53 Frequently Reviewed AP® US History Terms and Concepts | Albert.io (2023)

AP® US History can be a difficult puzzle to solve. How do you cover hundreds of years of history that has its own deep and complex layers of concepts, events, and reactions? The different timelines of AP® US History are nearly impossible to pin down. It's an exhausting course to say the least. Creating a set of AP® US History vocabulary cards can be a daunting prospect when you consider all the information you need to review for the upcoming AP® World History exam.

But do not worry; We've created this list of 53 frequently reviewed US History terms and concepts so you don't get lost in this jungle of AP® US History time periods. This AP® US History review boils down the entire course to 53 terms you need to know. It's the perfect way to study concepts, facts, phrases, central figures, ideas, and more that frequently appear on AP® US History exam and document-based questions. Let's start.

APUSH is divided into nine different units:

  • Season 1:1491–1607(4-6% exam weighting)
  • Season 2:1607–1754(4-6% exam weighting)
  • Season 3:1754–1800(10-17% exam weighting)
  • Season 4:1800–1848(10-17% exam weighting)
  • Period 5: 1844–1877(10-17% exam weighting)
  • Period 6: 1865–1898(10-17% exam weighting)
  • Period 7: 1890–1945(10-17% exam weighting)
  • Period 8: 1945–1980(10-17% exam weighting)
  • Season 9: 1980-present(4-6% exam weighting)

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What we review

5 Frequently Tested AP® American History Concepts from Period 1: 1491-1607

1. Package System

In the 16th century, the Spanish government introduced the encomienda system to the Americas to divide the Native American labor force. Under this system, a Spanish conquistador, or other Spanish male of significant social status (known as an encomendero), was given the labor of several Native Americans living in the area. In addition, the encomienda system provided workers with protection from other tribes and education in Catholicism. The native laborer paid tribute to the encomendero in the form of gold or other metals or agricultural products.

Ultimately, think of this system as a Spanish system designed to regulate and control Native Americans. APUSH test questions on the encomienda system require you to know the structure and legacy of the system and how it affected Native Americans.

2. Limited Liability Companies

A limited company is a type of business enterprise where any person with the means to invest can buy shares in a particular company. Therefore, the amount of shares you own determines your influence on the company's operations. This plays a key role in American history, as colonies were established in North America through the trading of many public companies. These English limited companies sought to collect the natural resources of North America and bring them back to England.

Consider the Virginia Company's venture to establish a colony in the state to be known as Virginia. Simply put, limited companies are companies owned by shareholders who have invested in exploration and colonization. They will appear in the key when asked about the first steps of colonization.

3. Pueblo Indians

The Pueblo Indians are the Native Americans of what is now the Southwest. They are known for their adobe and mud flat-like structures that formed the towns of the Pueblo people. They flourished by developing a distinct world of art, culture and extensive agricultural practices and led many successful revolts against the Spanish.

In 1598, the Spanish, led by the notorious conquistador Juan de Oñate, invaded the Pueblo region and established a colony in New Mexico. They responded to indigenous resistance with brutality and terror, a conflict that eventually culminated in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, which toppled the Spanish from their world pedestal. You don't need to know the gory details to answer the Pueblo Revolt APUSH questions, but you do need to be familiar with Pueblo culture and the friction between them and the Spanish.

4. Seating system

The Asiento system was a Spanish slavery system that laid the foundation for slavery in the Americas. Essentially it worked like this: African slaves were brought to the Americas and taxes were paid to the Spanish crown for each slave imported. The Asiento system and the Encomienda system both served as foundational trade practices for slavery in the US. The Asiento system was the forerunner of the Triangular Trade System and resulted in hundreds of thousands of slaves being transported to the New World. It will come up on the APUSH exam when asked about the origins of slavery in the colonies, so it's a very important part to remember.

5. Roanoke

In 1586, English colonists led by Walter Raleigh attempted to establish an early colony in America. They landed on Roanoke Island, just off the coast of North Carolina. However, when the colony's governor, John White, returned from a supply trip to England, he found his colony completely deserted and not a settler in sight. There were no signs of violence or rebellion, only the word "CROAT" carved into a tree. White interpreted the letters as an indication that settlers had moved to the Croatian island about 50 miles away, but a later search of the island found none of the settlers.

