Ap united States History Winneconne High School 2014-2015 Instructor: Mr. Coonen Abstract

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AP United States History
Winneconne High School
Instructor:  Mr. Coonen
AP United States History is a year-long course designed to provide students the opportunity to experience a college-level course and to prepare students for the AP Exam

Course Description

AP U.S. History is a college-level course designed to provide students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in United States history.  This course is a two-semester survey of U.S. History from the Age of Exploration to our present time. Through in-depth study, students will learn to assess historical materials - their relevance to a given interpretive problem, their reliability and their importance - and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship.  The study of AP U.S. History is designed to provide a college-level experience and preparation for the Advanced Placement Examination in United States History Examination administered by the College Board in May of each year.  The AP U.S. History exam evaluates students in multiple choice and essay formats and much attention is paid to the writing component in this course. Emphasis is placed on critical and analytical thinking skills, essay writing, and on interpretation of primary and secondary sources.

Advanced Placement United States History is a challenging course that is meant to be the equivalent of a freshman college course and can earn students college credit.  Solid reading and writing skills, along with a willingness to devote considerable time to homework and study, are necessary to succeed. In taking AP U.S. History, students must be willing to accept the demands of a college course and therefore shoulder the load of lengthy nightly readings and homework assignments.

Kennedy, David M., et el. The American Pageant. 14th ed. Boston: Wadsorth, Cengage Learning, 2010.

Additional readings will be assigned with each chapter.


www.thecoonenwiki.pbworks.com:  Throughout the year, this wiki will serve multiple purposes.  Here, you will find:

  • Assignments

  • Documents

  • Primary source material

  • Video clips

  • Class-related web links

  • Class discussion threads

  • And much more as the wiki continues to evolve

Required Supplies:

This is a college-level course and requires a high degree of personal responsibility.  Part of that responsibility involves coming to class prepared.  Each day, you should be equipped with:

  • Text book

  • Writing utensil

  • Note paper

  • A willingness to work hard

  • Flash drive

  • Computer access

  • Gmail account

Course Objectives

Students will:

  • Master a broad body of historical knowledge

  • Demonstrate an understanding of historical chronology

  • Use historical data to support an argument or position

  • Interpret and apply data from original documents

  • Prepare for and successfully pass the AP Exam


Readings: Students will be expected to read assigned passages from the required reading list prior to class meetings as well as outside materials as is necessary. Students should also be prepared to read on a regular basis (6-10 hours per week).
Assignments: All assignments and exams will be due on their assigned dates. In most cases, late work will only be accepted for half credit. Sloppy, cluttered, or inappropriately formatted assignments will not be accepted. Students are expected to complete all assignments and examinations on time. Although students are expected to see the instructor about missed or late work, a "study buddy" is encouraged. Being absent the day before an assignment or exam does not excuse a student from taking that exam except in unusual circumstances.
Methods of Evaluation: All work will be graded on a point system. Reading quizzes are worth 25 points and end of unit tests are worth 500 points (multiple choice -200 points, essay – 100 points, DBQ – 100 points and matching – 100 points). There will be projects assigned throughout the school year that will also add to the total points for the grade.
Class Participation: Studies have consistently shown that students who participate in class discussions and activities are more likely to grasp learning objectives. Class participation, or a lack thereof, will make a difference in one’s grade.
Attendance: Regular class attendance is strongly recommended since a majority of the course will involve group discussions and activities that will aid in an understanding of the material.
Formal Projects: The importance of formal projects cannot be understated. In addition to daily course activities, students should be prepared to argue a formal debate, create a student made DBQ, and other project ideas that may arise.

Major Units

  • Unit 1: Founding the New Nation (c. 33,000 B.C.E. – 1783 C.E.)

  • Unit 2: Building the New Nation (c. 1776 – 1860)

  • Unit 3: Testing the New Nation (1820 – 1877)

  • Unit 4: Forging an Industrial Society (1869 – 1909)

  • Unit 5: Struggling for Justice at Home and Abroad (1900 – 1945)

  • Unit 6: Making Modern America (1945 – Present)

Major Themes

American Diversity

The diversity of the American people and the relationships among different

groups. The roles of race, class, ethnicity, and gender in the history of the

United States.

