AP US History : Identity, Ideas, Beliefs, and Culture 1608–1754

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US History

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : 1608–1754

Passage adapted from John Winthrop's "A Modell of Christian Charity" (1630)

The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as his own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of his wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when he shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it like that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God.

John Winthrop's speech is representative of the ideas and beliefs associated with which of the following groups?

Possible Answers:

Puritans

Separatists

Baptists

Catholics

Correct answer:

Puritans

Explanation:

John Winthrop was the leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which in 1630 settled Boston Harbor as a refuge for Puritans. Puritans believed that the Anglican church, which was the state church of England, was horribly corrupt on a number of levels and needed to be thoroughly cleansed and purified. Winthrop's speech "A Modell of Christian Charity" was given aboard the ship Arabella before going ashore to remind his followers of their religious duties.

Example Question #3 : Ap Us History

Passage adapted from John Winthrop's "A Modell of Christian Charity" (1630)

The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as his own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of his wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when he shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it like that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God.

John Winthrop gave the above speech to the original colonists of which North American British colony?

Possible Answers:

Connecticut

Massachusetts Bay

Virginia

Plymouth

Correct answer:

Massachusetts Bay

Explanation:

John Winthrop was a leader among the radical reforming group known as the Puritans, and was chosen to lead a group of Puritans to form a new colony in the Americas as a safe haven for the group. Winthrop intentionally went north of the colonies of Virginia to Massachusetts Bay, which placed him closer to the similarly minded Plymouth Colony. Eventually, Massachusetts would overrun the Plymouth Colony and through divisions spawn Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire.

Example Question #3 : 1608–1754

Passage adapted from John Winthrop's "A Modell of Christian Charity" (1630)

The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as his own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of his wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when he shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it like that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God.

The idea expressed in Winthrop's speech of a "city upon a hill" echoes what later idea in American society and politics?

Possible Answers:

Secession

American Exceptionalism

Manifest Destiny

Isolationism

Correct answer:

American Exceptionalism

Explanation:

The phrase "city upon a hill" is the most lasting echo of Winthrop's speech, and it has been used by many politicians into the twenty first century. The idea, that New England would stand as a beacon to the rest of the world about how to construct a society, would get adapted to referring to the United States of America as a nation. This idea, that America stands apart as a shining example for others due to its unique goodness, is known as American exceptionalism.

Example Question #4 : 1608–1754

"At last they brought him to [Werowocomoco], where was Powhatan their Emperor. Here more then two hundred of those grim Courtiers stood wondering at him, as he had been a monster; till Powhatan and his train had put themselves in their greatest braveries. Before a fire upon a seat like a bedstead, he sat covered with a great robe, made of Rarowcun [raccoon] skins, and all the tails hanging by. At his entrance before the King, all the people gave a great shout. 

Having feasted him after their best barbarous manner they could, a long consultation was held, but the conclusion was, two great stones were brought before Powhatan: then as many as could laid hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs, to beat out his brains, Pocahontas the Kings dearest daughter, when no intreaty could prevail, got his head in her arms, and laid her own upon his to save him from death."

- John Smith, the General History of Virginia, 1624

In this story, Pocahontas' role can be compared to which of the following women?

Possible Answers:

Jane Addams

Amelia Earhart

Dolly Madison

Susan B. Anthony

Sally Ride

Correct answer:

Jane Addams

Explanation:

In the context of this story, Pocahontas' work as a peace-maker can best be compared to Jane Addams. In addition to being a pioneering social worker, Addams was a vocal peace advocate and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

Example Question #5 : 1608–1754

Cotton Mather was a Boston minister who followed in the footsteps of his father, Increase Mather, serving as the pastor of Boston’s Old North Church and then the Second Church. He was a steadfast defender of the Puritan orthodoxy to the extent that he persuaded Elihu Yale, a London merchant and Anglican, to endow Yale University in 1703 as the training ground for Puritanism. Mather believed that Harvard University had become too liberal to suit his Puritan beliefs and decided a new educational base for Puritan training was needed. Mather also denounced witchcraft, a belief he would recant after reviewing the records of the Salem trials. Later in his life, he deviated further from condemning witchcraft when he encouraged his congregation to forgo any belief in the supernatural. He wrote prolifically during his lifetime. His writings were varied. He wrote on social, political and religious issues. He also wrote on the “New Sciences” and medical theories. Many of his writings were controversial for his time. Nonetheless, his writings are considered the best of early Enlightenment thinking in Colonial America.

Which of the following topics of Mather’s writings are noted for leading to extensive discussion, controversy, and change in New England thinking?

Possible Answers:

societal changes to allow more freedom to women

The creation of universities in all of the colonies to maintain Puritan ideas

immunization against smallpox

the need for liberty from England in America

the continuing power of the King of England in the colonies

Correct answer:

immunization against smallpox

Explanation:

Cotton Mather had a strong interest in the “New Sciences” and medical theories of his day. He studied theology and medicine while at Harvard. During 1721, Boston experienced a smallpox epidemic. At this time a debate began regarding the benefits of inoculations against the disease. It was observed that those who survived smallpox were immune to the disease in the future. Mather learned about smallpox inoculations from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, which awarded him the F.R.S. in 1713 for his writings on inoculations. He inoculated his son and that action combined with his writings and sermons on smallpox inoculation began a long debate. Many felt that inoculations would lead to a spread of the disease. This belief was based on the fact that a “live” version of the virus would be given in the inoculation. Mather stated that inoculations were a gift from God and to oppose inoculation was to oppose the word of God. He believed it was possible to reconcile science with Scripture. Mather, working with Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, convinced many people that religion and clinical medicine could work together to save lives. As a result, hundreds were inoculated against smallpox.

Example Question #6 : 1608–1754

woodcut, 1754, Benjamin Franklin, Join or Die, org. pub. in Pennsylvania Gazette

Benjamin Franklin’s woodcut from May 9, 1754.

The image displayed a snake cut up into eight pieces. The snake’s detached head was labeled "N.E." for “New England,” while the trailing seven sections were tagged with letters representing the colonies of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

What is the main political goal supported by this cartoon?

Possible Answers:

the joining of the colonies into a unified state

the resignation of the current ruling legislators of the United States

the movement to seek help from England

the movement to force the Indian Confederacy to join the colonists

Correct answer:

the joining of the colonies into a unified state

Explanation:

In 1754, Benjamin Franklin suggested a plan to unify the colonies of the time. More than twenty representatives of several colonies had gathered to plan their defense related to the French and Indian War. The plan represented one of multiple early attempts at unification.

Image is in the public domain: The Pennsylvania Gazette, 9 May 1754. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Benjamin_Franklin_-_Join_or_Die.jpg

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