Roanoke represents the hardships and unknown fears surrounding the English colonization of the Americas and will appear on the APUSH exam when asked about the fears and dangers of colonization.

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5 Frequently Tested AP® American History Concepts from Period 2: 1607-1754

1. House of Burgesses

A forerunner of Congress, it was the first form of legislature to appear in the colonies. Established in 1642, the House of Burgesses was established by the Virginia Company to manage and administer aid to the settlers' needs. It was governed by citizens, elected officials drawn from the population of the colony itself.

The House of Burgesses essentially foreshadowed many of the future powers and conventions enshrined in the Constitution, setting the blueprint for America's self-determined spirit. Think of the House of Burgesses as a precursor to the United States government, and it usually appears on the test in questions that ask you to consider the first steps toward self-government.

2.Commercial spirit

The dominant economic theory in Europe during the period from the 16th centurymuntil 18mthe mercantilism of the century. He argues that trade creates wealth and is stimulated by the accumulation of profitable balances, which a government should encourage through protectionism. The main demands of mercantilism arose from a country's urge to establish colonies quickly and efficiently.

Furthermore, anything the colony produced could only be shipped and sold to the home country, and the home country's exports had to exceed its imports. This policy shaped the context of the English, Spanish, and French colonies as they expanded into the New World. Mercantilism will appear throughout the test, both DBQs on colonial expansion and MCQs on early America.


Because the colonial era was defined by trade, money and profit, cash was central to most, if not all, motives. This is where cash crops come into play. A cash crop is exactly what it sounds like: a crop grown for money, not for a living. For example, sugar (see The Atlantic System and United Fruit Company) was an important cash crop.

Before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, sugar plantations were only a fringe of the regional agricultural system. But after the European arrival, it became a main crop. Often these crops were harvested through forced labor or coercive systems and had devastating effects on the environment. Cash crops are important to the APUSH exam because they contribute to the development of colonial expansion.

4. Triangular Trade

The triangular trade route refers to the route taken by merchant ships from Africa to the New World and back to Europe. A ship looking to make a profit would set out from Africa and take a cargo of slaves and other goods to sell in the New World. The ship then crossed the Atlantic and sold its cargo of slaves to the New World. These slaves would work on plantations, growing cash crops such as cotton, tobacco, and sugar.

Merchant ships would then pick up a cargo of these cash crops to sell back to Europe, forming a triangular trade model. This trade system established the system of slavery that prevailed in the New World for centuries, enriching Europe while desolating Africa. In this way, it proves essential to understanding slavery in America in general.

5. Colonization Order

In order from oldest to newest, the colonies were established first in Virginia, then in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Each of these colonies was founded for different reasons, grew different cash crops, and faced different challenges. But why is it important to know when they were colonized?

Not only is maintaining an understanding of the overall chronology of the colonization process extremely helpful in managing the overall AP® US History timeline, but it also plays a role in establishing each colony as a distinct, unique entity, which in turn sets distinctive the bases for understanding the rights of the state.

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7 Frequently Tested AP® American History Concepts from Period 3: 1754-1800

1. Bill of Rights

After the US Constitution was written and ratified, there were many who still feared the document's strict wording. The document was generous in the power it gave to the federal government, but some believed it gave too much power to the federal level. The document, written by James Madison, sought to allay the fears of those dissatisfied with a strong, monarchical centralized government.

The Bill of Rights refers directly to the first ten amendments to the Constitution and guarantees things like freedom of speech and religion, but the Bill of Rights ultimately represented the changing nature of the Constitution. Its impact lies in the way it has been interpreted during several landmark Supreme Court cases. In this way, the Bill of Rights will appear more often in groundbreaking court cases. Understanding the BoR will help you clear up breakthrough lawsuits.

2. Massacre in Boston

The truth surrounding the Boston Massacre has been obscured by competing narratives, but we know that Americans at the time saw it as a first step toward the Revolutionary War. In reality, the event was more of a skirmish between colonial settlers and British soldiers, but the propaganda surrounding it sent the colonies into a frenzy.

