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Study Guides for Every AP US History Unit


written by

jordyn haynes

published on august 5, 2020

Last updated on August 3, 2020

Studying for the AP US History Exam? We’ve compiled  list of study guides for every unit so you can focus on studying and not waste any time looking for resources!

The APUSH course covers the entirety of US History: from the early days of Cahokia to the Revolutionary War, to the Gilded Age, World Wars, and beyond! Now I know what you’re thinking…that’s a lot of information, but that’s where this list comes in! Below you’ll find a collection of study guides and quick tips that puts everything you need to know all in one place.

These guides were produced by our team of teachers and students who have passed the exam. They include all that you need to get a 5 on the exam, keep reading for more!

Please note! Due to the COVID outbreak, the 2020 exam only covers units 1-7. Find the 2020 exam schedule, learn tips & tricks, and get your frequently asked questions answered on Fiveable's Guide to the 2020 AP Exam Updates.


period 1: 1491-1607

🔥Quick Tip: Don’t stress too much about this unit as it only makes up a small percentage of the exam, but do make sure to have a strong understanding of Native interactions with Europeans and how European exploration impacted the Americas.

1.0 Overview of Unit 1

1.1 European Encounters in the Americas

1.2 Native American Societies Before European Contact

1.3 European Exploration in the Americas

1.4 Columbian Exchange, Spanish Exploration,and Conquest

1.5 Labor, Slavery, and Caste in the Spanish Colonial System

1.6 Cultural Interactions Between Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans

1.7 Causation in Period 1

period 2: 1607-1754

2.0 Overview of Unit 2

2.1 Contextualizing Period 2

2.2 European Colonization

2.3 The Regions of British Colonies

🔥Quick Tip: Pay attention to regional differences and similarities, these will shape the development of the colonies and their different points of view later on in the course.

2.4 Transatlantic Trade

2.5 Interactions Between American Indians and Europeans

2.6 Slavery in the British Colonies

2.7 Colonial Society and Culture

2.8 Comparison in Period 2

period 3: 1754-1800

3.0 Overview of Unit 3

3.1 Contextualizing Period 3

3.2 The Seven Years’ War (The French and Indian War)

3.3 Taxation Without Representation

3.4 Philosophical Foundations of the American Revolution

3.5 The American Revolution

3.6 The Influence of Revolutionary Ideals

3.7 The Articles of Confederation

3.8 The Constitutional Convention and Debates over Ratification

3.9 The Constitution

3.10 Shaping a New Republic

3.11 Developing an American Identity

🔥Quick Tip: Note the development of an American Identity as it will be a major continuity throughout the course. This is a turning point because previously, colonists adhered to distinctly British culture, but here we see Americans begin to form a culture of their own that will greatly influence society and politics late on.

3.12 Movement in the Early Republic

3.13 Continuity and Change in Period 3

period 4: 1800-1848

4.0 Overview of Unit 4

4.1 Contextualizing Period 4

4.2 The Rise of Political Parties and the Era of Jefferson

4.3 Politics and Regional Interests

4.4 America on the World Stage

4.5 Market Revolution: Industrialization

4.6 Market Revolution: Society and Culture

4.7 Expanding Democracy

4.8 Jackson and Federal Power

4.9 The Development of an American Culture

4.10 The Second Great Awakening

4.11 An Age of Reform

4.12 African Americans in the Early Republic

4.13 The Society of the South in the Early Republic

4.14 Causation in Period 4 

🔥Quick Tip: This period contains ALOT of developments socially, politically, and economically. Make sure you know all of these and can compare/contrast them to each other and show continuities and changes over time!

period 5: 1844-1877

5.0 Overview of Unit 5

5.1 Contextualizing Period 5

5.2 Manifest Destiny

5.3 The Mexican–American War

5.4 The Compromise of 1850

5.5 Sectional Conflict: Regional Differences

🔥Quick Tip: Sectionalism is HUGE! Be sure to note the sectional differences between the North and South, the causes behind them, and how they impacted debates on slavery.

5.6 Failure of Compromise

5.7 Election of 1860 and Secession

5.8 Military Conflict in the Civil War

5.9 Government Policies During the Civil War

5.10 Reconstruction

5.11 Failure of Reconstruction

5.12 Comparison in Period 5

We’re publishing more guides each day, check back soon for guide 5.12. In the meantime, check out this live stream replay🎥: Period 5 Review

period 6: 1865-1898

6.0 Overview of Unit 6

6.1 Contextualizing Period 6

6.2  Westward Expansion: Economic Development

6.3 Westward Expansion: Social and Cultural Development

6.4 The “New South”

6.5 Technological Innovation

6.6 The Rise of Industrial Capitalism

6.7  Labor in the Gilded Age

6.8 Immigration and Migration in the Gilded Age

6.9 Responses to Immigration in the Gilded Age

🔥Quick Tip: There are many developments and conflicts associated with labor, immigration, and migration in the Gilded Age. Make sure you know these, how they all relate to each other, and the impacts each had on  the American society, government, and economy.

6.10 Development of the Middle Class

6.11 Reform in the Gilded Age

6.12 Controversies over the Role of Government in the Gilded Age

period 7: 1890-1945

7.0 Overview of Unit 7 

7.1 Contextualizing Period 7

7.2 Imperialism: Debates

7.3 The Spanish-American War

7.4 The Progressives

7.5 World War I: Military and Diplomacy

7.6 World War I: The Home front

7.7 1920s: Innovations in Communication and Technology

7.8 1920s: Cultural and Political Controversies

7.9 The Great Depression

7.10 The New Deal

7.11 Interwar Foreign Policy

7.12 World War II: Mobilization

7.13 World War II: Military

7.14 Postwar Diplomacy

7.15 Comparison in Period 7

🔥Quick Tip: A good bit of America’s activity is on the world stage in this period. Study how America interacts with other countries through War and Diplomacy. This Period also sees extreme economic highs and lows. Familiarize yourself with economics in this period from the Great Depression to Post War economic developments.

period 8: 1945-1980

8.0 Overview of Unit 8

8.1 Contextualizing Period 8

8.2 The Cold War from 1945 to 1980

8.3 The Red Scare

8.4 The Economy After 1945

8.5 Culture After 1945

8.6 Early Steps in the Civil Rights Movement (1940s and 1950s)

8.7 America as a World Power

8.8 The Vietnam War

8.9 The Great Society

8.10 The African American Civil Rights Movement (1960s)

8.11 The Civil Rights Movement Expands

8.12 Youth Culture in the 1960s

8.13 The Environment and Natural Resources from 1968 to 1980

8.14 Society in Transition 

8.15 Continuity and Change in Period 8 

🔥Quick Tip: The biggest events/ideas to know in this period are the start of the Cold War, the Eisenhower Era, political and social changes in the 1960s, and stagnation in the 1970s!

period 9: 1980-present

9.0 Overview of Unit 9

9.1 Contextualizing Period 9

9.2 Reagan and Conservatism

9.3 The End of the Cold War

9.4 A Changing Economy

9.5 Migration and Immigration in the 1990s and 2000s

9.6 Challenges of the 21st Century

9.7 Causation in Period 9 

🔥 And that’s all! If you want additional exam prep or more in-depth review, check out free live stream replays on app.fiveable.me! For access to exclusive review sessions, trivia games, and more get your🌶 cram pass today!

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