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AP US History - Summer Assignment 2015


Greetings. This fast-paced college-level course covers American History from the pre-Colonial era (1400s) to the present. We cover a lot of information in a very short amount of time and the course is demanding and rigorous. Consider each of the following points below before deciding if this course is for you. If you are truly dedicated and up for the challenge, you will find the class very rewarding.

  1. This course involves a complex college level textbook and numerous outside readings, so high reading comprehension skills are imperative.

  2. Writing is an essential component to the class so if writing essays are a challenge for you, you will have difficulty passing this class. Many writing assignments will be timed-writing essays that you will have to complete with limited time in class: DBQs (Document-Based Question based essays), LEQs (Long Essay Questions), and Short Answer Questions.

  3. We will cover 1 to 2 chapters per week and have regular chapter quizzes & Unit Exams.

  4. Classroom participation in discussions and debates is mandatory.

  5. Expect a minimum of 30 minutes of homework per night, including weekends, involving reading and taking notes, activities, and writing components.

  6. You need to be able to work well in groups and present in front of class as group projects and activities are a significant component of the class, especially during the 2nd Semester.

  7. You will be required to be disciplined and self-motivated, and time-management is essential.

  8. If you are truly motivated and up for the challenge, I look forward to having you in class.

In order to keep pace with the AP exam date, students must begin the reading for this class over the summer. You must first check out a copy of the textbook: American History, Connecting With the Past (15th Edition), from the Culver City High School Library in the beginning of summer – June 19th is the first day that the books will be available. The following assignment is due during REGISTRATION on AUGUST 12th and will go toward your 1st semester grade. If you will be on vacation during registration you must either drop it off to the guidance office before you leave or mail it to Culver City High School and have it postmarked before August 12th. Failure to complete the following assignment will show that you are unprepared for the rigors of AP and will be grounds for dropping you from the class. This is an individual assignment, not a group assignment – you should not share responses with other students.

YOU MUST KEEP A PHOTOCOPY OF YOUR ASSIGNMENT to study for the UNIT 1 EXAM on this material that will take place on TUESDAY AUGUST 25th, the 2nd Day of School. If you have any questions feel free to contact Mr. Owens at: andyowens@ccusd.org.
Your Assignment: You must complete Parts I, II, III, IV & V & turn in Parts II, IV, & V. ALL WORK MUST BE HANDWRITTEN IN BLUE OR BLACK INK PEN. The entire assignment should be stapled or bracketed together, but make sure to have your name on each section in case they get separated after you turn them in.
I. READ Chapter 1 of the text American History, Connecting With the Past 15th Edition by Alan Brinkley. Read the chapter carefully – I recommend reading the entire chapter and taking notes before answering the Questions. You will use information from Chapter 1 to complete Parts II-V. You will be tested on the material from the Reading Questions, the Key Terms, Geography, and the Short Answer questions on the Summer/Unit 1 Exam that will take on August 25th that will include both Multiple Choice and Short Answer Questions.

II. READING QUESTIONS: Answer the following questions in your own words – do not just copy the book, responses will require a paragraph each (the length depends on the question), and be prepared to discuss your responses during the first week of class in September. You do not need to re-write the questions, but number the responses clearly and make sure your responses are stapled and in order.

1. Compare the regional differences among Native Americans in how they adapted to and transformed their diverse environments and developed complex societies before the arrival of Europeans?

2. What were the motivations and causes of early European exploration and settlement of the Western Hemisphere?

3. Read “AP Debating the Past” p. 8-9: Is history subjective? In your opinion, if historians differ so much, how should we teach history?

4. “AP Debating the Past p. 10-11”: What was the Native American population by the arrival of Columbus? How does the number historians choose change the “story” of European contact and colonization?

