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APUSH Syllabus

Course Description

AP U.S. History is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester introductory college or university U.S. history course. In AP U.S. History students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes in nine historical periods from approximately 1491 to the present. Students develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians: analyzing primary and secondary sources; making historical comparisons; utilizing reasoning about contextualization, causation, and continuity and change over time; and developing historical arguments. The course also provides seven themes that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places: American and national identity; migration and settlement; politics and power; work, exchange, and technology; America in the world; geography and the environment; and culture and society.

Course Textbook

Kennedy, D. M., & Cohen, L. (2015). The American Pageant (16thth ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Select Readings from


Primary Sources (not a complete list)

Kennedy, D. (2010). The American spirit: United States history as seen by contemporaries (12th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Schweikart, L. (2011). The patriot's history reader: Essential documents for every American. New York: Sentinel.

Secondary Sources (not a complete list)

Dudley, W. (2007). Opposing viewpoints in American history. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. Lindaman, D., & Ward, K. (2004).

History lessons: How textbooks from around the world portray U.S. history. New York: New Press. 1/12

Horwitz, T. (1998). Confederates in the Attic. N.p.: Random House.

Madaras, L. (2013). Taking sides (15th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Ward, K. (2006). History in the making: An absorbing look at how American history has changed in the telling over the last 200 years. New York: New Press.

Zinn, H. (2005). A people’s history of the United States: 1942-present. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics


While the course follows a narrative structure supported by the textbook. The following themes described in the AP U.S. History Course and Exam Description are woven throughout each of the 9 units of study:

  1. American and National Identity (NAT)
  2. Work, Exchange, and Technology (WXT)
  3. Geography and the Environment (GEO)
  4. Migration and Settlement (MIG)
  5. Politics and Power (PCE)
  6. America in the World (WOR)
  7. American and Regional Culture (ARC)
  8. Social Structures (SOC)

Historical Periods

The historical periods, from pre-Columbian contacts in North America (represented symbolically by the date 1491) to the present, provide a temporal framework for the course.

The instructional importance and assessment weighting for each period varies:


Date Range

AP Exam Weighting




























Course Outline/Periods of Studies

  • All activities and readings are subject to change and some may be added along our journey

Unit 1: 1491-1607

Topics: Demographics of Europe, the Americas, and West Africa; Meso-American culture; transatlantic commerce; comparison of colonies across the Americas (religion, economies, politics, cultures); and foundations of slavery.

Textbook Readings: Kennedy, Chapter 1

Unit 2: 1607 - 1754

Topics: European colonization; American Indian resistance; economic and population patterns; formation of race and identity; and tensions with Britain.

Textbook Readings:  Kennedy, Chapters 2-5

Unit 3: 1754 - 1800

Topics: British colonial policies; enlightenment ideas; war for independence; formation of republic and national identity; work and labor (free and unfree); and regional economic differences.

Textbook Readings:  Kennedy, Chapters 6-9

Unit 4: 1800 – 1848

Topics: Definition of democratic practices; expansion of the vote; market revolution; territorial and demographic growth; two-party system; Andrew Jackson; and role of the federal government in slavery and the economy.

Textbook Readings: Kennedy, Chapters 10-15, 17

Unit 5: 1844 – 1877

Topics: Tensions over slavery; reform movements; imperialism; women and nonwhites; public education; Mexican War; public education; Civil War; and Reconstruction.

Textbook Readings:  Kennedy, Chapters 16, 18-23

Unit 6: 1865 – 1898

Topics: Reconstruction; U.S. imperialism, industrialization, immigration, urbanization; women’s movement; and working-class culture and leisure.

Textbook Readings:  Kennedy, Chapters 23-26

Unit 7: 1890 – 1945

Topics: Progressive reform; radicalism; World War I and Russian revolution; first red scare; first great migration of African Americans; race riots; culture wars of the 1920s; Hoover and FDR in the capitalist crisis; New Deal; and World War II.

Textbook Readings:  Kennedy, Chapters 27-35

Unit 8: 1945 – 1980

Topics: Atomic age and the Cold War; suburban development and the affluent society; the other America; Vietnam; social movements of the long 1960s; Great Society programs; economic and political decline in the 1970s; and rise of conservatism.

