APUSH – Theme 7 (ARC) - American and Regional Culture | Fiveable (2023)

The one thing you need to know about this theme:

Culture is ComplicatedThroughout United States History, historical factors shaped the meaning of what “American culture” looked like. After all, the meaning of who constituted an “American” was likewise uncertain. Cultural traits are created and recreated over time as new people, technology, ideas, and symbols permeate the national conscience. To say that at any point in U.S. History there was a singular national “culture” is dismissive of the rich social and political fabric of our history.

College Board Description

This theme focuses on the how and why national, regional, and group cultures developed and changed as well as how culture has shaped government policy and the economy.

Organizing Question

In what ways do creative expression, demographic change, personal beliefs, and innovation shape American culture and policies?

Key Vocabulary

PluralismFirst Great AwakeningJonathan EdwardsGeorge Whitefield"New Light" vs. "Old Light"EnlightenmentJohn Locke
Three Sisters of AgricultureJean-Jacques RousseauAdam SmithAnglicizationSalutary NeglectRepublicanismTrial of John Peter Zenger
Praying TownsAlexander HamiltonThomas JeffersonYeomanHamilton's Financial PlanFederalistsDemocratic-Republicans
Alien and Sedition ActsVirginia and Kentucky ResolutionsJohn TrumbullHudson River SchoolJefferson's RotundaTranscendentalismRalph Waldo Emerson
Henry David ThoreauMargaret FullerHerman MelvilleNathaniel HawthornHorace MannCommon SchoolsNoah Webster's American Dictionary
Charles FinneyAmerican Temperance SocietyDorothea DixCult of DomesticityLucretia MottElizabeth Cady StantonSeneca Falls Convention
"Declaration of Sentiments""Positive Good" ThesisAmerican Colonization SocietyAmerican Antislavery SocietyWilliam Lloyd Garrison'sThe LiberatorFrederick Douglass'The North StarDenmark Vesey's Rebellion
Nat Turner's RebellionDavid Walker'sAppealShakersOneida CommunityBrook FarmLatter-Day Saints"Old" Immigration
Irish Potato FamineParochial SchoolsNativismKnow-Nothing PartyAmerican Party"New" ImmigrationErnest Hemingway
Sinclair LewisF. Scott FitzgerlandGreat MigrationHarlem RenaissanceBluesJazzBessie Smith
Louis ArmstrongZora Neale HurstonLangston HughesBlack NationalismMarcus GarveyUniversal Negro Improvement AssociationFundamentalists
ModernistsScopes Monkey TrialDarwin's Theory of Evolution19th AmendmentFlappersLGBTQ+Hays Code
Red ScarePalmer RaidsSacco and VanzettiKu Klux KlanImmigration Act of 1924LevittownsWhite Flight
Baby BoomSecond Red ScareBeat MovementJack KerouacRock and RollCountercultureHippies
WoodstockBirth Control PillCommunesStudents for a Democratic SocietyNew LeftHawks v. DovesTeach-ins
Black Panther PartyBlack Party MovementMuhammad AliDemocratic National Convention RiotKent State University Shooting

Historical Examples

Period 1 (1491-1607)

The AP U.S. History curriculum does not specifically lay out thematic objectives for this time period relating to American and Regional Culture. However, students should know that Native American tribes had varying regional cultures, and should be aware of the differences among those cultures. Asking for the differences between pre-Columbian tribes (or tribes in the early colonial period) is a fair SAQ prompt.

Period 2 (1607-1754)


In the colonial period, the variety of European colonial groups from England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands -paired with scores of Native American tribes and cultural traditions- contributed to what the curriculum refers to as a “degree of pluralism” in the Americas.Pluralismessentially means that there exist- simultaneously- many social, political, economic, racial, and gender dynamics that exert and fight for authority or autonomy.

Native American Tribes

The largest degree of cultural separation existed between the collective European colonial powers and the various Native American tribes they encountered. In the early part of the colonial period, English settlers like those at Jamestown relied on intellectual exchanges with local tribes for survival. For example, native crops like theThree Sisters of Agriculturewere instrumental in recovering the starving population of Jamestown. Over time, however, the increased European population in North America led to disease and warfare that devastated tribal populations and led to a shift in the power dynamic in colonized areas.

