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AP US History

by Ray Burgess

Mr. Burgess
Phone: 942-1294 x3215
Email: rburgess@morrishs.org

(items below taken from Mr. Burgess's syllabus)


Advanced Placement United States History

Mr. Raymond Burgess

Morris Community High School 


M.C.H.S. Curriculum:

AP U.S. History is a two-semester class where students will be expected to perform at the college level in terms of workload and materials.  The course is a study of the major themes of United States History starting with the American cultures pre-1492, the founding of the first colonies to the early 2000's.  The course is structured to prepare the student for the A.P. examination and the rigors of the workload of college.


CollegeBoard Course Description:

The AP 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.  The program prepares students for intermediate to advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses.  Students should learn to assess historical materials – their relevance to a given interpretive problem, reliability, and importance – and to weight the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship.  An AP U.S. History course should thus 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.


Student Expectations:

As a student in Mr. Burgess’s AP U.S. History course, you will be assigned nightly reading responsibilities.  This may include reading from the text American Pageant and/or other supplemental materials provided.


The student will be responsible for information presented in American Pageant; where all test questions will be derived.  Material from the textbook may not be discussed daily.  The student is responsible for keeping up with assigned reading. 


THIS COURSE IS READING-INTENSIVE.  In our day-to-day class activities, students will be expected to have read all reading assigned to them.  Follow your pacing guide (included).



Recommended reading/studying: 8-10 hours a week!!!



The items listed must be brought to class everyday unless otherwise noted.* 

1. The American Pageant, Kennedy, Cohen, Bailey

2. Folder w/ paper & writing utensil

(*Suggested Purchase:  United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination, Newman and Schmalbach)



  1. APUSHreview.com, Coursenotes.com, learnerator.com, John Green’s CrashCourse US History
  2. Any “Cliff’s Notes” type tool that condenses information presented in textbook (e.g., 5 Steps to a 5, books for Newman & Schmalbach or Krieger, Historical Thinking Skills: A Workbook for US History: John P. Irish, Kenneth C. Davis’s Don’t Know Much About History)


Assessment GOALS:


Homework, Quizzes, and Tests


Essays (Free-Response & Document Based)


Semester Exam



AP US History Unit MAP:

Semester 1

  1. Colonial Era (8 chapters)
  2. Establishing a Lasting Nation (6)
  3. Road to Civil War & Repairing the Nation (8)

Semester 2

  1. Industrialization (4 chapters)
  2. Responses to Industrialization (6)
  3. A New Deal and a Cold War (4)
  4. Modern United States History (6)



The U.S. History development committee has formulated a list of nine conceptual themes

that will be emphasized throughout this course. The purpose of these themes is to

encourage students to think conceptually about the American past and to focus on

historical change over time.  My goal is to get you to think like a historian.


1. American Diversity: The diversity of the American peoples and the

relationships among different groups. The roles of race, class, ethnicity, and

gender in the history of the United States.


2. American Identity: Views of the American national character and ideas about

American exceptionalism. Recognizing regional differences within the

context of what it means to be an American.


3. Culture: Diverse individual and collective expressions through literature, art,

philosophy, music, theater, and film throughout U.S. history. Popular culture

and the dimensions of cultural conflict within American society.


4. Demographic Changes: Changes in birth, marriage, and death rates; life

expectancy and family patterns.


5. Economic Transformations: Changes in trade, commerce, and technology

across time. The effects of capitalist development, labor and unions, and



6. Environment: Ideas about the consumption and conservation of natural

resources. The impact of population growth, industrialization, pollution, and

urban and suburban expansion.


7. Globalization: Engagement with the rest of the world from the fifteenth

century to the present: colonialism, mercantilism, global hegemony,

development of markets, imperialism, cultural exchange.


8. Politics and Citizenship: Colonial and revolutionary legacies, American

political traditions, growth of democracy, and the development of the modern

state. Defining citizenship; struggles for civil rights.


9. Reform: Diverse movements focusing on a broad range of issues, including

antislavery, education, labor, temperance, civil rights, war, public health, and government.












The College Board & AP US History:

9 historical periods


The CollegeBoard has created a timeline called a “Concept Outline” for the course that I would like to present to you for review.  The nine historical periods do not parallel to the seven units in the “Pacing Guide” that succeed this section.  The nine historical periods are dates that feature transitional events in American History.  It is our job to identify the significance of these dates and apply analysis of key events of the era.  Students will be exposed to key events that helped shape and change the United States on the national and global scale.


As listed in the curriculum, I need to expose you to important events and concepts from the pre-Columbian era to modern day.  Presented below is an image from the CollegeBoard’s Curriculum Framework for AP US History.


























Note the dates/eras and how they connect to the AP exam.  This is a guide the CollegeBoard provides on how much content should be addressed in each era.  It is not an exact presentation, but a guide.  Many survey college classes feature a semester long class either focusing on the pre-Colombian to Reconstruction or the Second Industrial Revolution to the modern day.  You’ll find in the pacing guide in my syllabus that we will structure out semesters in this fashion.


From the CollegeBoard:  The concept outline provides teachers with a summary of the concepts typically analyzed in current, college-level American history survey courses, but its statements should serve as a focus of debate and discussion in the classroom.

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