Major Periods In American History

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AHAP Review 2015

Mr. O’Brien (many materials borrowed from Mr. Montouri)

Overview of the Exam

  • Exam date: Friday morning, 8 a.m., May 8, 2015

  • Bring 2 dark ink pens, 2 pencils w/ erasers, wristwatch.

  • Arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled exam time.

  • Students may not wear hats or hoods into the exam rooms.

  • CELL PHONES ARE PROHIBITED IN THE EXAM ROOMS and may not be used during breaks!

  • Students may only bring bottled water without a label to AP exams and may NOT keep water or food at their seats. Students may bring food for the breaks in clear plastic bags.  You will be asked to leave that food in the front of the room until the break.  Students may not eat during the exams, only during the breaks.  Students may not leave the immediate area during breaks and may not go to the cafeteria.    

Test format:
Section I:

  • Part A: Multiple Choice (55 questions; 55 Minutes; 40% of total exam score)

  • Part B: Short-answer questions (4 questions; 50 minutes; 20% of total exam score)

Section II:

  • Part A: Document-based question (1 question; 55 minutes; 25% of total exam score)

  • Part B: Long essay question (1 question (chosen from a pair); 35 minutes; 15% of total exam score)

This section is a “warm-up”. Try and think of a sentence or two to summarize each period as you go through names/phrases.
Colonial Period 1607‑1763

Jamestown, 1607 (first African‑Americans, 1619)

New England 1620 Plymouth then Mass Bay Colony

French and Indian war 1754‑1763

Revolutionary Period, 1763‑1789

End to salutary neglect with end to French & Indian War, 1763

Lexington and Concord, 1775

Declaration of Independence, 1776

Articles of Confederation ratified, 1781

Battle of Yorktown, 1781

Treaty of Paris, 1783

Critical Period, 1781‑ 1788 (Failure of Articles of Confederation)

Early Republic, 1789‑1824

Constitution Ratified, 1789

Revolution of 1800

War of 1812

“Era of Good Feelings,” 1816‑1824
Market Revolution, 1816-1845

Clay’s American System, 1816

Erie Canal completed, 1825
Age of Jackson, 1824‑1840

Greater participation in democracy (for white males)

“Corrupt Bargain” of 1824

Andrew Jackson elected, 1828 (“the people’s president”)

Reform movements abound
Antebellum Period, 1840‑1860

Manifest Destiny, 1840s

Mexican War, 1846‑48

Sectional Crisis, 1850s

Election of Lincoln, 1860
Civil War, 1861‑65

Confederate States of America founded, 1861

Emancipation Proclamation, 1863

Vicksburg and Gettysburg Battles, July 1863

Gettysburg Address 1863

Confederate Surrender, 1865

Lincoln assassinated, 1865
Reconstruction, 1865‑77

Slavery abolished, Civil War amendments

Weak presidents: Andrew Johnson, U.S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes

Nation reunifies, but South remains embittered, devastated

Compromise of 1877 – end of Reconstruction
The Settlement of the West, 1877-1900

Destruction of Native Americans’ Way of Life (Buffalo)

Farming, Ranching, and Mining

Industrialism (The Gilded Age), 1865‑1900 (a northern phenomenon)

U.S. Imperialism, 1890‑1914

Annexation of Hawaii

Panama Canal built

Spanish‑American War, 1898

Progressive Era 1900‑1914

Government & civic reform of industrial society

T. Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson

Progressive amendments

WWI, 1914‑18

U.S. involved 1917-1918

Wilson’s 14 Points

Treaty of Versailles, League of Nations

The (Roaring) Twenties

Harding, Coolidge, Hoover – G.O.P., laissez faire economic policies


General prosperity

Stock speculation
The Great Depression, 1929‑41

1929 Stock market crash

FDR elected, 1933 New Deal follows

WWII erupts, 1939

FDR efforts to aid allies
World War II, 1939‑45 (U.S. involvement, 1941‑45)

Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

Germany surrenders, May 8, 1945

A‑bombs dropped, August 6 & 9, 1945, Japan surrenders August 15

Cold War, 1947‑1989

NATO, 1st peacetime alliance/Warsaw Pact

Berlin Airlift

Soviets test A‑bomb, 1949

China goes communist, 1949

Korean War, 1950‑53

McCarthyism, 1950‑54

Vietnam War, 1965‑73

Détente, 1972-1979

Fall of Berlin Wall, 1989

Collapse of Soviet Union, 1991
Civil Rights Movement, 1954‑68

Rosa Parks/Montgomery Bus Boycott

Emmett Till

Brown v. Board of Ed. decision, 1954

“Little Rock 9”

Malcolm X

Civil Rights Act 1964

Voting Rights Act 1965

Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassinated, 1968

Black Panthers


President Nixon, 1969-1974, Watergate, resigns, avoiding impeachment, 1974; Arab Oil Embargo and Energy Crisis, '73‑74

President Gerald Ford, 1974‑76; pardons Nixon; failed election attempt 1976.