Increasingly, European colonizers focused on what they perceived to be the inherent sinfulness and backwardness of Native American lifestyles and employed increasingly persistent methods of Christianizing the local populations. In mid-17th century New England, Puritans establishedPraying Townsfor converting Native Americans in a segregated environment, where ministers could monitor their actions and converts could live in community with each other away from the temptations of their old lives.

The First Great Awakening

In the 1730s and 1740s, theFirst Great Awakeningenhanced cultural exchange through camp revivals and “fire and brimstone” preaching. Ministers likeJonathan EdwardsandGeorge Whitefieldincreasingly emphasized the sinfulness of man and the requirement of each individual to turn to God for salvation. These“New Light”ministers sometimes resorted to more theatrical means to convey their message, creating a divide between themselves and“Old Light”ministers who preferred more conventional or traditional methods.

The methods and message of the First Great Awakening borrowed from a very different kind of cultural movement occurring near the same time - theEnlightenment. While not inherently religious, Enlightenment writing often emphasized the role of the individual within greater social circles. This emphasis on individualism is heavily apparent in Edwards’ and Whitefield’s sermons.

For the AP exam, there are several Enlightenment thinkers students should generally familiarize themselves with, although it is doubtful that a question will directly ask about one of them in particular. More likely, students can use them as evidence in a prompt about the Enlightenment more generally.

John LockeIn his “Two Treatises of Government,” Locke put forward the idea of “natural rights” that belong to all people - life, liberty, and property. These inalienable rights would eventually set the foundation for the “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” found in the Declaration of Independence.
Isaac NewtonNewton’s mathematical work in the Scientific Revolution invented calculus, allowing astronomists to predict planetary trajectory. His book,Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, revolutionized the world of physics by laying out Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. Both achievements undermined the authority of the church.
Jean-Jacques RousseauIn his book,The Social Contract, Rousseau argued that humans in a society willingly give up their absolute freedom to live in a more organized and orderly society. In exchange, however, the government constructed by such a society must derive its power from the consent of the governed.
Adam SmithThe “Father of Modern Economics” wrote inThe Wealth of Nationsthat markets are controlled by invisible forces and the law of supply and demand. In an attack on mercantilism, Smith advocated for what is now known as laissez-faire policies and a capitalist system based on profit as the driving factor.

Over time, the British colonies began to perceive themselves as more English - a process known asAnglicization. Despite regional economic differences, the system ofsalutary neglectled to increasing numbers of autonomous political communities based on the same concept ofRepublicanism. Throughout the British colonies, representative legislative bodies worked within the confines of their respective charters to meet the needs of the local populations.

This seemingly homogeneous culture was not without fissures, though. In 1735, theTrial of John Peter Zengertested the growing print culture against growing Enlightenment ideals. Accused of libel against the governor in New York, Zenger was acquitted on the basis that the information printed in his paper - while perhaps scandalous - was, in fact, true. Though certainly not anywhere close to the issues that would spring up thirty years later, the Zenger case laid the foundation for colonists to stand up to royal officials and laid claim to a case for freedom of speech.

Period 3 (1754-1800)

While the period between the French and Indian War and the American Revolution is certainly wrought with a considerable amount of questioning about cultural and political identity in the colonies, the curriculum chooses to more closely align that portion of this period with the theme of “America in the World.” This makes sense, given the intricate interplay between the colonies and England, as well as the alliances between France and various Native American tribes during the period.

The topic “American and Regional Culture” picks up again following the American Revolution with the formation of a distinctive national culture during George Washington’s presidency. Broadly, cultural divisions on a national level emerged as debates centered around issues of politics and slavery.

(Video) #37 - APUSH 4.9 The Development of an American Culture [UPDATED]

Differing Visions for America

Within Washington’s cabinet,Alexander HamiltonandThomas Jeffersonpresented battling visions for the United States’ future. Hamilton saw the United States as a nation whose destiny lay in manufacturing and international trade, whereas Jefferson envisioned a land of sprawling agriculture run byyeomanfarmers. That is not to say that these visions could never coexist side-by-side. However, in a political battle for attention, favor, and financial backing, one must always present his or her option as paramount to others. Ultimately, Washington backedHamilton’s Financial Plan, which consisted of three major tenets: a Bank of the United States, the consolidation of states’ debts, and a tariff on imports.