American Identity

Views of the American national character and ideas about American

exceptionalism. Recognizing regional differences within the context of

what it means to be an American.


Diverse individual and collective expressions through literature, art,

philosophy, music, theater, and film throughout U.S. history. Popular

culture and the dimensions of cultural conflict within American society.

Demographic Changes

Changes in birth, marriage, and death rates; life expectancy and family

patterns; population size and density. The economic, social, and political

effects of immigration, internal migration, and migration networks.

Economic Transformations

Changes in trade, commerce, and technology across time. The effects of

capitalist development, labor and unions, and consumerism.


Ideas about the consumption and conservation of natural resources. The

impact of population growth, industrialization, pollution, and urban and

suburban expansion.  


Engagement with the rest of the world from the fifteenth century to the

present: colonialism, mercantilism, global hegemony, development of

markets, imperialism, cultural exchange.

Politics and Citizenship

Colonial and revolutionary legacies, American political traditions, growth

of democracy, and the development of the modern state. Defining citizenship; struggles for civil rights.  


Diverse movements focusing on a broad range of issues, including antislavery, education, labor, temperance, women’s rights, civil rights, gay

rights, war, public health, and government.


The variety of religious beliefs and practices in America from prehistory to

the twenty-first century; influence of religion on politics, economics, and


Slavery and Its Legacies in North America

Systems of slave labor and other forms of unfree labor (e.g., indentured

servitude, contract labor) in Native American societies, the Atlantic World,

and the American South and West. The economics of slavery and its racial

dimensions. Patterns of resistance and the long-term economic, political,

and social effects of slavery.  

War and Diplomacy

Armed conflict from the precolonial period to the twenty-first century;

impact of war on American foreign policy and on politics, economy, and


Schedule and Assignments
PART ONE (Chapters 1-8, 6 weeks: 9/2-10/10)


c. 33,000 B.C.E. – 1769 C.E.
American Pageant Chapter 1:

New World Beginnings
The geology of the New World; Native Americans before Columbus; Europeans and Africans; Columbus and early explorers; The ecological consequences of Columbus’s discovery; The conquest of Mexico; Spain builds a New World empire

Guidebook Chapter 1, pp. 1-10

Free-Response Essay Topics:
1. How did the geographic setting of North America—including its relation to Asia, Europe, and Africa—affect its subsequent history?
2. What were the common characteristics of all Indian cultures in the New World, and what were the important differences among them?
3. What fundamental factors drew the Europeans to the exploration, conquest, and settlement of the New World?
4. What was the impact on the Indians, Europeans, and Africans when each of their previously separate worlds collided with one another?
5. What were the greatest achievements of Spain’s New World Empire, and what were its greatest evils and disasters?
6. Should the European encounter with the Indian peoples of the Americas be understood primarily as a story of conquest and exploitation, or as one of mutual cultural encounter that brought beneficial as well as tragic results for both?

Additional Reading:

Alfred W. Crosby, Jr., The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492, 30th Anniversary Edition (Praeger Paperback: 2003)

Olaudah Equiano, Equiano’s Travels (London: 1789)
This autobiography is a fascinating account by an African in the New World in the eighteenth century.

American Pageant Chapter 2:

The Planting of English America

England on the eve of empire; The expansion of Elizabethan England; The planting of Jamestown, 1607; English settlers and Native Americans; The growth of Virginia and Maryland; England in the Caribbean; Settling the Carolinas and Georgia

Guidebook Chapter 2, pp. 11-19

Free-Response Essay Topics:
1. What was the primary purpose of the English settlement of Jamestown, and how successful were the colonists in achieving that goal in the first twenty years?
2. What features were common to all of England’s southern colonies, and what features were peculiar to each one?
3. In what ways did the relationship between whites and Indians (Powhatans) in Virginia establish the pattern for later white-Indian relations across North America.
4. How did the search for a viable labor force affect the development of the southern colonies? Why did African slavery almost immediately become the dominant labor system in South Carolina, while only slowly taking firm hold in England’s other southern colonies?
5. Which was the most important factor shaping the development of England’s southern colonies in the seventeenth century: Indian relations, the one-crop plantation economy, or slavery? Explain and support your answer.
6. Compare and contrast the early colonial empires of Spain and England in terms of motives, economic foundations, and relations with Africans and Indians (see Chapter 1). What factors explain the similarities and differences in the two ventures?