In 1770, Britain sent troops to Boston as a means of protecting officials who tried to enforce legislation recently passed by Parliament. A mob led by Crispus Attucks, a slave, began harassing the British soldiers who fired into the crowd. Several Americans were killed and the episode was heralded as a turning point in colonial sentiment shifting from support for the British crown to independence. The Boston Massacre is often put to the test when it comes to questions about the road to revolution, propaganda, and resistance.

3. Boston Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party was the final straw in a series of events that led to the American Revolution. The event began as a protest against the 1773 Tea Act of Parliament, which gave the East India Company a monopoly on the sale of tea in the colonies. The Sons of Liberty, a liberation-oriented rebel group, saw this as a deliberate act to weaken the local, colonial economy and merchant class, and would not support it.

Boston men disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians and boarded the East India Company ships held in the harbor and began dumping the cargo of tea. The Boston Tea Party is often challenged by questions surrounding the causes of the Revolutionary War, its philosophy of freedom, and nonviolent resistance.

4. Saldi control

One of the most important concepts in the founding of the US government is checks and balances. Checks and balances are a political framework that distributes power in a tripartite system, preventing one part of the government from dominating the other two. The United States government is divided into legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Each of these branches has a very specific power range that the other branches do not.

Also, each branch of government is given powers that allow it to control its counterparts. The importance of this model cannot be underestimated, as it prevented and still prevents the conquest of absolute power by a single man or political group. Thus, an understanding of checks and balances is essential to fully understanding US dealings with power, legislation, and executive action in general.

5. The Constitution

The US Constitution is one of the most important documents in American (and indeed world) history. It established the three-tiered system on which the United States government is based and established a Congress consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. It also granted military power to the President of the United States and gave the Supreme Court the right to interpret the law as it applies to every citizen of the United States. Understanding the Constitution is critical to understanding how the US government was not only built, but how it operates today.

6. Declaration of Independence

This groundbreaking document, written by Thomas Jefferson and approved by the Continental Congress in 1776, supported the formal formation of a new nation. With the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Congress felt it important to set forth the reasons for breaking with the British throne and forming a nation of their own.

The body of the document asserted that all human beings are created equal and guaranteed the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He also described the crimes committed by the British throne and denounced Parliament for its treatment of the colonies. Its ratification committed the American colonies to the path of self-government and sovereignty. This document appears most often in DBQ, questions of revolution, freedom, and rhetoric.

7. Sons of Liberty

Who exactly were the Sons of Liberty? They were a group of settlers living in colonial America who were unhappy with the practices of the British crown. They were formed to defend the colonists against further injustices by Britain and to fight further taxation which they deemed unjust.

Names you may recognize among the ranks of the Sons of Liberty included such notable men as Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere. Another famous member was Patrick Henry, who uttered the words, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" The Sons of Liberty represent one of the most critical groups in bringing about the Revolution.

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7 Frequently Tested AP® American History Concepts from Period 4: 1800-1848

1. The embargo

The Embargo Act was passed by Thomas Jefferson in 1807 and marked a low point in his presidency. It effectively prohibited US ships from trading in all foreign ports. The law was designed to protect American ships from being impressed by foreign powers, but in the end it simply decimated the economies of port cities and reminded many Americans of Britain's Navigation Laws. In 1807 it led to an 8 percent drop in gross national product. With the embargo, US exports fell by 75% and imports by 50%. Although the law did not completely eliminate trade and domestic partners, it certainly hurt the country's participation in foreign trade.

2. War of 1812

Shortly after the Revolutionary War ended, America again went to war with Britain. This arose out of frustration and anger surrounding the British seizure of American ships, the impressment of American sailors, and British aid to Native Americans who attacked Americans on the frontier. Despite heavy casualties and further destruction, the American forces were able to thwart the British army and navy and secure victory.

This victory led to an increase in American national pride and self-determination, with many American citizens calling the War of 1812 the "Second War of Independence." The War of 1812 appears frequently on APUSH exams in questions about the acceleration of American self-determination.

3. Treaty of Hartford

The Hartford Convention was a series of meetings from December 15, 1814 to January 5, 1815 in Hartford, Connecticut. During the meetings, the Federalist Party met to discuss their grievances about the ongoing War of 1812 and the political problems arising from increasing displays of power and authority by the federal government.