Rallying support for the two cabinet leaders led to the emergence of political factions -Federalistswho supported Hamilton andDemocratic-Republicanswho supported Jefferson. Despite the warnings of Washington in his “Farewell Address,” these factions became institutionalized political parties in the Election of 1800.



Early Leadership

Alexander Hamilton

Thomas Jefferson

Constituents (usually)




Urban Elite



Domestic Policy

For the Bank of U.S.

For tariffs

For assumption of state debt

For excise tax

Against the Bank of U.S.

Against tariffs

Against assumption of state debt

Against excise tax

Foreign Policy

Supported British

Supported French

Adams' Presidency

In the late 18th century, the war between Britain and France heightened tensions between the Federalists and Democratic-Republican factions, who (despite American neutrality) saw each other as enacting policies to favor one side or the other in the conflict. This tension came to a head during the (Federalist) presidency of John Adams when he signed theAlien and Sedition Acts(1798), which stifled speech critical of the government and led to deportations of some foreigners.

Seen as an overt attempt to squash Democratic-Republican voices, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson responded with theVirginia and Kentucky Resolutions. The resolutions stated an agreed premise that the federal government had only the rights guaranteed to it in the Constitution - no more. Thus, the states could nullify or refuse to enforce the Alien and Sedition Acts.

In addition to divisions over politics, debates over slavery in the Early Republic similarly tended to fall along sectional lines. The first abolitionist society in the United States was founded by Quakers in Pennsylvania in 1775. By the election of George Washington in 1789, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire outlawed slavery. By 1800, New York and Vermont joined the ranks. Conversely, in the same period, land previously claimed by the colonies of Virginia and North Carolina became the slave states of Kentucky and Tennessee. According to the 1800 census, of the nearly one million black individuals in the United States, only about 10% were free people of color.

As Americans differed over political ideologies and beliefs over the role of slavery in society, they were drawn together by common symbols and reflections of nationhood. Before the American Revolution, flags were primarily used for seafaring vessels as a way of denoting one’s country of origin. During the pre-revolutionary period, sailors and revolutionaries increasingly adopted the use of flags onshore for use in their cause of resistance. In the years following the American Revolution, the U.S. flag underwent a series of changes but was not widely used outside of military purposes until after the Civil War.

The paintings ofJohn Trumbullpreserved images of national unity and success. In addition to painting portraits of America’s early leaders like Alexander Hamilton and George Washington, Trumbull created scenes like the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the victory at Yorktown. Many of his paintings remain prominently displayed in the White House and U.S. Capitol rotunda.

Period 4 (1800-1848)

In the period after 1800, American art, architecture, and literature continued in attempts to frame a collective cultural experience for Americans. TheHudson River Schoolcrafted landscape paintings as an outgrowth of the Romantic movement that was highly nationalistic in their praise of American natural beauty and critical of industrialization. The Romantic movement also influenced architectural styles like the Federal-style ofJefferson’s Rotunda.


Romanticism inspired the intellectual and literary movement ofTranscendentalism, which combined aspects of individual self-sufficiency with an almost religious reverence for the natural world to argue against materialism, corrupt government, and organized religion. The Transcendentalist movement produced some of the United States’ first uniquely “American” literature, and some of the key figures are worth noting individually for the AP exam.

Ralph Waldo EmersonIn his book,Nature(1836), Emerson explains that the laws of nature (of which his definitions are complex) are moral, and therefore should be the foundation for all ethical and religious decisions. Furthermore, he advocates for a combination of rational thought and spirituality when approaching nature to gain a better understanding of God and the world.
Henry David ThoreauLiving in seclusion at Walden Pond for just over two years, Thoreau chronicled his spiritual journey and manual for self-reliant individualism in the book,Walden(1854). Thoreau is also widely known for his essay, “On Civil Disobedience,” written after spending a night in jail for refusing to pay a poll tax in protest of the expansion of slavery during the Mexican-American War.
Margaret FullerFuller was a Transcendentalist writer and (from 1840-1842) editor of the Transcendentalist magazine,The Dial. Her book,Woman in the Nineteenth Century(1845), was a feminist piece that criticized the concept of the Cult of Domesticity, arguing that women deserved political and educational equality.
Herman MelvilleMelville’s famous book,Moby Dick(1851), criticized what he perceived to be an almost blind optimism of the Transcendentalist movement. After attempting revenge on the white whale, Captain Ahab’s ship and crew are destroyed, including himself.
Nathaniel HawthorneHawthorne was also a critic of the Transcendentalist movement. His most famous book,The Scarlet Letter(1850),lambasted the very New England religious tradition that Transcendentalists like Emerson came from (although generations removed). A criticism of the strict Puritan social and religious code, Hawthorne’s work reminds readers that the individualism sought by Transcendentalist thinkers was not reflective of “traditional” American values.

