AP U.S. History Essay Guide for Unit VI

Source: College Board AP US History Exam Website

12 DBQs, 44 FRQs = 56 Total
Main Topics: Imperialism / Theodore Roosevelt / World War I / Progressive Reforms / Societal Changes / Compare and Contrast 1 / Great Depression and New Deal / World War II / Compare and Contrast 2

Imperialism (2 DBQ and 3 FRQs)

  1. 1975 Exam (DBQ): Analyze the factors that influenced the Senate in ratifying the Treaty of Paris in 1899 and assess their relative significance. You may refer to historical facts and developments not mentioned in the documents and assess the reliability of the documents as historical sources where relevant to your answer.
  2. 1980 Exam (Question 3): "United States foreign policy between 1815 and 1910 was determined less by economic than by strategic, moral, or political interests." Assess the validity of this generalization with reference to at least TWO major episodes (for example, treaties, proclamations, annexations, wars, etc.) in the foreign policy of the U.S. between 1815 and 1910.
  3. 1985 Exam (Question 5): How and why did the Monroe Doctrine become a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy by the late nineteenth century?
  4. 1994 Exam (DBQ): To what extent was late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century United States expansionism a continuation of past United States expansionism and to what extent was it a departure? Use the documents and your knowledge of United States history to 1914 to construct your answer.
  5. 2008 Exam B (Question 4): Analyze the extent to which the Spanish-American War was a turning point in American foreign policy.


Theodore Roosevelt (2 FRQs)

  1. 2007 Exam (Question 4):To what extent did the role of the federal government change under President Theodore Roosevelt in regard to TWO of the following?
    • Labor
    • Trusts
    • Conservation
    • World Affairs
  2. 2011 Exam B (Question 4): Compare and contrast the foreign policies of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.


World War I (1 DBQ and 4 FRQs)

  1. 1989 Exam (Question 5):"The United States entered the First World War not to make the world safe for democracy as President Wilson claimed, but to safeguard American economic interests." Assess the validity of this statement.
  2. 1991 Exam (DBQ): It was the strength of the opposition forces, both liberal and conservative, rather than the ineptitude and stubbornness of President Wilson that led to the Senate defeat of the Treaty of Versailles. Using the documents and your knowledge of the period 1917-1921, assess the validity of this statement.
  3. 1995 Exam (Question 5):Assess the relative influence of THREE of the following in the American decision to declare war on Germany in 1917.
    • German naval policy
    • American economic interests
    • Woodrow Wilson's idealism
    • Allied propaganda
    • America's claim to world power
  4. 2000 Exam (Question 4): To what extent did the United States achieve the objectives that led it to enter the First World War?
  5. 2007 Exam B (Question 5): Analyze the ways in which the federal government sought support on the home front for the war effort during the First World War.


Progressive Reforms (3 DBQs and 5 FRQs)

  1. 1978 Exam (DBQ): In the 20th century prohibition spread by states' passing local option laws, which permitted a unit of local government, such as a county, to prohibit the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages. After an intensive campaign by the Anti-Saloon League and other prohibitionist organizations and reform groups, national prohibition was achieved by the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution in 1919. What accounts for the success of the prohibition movement in the U.S. during the era of progressive reform, 1900-1919? Consider the social composition of the prohibitionists, their motives, strategy and pressure-group tactics, and the relationship of prohibition to progressive reform.
  2. 1987 Exam (Question 5): "The Progressive movement of 1901 to 1917 was a triumph of conservatism rather than a victory for liberalism." Assess the validity of this statement.
  3. 1997 Exam (DBQ): To what extent did economic and political developments as well as assumptions about the nature of women affect the position of American women during the period 1890-1925? Use the documents and your knowledge of the history of the years 1890-1925 to construct your response.
  4. 2003 Exam B (DBQ): Evaluate the effectiveness of Progressive Era reformers and the federal government in bringing about reform at the national level. In your answer be sure to analyze the successes and limitations of these efforts in the period 1900-1920. (see attached documents)
  5. 2005 Exam B (Question 4):How successful were progressive reforms during the period 1890 to 1915 with respect to TWO of the following?
    • Industrial conditions
    • Urban life
    • Politics
  6. 2006 Exam (Question 4):Historians have argued that Progressive reform lost momentum in the 1920's. Evaluate this statement with respect to TWO of the following.
    • Regulation of business
    • Labor
    • Immigrants
  7. 2010 Exam (Question 4): Analyze the roles that women played in Progressive Era reforms from the 1880s
    through 1920. Focus your essay on TWO of the following.
    • Politics
    • Social conditions
    • Labor and working conditions
  8. 2010 Exam B (Question 4):Analyze the effectiveness of Progressive Era reformers in addressing problems of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In your answer, focus on reform efforts in TWO of the following areas.
    • State and federal government
    • The workplace
    • Living conditions in cities


