Course description

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SYLLABUS: 2006/7

This course is designed to give students an in depth understanding of United States history from colonization of North America to the present and to prepare them for the Advanced Placement exam. Our primary goal will be to analyze the forces of change and conflict throughout American history in order to gain insight into how past events have shaped the present. It is hoped that by examining the experiences of a wide diversity of individuals and groups students will gain a genuine appreciation for the richness of the history of the United States.


  • Master a broad body of knowledge

  • Demonstrate an understanding of historical chronology; make connections between events/issues/movements

  • Use historical data to formulate/support and argument or position

  • Interpret data from original documents and primary sources

  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively use analytical skills of evaluation, cause and effect, compare and contrast

  • Prepare for the Advanced Placement examination


In order for this class to be a meaningful and enjoyable, all members of the class must adhere to the following standards of behavior and attitude: First, students must attend class regularly and on time. Students are also expected to limit the time they are out of the classroom. While it is not necessary for students to ask permission to leave the classroom, short trips to the bathroom or official course related business are the only legitimate reasons to leave the room. Second, all members of the class must behave in an orderly fashion at all times. In particular, this means that conversation should be limited to class related activities. For the most part, full class discussions and group work will be the only times when conversation is warranted. All other conversation is likely to disrupt the learning process and will not be tolerated. Finally, all members of the class must strive to maintain a positive attitude. Treat others with respect; refrain from arguing, yelling, and criticizing others


In the event that a student is absent from school on the day of an examination or due date of an assignment, they will be required to complete what was missed on the next day they are at school. In most cases students will be required to make up a missed test during their study hall, lunch period or, if absolutely necessary, after school. In the case of late assignments, %10 of the grade will be deducted for each day the assignment is late.


It is my belief that most students are honest and do not wish to misrepresent their work; however, they sometimes lack the skill of interpreting sources and using source material in their research. As such, we will spend time in class working on effective research skills. Nevertheless, plagiarism is a serious offense which will not be tolerated and any student caught plagiarising will automatically receive a grade of F on that assignment. In addition students may be required to turn in an assignment on a disk in when suspected of plagiarism.


The grade you receive in this class will be determined by how well you perform in a number of areas. The weights given in determining the final grade is as follows:






Tests and quizzes will be given at regular intervals throughout the year. Generally speaking, there will be a quiz at the end of every unit and a test at the end of every three units. Material for tests and quizzes will be drawn from the course texts, lectures, and additional sources such as films and handouts. Tests will take the form of multiple choice, free response questions and document based questions or a combination thereof. Generally, each test will focus on information covered since the previous test; however, there will be a comprehensive examination at the end of every quarter.


The overall quality of the learning experience will be heavily influenced by the level of active participation there is in the class. There are four basic elements involved in effective participation: preparation, class discussions, note-taking and using time wisely. To begin with, fully complete all reading/ homework assignments and come to class with the necessary material. Enter into a thoughtful discussion of the material, respond to questions, and share your insights when asked to do so. Stay focused at all times.

In addition to taking part in class discussions, note taking is an important part of class participation. Have a notebook out at all times and take detailed notes during lectures and discussions. You are required to keep a notebook solely for this purpose, (a spira,l notebook is recommended). We will go over some strategies for effective note-taking in class.

Finally, you should use the time allotted to you for class work effectively. This applies to all of the assignments and activities that you are given; particularly in regard to readings. The claim that, “I will do it later, at home” will not be accepted. Don’t put off for later what you can do now.


In order to succeed in this course and to do well on the AP examination it is imperative that students make a serious investment of time/effort into completing reading assignments and develop an effective reading strategy. Effective reading comprehension/retention can best be achieved by becoming an “active reader.” Highlighting important points is one way to accomplish this, but highlighting is rarely sufficient on its own. Therefore, all students are required to keep a “reading notebook” which contains written summaries of each reading assignment. The process of writing these summaries will be as follows:

*Read a short section or passage of the text

*Pause and reflect on the main points, issues, and positions

*Write a narrative summary that includes that information

*Most importantly. The information in your summary must be in your own words

Reading assignments will be drawn from a wide variety of primary documents and secondary sources; most of which are contained in the three required books listed below, but also from photocopied handouts. Most of the handouts are short journal articles but there are a number of primary document handouts as well. These readings/documents will be the basis of class discussions and Socratic Seminars and therefore it is imperative that they be completed before class.

