The AP program in United States History is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and enduring understandings necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in United States history. The program prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses. Students should 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. An AP United States History course should thus develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in an essay format.

This course covers the following topics:

  1. Pre-Columbian Societies
  2. Transatlantic Encounters and Colonial Beginnings, 1492–1690
  3. Colonial North America, 1690–1754
  4. The American Revolutionary Era, 1754–1789
  5. The Early Republic, 1789–1815
  6. Transformation of the Economy and Society in Antebellum America
  7. The Transformation of Politics in Antebellum America
  8. Religion, Reform, and Renaissance in Antebellum America
  9. Territorial Expansion and Manifest Destiny
  10. The Crisis of the Union
  11. Civil War
  12. Reconstruction
  13. The Origins of the New South
  14. Development of the West in the Late Nineteenth Century
  15. Industrial America in the Late Nineteenth Century
  16. Urban Society in the Late Nineteenth Century
  17. Populism and Progressivism
  18. The Emergence of America as a World Power
  19. The New Era: 1920s
  20. The Great Depression and the New Deal
  21. The Second World War
  22. The Home Front During the War
  23. The United States and the Early Cold War
  24. The 1950s
  25. The Turbulent 1960s
  26. Politics and Economics at the End of the Twentieth Century
  27. Society and Culture at the End of the Twentieth Century
  28. The United States in the Post–Cold War World

In addition to exposing students to the historical content listed above, an AP course should also train students to analyze and interpret primary sources, including documentary materials, maps, statistical tables, and pictorial and graphic evidence of historical events. Students should learn to take notes from both printed materials and lectures or discussions, write essay examinations, and write analytical and research papers. They should be able to express themselves with clarity and precision and know how to cite sources and credit the phrases and ideas of others.

For more detail on the course topics covered in AP U.S. History in 2013-14, see the Course Description, available in the blue Course Resources box at the top of the page. For information about the redesigned AP U.S. History curriculum, which will begin in the 2014-15 school year, follow the link in the gray Next Steps box at the top right.

Links to More AP Pages

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