Chapter Essay Questions
Chapter 1 – Worlds Apart
1. Why did Spain so quickly become the dominant world power in the New
World? What advantages did it enjoy over France and England?
Chapter 2 – Transplantation
1. How did the Northern, Southern and Middle colonies differ? How were
religion, economics, national origin, and form of government
different? How did these differences shape the success of the colonies?
Chapter 3 – The Creation of New Worlds
1. Why did English colonists experience more frequent, and more violent,
conflicts with the Indians than the French colonists?
2. When and why did the Chesapeake planters switch from servants to slaves?
Chapter 4 – Convergence and Conflict
1. In what ways did economic ties between Britain and the colonies grow close
2. In what ways were the colonial and British political ideas and practices
similar? In what ways were they different?
3. Why did England, France and Spain renew their competition for North
America in the 18th century?
Chapter 5 - Imperial Breakdown and War for Independence
Chapter 5 Essay Questions:
1. What were the three most influential Acts imposed on the colonies by the British
After 1763? Support you choices.
2. How did the British and the American ways of viewing representative
government differ? How did these differences lead to problems between England
3. Sometimes when you win, you lose. How did the British go from the height of
dominance and power in America in 1763, to the brink of war with the colonies in
the Revolutionary War? Did the English victory in the French-Indian War in
1763 in some way contribute to their demise in the colonies or were their policies
after the war simply to blame?
Chapter 6 – The War for Independence
Chapter 6 Essay Questions
1. Analyze the four most important battles of the Revolutionary War?
2. Why was the much larger and better supported British military defeated? Why
did the American fighting style give them an advantage over the British? What
other factors helped secure an American victory?
Chapter 7 - The First Republic
Chapter 7 Essay Questions
1. Analyze the Articles of Confederation. How did the weaknesses in the Articles
manifest themselves? What were the successes under the Articles? How did the
Constitution correct the weaknesses of the Articles?
2. Support the following statement: “The creation of the Constitution represented a
remarkable example of constructive compromise.”
Chapter 8 – A New Republic and the Rise of Parties
Chapter 8 Essay Questions
1. How did life in America’s four regions reveal both the differences and shared
values among the early republic? (In your essay, please note which areas were the
most uniform and diverse)
2. What were the key causes, events and people which illustrated that the 1790’s was
a decade of growing partisanship in American politics?
3. What were the different visions of America expressed by Federalists and the
Chapter 9 – The Triumph and Collapse of Jeffersonian Republicanism
Chapter 9 Essay Questions
1. Examine the main causes and consequences of the War of 1812.
2. Examine the growing sectional differences (north v. south) that evolved over
the period from 1800-1824.
3. Compare the election of 1800 to the election of 1824.
Chapter 10 – The Jacksonian Era
Chapter 10 Essay Questions
1. What was the base of the strong political coalition developed by Andrew
2. Assess the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Was his presidency more a success
or a failure?
3. Describe three MAJOR political controversies of the 1830’s and 1840’s.
Chapter 11 - Slavery and the Old South
Chapter 11 Essay Questions
1. What profound changes in slavery occurred in the period 1815-1860? What were
the causes and consequences of this significant shift?
2. What changes occurred in the southern economy in the first half of the nineteenth
century? What factors accounted for these changes?
3. How did southern whites attempt to defend slavery and reconcile it with their
Christian beliefs? Why did they feel compelled to express these defenses?
4. Describe the three tiered hierarchy of free society that existed in the south. Where
did women (both black and white) fit into this system?
Chapter 12 – The Market Revolution and Social Reform
1. How can the rapid surge of American industrialism in the period 1815-1850 be
2. Choose three prominent abolitionists (from the list of 5 below) and analyze their
contributions to the movement.
3. In what ways did abolitionists frame the moral argument regarding slavery in the
4. What evidence reveals the emergence of women as a major force in movements
for social reform in American history?
