The difference between the AP US History test and the SAT II Test is that the latter focuses on more random factual knowledge as opposed to thematic understanding. Therefore, students must pay more attention to specific dates, names, battles, acts, and laws in order to score well.
The United States History Subject Test assesses your knowledge of and ability to use material commonly taught in U.S. History and social studies courses in high school.
- Familiarity with historical concepts, cause-and-effect relationships, geography, and other data necessary for understanding major historical developments
- A grasp of concepts essential to historical analysis
- An ability to use historical knowledge in interpreting data in maps, graphs, charts, or cartoons
This is a 60 minute test. There are 90 to 95 multiple-choice questions covering political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural history, as well as foreign policy
A Brief Summary of U.S. History
Early America (1620~1789)
After the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492, it took almost 1(1/2) centuries until European settlement began. Before this, England started to build up colonies and founded new cities in the "New Land". Virginia was the first colony, named after the King’s daughter. In 1619, the first slaves were brought from the Netherlands to Virginia for the tobacco industry. In 1620, the "Pilgrims" landed near Cape Cod after they emigrated from England to the Netherlands and founded "Plymouth Plantation." On their ship, the "Mayflower," they signed a compact which stated that government and laws should follow common decisions without relinquishing loyalty to the British Crown. These colonies were titled New England by the Pilgrims.
Starting in 1775, the people in America suffered because of mistreatment by England. The Crown introduced new laws for duties, disturbing the economy. The desire for an independent nation grew, and the colonies turned away from their motherland and started to fight against British regiments. Americans were clearly at a disadvantage at this point. When British troops attempted to rob a base, the Americans besieged Boston. The 2nd Continental Congress came together and declared George Washington as supreme Commander. A peace petition to the British King was answered with a "Proclamation of an open Rebellion". At this point, Thomas Jefferson began writing the "Declaration of Independence," which was published in 1776.
After many battles against Britain were lost, the war for independence reached a turning point with an American victory at Saratoga (New York). Although Britain won several battles thereafter, the French assistance helped Americans gain the upper hand. Thus, the War was won by the Americans and King George III had to acknowledge a peace contract. Canada was still British, and the other states were declared as the United States of America. In 1787, a Convent of Constitution came together in Philadelphia to create the first written Constitution.
On March 4th, 1789 the new system of government began with George Washington as first President of the United States. It was based on a division of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The Bill of Rights, which guaranteed basic rights, was also added to the Constitution in the same year.
The Contrast of North & South (1849-1877)
Slavery was the key issue influencing U.S. History during this period. Northern criticism against this system grew rapidly. In 1852, Harriet E. Beecher Stowe's novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was published, urging controversial discussion about slavery. In the South, slavery was defended as part of the Constitutional rights of property and the rights of the states. Abraham Lincoln became a powerful politician as member of the Republican Party, which was against slavery. In 1860, Lincoln became President of the United States.? North Carolina seceded and declared itself as its own state. Additionally, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas seceded, forming the Confederate States of America with its own Constitution and Jefferson Davis as its leader. The Civil War began in 1861 and the North was met with strong resistance by the South. In 1863, Lincoln declared emancipation for all slaves, and won the sympathy of Europe. By July 1865, the war was won by the Northern Union. The unity of the United States was reestablished. On April 14th, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated by a fanatic supporter of the Southern States. The 13th Amendment to the *Constitution abolished slavery and the 14th Amendment guaranteed a number of rights to former slaves and the 15th Amendment established that no one could be denied the right to vote due to color or race.?
America's Role in World War I and Economic Problems (1914-1929)
At first, the United States declared neutrality in World War I. Eventually, the US broke off diplomatic ties to Germany and declared War in April of 1917. In June 1918, US troops first participated in battles on the European Mainland. Over 2 Million US soldiers were sent to France. In October 1917, the Germans fell and the Great War was over. America lost over 112 thousand lives during this war.
