A.P. U.S. History Syllabus – Mr. Voss
Course Information
 Course description: Advanced Placement U.S. History is designed to prepare the student to
take the A.P. examination. Students passing the examination receive advanced placement or
college credit or both during their freshman year of college. The examination, given in May
of each year, contains general and specific knowledge – multiple choice questions in U.S.
History. It also includes essay writing on topics in U.S. History. Because of the difficulty
and concentration of material covered, interested students must have both an interest in U.S.
History and the desire to refine skills of analysis and expression on a broad range of related
topics. (Lake Zurich High School Program of Studies)
 Methodology: Throughout the year, units will consist of a mix of textbook reading,
understanding supplementary outside articles and book excerpts, interpretive map reading
and discussion, political cartoon analysis, essay writing (including DBQ’s), primary source
analysis, and interpretive writing and discussions regarding historiography. Historiography
deals with how the interpretation of historical events changes over time based on the
experiences of different time periods and how these experiences have impacted later
generations of historians. These changes, experiences, and studies continue to effect the way
historians and Americans see history and the world as it exists today.
 Textbook: The American Pageant, 13th Edition.
 Tests will be given at the end of every unit. Each test will consist of both multiple choice
and analytical and thematic essay questions. There will be approximately three tests per
 Quizzes will be given often. Generally short in a variety of styles and point values. The
lowest score will be dropped each quarter. Missed quizzes will not be made up; the next quiz
will be worth double to make up the missed points.
 Homework can be expected each day. Approximately five to six hours of homework per
week. The majority of homework will be essay writing, reading, and taking notes from the
college text book (which can be kept at home).
 At least one book review will be completed during the year. You will select one non-fiction
book that examines an historical aspect for an assigned portion of American History. You
will analyze factors such as the author’s thesis, approach, and support to discover for yourself
if the book is a valid historical resource. More details will come soon.
 The curriculum is established by the College Board and includes the study of U.S. History
from the Pre-Columbian period through modern times.
 Review sessions for the AP test will be provided before the test outside of class.
 All policies in the LZHS student handbook apply to this course.
 Make up work is your responsibility. You will have a calendar for each quarter so there is no
excuse for missed reading. Ask for any additional work when you come back to class.
 Test make ups will be taken care of immediately. Make ups must be done either before
school or after school.
Contact Information
 My Office: E 209
 My Email: [email protected]
Voicemail: 847-540-5415
 My website is: <>. Calendars
and other information can be found there. Please check it often for course information.
Class Expectations and Grading
 Complete all assignments and bring notebooks and other materials (except for your book,
which may stay at home) to class each day.
 Participate in class discussions and activities. Learning from each other is as important as
learning from the textbook or me.
 You will only get out of this class as much as you put in. I cannot help you if you are not
willing to put in the effort. Do not be afraid to ask me, or your classmates, any questions.
This is APUSH! You will need to work hard.
 Your grade will be determined from the following:
o 50% unit tests
o 20% quizzes
o 20% participation
o 10% homework
APUS History Course Information
Detailed Course Description
The Advanced Placement U.S. History course is designed to provide students with the analytic
skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S.
history and to prepare for the AP Exam in May. The class prepares students for intermediate and
advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year
introductory courses. Students should learn to assess historical materials – their relevance to a
given interpretive problem, reliability, and importance – and to weigh the evidence and
interpretations presented in historical scholarship. The AP U.S. History course should help
develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to
present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format. Due to the difficulty and
concentration of material covered, interested students must have both an interest in U.S. History
and the desire to refine skills of analysis and expression on a broad range of related topics.
Major course topics include colonization, colonial America, Revolutionary America,
Constitutional development, Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy, reform movements,
Manifest Destiny, and the Civil War. Post-Civil War topics include Reconstruction,
immigration, industrialism, Populism, Progressivism, World War I, the Roaring Twenties, the
Great Depression, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, and contemporary America.
This course will also emphasize a series of key themes throughout the year. These themes have
been determined by the College Board as necessary to a complete study of United States history.
These themes include American diversity, the development of an American identity and culture,
demographic changes throughout American history, economic changes and trends,
environmental issues, globalization, politics and citizenship in America, reform movements, the
role religion plays in American history, the institution of slavery and its effects on America, and
war and diplomacy during the course of America’s history. These themes will be examined
throughout the year to determine how they are connected, how they help change and shape
America, and why they are critical to the understanding of the history of the United States of
Unit Plans (subject to change)
Unit 1: Weeks 1-4
 Geography handouts
 American Pageant: Chapters 1-4: New World Beginnings, The Planting of English America, Settling the
Northern Colonies, American Life in the Seventeenth Century.
