Units The American Revolutionary Era, 1754-1789 Topics from the

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Ch 4-6 Past Essay Topics

**Please note - some of the questions go beyond Ch 6**


Units 4 . The American Revolutionary Era, 1754-1789

Topics from the Course Description

a. The French and Indian War

b. The Imperial Crisis and resistance to Britain

c. The War for Independence

d. State constitutions and the Articles of Confederation

e. The federal Constitution


Document Based Questions:

1. To what extent had the colonists developed a sense of their identity and unity as Americans by the eve of the Revolution?


Use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1750 to 1776 to answer the question.

(See: 1999 DBQ)


2. To what extent did the American Revolution fundamentally change American society? In your answer, be sure to address the political, social, and economic effects of the Revolution in the period from 1775 to 1800

(See: 2005)


3. Discuss the changing ideals of American womanhood between the American Revolution (1770s) and the outbreak of the Civil War. What factors fostered the emergence of “republican motherhood” and the “cult of domesticity”? Assess the extent to which these ideals influenced the lives of women during this period. In your answer be sure to consider issues of race and class.

(See: 2006)


4. “From 1781 to 1789 the Articles of Confederation provided the United States with an effective government.”

Using the documents and your knowledge of the period, evaluate this statement.

(See: 1985 DBQ)


5. “From 1781 to 1789 the Articles of Confederation provided the United States with an effective government.”


Using the documents and your knowledge of the period, evaluate this statement. 



6. Analyze the causes of growing opposition to slavery in the United States from  1776 to 1852. In your response, consider both underlying forces and specific events that contributed to the growing opposition.

(2013 DBQ)


Free Response Questions:

1. “Despite the view of some historians that the conflict between Great Britain and its thirteen North American colonies was economic in origin, in fact the American revolution had its roots in politics and other areas of life.”


Assess   the validity of this statement.

(See:  1986, #2)


2. “Britain’s war for empire, far more than its mercantilist policies, dictated the economic fortunes of Britain’s North American colonies in the eighteenth century.”


Assess the validity of this statement.

(See:  1987, #2)


3. “In the two decades before the outbreak of the American Revolutionary war, a profound shift occurred in the way many Americans thought and felt about the British government and their colonial governments.”


Assess the validity of this statement in view of the political and constitutional debates of these decades.

(See:  1989, #2)


4. Analyze the ways in which supporters of slavery in the nineteenth century used legal, religious, and economic arguments to defend the institution of slavery.

(See:  1995, #3)


5. “This history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation, all having, in direct object, the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States.”


Evaluate the validity of this accusation against King George III.   

(See:  1988, #2)


6. What evidence is there for the assertion that the basic principles of the Constitution were firmly grounded in the political and religious experience of America’s colonial and revolutionary periods?

(See: 1984, #2)


7. The Bill of Rights did not come from a desire to protect the liberties won in the American Revolution, but rather from a fear of the powers of the new federal government.


Assess   the validity of this statement.

(See: 1991, #2)


8. Evaluate the relative importance of the following as factors prompting Americans to rebel in 1776: 

- Parliamentary taxation

- Restriction of civil liberties

- British military measures            

- The legacy of colonial religious and political ideas.

(See:  1992, #2)


9. Evaluate the relative importance of domestic and foreign affairs in shaping American politics in the 1790’s

(See: 1994, #3)


10. Analyze the degree to which the Articles of Confederation provided an effective form of government with respect to any two of the following:   

- Foreign relations

- Economic conditions

- Western lands.

(See: 1996, #2)


11. Analyze the extent to which the American Revolution represented a radical alteration in American political ideas and institutions.


Confine your answer to the period 1775 to 1800     (See: 1997, #2)


12. Analyze the contributions of TWO of the following in helping establish a stable government after the adoption of the Constitution.

- John Adams

- Thomas Jefferson

- George Washington

(See: 2002)


13. Evaluate the extent to which the Articles of Confederation were effective in solving the problems that confronted the new nation.

