American Biographies

The History of America in 8 Acts - Who Lives? Who Dies? Who Tells The Story? provides a framework for uncovering these essential stories by realigning 8 of the AP US time periods in “Acts” with four powerful instructional tools designed to guide their inquiry:

1.Each Act includes a cover page, presenting a visual preview of the 12 individual or groups who will be the focus of each time period.

2.Each Act includes a 700 to 1000 word summary of the time period to give students an historical context.

3.Each Act contains brief biographical sketches of the 12 individual or groups (96 total) who are the focus of the Act. Over 125 active links from NPR History podcasts are aligned with biographical sketches to make learning about the individual more relevant and engaging.

4.Each Act includes several APUSH themes to help students connect the historical context and biographical sketches to the content presented in text readings and class discussions.

The History of America - Act I [1491 to 1607] On a North American continent controlled by American Indians, contact among the peoples of Europe, the Americas, and West Africa created a new world.

The History of America - Act II [1607-1754] Europeans and American Indians maneuvered and fought for dominance, control, and security in North America, and distinctive colonial and native societies emerged.

The History of America - Act III [1754 to 1800] British imperial attempts to reassert control over its colonies and the colonial reaction to these attempts produced a new American republic, along with struggles over the new nation’s social, political, and economic identity

The History of America - Act IV [1800-1848] The new republic struggled to define and extend democratic ideals in the face of rapid economic, territorial, and demographic changes

The History of America – Act V [1848 to 1877] As the nation expanded and its population grew, regional tensions, especially over slavery, led to a civil war — the course and aftermath of which transformed American society.

The History of America - Act VI [1865 to 1898] The transformation of the United States from an agricultural to an increasingly industrialized and urbanized society brought about significant economic, political, diplomatic, social, environmental, and cultural changes.

The History of America - Act VII [1890 to 1945] An increasingly pluralistic United States faced profound domestic and global challenges, debated the proper degree of government activism, and sought to define its international role.

The History of America - Act VIII [1945 to 1980] After World War II, the United States grappled with prosperity and unfamiliar international responsibilities while struggling to live up to its ideals.


Crash Course US History: Hosted by John Green


Gilder Lehrman AP Study Guide:

Tom Richey

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