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What do I need to know for AP Human Geo Unit 4? (Political Organization)

#heartlandtheory

#nationstates

#globalizaton

#devolution

#boundaries

โฑ๏ธย ย 8 min read

written by

Amanda DoAmaral

amanda doamaral

November 7, 2020


Unit IV. Political Organization of Space (13-17%)

In APยฎ Human Geography, unit 4 covers political geography. The following guide will be updated periodically with hyperlinks to excellent resources. As you are reviewing for this unit, focus on the key concepts!

๐Ÿ‘‰ Check out more AP Human Geo reviews on the subject page!


Unit 4 Summary

The following summary is from AMSCO AP Human Geography:

Todayโ€™s political map consists mostly of independent states in which all territory is connected, and most people share a language and other cultural traits. This was not true of the past. Many states were sprawling, diverse empires, such as the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East or the British Empire that included people of many cultures. At the same time, many cultural groups were divided into several political groups, such as the hundreds of small German states in central Europe or the various groups of nomads in central Asia.

A government demonstrates its power over a geographic area by enforcing laws that govern individual behavior and affect how resources are used. Boundaries separate territories at various scales, from those that divide the world into countries to those that determine where students attend school.

Political power can be divided in several ways. In a country, it can be centralized in one national government or divided between the national government and several local governments. In the United States, local power can be centralized under regional or county governments, or it can be divided into a patchwork of cities, school districts, and other types of districts.

Independent states face challenges from globalization. Transnational corporations, international organizations, and global environmental problems all make the boundaries around a state less important than they once were. Another challenge to independent states comes from within. Regions with distinctive cultural groups, such as Catalonia in Spain and Quebec in Canada, have successfully argued for more autonomy.


Unit 4 Essential Questions

  • What social, historical, and economic factors have influenced modern political maps at various scales?
  • How do boundaries reflect ideas of territoriality and political power on various scales?
  • How has globalization changed the way people live?


Models to Know from Unit 4

STUDY TIP:ย The models will appear all over the exam, in both multiple choice and FRQs. You should be able to identify each one from a description or image, apply them to examples, and use them in your writing. All of the AP Human Geography models are explained here.

  1. Organic Theory

  2. Mackinder's Heartland Theory

  3. Domino Theory

  4. Spykman's Rimland Theory

  5. Core-Periphery Model


Past FRQs from Unit 4

STUDY TIP:ย Content from the this unit has appeared on the FRQs nine times since 2001. Take a look at these questions before you review the key concepts & vocabulary below to get a sense of how you will be assessed. The, come back to these later and practice writing as many as you can!

2017 - Question 3: Federal and Unitary governments

2016 - Question 2: Politics of language - Bilingualism in Canada

2015 - Question 1: Gerrymandering and reapportionment

โ€‹2014 - Question 2: Consequences of superimposed borders in Africa

2012 - Question 1: Border Walls and Barriers

2010 - Question 2: National Identity

2006 - Question 3: Centripetal and Centrifugal Forces

2005 - Question 1: Supranationalism and Devolution

2002 - Question 1: Nations, States, and Nation-States


UNIT 4 KEY CONCEPTS - COURSE OUTLINE

*The following outline was adapted from the APยฎ Human Geography Course Description as published by College Board in 2019 found here. This outline reflects the most recent revisions to the course.

The Political Map

๐Ÿคฉ What is a State? Watch everything explained with Dustin Fowler

  • The termsย state, country,ย andย nation are often used interchangeably, but they have some differences.

  • The US recognizes 195 sovereign states in the world.

    • Sovereign states have power over their own affairs

  • Types of states. Hang tight, this can get confusing.

    • Nation-States = Country made up of one nationality (examples: Iceland, Japan)

    • Multinational States = Countries made up of many nationalities (examples: US, Canada)
    • Stateless Nations = Nationalities without a recognized home country (examples: Kurds, Palestinians)
    • Multistate Nations = Nationalities that spread among many states (example: Koreans live in North & South Korea plus many in China and the US)
  • Forces that unify or break-up countries

    • nationalism = nation's desire to create its own state

    • centripetal force = unifies people within a state (examples: shared religion, external threats, common languages)
    • centrifugal force = pulls people within a state apart (examples: different religions alanguagesges that cause tensions)
  • Imperialism & Colonialism

    • The political map was vastly altered because of imperialism

    • What's the difference between imperialism and colonialism?

      • Imperialism is a more broad term that includes any time a country is exerting influence over another country

      • Colonialism is a type of imperialism where people move into and settle on the land of another country
    • A brief history

      • Spain & Portugal kicked things off in the 1500s by establishing empires in Central and South America for "God, Glory, and Gold"

      • England, France, and the Netherlands followed, mostly colonizing North America
      • The early Europeans fought each other frequently for more dominance across the Americas straight through the 1800s
      • In the late 1800s, Germany, Belgium, and Italy joined the game,
      • As all of Europe turned to Africa, leaders met at the Berlin Conference (without any African leaders present) to divide up the content.
      • In all of colonial history, no attention was paid to tribal or traditional boundaries.
  • Geopolitics in the 20th & 21st Centuries

    • Many colonized countries rebelled and secured independence in the 20th century, thus adding several new countries (Angola, Vietnam, India, etc)

    • Civil Wars & genocides led to mass movements of people and the development of new states (Israel)
    • The Soviet Union dominated as a second superpower, but then collapsed in 1990 leading to 15 new republics from former satellite countries.

Territory, Power, and Boundaries

โšก Watch: AP Human Geography - Territories, Boundaries, and Governance

  • Concepts of Political Power & Territoriality

    • Why do some states grow while other stay weak?

