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


5 DBQs, 37 FRQs = 42 Total
Main Topics: Cold War / Civil Rights / Politics / Cultural / Compare and Contrast

Cold War Questions (2 DBQ, 8 FRQs)

  1. 1981 Exam (Question 4): Why did United States foreign policy after the Second World War (1945-1960) take a different direction from that after the First World War (1918-1939)? Give approximately equal attention to both periods.
  2. 1984 Exam (Question 6): "Harry S Truman was a realistic, pragmatic President who skillfully led the American people against the menace posed by the Soviet Union." Assess the validity of this generalization for President Truman's foreign policy from 1945 to 1953.
  3. 1996 Exam (Question 5):Analyze the influence of TWO of the following on American-Soviet relations in the decade following the Second World War.
    • Yalta Conference
    • Communist Revolution in China
    • Korean War
    • McCarthyism
  4. 1997 Exam (Question 5): How do you account for the appeal of McCarthyism in the United States in the era following the Second World War?
  5. 1999 Exam (Question 5): Assess the success of the United States policy of containment in Asia between 1945 and 1975.
  6. 2001 Exam (DBQ):What were the Cold War fears of the American people in the aftermath of the Second World War? How successfully did the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower address these fears?
    • Use the documents and your knowledge of the years 1948-1961 to construct your response.
  7. 2004 Exam (Question 5):Analyze the successes and failures of the United States Cold War policy of containment as it developed in TWO of the following regions of the world during the period 1945 to 1975.
    • East and Southeast Asia
    • Europe
    • Latin America
    • Middle East
  8. 2006 Exam B (DBQ):Analyze developments from 1941 to 1949 that increase suspicion and tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.
    • Use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1941-1949 to construct your response.
  9. 2010 Exam B (Question 5):Analyze the effects of the Vietnam War on TWO of the following in the United States in the period from 1961 to 1975.
    • The presidency
    • The population between 18 and 35 years old
    • Cold War diplomacy
  10. 2012 Exam (Question 5):Compare and contrast the Cold War foreign policies of TWO of the following presidents.
    • Harry Truman (1945–1953)
    • Dwight Eisenhower (1953–1961)
    • Richard Nixon (1969–1974)

Civil Rights Questions (1 DBQ, 5 FRQs)

  1. 1985 Exam (Question 6): What accounted for the growth between 1940 and 1965 of popular and governmental concern for the position of Blacks in American society?
  2. 1991 Exam (Question 6): Although the 1960's are usually considered the decade of greatest achievement for Black civil rights, the 1940's and 1950's were periods of equally important gains. Assess the validity of this statement.
  3. 1995 Exam (DBQ): Analyze the changes that occurred during the 1960's in the goals, strategies, and support of the movement for African American civil rights. Use the documents and you knowledge of the history of the 1960's to construct your response.
  4. 2002 Exam (Question 5): How did the African American Civil Rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's address the failures of the Reconstruction?
  5. 2004 Exam B (Question 5):"Between 1960 and 1975, there was great progress in the struggle for political and social equality." Assess the validity of this statement with respect to TWO of the following groups during that period.
    • African Americans
    • Asian Americans
    • Latinos
    • Native Americans
    • Women
  6. 2013 Exam (Question 5): Between 1945 and 1975 various groups in the United States engaged in protest. Analyze the reasons that protest emerged in this period for TWO of the following groups.
    • African-Americans
    • College Students
    • Latino Americans
    • Women

Political Questions (2 DBQs, 6 FRQs)

  1. 1979 Exam (Question 6): "During the 20th century, American 'progressives' or 'liberals' at some times advocated a strong presidency and expanded executive power, while 'conservatives' opposed the expansion of these powers. At other times the 'liberal' and 'conservative' positions were reversed." Assess the validity of this statement with reference to the periods 1900-1940 AND 1965-1974.
  2. 1980 Exam (Question 2):"A presidential election that results in the defeat of the party in power usually indicates the failure of the party in power to have dealt effectively with the nation's problems, rather than indicating the positive appeal of the winning candidate and his party's platform." Assess the validity of this generalization with reference to TWO of the following elections in which the party in power was defeated:
    • 1912
    • 1920
    • 1932
    • 1952
    • 1960
    • 1968
    • (1976)
    • (1980)
    • (1992)
  3. 1990 Exam (Question 6): "Foreign affairs rather than domestic issues shaped presidential politics in the election year 1968." Assess the validity of this statement with specific reference to foreign and domestic issues.
  4. 2002 Exam B (Question 5):Analyze the ways in which TWO of the following shaped American politics after the Second World War.
    • Anticommunism in the 1940's and 1950's
    • The women's liberation movement in the 1950's
    • The "silent majority" in the 1970's
  5. 2003 Exam B (Question 5): Describe and account for changes in the American presidency between 1960 and 1975, as symbolized by Kennedy's "Camelot," Johnson's Great Society, and Nixon's Watergate. In your answer address the powers of the presidency and the role of the media.
  6. 2007 Exam B (DBQ):In what ways did the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson respond to the political, economic, and social problems of the United States? Assess the effectiveness of these responses.
    • Use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1960-1970 to construct your response.
  7. 2007 Exam (Question 5):"Landslide Presidential victories do not ensure continued political effectiveness or legislative success." Assess the validity of this statement by comparing TWO of the following presidential administrations.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt (1936)
    • Lyndon Johnson (1964)
    • Richard Nixon (1972)
    • Ronald Reagan (1984)
  8. 2011 Exam (DBQ): Analyze the international and domestic challenges the United States faced between 1968 and 1974, and evaluate how President Richard Nixon’s administration responded to them. (Click for documents)