In addition, the convention debated the repeal of the three-fifths compromise, which gave slave states disproportionate power in Congress, and discussed the possibility of a two-thirds majority in Congress to admit new states, declare war, and create laws restricting trade. . However, despite the Federalists' claims, Andrew Jackson's landslide victory in the presidential election dashed their hopes and effectively eliminated them as a substantial political force.

4. Rate of disgust

The Tariff of 1828 was known as the Tariff of Abominations for the American South. The tariff was passed by Andrew Jackson to protect the American economy from the influx of cheap English goods. However, the tariff ultimately protected the North primarily because it created products that competed with English manufacturers.

The South was largely agricultural at the time and enjoyed the cheap trade it had with the British, but the Tariff of Abominations raised prices and forced the South to trade with the more expensive North. This tariff served as a harbinger of the American Civil War as it revealed a clear division between North and South that was beginning to form.

5. Worship of the family

The cult of the family was a social ideology that especially characterized women as subservient to men.It emphasized an ideal wife who was tender and self-sacrificing, a caretaker who provided a nest for her children and a peaceful haven for her husband. The woman as a giver, as a housewife, in essence.

This ideology eventually influenced the validation of many social mores that restricted women to simple housekeeping. Additionally, and perhaps more holistically, it created a field for middle-class women to work as domestic servants.

6. Monroe doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine is best known as US policy towards the Western Hemisphere. The doctrine, issued by President James Monroe in December 1823, warned European nations that the United States would not tolerate further colonization or puppet monarchs. In return, he also promised that the United States would not interfere in the internal affairs of European nations.

The Monroe Doctrine, thoughInitially, one approach to foreign policy laid the groundwork for American expansionism and interventionism in the following decades. But for now, the Monroe Doctrine has successfully prevented Europe and America from meddling in each other's affairs.

7. Marbury tegen Madison

This groundbreaking lawsuit marked the first time the US Supreme Court declared an act of Congress unconstitutional. The Supreme Court Act established the doctrine of judicial review, which is when the US Supreme Court reviews the constitutional validity of a piece of legislation. Consider this case as one in which judicial review took place. This is how it will appear on the test.

But briefly, the case arose when President John Adams appointed William Marbury as one of the forty-two justices of the peace. The Senate confirmed the nominations the next day, Adams' last full day as president. But Secretary of State John Marshall failed to carry out four of the commissions, including Marbury. When Thomas Jefferson took office, he ordered the remaining four commissions to be forgotten. Marbury sued the new Secretary of State, James Madison, to receive his commission.

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5 Frequently Tested AP® American History Concepts from Period 5: 1844-1877

1. Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by Abraham Lincoln, president of the Union, freed all slaves in states that rebelled during the Civil War. The purpose of the proclamation was to make the abolition of slavery the clear and unequivocal goal of the Union civil and military forces. In areas where the rebellion had been pacified, the Emancipation Proclamation freed approximately 30,000 slaves, and as the Union army advanced into Confederate territory, it set the framework within which slaves were to be freed. While it further angered the South, the proclamation not only led the Union toward the reunification of the United States, but also established true freedom for all its citizens. In general, you can think of the Emancipation Proclamation as Lincoln's speech that freed the slaves.

2. Law of Fugitive Slaves

The Fugitive Slave Act, part of the Compromise of 1850, was passed on September 18, 1850 and played a fundamental role in accelerating America toward the Civil War. It required fugitive (runaway) slaves to be returned to their owners, even if they were in a free state. Significant,the act also made the federal government responsible for finding, returning, and controlling runaway slaves.

The rewards and incentives forced citizens to form militia and police forces to round up and capture fugitive slaves, and the act forced African-American citizens into further paranoia and discrimination. You will see this Act and Compromise of 1850 appear on APUSH exams during DBQs and MCQs that ask you to investigate the causes of the Civil War.

3. The Missouri Compromise

Although the Missouri Compromise was passed in 1820, 35 years before the Civil War, it played an integral role in forcing the nation into the Civil War. It was transmitted as a means toto maintain the balance of power in Congress between slave and free states by admitting Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state in the US. It also banned slavery in the Louisiana Territory north of 36° 30' latitude, with the exception of Missouri.At the time, the United States had twenty-two states, evenly divided between slave states and free states.

The Missouri Compromise would create countless frictions between free and slave states, precipitate the issue of states' rights, and further turn the nation against itself. It was later repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which led to even more conflict.