Societal Changes (1 DBQ and 5 FRQs)

  1. 1986 Exam (DBQ): The 1920's were a period of tension between new and changing attitudes on the one hand and traditional values and nostalgia on the other. What led to the tension between old and new AND in what ways was the tension manifested?
  2. 1993 Exam (Question 4):Analyze the ways in which state and federal legislation and judicial decisions, including those of the Supreme Court, affected the efforts of any TWO of the following groups to improve their position in society between 1880 and 1920.
    • African Americans
    • Farmers
    • Workers
  3. 1999 Exam (Question 4): In what ways did economic conditions and developments in the arts and entertainment help create the reputation of the 1920's as the Roaring Twenties?
  4. 2004 Exam B (Question 4): Analyze the primary causes of the population shift from a rural to an urban environment in the United States between 1875 and 1925.
  5. 2006 Exam B (Question 5):How did TWO of the following help shape American national culture in the 1920's?
    • Advertising
    • Entertainment
    • Mass Production
  6. 2012 Exam (Question 4):Analyze the origins and outcomes of the intense cultural conflicts of the 1920s. In your response, focus on TWO of the following.
    • Immigration
    • Prohibition
    • Religion


Immigration (2 DBQs and 1 FRQ)

  1. 1973 Exam (DBQ): Relying of a critical evaluation of the accompanying documents, analyze the factors that probably influenced Congress to pass the Immigration Act of 1924.
  2. 2001 Exam (Question 5): Describe and account for the rise of nativism in American society from 1900 to 1930.
  3. 2008 Exam B (DBQ): For the years 1880 to 1925, analyze both the tensions surrounding the issue of immigration and the United States government’s response to these tensions.
    • Use the attached documents and your knowledge of the period from 1880 to 1925 to construct your answer.


Compare and Contrast (1 DBQ and 6 FRQs)

  1. 1981 Exam (Question 6): In American politics the most significant battles have occurred within the major parties rather than between them. Discuss this statement with reference to the periods 1850-1861 and 1900-1912.
  2. 1984 Exam (Question 5):A number of writers and reformers in the period 1865-1914 discussed the growing gap between wealth and poverty in the United States. Compare and contrast THREE of the following authors' explanations for this condition and their proposals for dealing with it.
    • Henry George, PROGRESS AND POVERTY
    • Edward Bellamy, LOOKING BACKWARD
    • Andrew Carnegie, THE GOSPEL OF WEALTH
    • William Graham Sumner, WHAT SOCIAL CLASSES OWE TO EACH OTHER
    • Upton Sinclair, THE JUNGLE
  3. 1986 Exam (Question 4): "Both the Mexican War and the Spanish-American War were premeditated affairs resulting from deliberately calculated schemes of robbery on the part of a superior power against weak and defenseless neighbors." Assess the validity of this statement.
  4. 1992 Exam (Question 3): Compare the debates that took place over American expansionism in the 1840's with those that took place in the 1890's, analyzing the similarities and differences in the debates of the two eras.
  5. 2007 Exam B (Question 4):Explain how TWO of the following individuals responded to the economic and social problems created by industrialization during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
    • Jane Addams
    • Andrew Carnegie
    • Samuel Gompers
    • Upton Sinclair
  6. 2011 Exam (Question 4): Compare and contrast the ways that many Americans expressed their opposition to immigrants in the 1840s–1850s with the ways that many Americans expressed their opposition to immigrants in the 1910s–1920s.
  7. 2014 Exam (DBQ): How and why did the goals of the United States foreign policy change from the end of the First World War (1918) to the end of the Korean War (1953)?
    • Documents to help answer the question are found here.