The ability to enjoy these new genres of art and literature sprang from an increase in literacy and public education. Often contextualized within the age of “Jacksonian Democracy,” the general logic was that the United States should be invested in creating an educated public so that the growing class of American voters would be well-informed ones.

Education Reforms

Reformers likeHorace Mann- the “Father of American Education” and Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education - called for free public schooling taught by well-trained teachers. His insistence on teacher training led to the growth ofcommon schools(teacher training schools) throughout the United States. Mann also insisted that public schools should be free of religious affiliation and open to students of all ethnic backgrounds. Within these schools, students used tools likeNoah Webster’s American Dictionary(first published in 1806) and Webster’s Blue-Black Speller to standardize literacy and create a common American English.

The Second Great Awakening

The rise of democratic and individualistic beliefs, paired with increasing materialism caused by the Market Revolution, led to the Second Great Awakening at the end of the 18th century. Similar to the First Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening consisted of revivals led by charismatic ministers likeCharles Finney, who preached Hellfire and Brimstone sermons.

Whereas the First Great Awakening led to the splintering of Protestant faiths into more denominations (which also occurred to an extent during the Second Great Awakening), the Second Great Awakening had three major effects. The curriculum lays these effects explicitly, so if an exam has an “effects of the Second Great Awakening” prompt, the documents will likely fall loosely into these three categories.The effects of the Second Great Awakening were social reforms, moral reforms, and the inspiration of utopian and other religious movements.

Social Reforms

(Video) APUSH Themes

The Second Great Awakening led to the emergence of new organizations aimed at eliminating a series of social ills. The most obvious and widespread of these was the Temperance Movement. In 1826, Lyman Beecher founded theAmerican Temperance Societywith the goal of convincing Americans to take a pledge of abstinence from alcohol. The society gained relative national success in a campaign of reminding Americans about the moral perils of drinking, as well as the ill-effects on women and children. Temperance leaders faced backlash, however, from Irish and German immigrants, who viewed alcohol consumption as core to their cultural beliefs (and sometimes religious ceremonies).

Another social issue competing for the public’s attention was asylum reform.Dorothea Dixlobbied state governments for funding to create asylums for the mentally ill, who were often treated as common criminals and kept in appalling conditions in prisons. After some success at the state level, Dix appealed to the federal government for support. She was granted a land endowment by Congress, but the bill was vetoed by President Pierce in 1854. Following this setback, she traveled to Europe to continue work until the outbreak of the Civil War.

Women were essential to both the temperance and asylum reform movements. Throughout the early to mid-19th century, women partook in various social reforms in addition to their domestic lives, often contributing to more than one social effort. This is especially unsurprising as religious calls from the Second Great Awakening often advocated for individuals to take a more proactive role as missionaries in their own communities.

It is unsurprising, then, that this social reform would stretch to the roles of women themselves. During this period, women lived under the ideal of theCult of Domesticity- the idea that a woman’s job was to stay home and care for her husband and children as the moral center of the family. As women strayed from this ideal to become reformers, even some ministers balked at their lack of adherence to strict gender norms.

As noted above, Margaret Fuller’s 1845 book,Woman in the Nineteenth Century, called for equality among women in at least the spheres of education and politics. While some women, especially those wanting to become teachers, achieved a degree of educational mobility, many were left behind. In 1848,Lucretia MottandElizabeth Cady Stantonorganized theSeneca Falls Convention. At the convention, some attendees signed a“Declaration of Sentiments,”which used the language of the Declaration of Independence to dramatize the hypocrisy of gender discrimination in the United States.

Moral Reforms

As Americans continued toward the goal of Manifest Destiny and incorporated new Western lands into the United States, the issue of slavery increased tensions among sectional lines. This disagreement, which began as early as the first arrival of enslaved individuals in 1619, became increasingly tied to moral arguments during the Antebellum Era.