 A Different Mirror: Chapter 3: The “Giddy Multitude”: The Hidden Origins of Slavery
 Handlin, Oscar. The Significance of the Seventeenth Century
Topics: Physical and political geography of the United States, pre-1492 Native Americans, early exploration, three
worlds collide, Spanish and French exploration, Jamestown, growth of Southern colonies, mercantilism, Puritans
and growth of New England colonies, New York and Pennsylvania, slavery in the colonies, Salem witch trials
Activities/Sources: United States maps, DBQ: introduce, teach process, group-organize and outline (Chesapeake and
New England Colonies), Varying Viewpoints: Europeanizing America or Americanizing Europe?
Unit 2: Weeks 5-7
 American Pageant: Chapters 5-9: Colonial Society on the Eve of Revolution, The Duel for North America,
The Road to Revolution, America Secedes from the Empire, The Confederation and the Constitution.
Topics: Changes in colonial society, Great Awakening, British and French conflicts, impacts of French and Indian
War, mercantilism, seeds of rebellion, America Revolution and independence, peace and confederation, Articles of
Confederation and its problems, the Constitution.
Activities/Sources: Colonial advertisement assignment, map of Revolutionary War battles, Colonial/Revolutionary
propaganda (Franklin, Revere), Common Sense, Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, DBQ: practice
(Colonial identity and unity by 1776), Varying Viewpoints: The Constitution: Revolutionary or
Unit 3: Weeks 8-10
 American Pageant: Chapters 10-12: Launching the New Ship of State, The Triumphs and Travails of
Jeffersonian Democracy, The Second War for Independence and the Upsurge of Nationalism.
Topics: Bill of Rights, Washington’s presidency, growth and development of first political parties, diplomacy during
French Revolution, Adams’ presidency, Virginia Dynasty presidents, Louisiana Purchase, causes of War of 1812,
impacts and American identify from the War of 1812, the American System, growth of nationalism, growth of the
Supreme Court, Monroe Doctrine.
Activities/Sources: Hamilton vs. Jefferson debate, Supreme Court cases, DBQ: practice and peer-editing (Jefferson
and Madison: strict or broad constructionists)
Unit 4: Weeks 10-13
 American Pageant: Chapters 13-15: The Rise of a Mass Democracy, Forging the National Economy, The
Ferment of Reform and Culture.
 A Different Mirror: Chapter 6: Emigrants from Erin: Ethnicity and Class within White America
Topics: Jacksonian Democracy, the “common man,” Texas revolution and annexation, slavery, growth of
sectionalism, immigration, growth of the national economic, Erie Canal, immigration and nativism, transportation
revolution, Second Great Awakening, social reform movements, growth of national literature and culture.
Activities/Sources: Andrew Jackson’s 1st Inaugural Address, political cartoons, DBQ: analyze sample responses
(Reform movements expanding democratic ideals)
Unit 5: Weeks 14-16
 American Pageant: Chapters 16-19: The South and the Slavery Controversy, Manifest Destiny and Its
legacy, Renewing the Sectional Struggle, Drifting Toward Disunion.
 Blassingame, John W. The Slave Community. (Oxford: New York, 1972.)
Topics: Slave culture in Antebellum America, abolitionists, Manifest Destiny, Mexican War, James Polk’s
presidency, plusses and minuses of expansion, sectionalism, Compromise of 1850, Kansas-Nebraska Act, Bloody
Kansas, Panic of 1857, election of 1860, secession.
Activities/Sources: Varying Viewpoints: What was the true nature of slavery?, excerpts from The Slave Community.
Unit 6: Weeks 17-19
 American Pageant: Chapters 20-23: Girding for War: The North and the South, The Furnace of Civil War,
The Ordeal of Reconstruction, Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age.
Topics: Lincoln’s inauguration, beginnings of the Civil War, diplomatic, social, and economic changes during the
war, civil liberties, critical battles and people of the Civil War, Anaconda Plan, Emancipation Proclamation, legacy
of the war, politics and economy of Reconstruction, changes for freedmen, Jim Crow, impeachment, end and legacy
of Reconstruction, big business in the Gilded Age, political, class, and ethnic issues, Populism.