Boyer, Paul S. Enduring Vision. 4th edition

Heffner, Richard D. A Documentary History of the United States 7th ed. New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc. 2002

Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in American History. Volume I, 11th ed.

New York: McGraw-Hill 1998

Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in American History. Volume II, 11th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill 1998

This course requires an extensive amount of writing. You will be asked to write at least two analytical/interpretive essays per unit: one document based essay and one argumentative essay per unit. Document based essays will prompt you to respond to a DBQ, argumentative essays will prompt you to analyze the arguments made by historians of different perspectives/schools of thought, (historiography). These questions will be drawn directly from the text “Taking Sides.” Both types of essays require to formulate a thesis and support it with facts/evidence.


What follows is an outline of the units we will be covering in the course. Each unit contains a list of the broad topics/issues, the most important themes, and the key terms/events/concepts that will be addressed in the unit in either lectures, readings or both. Reading assignments, (primary and secondary), writing assignments, and in class activities are also listed. The questions are written in very broad terms and in order to do well in this class you must have a deeper understanding of the material and be able to illustrate that in discussions, assignments, and examinations.


  • Europe In the 15th and 16th centuries

  • Life in the pre- Columbian Western Hemisphere

  • Culture clashes and exchanges

  • Political, social and economic institutions in North America

  • Religion in the English colonies.

  • F. Daily life in the English colonies


  • Enduring Vision: p.14-19; p.22-26; p.29-32

  • Handouts:

Secondary- “The Middle passage” by Daniel P. Mannix;

Primary- The Baconite Grievances, Sinners in the hand of an Angry God

TAKING SIDES: Was there a “Great Awakening” in mid Eighteenth Century America?

DBQ- European views/attitudes about Native Americans


  • How did racial, ethnic and economic diversity effect social relations in colonial America?

  • What impact did colonization have on the natural environment?


  • What encouraged Europeans to explore and settle in the new world?

  • How did society in the western hemisphere contrast with European society? How accurate where the European’s impressions of Native American society?

  • How did the exchange of cultures impact society on both sides of the Atlantic? Evaluate the consequences of the exchange for both hemispheres.

  • Compare and contrast the forms of government and economic development among the Spanish, French, Dutch and English settlements in North America.

  • How did economic development differ among the New England colonies, the mid Atlantic colonies and the southern colonies?

  • What was the genesis of the system of African slavery? Why was slavery eventually concentrated in the southern colonies?

  • Why did Protestantism become the dominant faith in the English colonies? What was the role of religion in both the life of the individual and society as a whole in the English colonies? Evaluate religious toleration and intolerance in early America.

  • Characterize daily life in New England, mid Atlantic and southern colonies. How did daily life differ among economic classes.


  • Mayflower compact, John Winthrop’s “City Upon a Hill”, Massachusetts Bay colony, Paxton boys uprising, Bacon’s rebellion, King Philip’s war, indentured servitude, Jamestown and Plymouth settlements, triangle trade routes, Quakers, Puritanism


  • Intercolonial relationships

  • North America under the British Empire

  • Orthodoxy and the colonial mind

  • Cooperation and conflict with the mother land

  • Stirrings of revolt

  • Action and reaction between colonists and Great Britain


Enduring Vision:: ch.4; ch. 5

Documentary History: Common Sense, Declaration of Independence


Secondary- “Crowd Action in Revolutionary America” by Paul Gilge; “George Robert Twelves Hewes; Patriot Shoemaker of Boston” by Alfred Young
TAKING SIDES: Was the American Revolution a Conservative Movement?

DBQ: Colonial reactions to British taxation


  • What impact did the American Revolution have on women and African Americans?

  • How did the ideals of the American effect future revolutionary movements around the world?


  • What effect did the French and Indian war have on the colonies?

  • What effect did the decline of orthodoxy and the “great awakening” have on colonial society?

  • What influence did the enlightenment have on the colonists?

  • What was the relationship between colonies? Why were loyalties primarily local during the colonial period and how did this impact the outbreak of revolution?

  • What was the relationship between classes in colonial cities and how did this affect the outbreak of revolution?

  • What role did crowds play in the colonial response to the Great Britian?