5. What effects did Spanish and Portuguese exploration and conquest have on native societies of the Western Hemisphere?

6. How did Spanish America (“New Spain”) evolve in the 16th and early 17th Centuries?

7. How did American Indians respond to European efforts to change their religion, society, and environment?

8. How did European views on the proper treatment of American Indians contrast each other?

9. What were the major biological and cultural exchanges between Europe and the Americas? Describe the impact of this exchange.

10. What effect did the introduction of new crops and livestock have on native settlements and economic, social, and political development in the Western Hemisphere?

11. What effects did the Columbian Exchange and transatlantic trade have on Europe?

12. What were the causes and effects of the rise of the African slave trade during the 16th Century?

13. What were the economic incentives for English colonization of the “New World” in the 16th Century?

14. What were the religious incentives for English colonization of the “New World” in the 16th Century?

15. Read “The Atlantic Context of Early American History” p. 22-23: What was the Atlantic World? Does studying American history in an Atlantic World context broaden or distort our understanding of American history?

16. Read “Mercantilism and Colonial Commerce” p. 26-27: What effects did mercantilism have on colonial economies and how did it contribute to power rivalries among European nations?

17. How did the English experience in Ireland and subjugation of the Irish people affect the colonization process of the New World?

18. Describe the French settlements in the New World. How did they contrast the English and the Spanish?

19. Describe the Dutch settlement in North America. What was the focus of their colonies?

20. Why didn’t the British successfully develop colonies in America until 1607? Explain.


A. Define each term for yourself (I suggest learning both the definition and the historical significance– think “why is it important to the era?”) for each term. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TURN THESE IN, but should study them for the Summer Assignment/Unit 1 Exam on Tuesday August 25th. Here is an example:

Halfway Covenant: The decision of Puritan colony churches in the 1690s to allow the grandchildren of those who had the personal experience of conversion to participate in church affairs. Previously, only the children of those that had experienced personal conversion could participate, and some rejected this as weakening the church.

H.S. – Reflected the decline of piety and zeal among New Englanders and fear that the influence of the Puritan church was in decline.

KEY TERMS: Need to Know from the AP Concept Outline

maize cultivation

Columbian Exchange

agricultural economy

social diversification

caste system

empire building

foraging and hunting

West Africa

slave labor

Great Basin

encomienda system


Great Plains


political autonomy

hunter-gatherer economy

cultural autonomy

KEY TERMS: Should Know (Examples for the Concept Outline)

“Clovis” people

Valladolid Debate*

chartered companies

Inca, Maya, Aztec

Juan de Sepulveda*

Joint-Stock Companies


Bartolome de Las Casas*



Ordinances of Discovery


Chaco Canyon

Spanish Mission System

Richard Hakluyt


Don Juan de Onate

English Reformation

Woodland Indians




Pueblo Revolt of 1680

Puritan Separatists


racial hierarchy

Irish colonization



The Plantation Model

Prince Henry the Navigator


coureurs de bois

Christopher Columbus

West Africa

Henry Hudson

Ferdinand Magellan


New Amsterdam


African slave trade


Hernando Cortes

maroon communities*

The Spanish Armada


John Cabot



Enclosure Movement

Colonial charters

* = Terms that you should know that are not explicitly mentioned in the textbook (look up online)

B. UNITED STATES GEOGRAPHY: While this is not a geography class, a basic understanding of American geographic features that will be commonly referenced throughout the year is essential. You will need to be able to identify any of the following on a map for the Summer Assignment/Unit 1 Exam August 25th

Atlantic Ocean

Appalachian Mountains

Black Hills


Chesapeake Bay

Colorado River

Columbia River


Great Basin

The Great Lakes

The Great Plains

Great Salt Lake

Gulf of Mexico

Hudson River


Mason-Dixon Line


Mississippi River

Missouri River

New England

New York

Ohio Valley

Ohio River

Pacific Ocean


Rio Grande

Rocky Mountains

Sierra Nevada Mountains

St. Lawrence River



Read the following documents and respond to the prompts. Read all three parts of the question before responding. Answers need to be in complete sentences (a brief paragraph should be enough for each a, b & c response) bulleted points will not be given credit. You do not need a thesis statement. Do not quote the sources. Label your responses with the question number and a, b, & c. Try to be specific with your responses and avoid vague generalizations.