Cultural Questions (7 FRQs)

  1. 1994 Exam (Question 5): To what extent did the decade of the 1950's deserve its reputation as an age of political, social, and cultural conformity?
  2. 1998 Exam (Question 5):“1968 was a turning point for the United States.” To what extent is this an accurate statement? In your answer, discuss TWO of the following:
    • National politics
    • Vietnam War
    • Civil Rights
  3. 2000 Exam (Question 5):Discuss, with respect to TWO of the following, the view that the 1960's represented a period of profound cultural change.
    • Education
    • Gender roles
    • Music
    • Race relations
  4. 2005 Exam (Question 5):Analyze the extent to which TWO of the following transformed American society in the 1960's and 1970's.
    • The Civil Rights movement
    • The antiwar movement
    • The women's movement
  5. 2006 Exam (Question 5):While the United States appeared to be dominated by consensus and conformity in the 1950's, some Americans reacted against the status quo. Analyze the critiques of United States society made by TWO of the following.
    • Youth
    • Civil Rights Activists
    • Intellectuals
  6. 2009 Exam B (Question 5): Analyze the ways in which the events and trends of the 1970s diminished the nation’s economic power and international influence, and challenged Americans’ confidence in both.
  7. 2010 Exam (Question 5):Explain the causes and consequences of TWO of the following population movements in the United States during the period 1945–1985.
    • Suburbanization
    • The growth of the Sun Belt
    • Immigration to the United States

Compare/Contrast Questions (9 FRQs)

  1. 1982 Exam (Question 6): Compare the goals and strategies of Black reform movements in the period 1890-1910 to the goals and strategies of Black reform movements in the period 1950-1970.
  2. 1986 Exam (Question 6):"Reform movements of the 20th century have shown continuity in their goals and strategies." Assess the validity of this statement for ONE of the following pairs of reform movements.
    • Progressivism and the New Deal
    • Women's suffrage and post-Second World War Feminism
    • The New Deal and the Great Society
  3. 1989 Exam (Question 6):"Vice Presidents who have succeeded to the presidency on the death of the President have been less effective in their conduct of domestic AND foreign policy than the men they replaced." Assess the validity of this statement for any TWO of the following pairs.
    • William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S Truman
    • John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson
  4. 1992 Exam (Question 5): In what ways did the Great Society resemble the New Deal in its origins, goals, and social and political legacy? Cite specific programs and policies in support of your arguments.
  5. 1993 Exam (Question 5):"Shifts in party control of the presidency during the 20th century have typically NOT brought major shifts in domestic policy." Assess the validity of this statement. Illustrate your argument by discussing the extent to which TWO of the following Presidents adopted the DOMESTIC programs of the previous presidential administrations given in parentheses beneath their names.
    • Wilson vs. Administrations of TR and Taft
    • FDR vs. Administration of Hoover
    • Eisenhower vs. Administrations of FDR and Truman
    • Nixon vs. Administrations of JFK and LBJ
  6. 2003 Exam (Question 5):Compare and contrast United States society in the 1920's and the 1950's with respect to TWO of the following:
    • Race relations
    • Role of women
    • Consumerism
  7. 2009 Exam B (Question 4):Explain the origins of TWO of the following third parties and evaluate their impact on United States politics and national policies.
    • The People’s Party (Populists), 1892
    • The Progressive Party (Bull Moose Party), 1912
    • The States’ Rights Party (Dixiecrats), 1948
    • The American Independent Party, 1968
  8. 2011 Exam (Question 5): African American leaders have responded to racial discrimination in the United States in a variety of ways. Compare and contrast the goals and strategies of African American leaders in the 1890s –1920s with the goals and strategies of African American leaders in the 1950s –1960s.
  9. 2011 Exam B (Question 5): Compare and contrast the women’s rights movement of the 1840s–1860s with the women’s rights movement of the 1960s–1980s.

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