      • Organic Theory = states need living space to survive, orย lebensraum, by annexing lands from weaker states (example: Nazi Germany)

      • Heartland Theory = Land-based power led to domination. Whoever controlled the "heartland" (Russia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe), would dominate the world
      • Rimland Theory = Whoever controlled the seas would rule the world (coastal regions across Europe, Asia)
  • Types of Boundaries

    • Defined = established by a legal document

    • Delimited = drawn on a map
    • Demarcated = identified by physical objects (walls, signs)
    • Natural = based on physical features (rivers, mountains)
    • Geometric = straight lines drawn by people
    • Cultural = based on human traits or behaviors, without an official boundary
  • Boundary Disputes

    • Definitional = disagreement on how to define legal docs (ex: Chile & Argentina at the Andes Mountains)

    • Locational = differences on where a boundary should be (ex. Poland / Germany after WWII)

      • Irredentism = type of expansionism when one country annexes another because it has cultural ties to the population (Germany annexing Austria in WWII)

    • Operational = how the boundary functions (ex: disputes around Syria based on who should care for refugees)

    • Allocational = natural resources in dispute (ex: Iraq / Kuwait dispute)

  • The Law of the Sea

    • Territorial Sea = 12 miles of sovereignty away from coast

  • Voting Boundaries in the US

    • Districts set up based on population data from the census

    • But lots has been done to mess with these boundaries in order to benefit different political parties

      • gerrymandering = changing voting boundaries based on race, voting patterns, class, etc

        • For example, if there is a huge population of liberal black voters in a district, they would win seats as they outvote conservative white voters

        • But if you split the district through the black population, now you could have two districts with a majority of white conservative voters and minority black liberal voters

        • By doing this, there would now be two conservative congress-people representing an area that is actually a majority liberal

  • Effects of Boundaries

    • Any boundary has consequences, whether positive or negative

    • For example, people who speak the same language or practice the same religion are split

  • Different Forms of Governance

    • Federal = power is shared between central gov't and state or local gov't (ex: US)

    • Unitary = power held primarily by central gov't without much power given to local gov't (ex: France)

  • Shapes of States

    • ๐Ÿคฉ Review the shapes of states with Dustin Fowler

    • Compact = everywhere is about the same distance from the center (Poland, Romania)
    • Elongated = stretched out, difficult to travel (Chile, Norway)
    • Prorupted = compact + extension (Thailand, India)
    • Perforated = has another state completely within its boundaries (South Africa - Lesotho, Italy - Vatican City)

Globalization

  • The world has become WAY more connected in the last century because of technology, global markets, and political influence.

  • Challenges to State Sovereignty

    • Ideas spread fast, which leads to more independence movements (ex: Arab Spring

  • Supranationalism

    • When multiple countries form an organization (NATO, UN, EU, NAFTA)

    • ๐Ÿคฉ Review supranationalism with Dustin Fowlerย 

      • Economic Supranationalism

        • Some examples = WTO, ASEAN, OPEC

        • Transnational companies span across countries like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple

      • Military & Strategic Supranationalism

        • Cross-country pacts: NATO, Warsaw Pact

      • Supranationalism & the Environment

        • Climate change will need a solution that includes every country

  • Devolution

    • It's the transfer of power from one central gov't to many local/regional gov'ts (Ex: Fall of Soviet Union)

    • Forces leading to devolution

      • Physical = isolation because of mountains (India)

      • Ethnic = minority groups fighting for independence (Spain - Basques & Catalans)

      • Terrorism = organized violence (ETA in Northern Ireland)

      • Economic = control of natural resources (Brazil)

      • Social Issues = different languages (Quebec, Belgium)

      • Irredentism = annexed because of similar culture or language, but then pulled back (Armenia, Azerbaijan)

  • Fragmentation

    • Autonomous regions = relative to stateless nations, groups that have independence to manage daily governance, but not their own state (Navajo)

    • Sub-nationalistsย = connected more to nationality than central gov't (Quebec, Jews in Poland/Ukraine)
    • Balkanization = fragmented state into smaller, often hostile, states based on language/ethnic lines (Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania)


LIST OF CONCEPTS & VOCABULARY FROM UNIT 4

STUDY TIP:ย These are the concepts and vocabulary from unit 4 that most commonly appear on the exam. Create a quizlet deck to make sure you are familiar with these terms!

  • Annexation

  • Apartheid
  • Balkanization
  • Boundary, disputes (definitional, locational, operational, allocational)
  • Boundary, origin (antecedent, subsequent, superimposed, relic)
  • Boundary, process (definition, delimitation, demarcation)
  • Boundary, type (natural/physical, ethnographic/cultural, geometric)
  • Buffer state
  • Centrifugal
  • Centripetal
  • City-state
  • Colonialism
  • Confederation
  • Conference of Berlin (1884)
  • Core/periphery
  • Decolonization
  • Devolution
  • Domino theory
  • EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone)
  • Electoral regions
  • Enclave/exclave
  • Enfranchisement
  • Ethnic conflict
  • European Union
  • Federal
  • Forward capital
  • Geopolitics
  • Gerrymander
  • Heartland/rimland
  • International organization
  • Iron Curtain
  • Irredentism
  • Landlocked
  • Law of the Sea
  • Manifest destiny
  • Median-line principle
  • Microstate
  • Ministate
  • Nation
  • National iconography
  • Nation-state
  • Raison dโ€™รชtre
  • Reapportionment
  • Regionalism
  • Religious conflict
  • Reunification
  • Satellite state
  • Self-determination
  • Shatterbelt
  • Sovereignty
  • State
  • Stateless ethnic groups
  • Stateless nation
  • Suffrage
  • Supranationalism
  • Territorial disputes
  • Territorial morphology (compact, fragmented, elongated, prorupt, perforated)
  • Territoriality
  • Theocracy
  • UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)
  • Unitary

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