Textbook Readings:  Kennedy, Chapters 36-40

Unit 9: 1980 – present

Topics: Reagan at home and abroad; growth of poverty; Bush, Sr., and end of Cold War; Clinton and the internet; race relations; NAFTA and other trade agreements; 9/11; Patriot Act; education policies of Bush, Jr., and Obama; and environmental policies.

Textbook Readings:  Kennedy, Chapters 40-42

AP History Disciplinary Practices and Reasoning Skills

The AP history courses seek to apprentice students to the practice of history by emphasizing the development of disciplinary practices and reasoning skills while learning historical content. The practices and skills that students should develop in all AP history courses are listed below, along with a condensed description of what students should be able to do with each. Every AP Exam question will assess one or more of these practices and skills.


Practice 1: Analyzing Historical Evidence

Primary Sources

Explain the relative historical significance of a source’s point of view, purpose, historical situation, and/or audience. 

Evaluate a source’s credibility and/or limitations.

Secondary Sources

Explain how a historian’s claim or argument is supported with


Analyze patterns and trends in quantitative data in non-text based sources.

Evaluate the effectiveness of a historical claim or argument.

Practice 2: Argument Development

 Make a historically defensible claim in the form of an evaluative thesis.

 Support an argument using specific and relevant evidence.

 Use historical reasoning to explain relationships among pieces of historical evidence.

 Consider ways that diverse or alternative evidence could be used to qualify or modify an argument.


Skill 1: Comparison

Explain the relative historical significance of similarities and/ or differences between different historical developments or processes.

Skill 2: Causation

             Explain the difference between primary and secondary causes and between short- and

long-term effects.

             Explain the relative historical significance of different causes and/or effects.

Skill 3: Continuity and Change Over Time

             Explain the relative historical significance of specific historical developments in relation

to a larger pattern of continuity and/ or change.

APUSH Exam: Friday, May 6, 2022

Section I: Part A

Multiple Choice—55 Questions | 55 Minutes | 40% of Exam Score

·         Questions appear in sets of 2 to 5.

·         Students analyze historical texts, interpretations, and evidence.

·         Primary and secondary sources, images, graphs, and maps are included.

Section I: Part B

Short Answer—3 Questions | 40 Minutes | 20% of Exam Score

·         Analyze historians' interpretations, historical sources, and propositions about history.

·         Questions provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know best.

·         Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.

·         The number of required short-answer questions is three, and the time allotted is 40 minutes. Students will choose between two options for the final required short-answer question, each one focusing on a different time period.

·         Question 1 (required): periods 3-8

·         Question 2 (required): periods 3-8

·         Students choose between Question 3, periods 1-5, and Question 4, periods 6-9

Section II: Part A

Document Based—1 Question | 60 Minutes (includes 15-minute reading period) | 25% of Exam Score

·         Assess written, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence.

·         Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.

·         The DBQ will focus on topics from periods 3 to 8.

Section II: Part B

Long Essay—1 Question | 40 Minutes | 15% of Exam Score

·         Explain and analyze significant issues in U.S. history.

·         Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.

·         The question choices will continue to focus on the same theme and skill and will  allow students to select among three options, each focusing on a different range of time periods:

·         Option 1: periods 1-3

·         Option 2: periods 4-6

·         Option 3: periods 7-9

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:  In order to receive a passing grade in AP United States History, the student must earn a 60% or better average on all class work and complete the following required assignments:

  • Written analysis and evaluation of selected articles or documents
  • Analysis, evaluation and synthesizing of free-response questions
  • Oral Presentation and discussion of historical events / ideas
  • Leading discussion on supplemental readings in seminar
  • All homework assignments, analytical essays, and personal evaluations of homework readings
  • All quizzes and tests
  • Follow current events for correlations of historical events


Please note Quizzes, Tests, projects, etc will be accessed via assignments that are pushed out in teams/ZiP Grade. Since everyone has access from home during the 21-22 school year there are no late assignments or missed tests and quizzes unless there are extenuating circumstances and these should be discussed with Mrs. Brant.

  1. Multiple Choice Exams
  2. Essay Exams: Short Answers/LEQs/DBQs
  3. Quizzes- scheduled, reading and pop quizzes
  4. Homework (Vocabulary, Reflections, Focus Questions, etc.)
  5. Any other in class assignments

LECTURE NOTES: Students are required to print and/or take all class notes. 