4. Wet Kansas-Nebraska

The Kansas-Nebraska Act, passed in 1854, gave the states so-called popular sovereignty. This meant that thethe settlers of a territory or state could decide whether to allow slavery within the borders of a new state. This ended the use of the Missouri Compromise margins as a boundary between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers.

To leave such a tough debate to people rather than geography would naturally lead to turmoil, and indeed, turmoil did occur. The conflicts that arose between proslavery and antislavery settlers in the wake of the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act led to the period of violence known as Bleeding Kansas, which was instrumental in leading the country into the Civil War.

5. The Surrender at Appomattox Court House

The Battle of Appomattox Court House, the last battle of the Civil War, took place on April 9, 1865, near the town of Appomattox, Virginia. It effectively sealed victory for the Union, with Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendering to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. The meeting lasted only two hours, but ended four bloody American civil wars.

The terms of surrender were fair enough for the South. Grant required all Confederate soldiers to surrender their rifles, but allowed them free passage home and allowed them to keep their horses or mules. The Union also distributed food to Confederate soldiers. The significance of this tradition, of course, lies in the end of the Civil War, but it also paved the way for an era of Reconstruction (and Southern bitterness) to come.

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7 Frequently Tested AP® American History Concepts from Period 6: 1865-1898

1. Gilded Age

The period between 1870 and 1900 is often referred to as the Gilded Age in the United States, thanks to great industrial and economic growth. The period is named after Mark Twain and his novelThe Golded Age: A Story of Today, satirizing greed and political corruption in post-Civil War America. During the Golden Age, economic growth became rapid and robust. Wages skyrocketed as a result of heavy industrialization and modernization thanks to technological progress and strong economic policies.

The lure of wealth and privilege (this was the Golden Age after all) attracted immigrants from all over Europe, leading to a huge wave of immigration. But while white citizens were enjoying guild gold, so to speak, deep social unrest began to ignite as African Americans, women, and immigrants were systematically disenfranchised and excluded from this era of privilege.

2. laissez-faire economy

Perhaps the most important economic theory to emerge from the Gilded Age, laissez-faire economics emphasized a free market that would produce the best and most efficient solutions to economic and social problems on its own, without much government intervention. Simply put, laissez-faire ideology allowed companies to do whatever they wanted without much regulation. They could act freely, set their own price levels and determine the wages and working conditions of workers.

The laissez-faire ideology was heavily based on the principles of limited government intervention and the ideas of social Darwinism that were fashionable at the time. Applying Charles Darwin's theory of evolution to man-made institutions, liberals accepted the idea that competition was necessary for progress. While these policies appeared to have positive effects on the economy, they also began to create deep disparities in wealth and equality.

3. JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie

Think of these three men as the triumvirate of nineteenth-century American wealth and business.

JP Morgan was an influential banker and businessman who bought and reorganized companies and dominated Wall Street and American finance throughout the 19th century. He spearheaded the formation of several huge multinational corporations, including US Steel, International Harvester and General Electric.

Likewise, John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company, the biggest, wisest, and most evil monopoly known in American history. It dominated the oil industry and was the first major American corporate fund.

Andrew Carnegie Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist. Think of Carnegie as the man who spearheaded the expansion of America's steel industry in the late 1800s. From his railroad businesses, he became one of the richest Americans in history.

While the vast wealth created by each of these figures is incredible enough for its own history book, the trio also accelerated the idea of ​​American individualism and the rags-to-riches history and land of opportunity surrounding America.

4. Horizontal integration

A business strategy used by John D. Rockefeller and other business magnates. It is an act of joining or consolidating with competitors to create a monopoly. A kind of economic or financial cannibalism. Rockefeller was extremely adept at using this technique to monopolize certain markets and make huge financial profits. In fact, this technique was responsible for most of his wealth. Overall, and perhaps most importantly, it began to pave the way for an economic strategy and helped develop the Rockefeller monopoly.

5. Vertical Integration

This is the other side of horizontal integration. Another business strategy used by Rockefeller, vertical integration, is when a single entity controls the entire process of a product, from raw materials to distribution. This means that one company produces, packages and distributes the raw materials. Thus, a company essentially takes over all the different businesses on which it depended for its primary function. For example, Carnegie Steel gained control not only of steel mills, but also of mines, railroads, etc. This strategy led to enormous wealth for some business tycoons and further increased the power of monopolies.