  • What role did economics have on relations between the colonies and Great Britian?


mercantilism, The Stamp Act, The Quartering Act, The Townshend Acts, The Coercive Acts, the Boston Tea Party, Pope Day, effigies, Boston massacre, The Gaspee Affair, East India Co., Jonathon Edwards, privy council

EXAM- Units I,II (multiple choice, free response)

  • The outbreak of war

  • The Continental Congresses

  • Fighting the war

  • End of the war- Treaty of Paris

  • Results of the war

  • Experiments in government


  • Enduring Vision:: p.104-114

TAKING SIDES: Were the Founding Fathers Democratic Reformers?


  • What was the relationship between citizenship and military service during the War for Independence?

  • What did the War for Independence reveal about the relationship between elected officials and military leaders?


  • What were the primary causes of the revolution? (economic, political, social)

  • Explain the various tactics and strategies used by both armies? What were the roles of militias and the continental army in the war? How effective was Washington as commander in chief? What were his major challenges?

  • Evaluate the successes and failures of the continental congress in conducting the war.

  • What is meant by “the shot heard round the world?

  • How have different historians interpreted the American revolution?

  • Who benefited most from the revolution?

  • What contributions did women and blacks make to the war?

  • What battles and events significantly affected the course of the war? How?

  • What were the major conflicts among various states when constructing a new government? How were these conflicts resolved?

  • Identify the major weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation?


Battle of Saratoga, Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”, Declaration of Independence, John Lock, Lexington and Concord, Charles Cornwallis, Battle of Yorktown, Treaty of Paris, Northwest Ordinance, Land Ordinance,


  • Conflict within the new nation

  • The Constitutional Convention

  • The Constitution

  • The Struggle over ratification


Enduring Vision: p.118-129; p.131-137

Documentary History: Federalist Papers



Secondary- “Slavery and Freedom: an American Paradox” by Edmund S. Morgan
TAKING SIDES: Was the Constitution Designed to Protect the Economic Interests of it’s Framers?

DBQ: Shaye’s Rebellion


  • What do the debates and compromises at the Constitutional Convention reveal about the nature of American politics?

  • What is the relationship between citizens and government in American democracy?


  • What issues and events led to a call for revision of The Articles of Confederation?

  • Where the delegates to the convention interested only in their own property or did they have a broader vision?

  • What were the major compromises of the convention?

  • Explain the concepts of federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances.

  • What is the purpose of the Bill of Rights?

  • Identify the arguments of the federalists and the anti federalists.


Shay’s rebellion, Virginia plan, New Jersey plan, Connecticut compromise, three-fifths compromise, Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers, Judiciary Act of 1789,

EXAM- Units III, IV (free response)

  • The new government

  • Events and issues during the Washington administration

  • Events and issues during the Adams administration

  • Events and issues during the Jefferson administration


Enduring Vision:p.141-159

Documentary History: Marbury v. Madison; Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions


Primary- Hamilton vs. Jefferson on Popular Rule, States Rights, and the Bank; Washington’s Farewell Address

DBQ: Hamilton’s vision vs. Jefferson’s vision

  • What do the disagreements about the French Revolution reveal about the relationship between domestic politics and American foreign policy?

  • What role do moral questions play in American foreign policy?

  • How have questions about isolationism vs. internationalism affected American foreign policy?


  • How did Alexander Hamilton’s economic program put the new nation on sound financial footing? Evaluate Hamilton’s program in the short run and the long run.

  • How was the judicial branch organized and what role did it play in the 1790’s?

  • Explain the development of political parties.

  • Identify the major foreign policy problems during the Washington and Adams administrations. How were these issues resolved and what were the consequences of these developments?

  • How did the elections of 1796 and 1800 force the alteration of the electoral college?

  • Explain problems between Jefferson and the court. How were these issues resolved and what were the short term and long term consequences of these developments?

  • Evaluate the short term and long term consequences of the Louisiana Purchase.


Jay treaty, Embargo Act, Marbury v. Madison, Alien and Sedition Acts, XYZ Affair, Judiciary Act of 1801, 12th amendment, Yazoo land fraud, whiskey rebellion, Napoleanic wars


  • Domestic problems under Madison

  • The War of 1812

  • Monroe and the era of good feelings


Enduring Vision:p.159-169

Documentary History: The Monroe Doctrine, Marbury v Madison


Primary- Two views of the Embargo; Madison’s War Message

Secondary- “Madison and the War of 1812” by Irving Bryant
TAKING SIDES: Was the Monroe Doctrine a Well Designed Policy to Protect Latin American Countries From European Intervention?

