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AP US History Unit 4 Curriculum Outline

Disclaimer: This outline is sourced directly from the APUSH Course Framework released by the College Board. This is a lightweight, web-friendly format for easy reference. Omninox does not take credit for this outline and is not affiliated with the College Board. AP is a reserved trademark of the College Board.

This post is part of a completed curriculum outline of the AP US History 2020 course. Refer to the other units in the outline below.

Unit 9
Unit 8
Unit 7
Unit 6
Unit 5
Unit 4 (you are here)
Unit 3
Unit 2
Unit 1

TOPIC 4.1 - Contextualizing Period 4

Unit 4_Learning Objective A: Explain the context in which the republic developed from 1800 to 1848.

  • KC-4.1: The United States began to develop a modern democracy and celebrated a new national culture, while Americans sought to define the nation’s democratic ideals and change their society and institutions to match them.
    • KC-4.1.I: The nation’s transition to a more participatory democracy was achieved by expanding suffrage from a system based on property ownership to one based on voting by all adult white men, and it was accompanied by the growth of political parties.
    • KC-4.1.II: While Americans embraced a new national culture, various groups developed distinctive cultures of their own.
    • KC-4.1.III: Increasing numbers of Americans, many inspired by new religious and intellectual movements, worked primarily outside
      of government institutions to advance their ideals.
  • KC-4.2: Innovations in technology, agriculture, and commerce powerfully accelerated the American economy, precipitating profound changes to U.S. society and to national and regional identities.
    • KC-4.2.I: New transportation systems and technologies dramatically expanded manufacturing and agricultural production.
    • KC-4.2.II: The changes caused by the market revolution had significant effects on U.S. society, workers’ lives, and gender and family relations.
    • KC-4.2.III: Economic development shaped settlement and trade patterns, helping to unify the nation while also encouraging the growth of different regions.
  • KC-4.3: The U.S. interest in increasing foreign trade and expanding its national borders shaped the nation’s foreign policy and spurred government and private initiatives.
    • KC-4.3.I: Struggling to create an independent global presence, the United States sought to claim territory throughout the North American continent and promote foreign trade.
    • KC-4.3.II: The United States’ acquisition of lands in the West gave rise to contests over the extension of slavery into new territories.

TOPIC 4.2 - The Rise of Political Parties and the Era of Jefferson

Unit 4_Learning Objective B: Explain the causes and effects of policy debates in the early republic.

  • KC-4.1.I.A: In the early 1800s, national political parties continued to debate issues such as the tariff, powers of the federal government, and relations with European powers.
  • KC-4.1.I.B: Supreme Court decisions established the primacy of the judiciary in determining the meaning of the Constitution and asserted that federal laws took precedence over state laws.
  • KC-4.3.I.A.i: Following the Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. government sought influence and control over North America through a variety of means, including exploration and diplomatic efforts.

TOPIC 4.3 - Politics and Regional Interests

Unit 4_Learning Objective C: Explain how different regional interests affected debates about the role of the federal government in the early republic.

  • KC-4.1.I.D: Regional interests often trumped national concerns as the basis for many political leaders’ positions on slavery and economic policy.
  • KC-4.2.III.D: Plans to further unify the U.S. economy, such as the American System, generated debates over whether such policies would benefit agriculture or industry, potentially favoring different sections of the country.
  • KC-4.3.II.C: Congressional attempts at political compromise, such as the Missouri Compromise, only temporarily stemmed growing tensions between opponents and defenders of slavery.

TOPIC 4.4 - America on the World Stage

Unit 4_Learning Objective D: Explain how and why American foreign policy developed and expanded over time.

  • KC-4.3.I: Struggling to create an independent global presence, the United States sought to claim territory throughout the North American continent and promote foreign trade.
    • KC-4.3.I.A.ii: The U.S. government sought influence and
      control over the Western Hemisphere through a variety of means, including military actions, American Indian removal, and diplomatic efforts such as the Monroe Doctrine.

TOPIC 4.5 - Market Revolution: Industrialization

Unit 4_Learning Objective E: Explain the causes and effects of the innovations in technology, agriculture, and commerce over time.

  • KC-4.2.I.A: Entrepreneurs helped to create a market revolution in production and commerce, in which market relationships between producers and consumers came to prevail as the manufacture of goods became more organized.
  • KC-4.2.I.B: Innovations including textile machinery, steam engines, interchangeable parts, the telegraph, and agricultural inventions increased the efficiency of production methods.
  • KC-4.2.I.C: Legislation and judicial systems supported the development of roads, canals, and railroads, which extended and enlarged markets and helped foster regional interdependence. Transportation networks linked the North and Midwest more closely than they linked regions in the South.
  • KC-4.2.III.B: Increasing Southern cotton production and the related growth of Northern manufacturing, banking, and shipping industries promoted the development of national and international commercial ties.

TOPIC 4.6 - Market Revolution: Society and Culture

Unit 4_Learning Objective F: Explain how and why innovation in technology, agriculture, and commerce affected various segments of American society over time.

  • KC-4.2.III.A: Large numbers of international migrants moved to industrializing Northern cities, while many Americans moved west of the Appalachians, developing thriving new communities along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
  • KC-4.2.II.B: The growth of manufacturing drove a significant increase in prosperity and standards of living for some; this led to the emergence of a larger middle class and a small but wealthy business elite, but also to a large and growing population of laboring poor.
  • KC-4.2.II.A: Increasing numbers of Americans, especially women and men working in factories, no longer relied on semi-subsistence agriculture; instead they supported themselves producing goods for distant markets.
  • KC-4.2.II.C: Gender and family roles changed in response to the market revolution, particularly with the growth of definitions of domestic ideals that emphasized the separation of public and private spheres.