President Jimmy Carter, 1977‑80, Iran Hostage Crisis; Energy Policy; Humanitarian foreign policy, Misery Index, Camp David Accord

President Ronald Reagan, 1981‑89, Supply-side economics, military build-up, cold war ends, budget deficits, Iran-Contra Affair

President George Bush, 1988‑92, The Persian Gulf War, 1991

President Bill Clinton, 1992‑2000, Impeachment, acquittal. Record-setting economic growth. Debt reduction, Troops to Somalia (’93), Bosnia (’95)

President George W. Bush, 2001-2009, Contested Election; 9/11, “War on Terror,” Afghanistan & Iraq Wars, No Child Left Behind, budget deficits, tax cuts

Another Take on Historic Periods in Early American History

This part adds in more names, dates, places, etc.

Colonial Period 1607-1775
Themes: 1. mercantilism: the universal economic theory

2. rivalry of three major nations – England, France and Spain

3. English colonies the least tightly controlled

4. geography and native population affects each colony profoundly

5. Dissent/Change – First Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards-Sinners in Hands of Angry God, New lights vs old
Spain: 1. South America, Central America, American Southwest

2. King the source of all authority

3. emphasis on gold, huge haciendas

4. cruel to Indian workers

5. strongly Catholic

6. mercantilist

7. Catholic Church – large land owner, support hacienda system, want to convert “heathens”

8. More mixing (marriage, children) here than others

9. The Columbian Exchange
France: 1. Canada for fur trade – St. Lawrence and Mississippi River systems

2. West Indies for sugar

3. Friendly with Indians

4. Mercantilism – Joint stock companies

5. Strongly Roman Catholic – no Huguenots allowed

6. Never many colonists

Dutch: 1. Established trading centers in Hudson River Valley at Albany (Fort Orange) and New Amsterdam

2. Good relations with Native American trading partners.

3. Purely economic in nature – not interested in territory.
England: 1. established by joint stock companies and proprietors on Eastern seaboard

2. spread inland along the rivers

3. Capture New Amsterdam in 1664 (renamed New York) from Dutch
Southern Colonies:

1. Virginia –-Jamestown 1607 – “Chesapeake Bay” - the first settlement - “starving time” - John Smith - John Rolfe/Pocahantas – conflict with natives – Anglo-Powhatan wars, more land needed for tobacco, indentured servants, headright system, need for slaves (economic improvement in England), Bacon’s Rebellion

2. plantations – rice, tobacco (much later cotton)

3. Disease – swampy, mosquitoes - half didn’t survive to 20 in early colony

4. local self government – House of Burgesses in Va.

5.Small farmers, indentured servants further inland as more land/danger in west

6. Georgia – James Oglethorpe – the last colony founded – debtors/buffer

7. Slavery – Gullah, slave codes, middle passage, rebellions: Stono (1739), Gabriel Prosser (1800), Nat Turner (1831). Most settlers do NOT own slaves. Power in hands of wealthy plantation owners

Middle Colonies:

1. Pennsylvania (William Penn) the dominant colony – Quakers, pacifists, welcome all groups, treat natives better, Pennsylvania “Dutch”

2. agriculture, iron and merchants

3. mixed population and religions

4. Maryland - Toleration Act 1649 – all Christians tolerated (Jews, atheists not welcome). Becomes haven for Catholics
New England:

1. Massachusetts dominant – from there, colonized Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island

2. Mayflower Compact

3. Plymouth - Separatists from England by way of Holland –William Bradford 30 times Plymouth Governor.

Massachusetts Bay Colony- Non-separatist Puritans-John Winthrop 1st Gov of Mass Bay Colony – “city upon a hill”

4. town government – General Court

5. farming, whaling, merchants

6. Rhode Island – Roger Williams – first to separate church/state, all faiths welcome, banished from Mass Bay colony

7. Connecticut – Thomas Hooker

8. Dissent – Anne Hutchinson – question importance/role of clergy

9. Contrast to South – migrate in families, small, tight-knit communities, religion/God most important, soil not as good (shipbuilding, fishing), Protestant work ethic, Yankee ingenuity

10. Education – Towns w/50 families had to have schools, Harvard est. 1636

11. Religion – Cotton Mather (Salem witch trials), half-way covenant, devout people, intolerant
French and Indian Wars to the American Revolution, 1754-1775
Themes: 1 France and England struggle to control colonies in America

2. England ousts France from America after French and Indian War

3. English effort to control colonies more tightly and have them pay the cost of the war leads to the American Revolution

4. Protest – western (poorer) settlers vs eastern (rich, powerful) elites. Paxton Boys (1764 Phil), Regulator Movement (Carolina 1765-1771). John Peter Zenger/freedom of press

French and Indian War

1. Fought in Ohio Valley and St. Lawrence (beaver furs/trade with natives)

2. Battle of Quebec (Wolfe and Montcalm) the turning point

3. 1763 Treaty of Paris – France gives up the continent

Spanish west of Mississippi

England gets Florida and East of Mississippi

4. France wants revenge, so helps the American colonies in the Revolution

1. England tightens mercantilism, ends salutary neglect

2. Proclamation of 1763 closes Ohio Valley to colonists (resentment among colonists who felt they helped win war. British claim they’re trying to protect colonists from Indian attacks)