Additional Reading:
Kathleen Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race and Power in Colonial Virginia (University of North Carolina Press: 1996)
This work is a unique and important study of the role gender played in shaping racial ideologies in colonial Virginia.
American Pageant Chapter 3:

Settling the Northern Colonies

The Puritan faith; Plymouth Colony, 1620; The Puritan commonwealth of Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1630; Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire; Puritans and Indians; The Confederation and Dominion of New England, 1686-1689; New Netherland becomes New York; Pennsylvania, the Quaker colony; New Jersey and Delaware

Guidebook Chapter 3, pp. 20-29

Free-Response Essay Topics:
1. Compare and contrast the New England and middle colonies in terms of motives for founding, religious and social composition, economic foundations, and political development.
2. How did the Puritans’ distinctive religious outlook and church organization shape the politics, society, and culture of Massachusetts Bay and most of the other New England colonies?
3. “The dissent from Puritanism was as important in the formation of New England as Puritanism itself.” How valid is this statement? Defend your answer.
4. Contrast Puritan New England’s policies toward the Indians with the initial policies of the Quaker settlers in Pennsylvania. Why was Pennsylvania’s Indian policy ultimately unsuccessful?
5. Describe and analyze the English government’s relationship with New England and the middle colonies during the course of the seventeenth century. Is the term benign neglect an accurate description of English colonial policy?
6. Discuss the development of religious and political freedom in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Pennsylvania. How did the greater degree of such freedoms enjoyed by Rhode Island and Pennsylvania affect life in those colonies?
7. What economic, social, and ethnic conditions typical of the early southern colonies (see Chapter 2) were generally absent in the New England and middle colonies? What characteristics did the middle colonies have that were not generally present in the South?

Additional Reading:
James Deetz, The Times Of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony(W.H. Freeman: 2000)
Moving beyond the traditional myths and stereotypes of the Pilgrims, Deetz provides a humanizing narrative about daily life in Plymouth.
American Pageant Chapter 4:

American Life in the Seventeenth Century (1607-1692)

Life and labor in the Chesapeake tobacco region; Indentured servants and Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia, 1676; The spread of slavery; African American culture; Southern Society; Families in New England; Declining Puritan piety; The Salem witchcraft trials, 1692; Daily life in the colonies

Guidebook Chapter 4, pp. 30-38

Free-Response Essay Topics:
1. Why was the tobacco culture of early Maryland and Virginia so harsh and unstable. How did the environmental and demographic conditions of the Chesapeake region—especially rampant disease and the scarcity of women—affect the social and political life of the colonies?
2. What was the underlying cause of the expansion of African slavery in English North America?
3. Could the colonies’ labor problem have been solved without slavery?
4. How did African Americans develop a culture that combined African and American elements? What were some of the features of that culture?
5. Compare and contrast the typical family conditions and ways of life of southern whites, African American slaves, and New Englanders in the seventeenth century.
6. How did the harsh climate and soil, stern religion, and tightly knit New England town shape the Yankee character?
7. In what ways were married colonial New England women second-class citizens, subjected to discrimination and control, and in what ways was their status and well-being protected by law and society. Is it fair to critically judge colonial gender relations by later standards of equality and rights?
8. How did the Salem witch episode reflect the tensions and changes in seventeenth-century New England life and thought?
9. In what ways was seventeenth-century colonial society already recognizably American in relation to issues of family life, social class, ethnicity, and religion, and in what ways did it still reflect Old World features—whether European or African?

