AP US History

DHHS--Mr. Hulse

AP US History
Mr. Mike Hulse
Dana Hills High School


Advanced Placement (AP) United States History is a full year survey course in American history. The course time line begins in the Pre Columbian era and concludes in the present day. The course will be taught chronologically with an emphasis placed on major themes as they unfold throughout the nation’s history. The course is designed for students who wish to take the AP exam in early May or those who wish to complete an advanced study of American history. The AP US History exam presumes at least one full academic year of college level preparation; the course will attempt to replicate that preparation. Course content is dictated by the College Board, the author of the AP exam, and will include all elements of the California state standards for 11th grade US History.


The course is structured in such a way to maximize a student’s potential to pass the AP US History exam. In order to prepare for the AP exam the course will emphasize the development of analytical skills and a factual knowledge base necessary to deal with the complex problems inherent in US history. The course is centered on the skill of critical thinking. To develop critical thinking skills students will assess historical materials, weigh scholarly arguments, and place historical evidence in a relevant context.  Persuasive writing and speaking skills will be taught and emphasized throughout the course. Throughout the course, historical material will be tied back into current day issues in order to provide a sense of relevance and perspective.

Primary Text

American History: A Survey (12th edition)
By Alan Brinkley

Additional Resources/Readings

American Spirit (7th edition)
By Thomas A. Bailey and David M. Kennedy

Cycles of American History
By Arthur Schlesinger

American Voices
Edited by Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn

A Modell of Christian Charity
By John Winthrop

The Second Treatise of Government
By John Locke

The Federalist Papers
By James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay

The Significance of the Frontier in American History
By Frederick Jackson Turner

The Emancipation Proclamation
By Abraham Lincoln

How the Other Half Lives
By Jacob Riis

White Man’s Burden
By Rudyard Kipling

March of the Flag
By Albert Beveridge

America’s Entry into World War I
Edited by Herbert J. Bass

The Dream Keeper
By Langston Hughes

Letter from a Birmingham Jail
By Martin Luther King Jr.

US Supreme Court Cases:
Korematsu v US
US v Nixon

Readings may be added/subtracted due to time constraints or changes in schedule. All additional readings will be posted online or handed out in class unless otherwise noted.


Course material is presented as a chronological survey of American history. However, the course will focus on several major themes as prescribed by the College Board. Major themes to be presented are as follows:


  • Identity
  • Work, Exchange, and Technology
  • Peopling
  • Politics and Power
  • America in the World
  • Environment and Geography
  • Ideas, Beliefs, and Culture 


Course Outline/Unit Calendar

Note: Actual unit organization and pacing may vary year to year based on academic calendar. See current course calendar for unit organization/pacing.

First Semester 

Unit #1: Precolombian North America--Colonial Era

Weeks 1-2

Brinkley Chapters 1-3

Unit #2: Seven Years War--Ratification of Constitution

Weeks 3-4

Brinkley Chapters 4-6

Unit #3: The Early Republic: Washington--Monroe

Weeks 5-6 

Brinkley Chapters 6-8

Unit #4: Jacksonian Democracy & Market Revolution

Weeks 7-8

Brinkley Chapters 8-10 

Unit #5: Antebellum Reform, Manifest Destiny, & Sectional Crisis

Weeks 9-10

Brinkley Chapters 11-13

Unit #6: Civil War--Reconstruction & the New South

Weeks 10-11

Brinkley Chapters 14-15

Unit #7: Late 19th Century: Last West, Industrialization, & Urbanization 

Weeks 11-12

Brinkley Chapters 16-18 

Winter Break

Unit #8: Politics of the Gilded Age, Imperialism, & the Progressive Era

Weeks 13-16

Brinkley Chapters 19-22 

Second Semester

Unit #9: World War One--The Great Depression

Weeks 1-3

Brinkley Chapters 23-25

 Unit #10: The New Deal--World War Two

Weeks 4-5

Brinkley Chapters  26-28

Unit #11: The Early Cold War--1960's

Weeks 6-7

Brinkley Chapters  29-31

Unit #12: The Age of Limits--Modern Era

Weeks 8-9

Brinkley Chapters  31-34

Spring Break 

Review Unit

Weeks 10-12

AP Exam 


Letter grades are assigned as follows:

100% +                   A+
99.99%--93.00%    A
92.99%--89.50%    A-
89.49%--87.00%    B+
86.99%--83.00%    B
82.99%--79.50%    B-
79.49%--77.00%    C+
76.99%--73.00%    C
72.99%--65.00%    C-
64.99%--55.00%    D
54.99%--Below       F

All grades are based weighted categories, not total points.  Points are added in each category and then computed by percentage.  Weighted categories are as follows:

First Semester:

Final Exam 20%
Unit Exams 45%
Homework/Quizzes 25%
Class Participation 10%

Second Semester:

Final Exam 20%
Unit Exams 40%
Homework/Quizzes 25%
Class Participation 10%

Post Test Unit 5%

Please take note of two important aspects of the grading system in this class.  1) Adding up your total points will not give you a total grade.  Points are relative only to assignments within their own category.  2) Because some categories such as participation are updated at long intervals during the semester it is likely that your grade will shift (normally in a positive way) as the semester progresses.