(See: 2003)


14. Analyze the impact of the American Revolution on both slavery and the status of women in the period from 1775-1800.

(See: 2004)


15. To what extent was the United States Constitution a radical departure from the Articles of Confederation?

(See: 2005-B)


16. Settlers in the eighteenth-century American back country sometimes resorted to violent protest to express their grievances. Analyze the causes and significance of TWO of the following:

- March of the Paxton Boys

- Regulator movement

- Shay’s rebellion             

- Whiskey rebellion

(See: 2007, #2)


17. The French and Indian War (1754-1763) altered the relationship between Britain and its North American colonies. Assess this change with regard to TWO of the following in the time period between 1763  and 1775.

- Land acquisition

- Politic

- Economics

(See: 2007-B, #2)


18. With regard to Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence; Douglass Adair stated               “An exact knowledge of Jefferson’s ideas ... is still lacking ... We know relatively little about his ideas in the context of the total civilization of which he was a part.”


Assess the validity of the statement.           


19. Analyze the political, diplomatic, and military reasons for the United States victory in the Revolutionary War. Confine your answer to the period 1775-1783.

(2010 #2)


Unit 5. The Early Republic, 1789-1815    

Topics from the Course Description

a. Washington, Hamilton, and shaping of the national government

b. Emergence of political parties

c. Republican motherhood and education of women

d. Beginning of the Second Great Awakening

e. Significance of Jefferson’s presidency

f. Expansion into the trans-Appalachian West; American Indian resistance

g. Growth of slavery and free Black communities

h. The War of 1812 and its consequences


Document Based Questions:

1. With respect to the federal constitution, the Jeffersonian Republicans are usually characterized as strict constructionists who were opposed to the broad constructionist of the federalists. To what extent was this characterization of the two parties accurate during the presidencies of Jefferson and Madison.


In writing your answer, use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1801-1817.

(See: 1998 DBQ)


2. Few men, if any, has impacted the History of the American Republic more than Thomas Jefferson. Discuss his roles as architect of the Revolution, a diplomat defending the new nation abroad, and as President of the US during the age of nationalism. Lastly, discuss the historical legacy we know as Jeffersonian Democracy.  



3. “The debate over the relationship between the states and the federal government and over the principles of interposition and nullification began with the struggle to ratify the Constitution and continued to the end of the Civil War.”


Evaluate this statement using the documents and your knowledge of constitutional history from 1789 to 1865. 

(REA )


4. “The War of 1812, know mainly for its divisions among Federalists and republicans over the support of the war, resulted in a unified nation confident of its abilities and optimistic about its future.”


Assess the validity of this statement for the time period 1812 to 1824.



Free Response Questions:

1. Each of the following expressed strong opinions concerning the policies of the new nation. What opinions expressed had the greatest impact on the nation?

- George Washington

- Alexander Hamilton

- Thomas Jefferson


2. The election of Thomas Jefferson is sometimes called the “Revolution of 1800.” To what extent is this description accurate?


3. Jefferson said in his inaugural address, “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.”


Assess the meaning of this statement with reference to both his domestic and foreign policies


4. To what extent did Jefferson violate his avowed constitutional principles with regard to the purchase of the Louisiana territory in 1803?


5. Discuss and describe the significance of the Lewis and Clark Expedition between the years 1804 - 1806. To what extent did this great expedition affect: 

- National westward expansion

- The fur trade

- Manifest destiny

- Native American relations.


6. Explain the influence on America’s decision to go to war in 1812 by examining THREE of the following:

- Embargo policies

- Impressment

- Settlers conflicts with Native Americans

- Expansionist goals of the War Hawks


7. Since the Treaty of Ghent addressed none of the issues for which the United States had fought, the war of 1812 had no positive consequences for the American nation.”


Assess the validity of this statement.


8. About the Missouri Compromise, Jefferson wrote “But this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened me and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the union.”


Explain why this issue so concerned the former Chief Executive.


9. Analyze the ways in which the United States sought to advance its interests in world affairs between 1789 and 1823.


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