Brandon Eldridge » APUSH Summer Work

APUSH Summer Work

AP US History Summer Assignment 

The assignments are due on the first day we return to school.  It should be submitted as one document and MUST BE HANDWRITTEN in BLACK INK.  Typed work will not be accepted as the course is focused on preparation for the AP exam. If you have any questions during the summer, please email Mr. Eldridge at [email protected]

Answer the following research questions as thoroughly as possible. Be sure to give as many details as to ensure full credit.

Period 1: 1491-1607

  1. Describe notable cultural and political aspects of these important indigenous cultures on the American continent from 1000-1492: Creek, Choctaw, Cherokee, Ohio River Valley tribes, Aztecs, Incas, and the Iroquois Confederacy.
  2. Describe Portugal as the first world naval power (the late 1300s –1500) using these supporting details: Henry the Navigator, Constantinople, Bartholomeu Dias, Vasco de Gama.
  3. Describe Spain’s rise to power as a global leader using these supporting details: Ferdinand and Isabella, Reconquista, Renaissance advances, Treaty of Tordesillas.
  4. Describe Christopher Columbus’ effects on the New World using these themes: first global economy, triangle trade, environmental impacts, the beginning of slavery, indigenous population decimation.
  5. Describe each of these Conquistadors, their areas of exploration, and their legacies with indigenous peoples: Vasco de Balboa, Ferdinand Magellan, Juan Ponce de Leon, Francisco Coronado, Hernando de Soto, Francisco Pizarro, Hernan Cortez.
  6. How did Spanish contact with the Incas drive the development of capitalism in Europe?
  7. What was the encomienda system and what were Bartholomeo de Las Casas’s opinions of it?
  8. How can Spanish contact with the Aztecs be seen as the beginning of modern Mexican culture?
  9. What caused the end of the Conquistadores?
  10. Why does the rivalry between England and Spain intensify (1530’s-1588)? (Some supporting details are Reformation, Queen Elizabeth, Irish conflict, sea dogs, and the Armada.)
  11. Why are the following reasons for England wanting to explore and colonize the New World: nationalism, primogeniture, and joint-stock companies?
  12. How did the Jamestown colony (1607-the first permanent British settlement in America) survive its early times?
Read Chapter 1 of A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. This can be found at

It would be very wise of you to print this out and highlight it as you go along. Answer the following questions in the form of an essay.

  • According to Zinn, what is his main purpose for writing A People’s History of the United States?
  • Is there bias presented in the secondary source? Why or why not?
  • What is Zinn’s thesis for this chapter?
  • According to Zinn, how is Columbus portrayed in traditional history books?
  • What is Zinn’s basic criticism of historian Samuel Eliot Morison’s book, Christopher Columbus, Mariner
  • Identify one early and one subsequent motive that drove Columbus to oppress indigenous peoples.
  • Compare and contrast what you know about Columbus and Howard Zinn description of Christopher Columbus. In what ways are they similar? Different? What is the danger of reading only one source for historical information?
Free Response Question Reflection

Choose ONE of the following essay prompts and write a 5 paragraph essay to answer the question. Be sure to cite sources for your work with a bibliography attached.

  1. Evaluate the extent to which the Columbian Exchange fostered change in the Americas in the period from 1491 to 1700.
  2. Evaluate the extent to which the Gilded Age economy fostered change in the United States in the period from 1870 to 1900.
  3. Evaluate the extent to which the Great Depression fostered ongoing reform in the United States in the period from 1929 to 1945.