APUSH Syllabus

AHIS 100 American Political and Social History I – Fall

AHIS 101 American Political and Social History II – Spring

Instructor: Lawrence Connors


Office Hours: M-F 2:30 to 3:30


Course Description

AHIS 100 & AHIS 101 is a survey of American History from the age of exploration and discovery to the present. This course is taught at 
the college level. The major differences between a high school and college history course are the amount of reading and the focus. Your previous 
history courses may have stressed “What happened?” intending to provide enough background knowledge to ensure good citizenship. This course 
stresses “why and how” things happen as well as the consequences of actions. Great attention is paid to a student's ability to read and digest 
materials and analyze them critically in order to make sensible judgments while writing analytical essays. In addition to the text  book we will read 
journal articles from leading scholars and will  familiarize ourselves with writing DBQ's - document based questions.  


Course Objectives

In this course students will:

Ø  create a highly interactive, discussion-based classroom driven by the students. 
Ø  develop an appreciation for the study of history 
Ø  develop an appreciation for and understanding of the process of historical inquiry 
Ø  develop a better understanding of the history of the United States in political, economic, social, ethnic, and cultural terms. 
Ø  develop a better understanding of the great issues at the heart of American history 
Ø  improve writing, research, and critical reading and writing skills 
Ø  improve thinking skills - specifically to develop the ability to analyze historical arguments
Ø  develop on understanding of the present-day United States and our relationship to this country 
Ø  develop the ability to think historically (understanding in context)
  • thorough preparation for the Advanced Placement exam in May.


Learning Objectives for General Education U.S. History Courses U.S. History courses enable students to demonstrate:

  1. knowledge of a basic narrative of American history (political, economic, social, and/or cultural), including an awareness of unity and diversity in American society

  2. knowledge of representative institutions in American society and how they have shaped and been shaped by different groups

  3. an understanding of the relationship (s) between America and other parts of the world

  4. an understanding of various tools and approaches used in interpreting U.S. history



Class Text

America’s History, Henretta, Brody, Dumenil, 6th edition

The publisher provides students with access to a variety of online resources. You can register at http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/henretta6e/


Supplemental Readings

America’s History: Selected Historical Documents, Vols. I & II

Additional primary source documents and readings will also be provided.


Class Materials

  • A three-ring binder (with dividers) is recommended to provide proper organization. Make sure to purchase one with front and back pockets for reading handouts.

  • Students are required to bring their text and binders to class every day.



Your grade will be based on the following assessments:

  1. Reading/Response Notebook – You are expected to keep up with the reading assignments and be able to discuss the material on the due date (see grading scale).

                    You will be keeping a notebook to monitor your reading. Further instructions will be given.


  1. Seminar Grading Scale (50points):

               0 = Absent 
              20 = Present. Does not voluntarily contribute. Has difficulty responding when called on. Shows little interest and gives no clear evidence of having completed the assigned reading. 
              30 = Occasionally participates voluntarily. Can respond minimally if called on. Demonstrates very basic preparation of essential facts but gives no evidence of careful,              
                         critical thought about the reading and the problems it raises. Shows modest interest and gives evidence of having completed only some of the reading. 
              40 = Participates often. Offers to participate and/or responds effectively when called on. Knows basic information but can offer interpretations, analysis, and critical reflections.     
               Responds to other students' points. Shows real interest and gives evidence of having completed the reading with a high degree of understanding and comprehension. 
              50 = Participates all the time, without having to be called on. Responds both to issues raised by the discussion leader and points raised by other students. 
                       Knows how to work in a discussion-based environment: Keeps to the point; helps to keep others (even the teacher!) on the point; sees when it is time to move to a new issue. 
                      Consistently displays careful, critical, analytical reading of the weekly assignments. 


  1. Written Assignments – Assignments must be turned in at the beginning of class on the day that they are due. Assignments will be graded on the basis of correct grammar, spelling, and content.

  2. Essays – Students will complete and in-class or take-home essay every few weeks. These essays will include Free-Response Essay Questions and Document Based Question

  3. Quizzes – A 15 question multiple-choice quiz will be given at the end of most chapters.

  4. Unit Exams – 4 per course: one of the exams will be take-home exam or open-book, the other will be given during class.