In 1820, the Missouri Compromise established a clear lane for Southern territories and states to spread the institution of slavery into the West. Whereas Southern politicians once referred to slavery as a “necessary evil,” by 1837, John C. Calhoun took on the new stance that slavery constituted a“positive good.”The institution, enslavers argued, benefitted enslaved individuals by providing a pathway to civilization and Christianity. Despite this paternalistic argument, growing abolitionist societies of that era continued to push for emancipation.

TheAmerican Colonization Society(1817) offered freed slaves the opportunity to emigrate to the colony of Liberia, rather than remain in the United States. Despite rampant discrimination, many free blacks refused to leave the country that they viewed as their home. TheAmerican Antislavery Society(1833) formed with the goal of immediate emancipation of all slaves. The organization sent petitions to Congress (which went mostly unread), published newsletters and pamphlets, and held lectures for usually uninformed or unsympathetic Northern audiences on the atrocities of slavery.

Two leading abolitionist publications emerged within this period as well -William Lloyd Garrison’sThe LiberatorandFrederick Douglass’The North Star. Garrison made known his radical stance that enslaved people should be freed immediately with no compensation to enslavers. He and Douglass joined together for lecture circuits, which eventually led to the publication of Douglass’ biography,Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

At the same time, however, the rights of black individuals in the United States decreased during this period. The decrease was due, in part, to rebellions like those led byDenmark Vesey(1822) andNat Turner(1831), which led to the deaths of Southern whites. Additionally, the publication ofDavid Walker’sAppeal (1829) put many Southerners on edge, as Walker spared no words in calling out the hypocrisy of Christian enslavers while simultaneously justifying the use of violence in revolting against slavery, should an enslaved individual choose to do so.

Utopian/Religious Movements

The Second Great Awakening also led to the emergence of new utopian communities based on socialist ideals and the hope of creating a perfect human society. TheShakerswere a utopian community founded on the religious premise that their leader, Mother Ann, represented the beginning of the millennium (the period following the return of Jesus in the Bible). The Shaker community practiced gender equality but did not allow for sexual relationships. As a substitute for the casual pleasures of the world, Shakers focused on farming, carpentry, and dancing.

TheOneida Community, led by John Humphrey Noyes, focused on the concept of perfection and life free from sin. Those deemed to have reached a state of perfection could engage in a form of communal marriage and communal child-rearing. Despite this system of “free love” marriage, unplanned children were infrequent. Once the community had enough resources to have children, they practiced a form of eugenics called “stirpiculture,” where parents considered to have the most positive breeding traits would be chosen to reproduce.

Brook Farmwas a utopian society unlike the Shakers and Oneida in the sense that it had no religious affiliation. Brook Farm attracted thinkers like Transcendentalists, who used the manual labor of subsistence farming to fuel their intellectual pursuits.

The longest-lasting of the religious societies of the Antebellum Era was theLatter-Day Saintsor Mormon Church. Founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, the Mormon church emphasized patriarchy and self-discipline. The church faced persecution in the East, and eventually settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, where families began practicing polygamy. Shortly thereafter, Smith was arrested and killed by an anti-Mormon mob. Brigham Young took over as leader of the church and led the church to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Period 5 (1844-1877)

Until this point, we have focused primarily on the development of culture as it emerged from initial interactions with Native Americans and various competing European nations in the colonial period to national debates and unifying symbols in the 19th century. In the mid-19th century, however, a substantial wave of international migrants created ethnic communities that introduced new cultural customs to the United States and led to a backlash against immigrants.


From roughly the 1820s to the 1840s, Irish and German immigrants made their way to the United States as part of“Old” immigration. For Irish immigrants, the biggest push factor was theIrish Potato Famine, in which roughly one million people died of starvation. German immigrants came in search of religious and political freedom.

For both groups, the pull factor was economic opportunity. Irish immigrants worked as both farmers and industrial workers in cities like New York and Chicago. German immigrants usually settled in farming areas of the North and Midwest, like Pennsylvania. When possible, Catholic families sent their children toparochial schools, which would preserve religious customs in education.

Response to this wave of immigration came largely in the form of anti-Catholicnativism.Native-born Protestants, fearing economic insecurity and touting the general superiority of Protestantism, formed theKnow-Nothing Partyin the 1840s. By 1854, the Know-Nothings organized more formally as theAmerican Partyand garnered some political success until increased sectionalism and the formation of the Republican Party caused its demise.