Chapter 13 – The Way West
Chapter 13 Essay Questions
1. Who was responsible for the outbreak of the Mexican American War, the United
States or Mexico? Cite specific examples to support your position.
2. What is Manifest Destiny? What factors accounted for the massive westward
movement of Americans?
Chapter 14 – The Politics of Sectionalism
Chapter 14 Essay Questions
1. Address the following statement: “The 1850’s was a time of attempted
compromise when compromise was no longer possible.”
2. Frederick Douglas discussed the “necessary links in the chain” that would lead to
the destruction of slavery. What 3 events in the 1850’s, more than any others,
drove the nation toward conflict over the issue of slavery?
3. Analyze the development of parties in the 1850’s. How did the views expressed
by the Know Nothing Party show the extreme nature of the coming crisis over
slavery? What views did the KNP try to use to unify the party? How did its
failure lead to the Republican Party.
Chapter 15 – Battle Cries and Freedom Songs: The Civil War 1861-1865
Chapter 15 Essay Questions
1. Choose three of Civil War generals and analyze how their strengths and
weaknesses contributed to the early development of the civil war.
2. What was the Emancipation Proclamation? What effect did it have on both the
Union and Confederate causes?
3. How did the North and South’s strategy for victory in the Civil War differ? How
were their expectations changed by the early battles of the war such as the First
Battle of Bull Run?
4. What were the vital factors that led to a Union victory in the Civil War?
5. Compare and contrast the roles played by women and blacks in the North and
South during the Civil War. How did their experiences either hinder or aid the
cause of victory?
Chapter 16 – Reconstruction
Chapter 16 Essay Questions
Long Essays – Choose One (normal length)
1. What factors accounted for the rise of the Republican Party in the South, and then
the reemergence of the Democratic Party as the dominant power in the South?
2. W.E.B. Dubois stated that Reconstruction was a time in which, “The slave went
free; stood for a brief moment in the sun; then moved back toward slavery.”
What historical evidence supports Dubois’ thesis?
3. Analyze the immediate effects of the Civil War. What was accomplished and
what problems persisted?
Short Essays – Write both (at most one page)
1. In what ways did southerners and northerners differ in expressing their memories
of the Civil War?
2. What laws and amendments were passed by Congress in its efforts to extend the
parameters of democracy during Reconstruction.
Chapter 17 – A New South 1877-1900
Chapter 17 Essay Questions
1. Address the following statement: In the period 1876-1900, the South made
economic progress, but experienced social polarization as well.
2. Describe the nature of the opposing forces of “social reform” and white
supremacy in the south during the period 1880-1900.
Chapter 18 – Industry, Immigrants and Cities 1870-1900
Chapter 18 Essay Test Questions
1. Compare and contrast the various labor union groups in the late 1800’s. In the
long run, why did one group succeed while others failed?
2 Address the following statement: Despite the great wealth produced by the
industrial boom, class divisions in America were sharply divisive in the period 1880-
3 Support ONE of the following statements:
- New immigrants were assimilated into mainstream American culture.
- New immigrants adjusted to mainstream American culture.
- New immigrants adjusted to American culture and contributed to its diversity.
Chapter 19 – Transforming the West 1865-1900
Chapter 19 Essay Questions
1. What were the major cultural differences that led to conflicts between whites and
Indians on the Great Plains? (Describe specific examples of these conflicts).
Could these conflicts have been avoided?
2. Analyze the cultural confrontations and class conflicts that developed as the cattle
industry and mining industry grew.
Chapter 20 – Politics and Government 1877-1900
Chapter 20 Essay Test Questions
1. How and why did the role of government change during the period 1877-
2. Why did so many third parties develop during the period 1877-1900? Provide
examples of third parties and identify their policies and popularity.
3. How was the election of 1896 different than others of the period? What
factors explain these differences?
