One of the things people ask me for more than anything else is sample responses. I plan to be more attentive to this request in the coming months and I am going to start off by posting sample responses I've drafted for the 2018 AP European History DBQ. To be clear, these are sample responses that I have drafted myself as someone who is an experienced AP Reader, but I have not scored this essay prompt professionally. I certainly invite anyone who wants to offer feedback to do so. Pretty soon, I plan to have a Google Form ready so that people who have read this question professionally, can offer feedback if they disagree with any of my conclusions and want to help make these samples more valuable teaching tools.
THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. MORE SAMPLE RESPONSES WILL BE ADDED SOON.
Not All Heroes Wear Uniforms
I've been a big fan of Albert.io and its practice questions for some time now. They have created an amazing product that not only helps students practice AP-style multiple choice questions, but also to know where they stand in their exam preparation. Albert's free AP Score Calculators are the best that I've seen and the products they offer to students and teachers are an amazing value.
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Albert has now released FULL PRACTICE EXAMS available to subscribing classrooms and individual student subscribers.
During my recent Live Hangout with Will from Albert, he offered several AMAZING DEALS to my audience:
People often ask me what review book I recommend or what I think of this review book or that review book. There are so many review books out there that I don't have time to look through all of them, but that's okay because I have found a great one and don't see the need to look any further.
Chris Freiler's AP Achiever text for AP European History is full of concise content summaries, exam strategies, and practice items. Students using this text have the benefit of using a review book written by someone who was part of the team that redesigned the AP European History exam a few years ago. In addition to that, Chris has participated in the AP European History Reading for several years - many of those years in the capacity of Assistant Chief Reader and Question Leader.
The British Empire's Rough Start
In the nineteenth century, the British presided over the largest empire in history. It was often written around that time that “the sun never sets on the British Empire.” But this was not always the case. As with many success stories, the construction of the British Empire began with a series of failures. During the Age of Exploration, the Spanish were the first to emerge as Europe’s preeminent colonial power. The Spanish were the first to create a permanent settlement in the present-day United States with the founding of St. Augustine in Spanish Florida in 1565.
The first settlement founded in Virginia was named Jamestown in honor of Elizabeth’s successor, James I. The colony, founded in 1607, was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. This makes 1607 an important turning point in the history of Colonial America, as the English, who would become the dominant colonial power in North America, had finally established a permanent colonial presence.
While Smith’s leadership is credited with saving the colony in its infancy, he soon returned to England. During the winter of 1609-1610, nobody ate regardless of whether they worked or not. Only 60 of over 200 colonists survived the colony’s “starving time.” Unable to keep people alive – much less turn a profit – Jamestown was not on its way to becoming any more successful than the previous venture at Roanoke.
Enter John Rolfe. Although Rolfe is more famous in pop culture for marrying Pocahontas, his agricultural innovations were much more important to the future of the colony. Previously, tobacco had been known to the English, but it had not become popular because they didn’t like how it tasted. Rolfe cultivated a sweeter strain of tobacco that became popular in England, striking “brown gold” that turned Virginia into a profitable colony with an economy driven by the cultivation of tobacco as a cash crop. Sir Walter Raleigh, while imprisoned in the Tower of London, wrote of tobacco, “It was my companion at that most miserable time.”
Tobacco and the Cash Crop Labor Economy
The Virginians and the Powhatan Indians
347 English settlers were killed in this attack, including several people who were in the home of an ancestor of this writer (if he had been home, you would not be reading these lecture notes). Some colonists were luckier than others, able to find safety within the walls of palisaded plantations. The Virginia Colony survived, but the crown was not pleased with the Virginia Company’s management. In 1624, the crown revoked the Virginia Company’s charter and Virginia became a royal colony – a status that it would maintain until declaring its independence from Britain in 1776.
Ever since I was a pre-teen, I was drawn to politics. I grew up in a family that talked politics often and the summer between eighth and ninth grade, when most kids were playing outside, I got my dad to drop me off at a gubernatorial campaign office four days a week. I had a blast and found myself in the midst of a great community of people - most of whom were considerably older than me and took me under their wing. I still keep in touch with some of those people to this day.
Over the years, I continued to be involved in politics and always considered it a civic duty to keep up with the news every day. I never questioned that it was the duty of every American voter to do so. Needless to say, I embraced the drama of the 2016 election as politics became a matter of general interest and presidential debates were looked upon with the same excitement as sporting events. When YouTube and meme culture were added to the mix, the 2016 election cycle was more exciting than any election that had ever happened...
Until it wasn't.
There was a time when the election was fun and games. And then Jeb(!) dropped out and something happened... before that, anyone - no matter what their political leanings - had been able to share a Jeb(!) meme and laugh. But without Jeb(!), that common ground was yanked out from under us and as a Trump presidency began to look like a potential reality, battle lines were drawn between those who saw potential benefits and others who saw a national catastrophe in the making.
A Nation at War with Itself
As someone with a modest internet following, I tried to remain neutral in public for a time, but like others with equally modest and still others with much larger internet followings, I eventually succumbed and joined a camp. When the battle lines are drawn, it's difficult to sit on the sidelines - especially for someone who had always embraced politics and active citizenship as a lifestyle.