Grades will be posted/updated frequently. Absent/late work will be posted less frequently than assignments turned in by posted deadlines.

Class Policies

Final Exam:  At the end of the fist semester a cumulative final will be given.  Prior to the AP exam, at the end of April, a comprehensive (covering all units of study during the academic year) second semester final will be given.  Both exams will reflect elements of the actual AP exam and will be timed.  Grading will be based on actual AP standards set by the College Board.

Unit Exams: Exams are multiple choice, short answer, and essay based.  They are difficult and frequent.  Exams will simulate the difficulty and breadth of the actual AP exam.  All exams will be timed.  Initially time constraints are generous and will become less so throughout the course.  Exams will be curved based on student performance.

Homework: Monthly calendars will be made available detailing all homework and reading assignments. The majority of the homework assigned is textbook reading and is not optional. You are expected to complete all assigned reading and homework.

Quizzes:  Frequent quizzes will be given covering reading assignments, lecture, and discussion material. Although many quizzes are announced via the course calendar, quizzes will not necessarily be announced ahead of time. Stay up to date with all reading material.

Participation:  Your active class participation is a significant class requirement. Students will be called upon on a regular basis to provide factual and opinion based responses during class time.  Your lack of preparation or opinion is not an acceptable excuse for failing to participate.  Attendance is also a factor in your participation grade. This is not a correspondence course.  If you are habitually absent or tardy, your grade will suffer.  Inappropriate behavior will also result in the loss of participation points.  Participation grades will be given twice per semester.

Post Test Unit:  After the AP exam, the class will complete a unit concerning modern American society/contemporary issues.  Homework will continue to be assigned. Regular attendance/participation will continue to be mandatory.  The culminating assignment will be a group project presented on the day of the final exam.

Extra Credit:  One extra credit assignment will be offered each semester. Each assignment is worth up to fifty points in the homework grade category. All extra credit must be submitted to turnitin.com. Late submissions will not be accepted.  Plagiarism in any form will result in a zero grade. Due dates will be announced.

Absent/Late Work/Make up Policy

Absent Work:  Students have the same number of class periods as they were absent to turn in an assignment which was due the date of their absence.  Only absent work resulting from excused absences will be accepted. Absent work resulting from truancies will not be accepted.  Students are expected to, regardless of absence, be prepared to turn in all current assignments and be up to date on all reading assignments scheduled on the calendar—no exceptions.

Late Work:  All homework not turned in class when collected is late. Late work will be accepted at half credit up until the Monday of the last instructional week of the first semester and up until the Monday of the week of the AP exam. All late work must be hand written
Quiz Make up Policy: The first two quizzes missed by a student each semester because of tardiness or absence will be excused.  After two quizzes are excused, it is the responsibility of the student to schedule make up quizzes during tutorial. Make up quizzes will be given orally. Failure to make up unexcused quizzes will result in a zero grade.

Exam Make Up/Retake Policy:  Make up exams are given after each unit test.  Dates for make up tests/retakes are scheduled in advance and announced in class. All absent students will receive an alternate version of the test and will not receive the test curve.  Students who fail to come to the announced makeup session or miss more than one exam during the semester may be asked to take an alternate format test at the discretion of the instructor. 
Students who take the test in class on the original test day, but receive less than 70% on the exam may retake the exam on the scheduled makeup day only and may earn up to a 70%. 

Class Rules

Be Nice:  The first and most important rule. If you can do this, pretty much everything else will cease to be an issue.

Respect:  This should be covered by the “be nice” rule. But just in case, please understand, that if you are unable to tolerate the ideas of others you will be removed from this class.

Academic Honesty:  Cheating/copying/lying are completely unacceptable and will be dealt with strictly. All instances of academic dishonesty, however minor, will be dealt with according to school wide policies.

Grade Changes:  It is your responsibility to obtain the graded original and resubmit the assignment for credit. Grade changes will not be made without graded originals as proof of teacher error. No grade changes will be made the final week of each semester.

Tutorial:  It is class time, treat it that way or go somewhere else.  Students who are disruptive during tutorial will lose the right to retake future exams.

Tardy Policy:  6th tardy equals detention. Each tardy beginning at six is subtracted from your participation scores. The 7th tardy begins referral process. Additionally, participation points will be deducted for each tardy after the fifth tardy of each semester. Don’t get to this point.

Cell Phones/IPODS:  I don’t ever want to see/hear them. Period. Each instance of use during class time (including tutorial) will result in loss of participation points.

 All other school wide policies apply.