Chapter 21 – The Progressive Era
Chapter 21 Essay Questions
1. Analyze the following statement: “Teddy Roosevelt’s reputation as a trust buster
was largely fabricated to placate the people, while in reality he was a friend of big
2. Define and describe the Progressive Movement. (What inspired it? What policies
best exemplify it? What new areas came under government supervision? What
leaders best exemplify it? Etc. etc. etc…)
Chapter 22 – Creating an Empire
In class DBQ instead of chapter 22 essay test
Chapter 23 – America and the Great War
In class DBQ instead of chapter 23 essay test:
Chapter 24 – Toward a Modern America
Chapter 24 Essay Questions
1. What factors contributed to the rise of modern popular culture and celebrities
in the 1920’s.
2. In what ways was the prosperity of the 1920’s misleading? What examples led
people to believe the country was beginning a period of unending prosperity?
What underlying factors revealed that economic problems were just around the
3. Analyze the impact of mechanization, consumerism, advertising and the boom
in the auto industry on American life in the 1920’s. Was life better due to these
Chapter 25 – The Great Depression and the New Deal
Chapter 25 Essay Questions
1. What was Herbert Hoover’s “voluntarism”? How did it fail to solve the problems
of the Great Depression?
2. What were the specifics of FDR’s “court packing” proposals? Describe the
conflict that surrounded these proposals. Was it constitutional? If it was
constitutional, then why was everyone so upset about it?
3. In what ways were Herbert Hoover’s economic ideas more progressive than his
Republican predecessors? Despite these ideas, what political failings caused his
demise as president?
4. What were the theoretical underpinnings for FDR’s “New Deal” policies?
Choose three of these policies, describe and analyze their success or failure.
(note: policies from question #2 above do not apply in that they were not New
Deal policies, they were an attempt to help pass the New Deal policies.)
Chapter 26 – World War II
Chapter 26 Essay Questions
1. Define and describe the following WWII tactics: blitzkrieg, island hopping, allied
bombing of Germany (daylight bombing, and fire bombing).
2. Describe the role that American manufacturing played in the victory of the Allies.
3. Compare and contrast American policy prior to our entry into WWII vs. prior to
our entry into WWI.
4. What factors contributed to the Allied victory in Europe? Be sure to explain the
roles of all the allies.
Chapter 27 – The Cold War at Home and Abroad
Chapter 27 Essay Questions
1. What roles did the Truman administration and the Republican Party play in
promoting fear of an internal communist threat?
2. What were the three most important external factors that intensified the Cold
3. What was the legacy of the New Deal? How did the Democrats and Republicans
regard this legacy in the period 1945-1952?
Chapter 28 – The Confident Years
Chapter 28 Essay Questions
1. What was the impact of the following events:
a. Brown v. Board of Ed
b. Civil Rights Act of 1964
c. Voting Rights Act of 1965
How were the achievements above realized? (Organizations, struggles of southern
blacks, political leaders, etc.)
2. The 1950’s are often portrayed as the decade of “Leave it to Beaver”, a time of
economic prosperity, social harmony and national unity. To what extent was this
3. What three events best exemplify the relationship between the US and USSR in
the years 1953-1965?
Chapter 29 - Shaken to the Roots 1965-1980
Chapter 29 Essay Questions
1. Why did the United States lose the Vietnam War? What was the impact of our
loss in Vietnam (to the people of Vietnam, the region and the United States)?
2. How did US – USSR relations change over the period from 1965-1980?
3. How did the civil rights movement change between 1965 and 1975? What events
impacted the movement?
Chapter 30 – The Reagan Revolution and a Changing World
Chapter 31 – Complacency and Crisis
Chapter 32 – Shaping a New America, since 1965
Chapter 32 Essay Questions
1. How has globalization increased since 1965? What policies promoted it?
What conflicts stem from it?
2. How has the economy changed since 1965? How have different regions of
the country been affected? How has the shift to a service economy affected
3. What was behind the religious revival in modern America? To what extent
has the changing family structure hurt or helped the movement?