Your final grade will be computed as follows:  Notebook and Seminars = 20%, Written Assignments = 20%, Quizzes and Unit Exams = 20%, 
Final Exam = 20%, Research Paper = 20%

Grade Conversion to SUNY/UHS Grade


Grade Scale

Grade Conversion


Grade Scale

Grade Conversion





























Grade < 60


Research Papers: 

As part of your final grade, each student is required to complete a research paper.

The written report will be 10 -12 typed pages of text, plus foot notes. Use Times New Roman font, double spaced, one inch margins.  

Research Paper Timeline:
October 24 - Topic for research paper 
December 2 - Annotated Bibliography, thesis statement 
January 20 - Outline 
February 17 - First Draft of research paper 
April 5 - Second Draft of research paper 

Each of these deadlines is worth three points toward the final paper grade. If 
you miss the deadline, the points are gone. If you miss five deadlines, a total of 
15 points will be lost. If the final paper grade is a 90, the fifteen lost points turn 
the paper into a 75.
In addition to familiarizing you with historical research, the format for the research paper requirement for this course is designed to demonstrate the importance of editing and revising your work.  
Once the final paper is submitted you should have a rather polished piece of writing that you can then use as a writing sample during the college application process.  

Oral Defense of Research Paper:
Some of our time will be set aside for presentations to the class about your papers.  Your presentation should be polished with a supporting PowerPoint/  visual presentation

General Guidelines

Classroom Management Unacceptable/rude or uncivil behavior is cause for dismissal from the course. Cell phones and electrical media devices must be off at ALL times.


Late Work – All homework assignments must be turned in on time (when collected) to receive credit. Late work may receive partial credit. In the case of family emergencies, late assignments may be accepted for full credit if a parent/guardian note is presented to the teacher. In this case, the assignment must be turned in no later than three school days after the due date or it will be considered late.


Absences – It is the responsibility of the student to obtain all missed assignments. You will be given one day for each day absent to make up missed assignments. Before-school arrangements must be made if tests or quizzes missed (you can also schedule make-ups during study hall).

No more than 10 absences are allowed. Two points from the student’s final grade or 10% of the participation grade (whichever is higher) will be deducted for each absence beyond 10.

Standards of Academic Integrity

The University at Albany expects all members of its community to conduct themselves in a manner befitting its tradition of honor and integrity. Members are expected to assist the University by reporting suspected violations of academic integrity to appropriate faculty and/or administrative offices. Behavior that is detrimental to the University’s role as an educational institution is unacceptable.  Claims of ignorance, of unintentional error, or of academic or personal pressures are not sufficient reasons for violations of academic integrity.

The following are examples of the types of behaviors that are defined as academic dishonesty and are therefore unacceptable:

Plagiarism: Presenting as one’s own work the work of another person. Plagiarism includes paraphrasing or summarizing without acknowledgment, submission of another student’s work as one’s own, the purchase of prepared research or completed papers or projects, and the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by someone else; Cheating on Examinations: Giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during, or after an examination; Multiple Submission: Submitting substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once;  Sabotage: Destroying, damaging, or stealing of another’s work or working materials; Unauthorized Collaboration: Collaborating on projects, papers, or other academic exercises that is regarded as inappropriate by the instructor(s); Falsification: Misrepresenting material or fabricating information in an academic exercise or assignment; and Bribery: Offering or giving any article of value or service to an instructor in an attempt to receive a grade or other benefits not legitimately earned or not available to other students in the class.  Circumventing Security: Users are prohibited from attempting to circumvent or subvert any system's security measures. Users are prohibited from using any computer program or device to intercept or decode passwords or similar access control information.

The violations listed above should be reported to the UHS Program Office immediately.  All parties involved will be directed accordingly.




The following is the History Department’s policy on plagiarism:


“Plagiarism is taking (which includes purchasing) the words and ideas of another and passing them off as one’s own work.  If in a formal paper a student quotes someone,

that student must use quotation marks and give a citation. Paraphrased or borrowed ideas are to be identified by proper citations.  Plagiarism will result, at the minimum, in a failing

grade for the assignment.”