6. Van Sherman Antitrustwet 1890

The Sherman Antitrust Act, enacted in 1890, was the first federal action designed to prevent monopolies, which by then had become too powerful and influential.It prohibited both official cartels and attempts to monopolize any part of commerce in the United States.The Sherman Antitrust Act is broad and sweeping and designed to break up trusts.

A trust was an arrangement whereby the shareholders of several companies transferred their shares to a group of trustees. In return, the shareholders received a certificate granting them a certain share of the profits of the jointly managed companies. These trusts came to dominate a number of major industries, destroying competition. This law would prove to be an integral part of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency, as he would mention in his sweeping trust-busting reform.

7. The New South

Not all white Southerners respected the lost cause of the Confederacy. Many looked to the future rather than the past, but also could not escape the brutal legacy of slavery and its ties to agricultural success. Nevertheless, the "new Southerners" sought to modernize the Southern economy and diversify Southern agriculture by adding new industries and methods of trade.

They even encouraged investment from the North and gave the green light for new railways to connect the South with national and international markets. Instead of being a lost cause, these Southerners were looking to a new South. Despite its golden progress, however, the New South struggled for years to come with issues of tradition, heritage, and race.

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7 Frequently Tested AP® American History Concepts from Period 7: 1890-1945

1. Roosevelt entourage

This famous bill served as an addendum to the Monroe Doctrine. Recall that the Monroe Doctrine was a document by President James Monroe that forbade any attempt by any European power to further colonize North or South America. However, Roosevelt's Conclusion made the clear statement that if any European power attempted to interfere in the affairs of North or South America, the United States would deploy military forces to keep Europe out. This document played a key role in the development of America's aggressive foreign policy in the 20th (actually, 21st) century.

2. "Speak softly and carry a big stick."

A saying made famous by Theodore Roosevelt that accurately sums up Roosevelt's approach to foreign policy during his presidency. The phrase refers directly to Roosevelt's handling of meetings between Europe and the newly formed nations that had sprung up from former colonies in South America.

"speak softly and carry a stick" comes from the fact that President Roosevelt approached discussions and negotiations calmly with a peaceful yet unruffled force, hence the "big stick". The phrase was often attributed to the newly formed and powerful United States Navy, a kind of boast about military prowess. A good example of Roosevelt's proverb occurred when the Navy's Great White Fleet, consisting of sixteen brand new battleships, sailed around the world to demonstrate the power of the United States.

3. Transcontinental Railroad

The Transcontinental Railroad was the physical manifestation of the American dream of Manifest Destiny. Built in the mid-1800s, the railroad ran from San Francisco and Iowa to the Atlantic Ocean. While the railroad helped usher in the Gilded Age, it also played an important role in the development of the rapid modernization and urbanization of the United States in the early 1900s.

Trade was facilitated as merchants no longer needed to transport goods by ship, but instead relied on the railroad to transport goods. States that previously seemed inaccessible because of the time it took to get there and the danger posed by the overland route were made safe by the existence of a reliable railroad.

4. 14 points by Wilson

Upon the United States' entry into World War I, President Wilson saw fit to outline the United States' precise goals in entering the war, and he also outlined a variety of peace negotiations to end the war. When the United States entered the war, the struggle in Europe was already well established, but most participating countries had yet to outline a clear peace plan. In President Wilson's Fourteen Points, he described the kind of world he hoped to build: a world of free trade among all nations, open navigation on the seas, and the creation of the forerunner of the United Nations, the League of Nations. Wilson's critics found his Fourteen Points too idealistic, but they undoubtedly helped set in motion globalization and America's role in shaping globalization in particular.

5. Major depression

The Great Depression was the worst economic crisis of the 1930s and one of the worst economic collapses in world history. It lasted until World War II and marked the deepest economic depression the entire world had seen. Although the causes of the Great Depression are complex and multifaceted, they can be traced back to four main factors:

  • Financial volatility and credit cycles:A period of stability encouraged borrowing and lending more than wisely, sowing the seeds of future instability.
  • Monetary deflation, the gold standard, and bank moves:Monetary policy, driven largely by the gold standard, restricted lending at the wrong time, leading to bank failures and economic slowdowns.
  • Debt deflation:Excessive private debt created a dangerous situation where no one wanted to spend money, leading to deflation and economic weakness.
  • Maldistribution of wealth:A skewed consolidation of wealth led to a narrow middle class.