3. England broke, and wants Americans to share cost of war: taxes imposed

Why colonists feeling less “British”:

History of experience with local government, much social mobility, distance from England, long time policy of salutary neglect, religious freedom and Enlightenment ideas, reject British idea of “virtual representation”

1. Greenville Acts – Sugar Act > Stamp Act

Stamp Act Congress > Boycott (“non-importation”), Sons/Daughters of Liberty,

Stamp Act Repeal/pass Declaratory Act

Enforce Navigation Act (can only trade w/England

- on books since 1650)

1765 – Quartering Act

2. 1767 - Townsend Acts (import duties) – glass, lead, paper, tea.

Brits send troops/administrators to keep order and collect taxes

1770 – Boston Massacre

Townsend Duties repealed

1772 – Committees of Correspondence – Samuel Adams

3. 1773 - Tea tax/Monopoly for British East India Co. (cheaper tea for colonists)> Boston Tea Party >

4. 1774 - Intolerable Acts – close Port of Boston, extraterritoriality for English soldiers, restrict colonists’ town meetings

1774 - Quebec Act – more freedoms to French in Canada/Ohio Valley – no trial by jury (like in France), Catholicism OK - hated by anti-Catholic colonists

1774 - First Continental Congress – The Association/complete boycott

1775 – Lexington and Concord > Olive Branch Petition > Second Continental Congress >

1776 – Thomas Paine’s Common Sense – makes the case for a break from Britain – wildly popular

1776 - Declaration of Independence – Jefferson – lays out reasons for rebellion/independence – not a governing document - Enlightenment

Revolutionary War:

  1. Saratoga – key battle – 1777 – convinces French to aid colonists

  2. George Washington – brilliant strategist/commander

  3. Guerrilla warfare – defeat better armed, larger British forces

  4. French assistance – Rochambeau, de Grasse, Lafayette – U.S. victory much harder without it

  5. Yorktown, VA – final battle 1781 – trap Cornwallis on peninsula

  6. Treaty of Paris – US borders from Mississippi River to Great Lakes to Florida (given to Spain for help in war) to eastern seaboard, Loyalists not to be persecuted (not followed)

Articles of Confederation and U.S. Constitution (1783-1789)

  1. Articles of Confederation establish an ineffective government

  2. critical period – will the country survive?

  3. constitution to ensure adequate central government and freedom from tyranny

Articles of Confederation – Problems:

  1. congress cannot tax – only ask for money

  2. No power to regulate trade – states made their own tariff and navigation laws

  3. no federal courts to settle disputes

  4. Congress was a place where “ambassadors from the states” meet

  5. no executive to carry out laws

Critical period

  1. Land Ordinance of 1785 and Northwest Ordinance of 1787 – sell US land (grid system) to raise $ (some money for education) and encourage westward movement/establish system for entry of new territories/states. No slavery in NW Territory (Ohio River valley)

  2. monetary chaos – rivalry between states provides incentive for new constitution

  3. Shay’s Rebellion – Massachusetts – convinces GW of need for revised Articles


  1. convention in Philadelphia – Madison (author of Constitution), Washington the leaders

  2. principles-

    1. federalism

    2. separation of powers

    3. checks and balances

  3. compromised to accomplish aims

  4. Article 1 – legislature

    1. Senate and House - Two Senators from each state, House of Representatives by population (“large state” VA plan, “small state” NJ plan, Great Compromise by Roger Sherman)

    2. Laws - passed by majority of both houses and signed by President

    3. Congress can override a President’s veto by 2/3 vote of each house

    4. House can impeach but Senate conducts trial to determine guilt (and whether to throw out of office). Senate approves presidential appointments by majority vote, approves treaties.

    5. Enumerated areas in which Congress can pass laws plus elastic clause

    6. Declare war

  5. Article 2 – Executive – President

    1. carries out laws

    2. conducts foreign policy

    3. appoints federal judges

    4. commander –in- chief

  6. Article 3 – Judiciary – Supreme Court

    1. tries cases between states

    2. tries cases against federal laws

    3. lower courts established by Congress

  7. Amendments – passed by 2/3 of Congress, ¾ of state legislatures (President has no role)

  8. Federalist Papers - argued successfully for ratification – Jay, Hamilton, Madison - #10 concern over factions, advantage of republican form of government

  9. Bill of Rights – (not in original Constitution) - first ten amendments guaranteeing personal liberty – fulfills promise to anti-federalists concerned over lack of individual rights in original Constitution

  10. 3/5 Compromise

  11. Slave Trade – cannot be touched for 20 years (banned in 1808)

  12. No mention of political parties, President’s cabinet (“unwritten Constitution”)

  13. Federalists – support ratification of Constitution, cities, strong central government vs Anti-Federalists – oppose ratification, rural, more states’/individual power

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