Question 1 is based on the following excerpt the image and material from Chapter 1.
Christopher Columbus (1492) Excerpt from his journal.

“As I saw that they were very friendly to us, and perceived that they could be much more easily converted to our holy faith by gentle means than by force, I presented them with some red caps, and strings of beads to wear upon the neck, and many other trifles of small value. . . Afterwards they came swimming to the boats, bringing parrots, balls of cotton thread, javelins, and many other things which they exchanged for articles we gave them, such as glass beads, and hawk’s bells. They willingly traded everything they owned…They were well built, with good bodies and handsome features….They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane….They would make fine servants… I am of opinion that they would very readily become Christians, as they appear to have no religion. . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

1. Use the excerpt and image above to answer a, c, and c.

a) Compare the depiction of the American Indians in Columbus’ journal with the image above and determine how they are similar.

b) Examine the depiction of the American Indians in Columbus’ journal and the image above and determine how they contrast each other.

c) What impact did depictions such as these have on European attitudes toward exploring the “New World”?
Question 2 is based on the following two excerpts and material from Chapter 1:

Juan de Sepulveda (1547)  Spanish theologian, philosopher, historian, and astronomer called by Charles V to share his view on the treatment of Indians in the New World.

“The Spanish have a perfect right to rule these barbarians of the New World and the adjacent islands, who in prudence, skill, virtues, and humanity are as inferior to the Spanish as children to adults, or women to men, for there exists between the two as great a difference as between savage and cruel races and the most merciful, between the most intemperate and the moderate and temperate and, I might even say, between apes and men. You surely do not expect me to recall at length the prudence and talents of the Spanish.... And what can I say of the gentleness and humanity of our people, who, even in battle, after having gained the victory, put forth their greatest effort and care to save the greatest possible number of the conquered and to protect them from the cruelty of their allies? Well, then, if we are dealing with virtue, what temperance or mercy can you expect from men who are committed to all types of intemperance and base frivolity, and eat human flesh? Although some of them show a certain ingenuity for various works of artisanship, this is no proof of human cleverness, for we can observe animals, birds, and spiders making certain structures which no human accomplishment can competently imitate. Therefore, if you wish to reduce them, I do not say to our domination, but to a servitude a little less harsh, it will not be difficult for them to change their masters, and instead of the ones they had, who were barbarous and impious and inhuman, to accept the Christians, cultivators of human virtues and the true faith.”

Bartolome de Las Casas (1552) The Dominican friar challenged Sepulveda in the Valladolid Debate.

“Now if we shall have shown that among our Indians of the western and southern shores (granting that we call them barbarians and that they are barbarians) there are important kingdoms, large numbers of people who live settled lives in a society, great cities, kings, judges and laws, persons who engage in commerce, buying, selling, lending, and the other contracts of the law of nations, will it not stand proved that the Reverend Doctor Sepulveda has spoken wrongly and viciously against peoples like these, either out of malice or ignorance of Aristotle's teaching, and, therefore, has falsely and perhaps irreparably slandered them before the entire world? From the fact that the Indians are barbarians it does not necessarily follow that they are incapable of government and have to be ruled by other's, except to be taught about the Catholic faith and to be admitted to the holy sacraments. They are not ignorant, inhuman, or bestial. Rather, long before they had heard the word Spaniard they had properly organized states, wisely ordered by excellent laws, religion, and custom. They cultivated friendship and, bound together in common fellowship, lived in populous cities in which they wisely administered the affairs of both peace and war justly and equitably, truly governed by laws that at very many points surpass ours, and could have won the admiration of the sages of Athens.... 

