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


2 DBQs, 20 FRQs = 22 Total
Main Topics: Economics in the Colonies, Religion in the Colonies, Cultural Questions, Compare/Contrast Questions

Economics in the Colonies Questions (3 FRQs)

  1. 2001 Exam (Question 2): How did economic, geographic, and social factors encourage the growth of slavery as an important part of the economy of the southern colonies between 1607 and 1775?
  2. 2002 Exam B (Question 2): Analyze the impact of the Atlantic trade routes established in the mid 1600’s on economic development of the British North American colonies. Consider the period 1650-1750.
  3. 2005 Exam (Question 2): Compare and contrast the ways in which economic development affected politics in Massachusetts and Virginia in the period from 1607 to 1750.
  4. 2013 Exam (Question 2): Analyze the role of trans-Atlantic trade and Great Britain’s mercantilist policies in the economic development of the British North American colonies in the period from 1650 to 1750.

Religion in the Colonies Questions (1 DBQ, 6 FRQs)

  1. 1981 Exam (Question 5):“To what extent and why did religious toleration increase in the American colonies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries?"
    • Answer with reference to THREE individuals, events, or movements in American religion during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
  2. 1993 Exam (Question 2): In the seventeenth century, New England Puritans tried to create a model society. What were their aspirations, and to what extent were those aspirations fulfilled during the seventeenth century?
  3. 1998 Exam (Question 2): Analyze the extent to which religious freedom existed in the British North American colonies prior to 1700.
  4. 2002 Exam (Question 2):Compare the ways in which religion shaped the development of colonial society (to 1740) in TWO of the following regions:
    • New England
    • Chesapeake
    • Middle Atlantic
  5. 2010 Exam (DBQ): In what ways did ideas and values held by Puritans influence the political, economic, and social development of the New England colonies from 1630 through the 1660s. (Click for documents)
  6. 2010 Exam B (Question 2):Evaluate the influence of religion on the development of colonial society in TWO of the following regions.
    • The Spanish Southwest
    • New England
    • New France
  7. 2014 Exam (Question 2): Choose TWO of the following and analyze their impact on colonial North American development between 1620 and 1776.
    • Puritanism
    • The Enlightenment
    • The First Great Awakening


Cultural Questions (1 DBQ, 6 FRQs)

  1. 1975 Exam (Question 5):“Although many northerners and southerners later came to think of themselves as having separate civilizations, the northern and southern colonies in the 16th and 17th centuries were in fact more similar than different.”
    • Assess the validity.
  2. 1993 Exam (DBQ):"Although New England and the Chesapeake region were both settled largely by people of English origin, by 1700 the regions had evolved into two distinct societies. Why did this difference in development occur?"
    • Use the documents AND your knowledge of the colonial period up to 1700 to develop your answer.
  3. 1979 Exam (Question 4):"During the 17th century and increasingly in the 18th century, British colonists in America charged Great Britain with violating the ideals of rule of law, self-government, and, ultimately, equality of rights. Yet the colonists themselves violated these ideals in their treatment of blacks, Native Americans, and even poorer classes of white settlers."
    • Assess the validity of this view.
  4. 2003 Exam B (Question 2):Compare the ways in which TWO of the following reflected tensions in colonial society.
    • Bacon’s Rebellion (1676)
    • Pueblo Revolt (1680)
    • Salem witchcraft trials (1692)
    • Stono Rebellion (1739)
  5. 2005 Exam B (Question 2): “Geography was the primary factor in shaping the development of the British colonies in North America.”Assess the validity of this statement for the 1600’s.
  6. 2008 Exam (Question 2):Early encounters between American Indians and European colonists led to a variety of relationships among the different cultures. Analyze how the actions taken by BOTH American Indians and European colonists shaped those relationships in TWO of the following regions. Confine your answer to the 1600s.
    • New England
    • Chesapeake
    • Spanish Southwest
    • New York and New France
  7. 2011 Exam (Question 2): Analyze the origins and development of slavery in Britain’s North American colonies in the period 1607 to 1776.

Compare/Contrast Questions (4 FRQs)

  1. 1990 Exam (Question 2):"Throughout the Colonial period, economic concerns had more to do with the settling of British North America than did religious concerns."
    • Assess the validity of this statement with specific reference to economic and religious concerns.
  2. 2000 Exam (Question 2):Analyze the cultural and economic responses of TWO of the following groups to the Indians of North America before 1750.
    • British
    • French
    • Spanish
  3. 2006 Exam (Question 2):Analyze the differences between the Spanish settlements in the Southwest and the English settlements in New England in the seventeenth century in terms of TWO of the following:
    • Politics
    • Religion
    • Economic Development
  4. 2011 Exam B (Question 2): Compare and contrast the British, French, and Spanish imperial goals in North America between 1580 and 1763.

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