TOPIC 4.7 - Expanding Democracy

Unit 4_Learning Objective G: Explain the causes and effects of the expansion of participatory democracy from 1800 to 1848.

  • KC-4.1.I: The nation’s transition to a more participatory democracy was achieved by expanding suffrage from a system based on property ownership to one based on voting by all adult white men, and it was accompanied by the growth of political parties.

TOPIC 4.8 - Jackson and Federal Power

Unit 4_Learning Objective H: Explain the causes and effects of continuing policy debates about the role of the federal government from 1800 to 1848.

  • KC-4.1.I.C: By the 1820s and 1830s, new political parties arose—the Democrats, led by Andrew Jackson, and the Whigs, led by Henry Clay— that disagreed about the role and powers of the federal government and issues such as the national bank, tariffs, and federally funded internal improvements.
  • KC-4.3.I.B: Frontier settlers tended to champion expansion efforts, while American Indian resistance led to a sequence of wars and federal efforts to control and relocate American Indian populations.

TOPIC 4.9 - The Development of an American Culture

Unit 4_Learning Objective I: Explain how and why a new national culture developed from 1800 to 1848.

  • KC-4.1.II.B: A new national culture emerged that combined American elements, European influences, and regional cultural sensibilities.
  • KC-4.1.II.C: Liberal social ideas from abroad and Romantic beliefs in human perfectibility influenced literature, art, philosophy, and architecture.

TOPIC 4.10 - The Second Great Awakening

Unit 4_Learning Objective J: Explain the causes of the Second Great Awakening.

  • KC-4.1.II.A.i: The rise of democratic and individualistic beliefs, a response to rationalism, and changes to society caused by the market revolution, along with greater social and geographical mobility, contributed to a Second Great Awakening among Protestants.

TOPIC 4.11 - An Age of Reform

Unit 4_Learning Objective K: Explain how and why various reform movements developed and expanded from 1800 to 1848.

  • KC-4.1.II.A.ii: The rise of democratic and individualistic beliefs, a response to rationalism, and changes to society caused by the market revolution, along with greater social and geographical mobility, contributed to moral and social reforms and inspired utopian and other religious movements.
  • KC-4.1.III.A: Americans formed new voluntary organizations that aimed to change individual behaviors and improve society through temperance and other reform efforts.
  • KC-4.1.III.B.i: Abolitionist and antislavery movements gradually achieved emancipation in the North, contributing to the growth of the free African American population, even as many state governments restricted African Americans’ rights.
  • KC-4.3.II.B.i: Antislavery movements increased in the North.
  • KC-4.1.III.C: A women’s rights movement sought to create greater equality and opportunities for women, expressing its ideals at the Seneca Falls Convention.


TOPIC 4.12 - African Americans in the Early Republic

Unit 4_Learning Objective L: Explain the continuities and changes in the experience of African Americans from 1800 to 1848.

  • KC-4.1.III.B.ii: Antislavery efforts in the South were largely limited to unsuccessful slave rebellions.
  • KC-4.1.II.D: Enslaved blacks and free African Americans created communities and strategies to protect their dignity and family structures, and they joined political efforts aimed at changing their status.

TOPIC 4.13 - The Society of the South in the Early Republic

Unit 4_Learning Objective M: Explain how geographic
and environmental factors shaped the development of the South from 1800 to 1848.

  • KC-4.3.II.B.ii: In the South, although the majority of Southerners owned no slaves, most leaders argued that slavery was part of the Southern way of life.
  • KC-4.2.III.C: Southern business leaders continued to rely on the production and export of traditional agricultural staples, contributing to the growth of a distinctive Southern regional identity.
  • KC-4.3.II.A: As overcultivation depleted arable land in the Southeast, slaveholders began relocating their plantations to more fertile lands west of the Appalachians, where the institution of slavery continued to grow.

TOPIC 4.14 - Causation in Period 4

Unit 4_Learning Objective N: Explain the extent to which politics, economics, and foreign policy promoted the development of American identity from 1800 to 1848.

  • KC-4.1: The United States began to develop a modern democracy and celebrated a new national culture, while Americans sought to define the nation’s democratic ideals and change their society and institutions to match them.
    • KC-4.1.I: The nation’s transition to a more participatory democracy was achieved by expanding suffrage from a system based on property ownership to one based on voting by all adult white men, and it was accompanied by the growth of political parties.
    • KC-4.1.II: While Americans embraced a new national culture, various groups developed distinctive cultures of their own.
    • KC-4.1.III: Increasing numbers of Americans, many inspired by new religious and intellectual movements, worked primarily outsideof government institutions to advance their ideals.
  • KC-4.2: Innovations in technology, agriculture, and commerce powerfully accelerated the American economy, precipitating profound changes to U.S. society and to national and regional identities.
    • KC-4.2.I: New transportation systems and technologies dramatically expanded manufacturing and agricultural production.
    • KC-4.2.II: The changes caused by the market revolution had significant effects on U.S. society, workers’ lives, and gender and family relations.
    • KC-4.2.III: Economic development shaped settlement and trade patterns, helping to unify the nation while also encouraging the growth of different regions.
  • KC-4.3: The U.S. interest in increasing foreign trade
    and expanding its national borders shaped the nation’s foreign policy and spurred government and private initiatives.
    • KC-4.3.I: Struggling to create an independent global presence, the United States sought to claim territory throughout the North American continent and promote foreign trade.
    • KC-4.3.II: The United States’ acquisition of lands in the West gave rise to contests over the extension of slavery into new territories.