ap.jpg AP United States History Themes

This class will be divided into ten units of roughly four weeks each (10 days). Questions dealing with the Pre-Columbian time period to 1789 (Units I and II) represent 20% of the exam, questions from 1790-1914 (Units III - VII) represent 45% of the exam, and questions from 1915 to the present (Units VIII - X) represent the remaining 35%. During each unit, students will examine the Intellectual, Cultural and Social History (40%) of the time period, the Political Institutions, Behavior and Policy (35%) of the time period, the Diplomatic and International Relations (15%) of the United States during the time period, and the Economic Developments (10%) of the period in question. The following are the "themes" that hit both of those goals, established by the College Board (and copied from their course guide on AP United States History).

American Diversity

The diversity of the American people and the relationships among different groups. The roles of race, class, ethnicity, and gender in the history of the United States.

American Identity

Views of the American national character and ideas about American exceptionalism. Recognizing regional differences within the context of what it means to be an American.


Diverse individual and collective expressions through literature, art, philosophy, music, theater, and film throughout U.S. history. Popular culture and the dimensions of cultural conflict within American society.

Demographic Changes

Changes in birth, marriage, and death rates; life expectancy and family patterns; population size and density. The economic, social, and political effects of immigration, internal migration, and migration networks.

Economic Transformations

Changes in trade, commerce, and technology across time. The effects of capitalist development, labor and unions, and consumerism.


Ideas about the consumption and conservation of natural resources. The impact of population growth, industrialization, pollution, and urban and suburban expansion.


Engagement with the rest of the world from the fifteenth century to the present: colonialism, mercantilism, global hegemony, development of markets, imperialism, cultural exchange.

Politics and Citizenship

Colonial and revolutionary legacies, American political traditions, growth of democracy, and the development of the modern state. Defining citizenship; struggles for civil rights.


Diverse movements focusing on a broad range of issues, including anti-slavery, education, labor, temperance, women's rights, civil rights, gay rights, war, public health, and government.


The variety of religious beliefs and practices in America from prehistory to the twenty-first century; influence of religion on politics, economics, and society.

Slavery and Its Legacies in North America

Systems of slave labor and other forms of unfree labor (e.g., indentured servitude, contract labor) in Native American societies, the Atlantic World, and the American South and West. The economics of slavery and its racial dimensions. Patterns of resistance and the long-term economic, political, and social effects of slavery.

War and Diplomacy

Armed conflict from the precolonial period to the twenty-first century; impact of war on American foreign policy and on politics, economy, and society.

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