Next, I call the Spaniards who plunder that unhappy people torturers.... For God's sake and man's faith in him, is this the way to impose the yoke of Christ on Christian men? Is this the way to remove wild barbarism from the minds of barbarians? Is it not, rather, to act like thieves, cutthroats, and cruel plunderers and to drive the gentlest of people headlong into despair? The Indian race is not that barbaric, nor are they dull witted or stupid, but they are easy to teach and very talented in learning all the liberal arts, and very ready to accept, honor, and observe the Christian religion and correct their sins (as experience has taught) once priests have introduced them to the sacred mysteries and taught them the word of God. They have been endowed with excellent conduct, and before the coming of the Spaniards, as we have said, they had political states that were well founded on beneficial laws. The Indians are our brothers, and Christ has given his life for them. Why, then, do we persecute them with such inhuman savagery when they do not deserve such treatment? The past, because it cannot be undone, must be attributed to our weakness, provided that what has been taken unjustly is restored. 

Finally, let all savagery and apparatus of war, which are better suited to Muslims than Christians, be done away with. Let upright heralds be sent to proclaim Jesus Christ in their way of life and to convey the attitudes of Peter and Paul. The Indians will embrace the teaching of the gospel, as I well know, for they are not stupid or barbarous but have a native sincerity and are simple, moderate, and meek, and, finally, such that I do not know whether there is any people readier to receive the gospel. Once they have embraced it, it is marvelous with what piety, eagerness, faith, and charity they obey Christ's precepts and venerate the sacraments. For they are docile and clever, and in their diligence and gifts of nature, they excel most peoples of the known world . . .”

2. Using the previous excerpts, answer a, b, and c.

a) Contrast how the attitudes toward American Indians as expressed by Juan de Sepulveda and Bartolome de Las Casas differ.

b) Provide ONE example of how the attitudes toward American Indians as expressed by Juan de Sepulveda and Bartolome de Las Casas were similar.

c) Briefly explain which man’s perspective seemed to have the bigger impact on the attitude of the Spanish and other Europeans based on historical evidence from Chapter 1 and your knowledge of history.

Question 3 is based on the following excerpt.

“I marvel not a little… that since the first discovery of America (which is now full four score and ten years), after so great conquests and plantings of the Spaniards and Portuguese there, that we of England could never have the grace to set fast footing in such fertile and temperate places... But ... I conceive great hope that the time approacheth and now is that we of England may share and divide the prize if we will ourselves both with the Spaniard and the Portuguese in part of America and other regions as yet undiscovered. And surely if there were in us that desire to advance the honor of our country which ought to be in every good man, we would not all this while have neglected the possessing of those lands which of equity and right appertain unto us, as by the discourses that follow shall appear most plainly. 

Yea, if we would behold with the eye of pity how all our prisons are pestered and filled with able men to serve their country, which for small robberies are daily hanged up in great numbers.... we would hasten . . . the deducting of some colonies of our superfluous people into those temperate and fertile parts of America, which, being within six weeks sailing of England, are yet unpossessed by any Christians, and seem to offer themselves unto us, stretching nearer unto Her Majesty's dominions than to any other part of Europe.... It chanced very lately that upon occasion I had great conference…with an excellent learned man of Portugal, most privy to all the discoveries of his nation, who wondered that those blessed countries from the point of Florida northward were all this while unplanted by Christians, protesting with great affection and zeal that if he were now as young as I he would sell all he had, being a man of no small wealth and honor, to furnish a convenient number of ships to sea for the inhabiting of those countries and reducing those heathen people to Christianity. . . . If this man's desire might be executed, we might not only for the present time take possession of that good land, but also, in short space, by God's grace, find out that short and easy passage by the Northwest which we have hitherto so long desired.... Certainly, if hitherto in our own discoveries we had not been led with a preposterous desire of seeking rather gain than God's glory, I assure myself that our labors had taken far better effect. But we forgot that godliness is great riches, and that if we first seek the kingdom of God, all other things will be given unto us....”

