Themes in A.P. US History
These themes will be incorporated into each unit of study throughout the course of the year. Students should familiarize themselves with each of these themes and consider them both within and between units. Students should attempt to ascertain the “change over time” that each of the themes undergoes in the progression of U.S. History, but they should also be aware of the interactions of these themes on each other both within and between units of study.
AMERICAN DIVERSITY – diversity of the American people and the relationships among different groups… roles of race, class, ethnicity, and gender in US History
AMERICAN IDENTITY – views of American national character and ideas about American exceptionalism. Recognizing differences in context of what it means to be American.
CULTURE – diverse individual and collective expressions through literature, art, philosophy, music, theatre, film throughout US History including cultural conflict within society.
DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES – Changes in birth, marriage, and death rates, population size and density. Effects of immigration, internal migration, migration networks on society.
ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATIONS – Changes in trade, commerce, and technology across time. Effects of capitalist development, labor and unions, and consumerism on society.
ENVIRONMENT – Consumption and conservation of natural resources, impact of population growth, industrialization, pollution, urban and suburban expansion.
GLOBALIZATION – Engagement with the rest of the world from the 15th century to the present: colonization, mercantilism, global hegemony, market development, imperialism, cultural change.
POLITICS AND CITIZENSHIP – Colonial and revolutionary legacies, American political traditions, growth of democracy, development of the government. Defining citizenship and struggles for civil rights.
REFORM – Diverse movements focusing on broad range of issues (anti-slavery, education, labor, temperance, women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights, wars, public health, and government).
RELIGION – The variety of religious beliefs and practices in America from prehistory to 21st Century, influences of religion on politics, economics, and society.
SLAVERY AND ITS LEGACIES IN NORTH AMERICA – Systems of slave labor and other forms of unfree labor (indentured servitude, contract labor, etc…) in North American societies, the Atlantic World, and the American South and West. Includes patterns of resistance and long term effects of slavery.
WAR AND DIPLOMACY – Armed conflict from pre-colonial period to the 21st Century and the impact of war on American foreign policy and on politics, economy, and society.