AP Summer Institute





 A Content Analysis of the Concept Outline 
            Since the word that appears most often in both the Concept Outline as a whole and in those passages from the Concept Outline that refer to specific people, groups, documents or events is "economic," it is clear that the new curriculum places greater emphasis on the economic aspects of U.S. History [Work, Exchange and Technology (WXT)] than the old.   Moreover, especially during Period 6 (1865-1898), significant emphasis is placed on "the rise of big business," "business consolidation," and large-scale production and their impact on all aspects of life in the United States.   This emphasis is amplified by the comment for Period 7 (1890-1945) that the "continued growth and consolidation of large corporations transformed American society and the nation's economy," including large corporations coming to "dominate the U.S. economy."   Throughout the Concept Outline and included under this same theme (WXT), "labor" and "labor systems" are specifically emphasized, including slavery, indentured servitude, sharecropping and organized labor.  
           Next to "economic," the word that appears most often in both the Concept Outline as a whole and in those passages from the Concept Outline that refer to specific people, groups, documents or events is "political."   This seems to indicate that political history, debates over public policy and other types of political conflict are just as important in the new curriculum as they were in the old.   Among the specific topics related to "Politics and Power (POL)" that appear most often in key passages in the Concept Outline are the "federal government," "political parties," "citizenship" and "power."   The power and role of the federal government, especially in relation to the state governments, receives consistent attention.   The debate over the proper role of the federal government in the economy and society draws increased attention after the onset of the Great Depression with the "liberalism of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal."   After "liberalism reached its zenith with Lyndon Johnson's Great Society," the Concept Outline informs us, the success of these liberal policies "unintentionally helped energize a new conservative movement," which sought to reverse those policies after the election of President Ronald Reagan.  
           Another term frequently mentioned in passages from the Concept Outline that refer to specific people, groups, documents or events is "slavery."   Especially in Periods 2 (1607-1754), 3 (1754-1800), 4 (1800-1848) and 5 (1844-1877), the word "slavery" appears as frequently, if not more frequently, as any other.   Almost every aspect of the institution of slavery, its impact on racial thinking, the political process, westward expansion and the lives of African Americans, both slave and free, receives significant attention.   References to African Americans appear frequently in important passages related to Periods 7 (1890-1945) and 8 (1945-1980) as well.   Abolition, sectional tensions or conflict, the Civil War and Reconstruction also receive considerable attention.   Many of these references are directly related to the Thematic Learning Objectives that fall under the theme of Identity (ID).   Regional, sectional, racial and ethnic identities, rather than national identity, are all singled out for emphasis in this connection.   African Americans also play an important role in expanding the power of the federal government and sparking debates about citizenship rights [Politics and Power (POL)] in connection with the 13th, 14th and 15 Amendments and the flouting of the 14th and 15th Amendments by southern whites from the end of Reconstruction through the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and beyond.  
           The theme of Peopling (PEO) attracts a great deal more attention in the new curriculum than it did in the old.   The words "immigrant" and "immigration" appear with some frequency in important passages in the Concept Outline, but less frequently than the word "migration."   A number of important references to immigration and migration, for example, the impact of the changes in our immigration laws enacted in 1965 or the "Great Migration" of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North, connect the theme of Peopling (PEO) with those of Identity (ID), Work, Exchange and Technology (WXT), Politics and Power (POL), Environment and Geography-Physical and Human (ENV) and Ideas, Beliefs and Culture (CUL).  
           The theme America in the World (WOR) receives approximately the same amount of emphasis in the new curriculum as in the old.   However, a broader perspective has been adopted, ranging from repeated references to "the Atlantic World" during Periods 2 (1607-1754) and 3 (1754-1800), to significant attention to America's rise to global prominence during Period 6 (1865-1898), and, eventually, to a "dominant international military, political, cultural, and economic position" during Periods 7 (1890-1945), 8 (1945-1980) and 9 (1980-present).   In Period 9 (1980-present), "economic globalization" is emphasized as one of the most important developments affecting the evolution of American society, the American economy and the changing role of the United States in the world.  

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