Advanced U.S. History
Full-year course. This course surveys U.S. history from the colonial period through the end of the twentieth century. The organizing feature as we proceed through the centuries of our past will be the query: “How has United States history promoted or belied America's ideals of political equality, natural rights, and sovereignty of the people?” By practicing the same historical thinking skills and tools that professional historians employ and by engaging with rich primary sources, students will deepen their appreciation for the work and subtleties of history and prepare themselves for the types of knowledge and skill expected on the AP exam. Enrolled students will supplement the work of the traditional U.S. history course with an extra class session devoted to the analysis of primary sources and learning skills such as evaluating claims and evidence in sources, contextualization, argumentation, making connections, and identifying comparison, causation, continuity, and change. They also will become comfortable with the Advanced Placement United States History (APUSH) test format and requirements. Exams for the course, for example, are modeled on APUSH so that students may become familiar with the exam’s expectations, in terms of pacing, comprehension, and skill sets. When taken in combination with our Literature of the New World course, students will receive the integrated Great Books and History coverage recommended in The Well-Trained Mind.
In many high schools, APUSH students will have over four contact hours of class in addition to five or so hours of homework each week, so please be prepared for a considerable amount of reading and analysis to be completed outside of our time together. Students who choose to take the AP exam in May have the opportunity to earn college credit by passing, although taking the test is not required to participate in this class.