I fielded my share of insults from people who didn't even know me personally, though for every insult, there was an encouraging word from someone else. Every insult from without and word of encouragement from within tied me closer to the Trump camp. The election became a distraction from my own projects, such as my YouTube channel and my website, and I became more concerned about what was going on in the political arena than about my life's passion of providing online education to the public.
Don't get me wrong. I met a lot of great people - not just in the Trump camp but also Bernie and Hillary supporters who exchanged good-natured discussions, barbs, and memes with me throughout the campaign. It was a privilege to broadcast live with Trump supporters, Democrats, and third party supporters. Often, I enjoyed the fanfare of the election, although I looked forward to it eventually being over.
But it was never over.
War Without End
Donald Trump's surprise victory was only the beginning as the nation embraced the perpetual campaign. Half a year later, political animosity continues to define relationships between Americans. This animosity has only become more pronounced, if anything, and has prompted me to want to divorce myself from it entirely. I'm beginning to question whether it is truly an American's duty to monitor politics daily - or even to care - when it comes at the expense of personal relationships and one's public standing.
These words have stuck with me ever since. What if I were to live my life on my own terms and aspire to be known for my own values and beliefs rather than my association with religious or partisan groups? Do I aspire to be remembered for my attachment to a political movement or by what I have accomplished with my own life? Now, it is clear to me that I want to be remembered for the latter. If I alienate anyone from this day forward, let it be because of a heartfelt belief that I have expressed or for my twin passions for economic freedom and educational freedom - but let me not alienate anyone by association and let me not ever look at someone with contempt because they belong to a different political tribe.
From this point forward, I want to define my life - and my life's work - by the mirror.
I recently attended an Open Forum for AP Euro Readers where upcoming changes to the exam were discussed. These changes will be effective immediately for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Click here to access my notes in PDF format.
Period 5 focuses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, beginning with the chain of events that led to the war and ending with the Compromise of 1877, which ended Radical Reconstruction twelve years after the war ended.
The Road to Civil War (1848-1860)
The years leading the the Civil War were defined by several debates - mostly concerning the westward expansion of slavery - that sometimes led to violence and escalated sectional tensions. To help review the events and movements that led to the Civil War, I have included a review video that offers a summary of the years between the Mexican-American War and the Civil War as well as some topical videos that delve a bit deeper into key events.
The Civil War (1861-1865)
These review videos explain key events in the Civil War: the Election of 1860, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Gettysburg Address.
The Civil War was followed by a twelve year period of Reconstruction. These videos by HipHughes explain the key concepts of the period: the differences between Congressional and Radical Reconstruction, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Compromise of 1877.
Thomas Jefferson's Presidency
Thomas Jefferson was elected in 1800 after a bitterly contested election, culminating in the first peaceful transfer of political power by democratic means in modern history. While Jefferson referred to his victory as a "revolution," he struggled with the Supreme Court, which continued to be dominated by John Marshall, an ardent Federalist, throughout the entirety of the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian periods. When he had the opportunity to purchase Louisiana from France, Jefferson had to confront the reality of governing while trying to remain as true as he could to his strict constructionist principles.
American Foreign Policy (1800-1848)
American foreign policy in the early 19th century largely dealt with the United States attempting to maintain an independent and separate existence from Europe. Jefferson first tried to avoid armed conflict with Britain with the failed Embargo Act of 1807. The situation escalated to warfare during James Madison's presidency. The War of 1812 was largely a disaster until Andrew Jackson's victory in the Battle of New Orleans ended things on a high note. After the War of 1812, the Monroe Doctrine tried again to distance the United States from Europe by expressing opposition to further European colonial expansion into North America.
The Missouri Compromise (America's First Slavery Debate)
The Missouri Compromise is generally considered to be the beginning of the Antebellum Period in United States history because it was the first debate in Congress over the expansion of slavery. The slavery debate became the most contentious debate in America in the decades leading to the American Civil War. I have included my two part lecture - the second of which focuses on Thomas Jefferson's reaction to the Missouri Compromise - as well as a music video I made with MrBettsClass.
Andrew Jackson, Sectionalism, and Antebellum Reform
The rise of democratic politics in the 1820s brought about the rise of Andrew Jackson, fresh sectional controversies over the tariff, internal improvements, and states' rights, and reform movements, such as abolitionism and women's rights, aiming to create a more equal and just society in the United States.
The Road to Revolution
A solid command of the chain of events leading to the American Revolution, starting with the Proclamation of 1763 and the Sugar Act and ending with the Declaration of Independence is critical for success on the AP US History exam. In this two part lecture, Tom Richey summarizes these events from Parliament's taxes in the 1760s (Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Acts) to the events leading directly to the Revolution in the 1770s (Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts, Lexington and Concord).
The Declaration of Independence
These videos are great for quickly reviewing the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the ratification of the Constitution.
Early National America: Jefferson vs. Hamilton
The conflicts between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton regarding the Constitution, the National Bank, and Foreign Policy defined the Washington administration.
I am a history teacher who creates YouTube videos and instructional materials. I use this blog to publish lecture notes and occasionally to share personal reflections inspired by history, politics, and literature.