- Richard Hakluyt, 1582

3. Using the excerpt above, answer a, b, and c.

a) According to Hakluyt, why should England colonize America?

b) Why did England not establish permanent colonies in the Western Hemisphere during the 16th Century on par with its rivals Spain and Portugal?

c) Briefly explain ONE specific piece of evidence from the 16th Century that either challenges or supports the point of view expressed by the writer.

Question 4 is based on the following excerpt.
“Personal ambition, in fact, played a large role in the migration of Europeans across the Atlantic in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In contrast, the cultural traditions of Native Americans emphasized the collectivity rather than the individual. Because land and other natural resources were held in common and society was far less hierarchical than in Europe, the accumulative spirit and personal ambition were inappropriate.”

- Gary Nash, Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early America, Prentice Hall, 1982

4. Use the excerpt and your knowledge of United States history to answer a, b, and c.

a) Briefly explain the main point of this passage.

b) Explain ONE way this issue affected intergroup relationships between European migrants and Native Americans.

c) Briefly assess how successful Europeans were at changing the cultural values of Native Americans.

PART V: LONG ESSAY QUESTION (LEQ - formerly called FRQs)

Essay writing skills and especially timed-writing are essential for success in both this class and on the AP Exam. Answer the following question in a hand-written essay (blue or black ink pen only). A Long Essay Question requires an intro paragraph with a clear thesis statement, and a minimum of two body paragraphs (although more are optional) and a conclusion. In class and for the AP Exam, you will only have 35 minutes (5 to brainstorm and 30 minutes to write) so try to stay close to those time-parameters. Make sure you clearly answer the question and provide ample specific outside information as supporting evidence for your position. Avoid 1st person and the tone should be formal. Do not quote the textbook, but instead include specific evidence to support your argument and analysis. You will be evaluated based on a clear thesis, use of an array of evidence, depth and clarity of analysis, ability to be persuasive with your argument, and ability to provide synthesis to place the argument in historical context. A sample of the 6-Point rubric that will be used to score LEQs is included after the prompt.

Prompt: Some historians have argued that positive effects of the Columbian Exchange outweighed the negative effects. Support, modify, or refute this interpretation, providing specific evidence from the time period between 1491 and 1607 to justify your answer.

Thesis & Argumentation (0-1 Points)

 Clear thesis that directly addresses all parts of the questions and does not simply restate the question (should provide a clear argument and well developed subcategories) (1)

  • Simply restates the question, Doesn’t clearly answer question, no subcategories, or No Thesis (0)

Support for Argument: Argumentation & Use of Evidence (0-2 Points)

  • Supports thesis with abundant, specific relevant evidence, clearly and consistently explains how the evidence supports the thesis & argument (2)

 Supports the thesis using some specific evidence and makes a relevant argument (1)

 Little or no specific evidence & shows limited understanding and lacks clear analysis (0)

Application of Targeted Skill (0-2 Points)


  • Describes similarities AND differences among historical developments, providing specific examples & analyzes the reasons these or, evaluates the relative significance of the historical developments (2)

  • Describes similarities AND differences among historical developments (1)

  • Fails to adequately illustrate targeted skill (0)

Synthesis (0-1 Point) (This can often be accomplished in the conclusion)

Response synthesizes the argument, evidence, and context into a coherent and persuasive essay by accomplishing one or more of the following as relevant to the question:

    • Appropriately extends or modifies thesis or argument (1)

    • OR Explicitly employs an additional appropriate category of analysis (e.g., political, economic, social, cultural, geographical, race/ethnicity, gender) beyond that called for in the prompt (1)

    • OR The argument appropriately connects the topic of the question to 
other historical periods, geographical areas, contexts, or circumstances (1)

    • Accomplishes none or the above or essay is poorly organized and or writing limits comprehension (0)

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