Activities/Sources: Lincoln’s First and Second inaugural addresses, Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg
Address, map of Civil War battles, selections from Ken Burns’ The Civil War series, Civil War Times: student
reviews of current Civil War scholarship.
1st Semester Final Exam
Unit 7: Weeks 1-2
 American Pageant: Chapters 24-26: Industry Comes of Age, America Moves to the City, The Great West
and the Agricultural Revolution.
 A Different Mirror: The “Indian Question”: From Reservation to Reorganization
Topics: Robber Barons vs. Captains of Industry, working class and the rise of unions, growth of U.S. economy and
government actions, urbanization, ‘New’ immigration, nativism, ‘New’ women, African-American leaders, closing
of the frontier, Native American relations, farmer problems, Populism, late-nineteenth century elections and
presidents, strikes, Panic of 1893
Activities/Sources: Group presentations, The Frontier Hypothesis article and questions, William Jennings Bryan
Cross of Gold speech, Varying Viewpoints: The Populists: Radicals or Reactionaries?, DBQ: practice (Constitutional
and social developments of 1860-1877 a revolution?)
Unit 8: Weeks 3-5
 American Pageant: Chapters 27-30: Empire and Expansion, Progressivism and the Republican Roosevelt,
Wilsonian Progressivism at Home and Abroad, The War to End War.
Topics: Imperialism, American expansion, Hawaii, Spanish-American War, Filipino-American War, Open Door
Policy, America as a world player, Progressive reforms (Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson), World War I, American
neutrality, isolation, and the war at home, propaganda, civil liberties, America fighting World War I, the Treaty of
Activities/Sources: Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle excerpt, DBQ: graded (US expansionism a continuation or
departure OR effectiveness of Progressive reformers), Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points
Unit 9: Weeks 6-9
 American Pageant: Chapters 31-35: American Life in the “Roaring Twenties,” The Politics of Boom and
Bust, The Great Depression and the New Deal, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Shadow of War, America in
World War II.
Topics: Red Scare, immigration issues, mass-consumption society, the Harlem Renaissance and jazz, culture
clashes, isolationism, politics and scandal of the 1920s, foreign debt and policy, onset of Great Depression,
Roosevelt’s 3 R’s and New Deal, effects and impacts of the New Deal demographically, culturally, and within the
three branches of government, American neutrality and economic policy before and during the beginning of World
War II, Pearl Harbor, America fighting in Europe and Pacific, America on the homefront, effects and impacts of war
on American culture and different people, decision and impact of the atomic bomb.
Activities/Sources: ABC News’ America’s Time: Boom to Bust, Rhapsody in Blue (George Gershwin), Roosevelt’s
First Inaugural Address, Japanese internment article and government propaganda video, World War II primary
source packet (speeches, excerpts, letters, recollections, women during the war, veterans, etc.), Varying Viewpoints:
The Atomic Bombs: Were They Justified?, DBQ: graded (US foreign policy changes from 1920 to 1941)
Unit 10: Weeks 10-12
 American Pageant: Chapters 36-38: The Cold War Begins, The Eisenhower Era, The Stormy Sixties.
Topics: Postwar prosperity, Baby Boom, Communism and Containment, Truman’s diplomacy, Korean War, Red
Scare, the United States emerging as a world power, McCarthyism, the Civil Rights movement, expansion of the
Cold War, consumer culture of the 1950s, postwar culture, Kennedy and the Cold War, the war in Vietnam,
evolution of the Civil Rights movement, Johnson and the Great Society, counter culture of the 1960s.
Activities/Sources: Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a
Dream Speech”, Varying Viewpoints: The Sixties: Constructive or Destructive?
Unit 11: Weeks 13-15
 American Pageant: Chapters 39-42: The Stalemated Seventies, The Resurgence of Conservatism, America
Confronts the Post-Cold War Era, The American People Face a New Century.
Topics: Rise of Conservatism, Economic stagnation, Nixon and Watergate, environmental issues, feminism and the
women’s movement, Civil Rights movement continues, Nixon, Ford, and Carter’s foreign policy, Reagan and the
“New Right,” the end of the Cold War, Reaganomics, globalization, the Persian Gulf War, the Clinton Era, modern
American issues and topics, review for AP exam.
Activities/Sources: Varying Viewpoints: Where did Modern Conservatism Come From?, Presidential Final 4
Assignment, review activities
AP Exam:
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