  • What is the relationship between economics and American foreign policy?


  • Explain the problems with Indians. How where these problems resolved?

  • Identify the causes of the war of 1812. Distinguish between overt and covert causes.

  • What were the long range consequences of the war of 1812?

  • Explain the importance of the Monroe doctrine. What impact has it had on relations between the U.S. and Latin America


Tecumseh and the prophet, “second war for independence”, war hawks,Rush- Bagot treaty, the Battle of New Orleans, Battle of Tippecanoe, Battle of Lake Erie, Dolly Madison


  • The authority of the supreme court

  • Developments in the federal/ state relationship

  • The economic and industrial revolution

  • Sectional interests

  • The election of 1824 and the beginning of “the second party system”


Enduring Vision:: ch.9

Documentary History:


Primary- McCullough v MD; Gibbons v Ogden

DBQ- The Corrupt Bargain

  • What is the proper balance of power between the federal, state and local governments?

  • How do regional differences present a challenge to the formation and maintenance of an American identity and a common set of values?


  • Explain the various ways that power shifted away from the states to the federal government. What were the major causes of this shift?

  • What conditions influenced the industrial revolution during this period. How did this revolution differ in England and the United States?

  • Identify the major developments in transportation that occurred during this period. What elements contributed to this? What were the consequences?

  • Identify the major sectional differences that developed during this period. What factors contributed to these differences?

  • Identify and explain the major political developments/ transformations which took place during the 1820’s.


the American system of manufacturing, Lowell factories, McCulloch V. Md., Gibbons v. Ogden, Dartmouth v. Woodward, cotton gin, steam engine, Missouri compromise, compromise of 1820, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, Erie canal, “corrupt bargain”

EXAM- Units V-VII (multiple choice)


  • The administration of Andrew Jackson

  • The advent of mass politics

  • Labor on the move

  • Indian affairs

  • Sectional disputes


Enduring Vision:: ch.10

Documentary History: Jackson’s bank veto; nullification


Primary-On the Social Conditions of the Americans (deToqueville)

Secondary- “The Trail of Tears” by Dee Brown
TAKING SIDES: Was Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Policy Motivated by Humanitarian Impulses?

DBQ- The Log Cabin campaign


  • What is the relationship between personality and politics in American democracy?

  • What impact did immigration, western migration and other demographic changes have on the political process and the development of democratic institutions?

  • Compare and contrast Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy.


  • What were the political and economic consequences of Jacksonian democracy?

  • What were the arguments for, and against the national bank? How was the dispute resolved? What were the consequences?

  • Analyze Jackson’s Indian policy. What were the consequences of his policy for native Americans?

  • Identify and explain the major disputes between Whigs and Democrats?


spoils system, Seminole war, trail of tears, Webster-Hayne debate, nullification crisis, panic of 1837, Anti-Masonic party, election of 1832


  • The impetus for western expansion.

  • Making the journey

  • The Texas and Oregon questions

  • The Mexican-American war

  • Life in the new territories


Enduring Vision:: ch.13


Secondary- “The Frontier and the American character” by R.A. Billington
TAKING SIDES: Was the Mexican War an Exercise in American Imperialism?

  • Did the Mexican war signify a shift in American foreign policy?


  • Explain the relationship between the Monroe Doctrine and “manifest destiny”

  • Why did Texas appeal to some settlers? By what process was Texas admitted into the union? How was this different from other territories? What problems were associated with Texas statehood?

  • What drove thousands of Americans to venture west? What potential hazards faced western emigrants? How did the settlers prepare for these difficulties?

  • Why was Oregon considered an essential aquisition?

  • What motivated the U.S. to go to war with Mexico? What motivated Mexico? What has been the legacy of the war?

  • What was the role of democracy and law in the new territories before statehood?

  • What role did the issue of slavery play in western expansion?


Republic of Texas, Bear Flag Republic, Gadsden Purchase, The Alamo, Oregon trail, gold rush, James Polk, John C. Fremont, Daniel Webster, Treaty of Quadalupe Hidalgo, vigilanism, boosterism, land speculating, compromise of 1850

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