AP U.S. History Essay Guide for Unit VII

Source: College Board AP US History Exam Website

2 DBQs, 18 FRQs = 20 Total
Main Topics: Great Depression/New Deal, World War II, Political Questions, Cultural Questions, Compare-Contrast

Great Depression / New Deal (5 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. 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?
  4. 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
  5. 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

World War II (2 DBQs, 3 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.

Political Questions (2 FRQs)

  1. 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?
  2. 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.

Cultural Questions (2 FRQs)

  1. 1996 Exam (Question 4): Analyze the ways in which the Great Depression altered the American social fabric in the 1930's.
  2. 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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