Additional Reading:
William Cronon, Changes in the Land (Hill & Wang: 1983)
This groundbreaking work looks at colonial history from an ecological perspective.
American Pageant Chapter 5:

Colonial Society on the Eve of Revolution (1700-1775)

Immigration and population growth; colonial social structure; earning a living; the Atlantic economy; The role of religion; The Great Awakening of the 1730s; Education and culture; Politics and the press; Colonial folkways

Guidebook Chapter 5, pp. 39-49

Free-Response Essay Topics:
1. What factors contributed to the growing numbers and wealth of the American colonists in the eighteenth century?
2. Describe the structure of colonial society in the eighteenth century. What developments tended to make society less equal and more hierarchical?
3. What attitudes toward government and authority did eighteenth-century Americans most commonly display. Cite specific developments or events that reflect these outlooks.
4. What were the causes and consequences of the Great Awakening? How was religious revival linked to the development of a sense of American uniqueness and identity?
5. What features of colonial politics contributed to the development of popular democracy, and what kept political life from being more truly democratic?
6. What were Americans’ essential attitudes toward education, professional learning, and higher forms of culture and science. Why were colonial newspapers and publications like Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack so popular?
7. Some historians claim that eighteenth-century American society was actually becoming more European than it had been in the previous century, while others contend that developments like the Great Awakening and the rise of colonial assemblies made the colonies truly American for the first time. Which of these interpretations is more persuasive, and why?
8. Compare and contrast the social structure and culture of the eighteenth century with that of the seventeenth century (see Chapter 4). In what ways was eighteenth-century society more complex and in what ways did it clearly continue earlier ideas and practices?

Additional Reading:
Brendan McConville, The King's Three Faces: The Rise and Fall of Royal America, 1688-1776 (University of North Carolina Press: 2006)
Reexamining colonial political history, McConville reinterprets the period by arguing that Americans were actually strongly attached to British monarchs.

American Pageant Chapter 6:

The Duel for North America (1608-1763)

New France; Fur-traders and Indians; Anglo-French colonial rivalries; Europe, America, and the first world wars; The Seven Years’ War; Pontiac’s Uprising and the Proclamation of 1763

Guidebook Chapter 6, pp. 50-59

Free-Response Essay Topics:
1. Compare France’s colonizing efforts in the New World with Spain’s and England’s colonies (see especially Chapters 1 and 2). What factors explain France’s relatively weak impact on the New World compared with that of England’s and Spain’s?
2. In what ways were the American colonists involved in the home country’s struggle with France?
3. How did French relations with the Indians compare with the Indian policies of Britain and Spain?
4. Why did most Indian peoples fight with the French against Britain and its American colonists in the French and Indian War?
5. Explain why Britain’s success in defeating the French empire led to failures in dealing with its colonial subjects.
6. What did the French and Indian War reveal about Britain’s fundamental attitudes toward its North American colonies. How did the British view of the colonists differ from the way the colonists understood themselves and their identity?
7. When the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War) began, most American colonists were extremely proud and happy to be British citizens, part of the world’s greatest empire. When it ended many of them no longer felt that way, even though the British Empire was more powerful than ever. Why?

Additional Reading:
Robert Kirkwood, Through So Many Dangers: The Memoirs and Adventures of Robert Kirk, Late of the Royal Highland Regiment (Purple Mountain Press: 2004)
Kirkwood offers a unique first-hand account of a soldier serving in America during the French and Indian War and Pontiac’s Rebellion.
American Pageant Chapter 7:

The Road to Revolution (1763-1775)

Roots of revolution; The merits and menace of mercantilism; The Stamp Act crisis, 1765; The Townsend Acts, 1767, The Boston Tea Party, 1773; The Intolerable Acts and the Continental Congress, 1774, Lexington, Concord, and the gathering clouds of war, 1775, The rebel army