Great Depression / New Deal (2 DBQs / 6 FRQs)

  1. 1981 Exam (Question 3): "The New Deal secured the support of labor and agriculture after 1932 as the Republican party had secured the support of industry and commerce since 1920--with special-interest programs giving financial aid, legal privileges, and other types of assistance." Assess the validity of this statement, giving attention to both periods (1920-1932 and 1932-1940).
  2. 1983 Exam (Question 6): "The economic policies of the federal government from 1921 to 1929 were responsible for the nation's depression of the 1930's." Assess the validity of this generalization.
  3. 1984 Exam (DBQ): President Franklin D. Roosevelt is commonly thought of as a liberal and President Herbert C. Hoover as a conservative. To what extent are these characterizations valid?
  4. 1988 Exam (Question 6): Why did socialism fail to become a major force in American politics between 1900 and 1940 despite widespread dissatisfaction with the social and economic order and significant support for radical movements during that period?
  5. 1993 Exam (Question 5):Identify THREE of the following New Deal measures and analyze the ways in which each of the three attempted to fashion a more stable economy and a more equitable society.
    • Agricultural Adjustment Act
    • Securities and Exchange Commission
    • Wagner National Labor Relations Act
    • Social Security Act
  6. 1996 Exam (Question 4): Analyze the ways in which the Great Depression altered the American social fabric in the 1930's.
  7. 2002 Exam B (Question 4):How successful were the programs of the New Deal in solving the problems of the Great Depression? Assess with respect to TWO of the following.
    • Relief
    • Recovery
    • Reform
  8. 2003 Exam (DBQ): Analyze the responses of Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration to the problems of the Great Depression. How effective were these responses? How did they change the role of the federal government?
    • Use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1929-1941 to construct your essay.


World War II (2 DBQs and 4 FRQs)

  1. 1988 Exam (DBQ): The United States decision to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima was a diplomatic measure calculated to intimidate the Soviet Union in the post-Second-World-War era rather than a strictly military measure designed to force Japan's unconditional surrender. Evaluate this statement using the documents and your knowledge of the military and diplomatic history of the years 1939 through 1947.
  2. 1992 Exam (Question 4): In 1945 Winston Churchill said that the United States stood at the summit of the world. Discuss the developments in the thirty years following Churchill’s speech which called the global preeminence of the United States into question.
  3. 1998 Exam (Question 4): To what extent and why did the United States adopt an isolationist policy in the 1920’s and 1930’s?
  4. 2002 Exam (Question 4): Compare and contrast United States foreign policy after the First World War and after the Second World War. Consider the periods 1919-1928 and 1945-1950.
  5. 2004 Exam B (DBQ):How and for what reasons did United States foreign policy change between 1920 and 1941?
    • Use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1920-1941 to construct your response.
  6. 2009 Exam (Question 5): Analyze the home-front experiences of TWO of the following groups during the Second World War.
    • African Americans
    • Japanese Americans
    • Jewish Americans
    • Mexican Americans


Compare/Contrast Questions (6 FRQs)

  1. 1979 Exam and 1997 Exam (Question 5):"Between 1776 and 1823 a young and weak United States achieved considerable success in foreign policy when confronted with the two principal European powers, Great Britain and France. Between 1914 and 1950, however, a far more powerful United States was far less successful in achieving its foreign policy objectives in Europe."
    • Discuss by comparing United States foreign policy in Europe during the period 1776-1823, with United States policy in Europe during ONE of the following periods: 1914-1932 OR 1933-1950.
  2. 1982 Exam (Question 4): "Despite often brutal clashes between labor and capital in the U.S. during the period 1865-1940, collective working-class protest did not constitute a basic attack on the capitalist system." Assess the validity of this statement.
  3. 1982 Exam (Question 5): Prior to American involvement in both the First and Second World Wars, the U.S. adopted an official policy of neutrality. Compare the policy and its modifications during the period 1914-1917 to the policy and its modifications during the period 1939-1941.
  4. 1985 Exam (Question 3): During the past four decades, historians consistently have rated Washington, Lincoln. and Franklin D. Roosevelt as the greatest Presidents. Assess the greatness of any TWO of these three chief executives, making clear the criteria on which you base your judgment.
  5. 1985 Exam (Question 4):The size, character, and effectiveness of the organized labor movement changed significantly during the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Apply this statement to TWO of the following periods.
    • 1870-1915
    • 1915-1935
    • 1935-1950
  6. 2004 Exam (Question 4): Compare and contrast the programs and policies designed by reformers of the Progressive era to those designed by reformers of the New Deal period. Confine your answer to programs and policies that addressed the needs of those living in poverty.



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