AP U.S. History Essay Guide for Unit IVSource: College Board AP US History Exam Website

9 DBQs, 20 FRQs = 29 Total
Main Topics: Slavery / Manifest Destiny / Causes of the Civil War / The Civil War / Reconstruction / Compare and Contrast

Slavery Questions (2 DBQs and 5 FRQs)

  1. 1973 Exam (Question 10): Why did the institution of slavery command the loyalty of the vast majority of antebellum southern whites, despite the fact that only a small percentage of them owned slaves?
  2. 1984 Exam (Question 4):“Slavery was the dominating reality of southern life.” Assess the validity of this generalization for two of the following aspects of southern life from about 1840 to 1860:
    • Political
    • Social
    • Economic
    • Intellectual life
  3. 1995 Exam (Question 3): Analyze the ways in which supporters of slavery in the 19th century used legal, religious, and economic arguments to defend the institution of slavery.
  4. 2006 Exam B (Question 3): In what ways and to what extent was industrial development from 1800 to 1860 a factor in the relationship between the northern and southern states?
  5. 2008 Exam B (Question 3):Use TWO of the following categories to analyze the ways in which African-Americans created a distinctive culture in slavery.
    • Family
    • Music
    • Oral traditions
    • Religions
  6. 2009 Exam (DBQ): From 1775 to 1830, many African Americans gained freedom from slavery, yet during the same period the institution of slavery expanded. Explain why BOTH of those changes took place. Analyze the ways that BOTH free African Americans and enslaved African Americans responded to the challenges confronting them.
    • Use the documents and your knowledge of the time period in constructing your response.
  7. 2013 Exam (DBQ): 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.
    • Use the documents and your knowledge of the time period in constructing your response.

Manifest Destiny Questions (1 DBQ and 2 FRQs)

  1. 1990 Exam (Question 3):“Although Americans perceived manifest destiny as a benevolent movement, it was in fact an aggressive imperialism pursued at the expense of others.”
    • Assess the validity of this statement with specific reference to American Expansionism in the 1840’s.
  2. 1997 Exam (Question 3): Discuss the impact of territorial expansion on national unity between 1800 and 1850.
  3. 2010 Exam B (DBQ):The issue of territorial expansion sparked considerable debate in the period 1800–1855. Analyze this debate and evaluate the influence of both supporters and opponents of territorial expansion in shaping federal government policy.
    • Use the documents and your knowledge of the years 1800–1855 in your answer.

Causes of the Civil War Questions (4 DBQs and 3 FRQs)

  1. 1974 Exam (DBQ): To what extent was President-elect Abraham Lincoln responsible for the defeat of the Critteriden proposal on the territorial expansion of slavery?
  2. 1982 Exam (DBQ):John Brown's raid on the federal armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia. in October 1859, involved only a handful of abolitionists, freed no slaves, and was over in two days. Although many Northerners condemned the raid, by 1863 John Brown had become a hero and martyr in the North.
    • To what extent and in what ways do the views about John Brown expressed in the documents illustrate changing North-South relations between 1859 and 1863? (Documents not available)
  3. 1987 Exam (DBQ):"By the 1850's the Constitution. originally framed as an instrument of national unity, had become a source of sectional discord and tension and ultimately contributed to the failure of the union it had created."
    • Using your knowledge of the period 1850-1861, assess the validity of this statement. (Documents not available)
  4. 2000 Exam (Question 3):Assess the moral arguments and political actions of those opposed to the spread of slavery in the context of TWO of the following.
    • Missouri Compromise
    • Mexican War
    • Compromise of 1850
    • Kansas-Nebraska Act
  5. 2005 Exam B (DBQ):In the early nineteenth century, Americans sought to resolve their political disputes through compromise, yet by 1860 this no longer seemed possible. Analyze the reasons for this change.
    • Use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1820-1860 in constructing your response.
  6. 2005 Exam (Question 3): To what extent did the debates about the Mexican War and its aftermath reflect the sectional interests of New Englanders, westerners, and southerners in the period from 1845 to 1855?
  7. 2010 Exam (Question 3): Analyze the ways in which controversy over the extension of slavery into western territories contributed to the coming of the Civil War. Confine your answer to the period 1845–1861.

The Civil War Questions (1 FRQ)

  1. 1988 Exam (Question 4): "I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races." How can this 1858 statement of Abraham Lincoln be reconciled with his 1862 Emancipation Proclamation?

Reconstruction Questions (2 DBQs and 7 FRQs)

  1. 1983 Exam (Question 4): How do you account for the failure of Reconstruction (1865-1877) to bring social and economic equality of opportunity to the former slaves?
  2. 1992 Exam (Question 4): Discuss the political, economic, and social reforms introduced in the South between 1864 and 1877. To what extent did these reforms survive the Compromise of 1877?
  3. 1996 Exam (DBQ):In what ways and to what extent did constitutional and social developments between 1860 and 1877 amount to a revolution?
    • Use your knowledge of the period from 1860 to 1877 to answer the question. (Documents not available)
  4. 1997 Exam (Question 4):Analyze the economic consequences of the Civil War with respect to any TWO of the following in the United States between 1865 and 1880.
    • Agriculture
    • Labor
    • Industrialization
    • Transportation
  5. 2003 Exam (Question 4):Evaluate the impact of the Civil War on political and economic developments in TWO of the following regions. Focus your answer on the period between 1865 and 1900.
    • The South
    • The North
    • The West
  6. 2006 Exam (Question 3):Explain why and how the role of the federal government changed as a result of the Civil War with respect to TWO of the following during the period 1861-1877:
    • Race relations
    • Economic development
    • Western expansion
  7. 2009 Exam B (DBQ): In what ways did African Americans shape the course and consequences of the Civil War? Confine your answer to the years from 1861 to 1870.
    • Use the documents and your knowledge of the period in constructing your response.
  8. 2014 Exam (Question 4): To what extent were the goals of Reconstruction (1865-1877) regarding African Americans achieved by 1900?

Compare and Contrast Questions (3 FRQs)

  1. 1972 Exam (Question 8):“Supreme Court decisions reinforce state and federal legislation.”
    • Assess validity for three decisions of the Supreme Court prior to the Civil War.
  2. 1981 Exam (DBQ): How and why did the lives and status of Northern middle-class women change between 1776 and 1876?
  3. 2010 Exam B (Question 3): Compare and contrast the experience of slaves on tobacco plantations in the early
    seventeenth-century Chesapeake region with that of slaves on nineteenth-century cotton plantations in the Deep South. What forces transformed the institution of slavery from the early seventeenth century to the nineteenth century?

Return to AP United States History Unit Guide / Return to AP US Exam Guide