MISSED EXAMS OR QUIZZES:  Please see overarching statement above.

HOMEWORK POLICY:   Assignments are due on the date given by the instructor. If you have any questions please see me.
EMAIL COMMUNICATION:  Please feel free to email me at  any time for help or clarification.  However, I WILL NOT accept emails with assignments attached to them.  All assignments must be printed out and handed in person during class or submitted through the proper online channel.

Mid-TERM and FINAL EXAM:  A mid-term exam may not be administered at the end of the second period; if not, the mid-term grade column will be calculated by averaging the first two quarter grades. The final exam will be cumulative and will count 10% of the overall course grade. 

Grading for the class: Grades will be based on a weighted system. Each assessment and/or assignment will fall into one of the following categories…

Assessments (examples: tests/quizzes, written assignments, projects): 70%

Class work Assessments: 20%

Homework: 10% (These tend to be smaller assignments and are not projects, etc.)

Grades will be based on a combination of the above.  There will be several projects throughout the course dealing with our course of study.  Students are often given time to work in class on these projects and are encouraged to use their time wisely.  Quizzes may be announced or unannounced (i.e. pop quiz). 

THE TEST: The opportunity exists to take the Advanced Placement Exam in May. Registration for AP Exams is usually required by November. You should see your guidance counselor for registration information.  

Absent Work:  It is your responsibility to find out what you missed during the time you were absent.  When possible please inform the teacher that you will be out if it is a planned absence so that you can get your work ahead of time.  I do understand that illnesses happen, and should it happen to you, check the agenda. Long-term projects / assignments are given well in advance and are due on the date due.


  1. Textbook / Readers (provided by teacher)
  2. AMSCO and Crash Course books (student needs to acquire)
  3. Computer
  4. Pen or pencil
  5. 2 or 3-inch Binder for handouts, etc.
  6. Notebook for class assignments and class notes.
  7. Index cards and a large ring that the cards can be placed on or digital- no quizlet is not acceptable unless they are completely your own. If there are doubts in my mind I will adhere to the academic honesty policy.

KEEP IN TOUCH!  My door is always open and my number one request of you is to talk to me.  If there is a problem or an issue, I am more than confident we can solve it together if you talk to me about it.  I am available during homeroom and immediately after school to help you with anything you need.  PLEASE do not hesitate to ask. Please feel free to email me anytime at

STAY POSITIVE!!!  Although this course is extremely challenging, the reward at the end is well worth the effort put into this class.  Start now by coming up with a study plan and stick to it.  You must believe in yourself and be willing to accept a few setbacks along the way in order to grow as a young scholar and as a person. Learn from your mistakes and setbacks, make adjustments, and try again.  You can do anything you put your mind to!


  1. The syllabus is subject to change at any time throughout the course of the year at the discretion of the teacher.
  2. No cell phones are to used in class unless at the discretion of the teacher.
  3. My door is always open. If there is a problem or an issue, please come speak with me. Also, feel free to email me, Mrs. Brant, anytime at


Academic Integrity in a Social Sciences/Studies Classroom 

The purpose of this class is to learn how to think for yourself and about the social sciences.  Assignments in this class serve the purpose of practice, and/or assessment leading the student to mastery.  Any assignment completed with the use of an on-line answer/writing program, by another student or person, or by you using the work of another person will receive a zero and a referral for lack of academic integrity.  The teacher reserves the right to question and if necessary, nullify an assignment if the authenticity of the work is in question.  

Students who “work together,” should provide support to each other, but they should not simply copy the work of another.  All work should be unique to the student and his/her current level of learning.   One should keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to learn and be able to think independently.  Simply copying assignments or turning in the work of another person in order to gain credit does not promote learning. All work that is deemed to have been copied, or to have been the origin of the copied work is subject to a zero; thus, students who share their work for another student to copy will face consequences as well.

Furthermore, it is required that while working on assessments such as quizzes or tests, electronic devices remain out of sight in a teacher designated area.  The presence of an electronic device at any point during the administration of an assessment will be a violation of the security of the quiz/exam and the authenticity of the student’s work, resulting in a zero.

Your grade is a reflection of your skill level and effort.  Please take the time and make the effort to build your skill level.  Cheating the system by trying to take short cuts will undermine your ability to build your skills and to be an independent and academically honest student.