In 1929, Herbert Hoover became President. Although his leadership seemed strong at first, hope ended with the crash of the stock market on Wall Street. Due to over-speculation on credit, the markets fell over 40%. The Great Depression followed with significantly lower living standards, massive unemployment, and bankruptcy. By spring 1933, the unemployment rate soared to 15 million. Franklin Delano Roosevelt stepped in at this point, promising a "new deal for the American people" and starting an intensive social-economic reform program. It was considered widely successful, and by 1938, 6 million people were back at work. The booming business behind World War II mobilization alleviated the remnants of the depression. America's Role in World War II
While America recovered from the Great Depression, it concentrated on World War II. In April 1938, President Roosevelt appealed to Hitler and Mussolini to save peace in Europe with a Non-Attack-Promise. It failed, and a European war broke out. Much like World War I, the US first declared neutrality. The war quickly escalated behind Hitler's strong army and the US indirectly assisted the Allies with weapons and supplies. In December 1941, a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan changed American minds about neutrality. Roosevelt declared war on Japan thereafter and Italy and Germany followed in suit by declaring war on the US. Together with Britain, the U.S.S.R., China and 22 other states, the USA joined the Allies. At the Conference of Casablanca on January 24th 1943, Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill agreed on terms of "unconditional surrender" against Germany and Japan. After Sicily was conquered, Italy capitulated and signed an armistice. In October 1944, with Stalin and Churchill, Roosevelt planned the final simultaneous strike. Germany was attacked from Russia, France, Italy and Britain, and was forced to surrender in May of 1945.
Interior and Exterior Crises (1945-1974)
While this happened, the US was also embroiled in a war against Japan. Japan's conquest in the Pacific was checked by the American "island hopping" strategy. With the deployment of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, Japan was forced to surrender.
The Korean War followed shortly thereafter in 1950. This was part of what would become the Cold War: a battle against the spread of communism worldwide. Every communist state was declared as an enemy, so the US helped South Korea against communist North Korea.
In 1962, missiles aimed at the US were discovered in communist Cuba. President Kennedy responded to this threat by blockading the U.S.S.R. from delivering any new weapons to Cuba. This Cuban dissolved over the following weeks. On November 22nd, 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson became President and was moderately successful in his "Great Society" reform policies.
Although the US fought against communism worldwide, discrimination against African-Americans
persisted in America. The battle for civil rights was a long and messy ordeal, with much violence erupting on both sides. On April 2nd, 1963, African Americans peacefully demonstrated for racial equality under the leadership of Martin L. King Jr. After a march to Washington, King delivered his most popular speech ("I have a dream ... ") in front of the Lincoln-Memorial. In July 1964, Congress passed the new Civil Rights law, which guaranteed equal rights for all Americans. On April 6th, 1968 King was assassinated in Memphis by an escaped prisoner. From 1961 to 1973, the United States participated in their longest and most senseless war: The Vietnam War. At first, it was similar in the fight against communism in Korea -North Vietnam wanted to force South Vietnam to become a communist state. However, many people in America demonstrated against US policy in this case, displaying "counter-culture". After more than ten years, the American troops were forced to leave Vietnam in defeat. 56,241 American lives were lost, 1344 are still missing, and 303,616 were injured. After the Vietnam War, the Cold War seemed to calm down. In May of 1972, Nixon became the first President to visit the USSR. In Moscow, the SALT I (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) were signed, a large step towards ending the Cold War. In June 1972, five men were arrested when they broke into the election headquarters of the Democratic Party (Watergate). They intended to install spying devices on behalf of the Petition for Reelection of the President. Civil Servants and Nixon's assistance attempted to veil connections. In 1974, the House of Representatives lobbied to remove Nixon from office due to the scandal. On August 9th, 1974 President Nixon stepped down from office after being impeached. The following President, Gerald R. Ford, pardoned him, so Nixon could not be prosecuted.
The Resurgence of Conservatism and the End of the Cold War (1970-1990)
Ronald Reagan became president in 1981. His conservative position contrasted highly with those before him. Americans were quite sick of New Deal type intervention done by the government and hoped that "Reaganomics" would work in their favor. Reagan's economic stance ended up backfiring, resulting in the largest recession since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, Reagan continued the Cold War against the USSR in the form of an expensive arms race. With the arrival of Republican George H. W. Bush in 1989, the Cold War slowly came to an end. Democracy was spreading worldwide and the USSR dissolved. Bush would oversee the reduction of arms now that the Cold War was over. The economy stalled during the 1990s, and Democrat Bill Clinton would arrive in time to jump start it.