace period to complete work, but must discuss this with me. Do not turn in work late.

The aim for this course is to prepare students for the vigorous work load required in college and to prepare for the Advanced Placement Test. As such, grades will be determined by the following weight:
Tests – 45 %

Homework – 25%

Essays – 20%

Article Reviews – 10%

The grading scale is:

A -- 92-100%

B -- 83-91%

C -- 74-82%

D -- 65-73%

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