AP® United States History


Andrew Caldwell, BA, BS, MA

Course Description:

This course both surveys the history of the United States from Pre-Columbian America through the present status as a world power, and it explores the essential skills historians use in interpreting this past. The central theme is the growth of American democracy, with its implications for government and society. This class will also explore differing viewpoints from various ethnic groups, particularly those of Native Americans, Euro-Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos. Other themes include: varying religious belief systems and their impact on North America; the differences in social conditions and viewpoints from divergent socio-economic classes and sexes; and the route by which the United States moved from an Isolationist to an International world power. Essential skills will be perfected such as thesis creation, primary document analysis, periodization, and cause and effect among others.

Course Objectives:

  • Survey United States History from colonization through independence to the Civil War to its rise as a modern world power
  • Use a thematic approach to history through seven course themes.
  • Develop ten specific skills of the historians’ trade, including: analyzing evidence, identifying causation, periodization, contextualization, historical argumentation, among others.
  • Study the scope of United States History through nine identifiable time periods.
  • Examine the transformation of the economy from a subsistence economy to a market economy to an industrialized power through the first and second Industrial Revolutions and the expansion to a Global Market.
  • Use the history of the United States as a model to understand the development of a democratic society; particularly in how it came to influence the growth of modern democratic societies throughout the world.
  • Examine how the experiment of democracy has shaped the country from a confederation to a federation
  • Examine the role of religion in shaping the politics and culture of this country through the first and second Great Awakening and the birth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to religions’ role in shaping modern society and politics.
  • Recognize God as the Creator and his leadership and sovereignty as a continuing agent of change in the world through social, economic, political, and spiritual history. Examine the United States’ role and historical events in Biblical prophecy. This includes the plan of salvation and expected Second Advent. Examine events and agencies through a Biblical basis of morality, integrity, and ethical behavior.
  • Describe the trials and struggles this country has gone through in becoming a multiethnic society, with emphasis on Native Americans, Europeans, African Americans, Asians, and Latin Americans, breaking down barriers of prejudice.
  • Changes in American Demography in ethnic diversity, numbers, places, and movement of Americans
  • Examine the history of the country through the lens of different schools of history such as political history, social history, economic history, and labor history. Examine diverse documents, maps, charts, and images, being able to analyze and find bias in different interpretations.
  • Develop critical and creative thinking skills and effective communication skills.


Required Texts:

  • Fraser, James. By the People: A History of the United States.  Pearson, 2015.
  • My History Labs (Pearson on-line e-resource page).
  • An AP® Test PrepWorkbook of your choice

Supplemental Library Resources:

  • Marcus, Robert D.; David Burner; Anthony Marcus: America Firsthand: Readings from Settlement to Reconstruction. Vol. 1. Seventh Edition.
    Boston: Bedford/ St. Martins, 2007.
  • Marcus, Robert D.; David Burner; Anthony Marcus: America Firsthand: Readings from Reconstruction to the Present. Vol. 2. Seventh Edition.
    Boston: Bedford/ St. Martins, 2007.
  • The Annals of America. Edited by Mortimer J. Adler. Volumes 1-20.
    Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica INC, 1976.
  • Distant Horizon: Documents from the Nineteenth-Century American West. Edited by Gary Noy.
    Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.
  • Various handouts from academic journals and historical monographs.


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