6. Manhattan-project

The Manhattan Project was the United States' scientific project to create the first atomic weapon. Who led the creation of some of the most powerful weapons in human history? The actual design was led by the eminent physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. Most of the engineering and design was done at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

However, to make these weapons, they had to enrich uranium and this was done in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The end result of the project was the creation of two atomic bombs, Little Boy and Fat Man, which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively, leading to the end of the war in the Pacific Theater. The development of the atomic bomb would create a new world characterized by paranoia and apocalyptic fear.

7. Potsdam Conference

Ever wondered how the Allies dealt with Germany after they surrendered? When World War II ended, Allied leaders met in Potsdam and decided the fate of Germany. The United States had a new president, President Truman, who took over because Franklin D. Roosevelt died in his fourth term. Most importantly, the talks created a Council of Foreign Ministers and developed a central Allied control board for the administration of postwar Germany. The leaders reached various agreements on the German economy, the punishment of war criminals, land borders and reparations. While the talks focused mainly on post-war Europe, they did reach a conclusion on Japan, which surrendered unconditionally. issued a statement demanding the "unconditional surrender" of Japan.

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5 Frequently Tested AP® American History Concepts from Period 8: 1945-1980

1. Scopes Monkey Trial

The Scopes Monkey Trial can be unpacked as the first example of religion versus science in the United States public education system. The issue began when a substitute biology teacher inadvertently taught evolution at a Tennessee high school. Prior to his teaching, the Butler Act had made it illegal to teach any form of evolution in a state-funded Tennessee school. This caused much debate about the nature of development in public education.

Important figures from the then American political landscape came from all over to participate in this debate. Clarence Darrow defended John Scopes, the teacher accused of the crime, against William Jennings Bryan. The case itself became even bigger as major newspapers came from all over the country to cover the trial. It ended in defeat for Scopes, who was found guilty and fined $100, but it also showed a long-standing battle between science and religion in American society.

2. Bay of Pigs

During the Cold War, Cuba found itself at a crossroads in its development as a nation. Fidel Castro led a leftist government that supported the Soviet Union and wanted to further strengthen ties with it. He had come to power after taking over the democratic but corrupt president Fulgencio Batista. Concerned about Castro's leftist sympathies, President Eisenhower ordered an invasion of the island, but the final stamp of approval was given by President Kennedy. The invasion, which took place in 1961, ultimately failed and the United States found itself in a difficult position on the international stage, forcing it to legitimize Cuba's new political system. You'll see the Bay of Pigs foray into topics related to the Cold War, 1960s foreign policy, and JFK.

3. Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis marked the height of Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. It arose as a result of the United States' failed attempt to overthrow Cuba's leftist government, so Cuba began providing aid to the Soviet Union. The USSR armed the island nation with nuclear missiles aimed at the United States, leading to a 13-day stalemate between the US and Cuba/USSR

In response, the United States strategically targeted Moscow with its own nuclear arsenal in Turkey and Italy. The crisis ended with a series of discreet negotiations between Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy. In the end, the United States agreed to never again attempt to subjugate Cuba and pledged to remove its own nuclear weapons from Turkey and Italy if and only if the Soviet Union removed theirs from Cuba. It is one of the most tense moments in world history as it brought the world close to nuclear annihilation.

4. Red Scare

The Red Scare refers to the period between 1947 and the early 1950s. During this period of mass paranoia, the American national consciousness was flooded with fear of all things communist. This was accelerated by the rise of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe, the advent of a Chinese civil war, and the damage to American security by Soviet espionage.

The main figure at the center of the Red Scare was Senator Joseph McCarthy, who used the FBI and CIA to spy on organizations and individuals sympathetic to the communist cause. He blacklisted artists, poets, Hollywood, black organization leaders, and more left-wing Americans, and even succeeded in expelling some. The Red Scare marked a period of terror and repression against those who expressed even the slightest sympathy for the Communists.