Guidebook Chapter 7, pp. 60-69

Free-Response Essay Topics:
1. What central political ideas had colonial Americans developed by the eighteenth century that made them deeply suspicious of centralized authority and fervent in defense of their rights?
2. How and why did the Americans and the British differ in their views of taxation and of the relationship of colonies to the empire?
3. What was the theory and practice of mercantilism? Was mercantilism actually as economically oppressive as the colonists came to believe? Were the psychological effects of colonial dependence less or more important than the economic ones?
4. Prior to the outbreak of violence in 1775, what essentially nonviolent methods did the colonists use in their struggle with British authorities? Were these methods effective in achieving colonial goals? How did the British respond to them?
5. What advantages and disadvantages did the American rebels and the British each possess as the war began? What did each side do to mobilize its resources most effectively?
6. At various times during the decade from 1765–1775, the British government backed down and sought compromise with the American colonies. Why did it react so differently, and harshly, after the Boston Tea Party? Was there any possibility that the Empire could have been repaired after the imposition of the Intolerable Acts?
7. Could the American people have won their independence without George Washington and the small, professional Continental Army? Why have the myths of the militiamen and the part-time citizen-soldiers (Minute Men) loomed almost larger in American memories of the Revolutionary War than memories of Washington’s trained professional military?
8. Was the American Revolution inevitable? Or could the thirteen colonies have remained attached to Britain for many years and then peacefully achieved their independence as the British colonies of Canada and Australia later did? How would the meaning of America have been different without this violent revolt from the home country?

Additional Reading:
Edmund S. Morgan and Helen M. Morgan, The Stamp Act Crisis (University of North Carolina Press: 1953)
The authors provide a brief, yet perceptive, account of the American reaction to British initiatives.
American Pageant Chapter 8:

America Secedes from the Empire (1775-1783)

Early skirmishes, 1775; American “republicanism”; the Declaration of Independence, 1776; Patriots and Loyalists; the fighting fronts; The French alliance, 1778; Yorktown 1781, The Peace of Paris, 1783

Guidebook Chapter 8, pp. 70-79

Free-Response Essay Topics:
1. Why were Americans so long reluctant to break with Britain. How does the Declaration of Independence explain ”the causes that impel them to separation” (see Appendix)?
2. Why was the Battle of Saratoga such a key battle in the Revolutionary War? Did Saratoga put the Americans on a clear path to victory, or only prevent them from being quickly defeated?
3. Why did Tom Paine’s radical vision of republican virtue and the rights of the people appeal to so many Americans at the time of independence? Why did more conservative Patriots develop a different vision of America’s republican future?
4. In what ways was the Revolution a civil war among Americans as well as a fight between Britain and those Americans seeking independence? Why have the Loyalists generally been forgotten in the story of America’s beginnings?
5. How did the idealism and self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence shape Americans’ outlook and conduct during the Revolutionary War, including their attempt to establish entirely new principles of international relations?
6. Argue for and against: Even though it was necessary to achieve American independence, the American alliance with the reactionary French monarchy violated revolutionary ideals and demonstrated their impracticality as a basis for international relations.
7. Argue for and against: Washington was a great general not so much because of his victories but because of his brilliant strategic retreats.
8. In what ways did the principles of the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence emerge from the practical historical experience of the American people, and in what ways did it reflect the abstract Enlightenment beliefs in a new age of progress, liberty, and human rights?

Utilizing Primary Sources:

Document-Based Question:  Changing Demographic, 1660-1775
Question:  In the middle of the 17th century, Great Britain’s North American colonies were predominantly racially white, ethnically English, and religiously Protestant.  Little more than one hundred years later those colonies had become markedly more diverse.  Utilizing the documents provided by your instructor and your knowledge of the period 1650-1775, analyze how new forces of race, ethnicity, and religion affected that society.

Document-Based Question:  Charges Against the King, 1754-1776
Question:  For two decades prior to the Revolution, the Americans built up a series of grievances against the British government.  Those complaints were clearly articulated in the Declaration of Independence, including charges that the Crown had “excited domestic insurrections amongst us and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages…and “dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.”  The document also faulted George III for “imposing Taxes on us without our Consent,”…and “cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world.”
Utilizing your knowledge of the period 1754-1776 and the related documents provided by your instructor, to what extent were the charges leveled in the Declaration of Independence against the King valid?

Additional Reading:
David Hackett Fisher, Washington’s Crossing (Oxford University Press: 2004)
This detailed military history shows the significance of Washington crossing the Delaware to the overall American war effort.

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