5. The Kent State Massacre

On May 4, 1970, four students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University were shot by the National Guard. The event marked a deeply polarized period in American history, with many younger Americans expressing anger, frustration, and outright disapproval of the Vietnam War, while older Americans expressed the opposite. The massacre revealed a deep cultural and genetic divide within American society, a divide that began to take shape in the 1950s and early 1960s as marketable mass culture, including sitcoms, rock and roll, hippie culture and others, began to take shape. America's youth were tired of America's aggressive foreign policy and stubborn intolerance, and they were becoming restless.

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5 Frequently Tested AP® American History Concepts from Period 9: 1980-Present

1. Relaxation

From the 1960s to the 1980s, the United States sought to strategically dismantle the Soviet Union while easing tensions between the two superpowers. The concept of recession was the first step in ending the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. The ideological venture began with the installation of a direct telephone line between Washington DC and Moscow to facilitate quick and accurate communication between the leaders of both nations. This thawing of relations between the two superpowers was triggered by events such as the strategic arms limitation negotiations and the signing of the Helsinki Accords.

Both efforts by the superpowers involved helped reduce their ballistic missile arsenals and established a clearer understanding between the Soviet Union and the US, a line of communication that would help end the Cold War. The recession was the first time during the Cold War that both superpowers realized that continued escalation could lead to potentially catastrophic nuclear war and the destruction of both nations.

2. Domino-theory

The domino theory was a concept that dominated American law and national consciousness from the 1950s to the 1980s. It centered around the belief that if one country fell victim to communism, surrounding countries would follow suit. them, leading to a gradual development of communism.

He described a "domino effect" that went like this: if China fell victim to communism, Korea would follow, then Vietnam, and so on, until all of Asia was under the spell of the Soviet Union. The weight given to the theory stems from the way it dominated US foreign policy during the Cold War and the interventionist processes leading up to the Korean and Vietnam wars, which were not fully developed until the 1990s. they will be abandoned.

3. Fall of the Berlin Wall

After more than 40 years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union finally agreed to give up and, at the urging of US President Ronald Reagan, decided to tear down the Berlin Wall. The official purpose of the Berlin Wall was to prevent West Berliners from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state, but it mainly served the purpose of dealing with mass defectors from East to West. It became an important symbol of East versus West.

On November 9, 1989, the USSR began dismantling the Wall so that a mob of ecstatic citizens could finally be reunited with the other half of the city. Many civilians crowded around the Wall, bringing hammers, picks and other tools to remove the structure. To this day, the fall of the Berlin Wall marks an important moment of reconciliation not only in American but also in world history.

4. Attacks of September 11, 2001

On September 11, 2001, 19 members of the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide bombings at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as an attempted attack on the White House in the United States. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the terror of the day sparked major American counterterrorism initiatives that ultimately defined the presidency of George W. Bush.

These acts, many of which were controversial, required increased security, racial profiling and more. For example, the Patriot Act of 2001 gave broad police powers to federal, state, and local governments to interdict, prosecute, and convict suspected terrorists. It is this sense of paranoia and punitive legislation that would drive US domestic and foreign policy into the new millennium.

5. Affordable Care Act

That law, passed in 2010, required households with incomes above $250,000 to pay higher taxes as a means of implementing health care reforms. He also decided that Medicare would work with the idea of ​​"bundled payment," the idea that hospitals, doctors and other health care providers should be paid based on patient outcomes rather than services provided. It was commonly referred to as "Obamacare" and was intended to provide health care to a wider range of people.Its significance lies in the fact that the law sought to solve an established health care crisis in America.

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In conclusion, the ultimate list of frequently tested AP® conditions throughout US history

From colonial times to the present, the United States has had a rich, complex history, and the AP® US History Exam is designed to test your understanding of that history. Although it is a difficult exam, with a little hard work and preparation it is possible to pass it.

We encourage you to study this list of key AP® US History terms and concepts, and we hope you will use this AP® US History Review as a reminder. Memory, practice and grading are key to getting a good exam score and this list of key facts is a great place to start building your skills.

And don't forget: we also offer a lot of themAP® American History Study Guides,practical exams,DBQ'sand more aboutour website! Review them and work them into your own study routine to ensure a high exam score.

Start preparing for the AP® US History test here


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