(Video) #95 - APUSH 8.12 Youth Culture of the 1960s [UPDATED]

Period 6 (1865-1898)

The AP U.S. History curriculum does not specifically lay out thematic objectives for this time period relating to American and Regional Culture. However, students should generally be able to discuss the ways that industrialization and“New” Immigrationled to changes in American and Regional Culture.

Period 7 (1890-1945)

World War I contributed to migration on unprecedented scales. Following the Selective Service Act (1917), millions of men left their homes to serve in the war effort. Meanwhile, millions of other American men and women left their homes to contribute to wartime industries in cities across the United States. As the war ended, the settling of these migration patterns led to new forms of art and literature that expressed changing attitudes about the United States and one’s role as an American.

The 1920s

For men returning home from war, disillusionment with the experiences of battle and the government’s role in killing millions of people led to what Gertrude Stein called the“Lost Generation.”This group of writers, includingErnest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis,andF. Scott Fitzgeraldcriticized what they perceived to be excessive materialism and emotional bankruptness of a nation that rushed into a “Return to Normalcy” after losing millions of its people.

For many African Americans in the South, contributing to the war meant taking part in what is now called theGreat Migration- the movement of African Americans to Northern cities for industrial work. At the onset of the “Roaring Twenties,” African Americans living in densely-populated Northern cities contributed to a new artistic and civil rights movement called theHarlem Renaissance.

Just as the European Renaissance ushered in a period of revival and renewal, the Harlem Renaissance embraced revitalized forms of African American art and music and shaped them for popular audiences. Significantly, these popular black art forms were a key vehicle to portraying the realities of life for African Americans in the United States, including the atrocities of Jim Crow. Here we will break down the most important aspects of the Harlem Renaissance that students need to know for the AP exam:

Blues and Jazz.As a musical genre, blues originated from usually one singer and a guitar playing a “blue” (or non-standard) scale. In the 1920s, many of the most popular blues singers were women, including the “Empress of Blues,”Bessie Smith.Jazz emerged as a mixture of several musical styles, including blues and ragtime. MusicianLouis Armstrongwas especially famous for his distinctive singing voice and impeccable skill on the trumpet.

Musicians like Smith and Armstrong faced widespread discrimination, however, in attempting to break into white clubs, recording studios, and radio stations. Even when they did play in bands of mixed racial backgrounds (often as the main attraction), they were paid less than their white counterparts. African American songs and artists that made it in front of white audiences did play a role in extending messages of black culture and the black experience. A song like “Strange Fruit,” for example, vividly explains lynching to a crowd that may not fully understand the extent of that atrocity.


Writers of the Harlem Renaissance similarly conveyed the struggles of African Americans in the North and South.Zora Neale Hurston’sTheir Eyes Were Watching God(1937) explains the intricate play of forces including race, gender, labor, and inter-generational conflict within the black community before and after the Civil War. Now a critically-acclaimed writer, Hurston died in 1960 with so little money that she was buried in an unmarked grave until 1973. PoetLangston Hugheswas considerably more successful, publishing famous works such as “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (1921), “I, Too” (1926), and “Let America be America Again.”

Black Nationalism

While the Harlem Renaissance functioned most obviously as an artistic revival for African Americans, it was also very clearly a movement for civil rights. Black artists often spared no words in calling out white hypocrisy and atrocities (past and present) against the African American community. The movement also stirred up early forms ofblack nationalism- the idea that African Americans should join together to support their people and have self-determination for their community.

In the 1920s, black nationalism came most obviously in the form ofMarcus Garveyand theUniversal Negro Improvement Association(UNIA). After witnessing the racial discrimination faced by African Americans following the Great Migration, Garvey was convinced that peaceful integration could not work. He established UNIA in 1917, with the message of going “Back to Africa” - where black Americans could practice their customs.

Garvey faced opposition from other leaders in the African American community like W.E.B. DuBois and A. Philip Randolph, as well as other leaders of the NAACP. Additionally, the federal government went after him for mail fraud, indicting him in 1922. Garvey was deported to Jamaica, where he served out his term. While there, his movement and organization largely fell apart.

The end of World War I also led to considerable controversies as wartime technology and mobilization shifted the way Americans perceived the roles of religion, gender, and immigration.

Religious Backlash

As a “rule of thumb” in U.S. History, any time there is a modern innovation, there is also religious backlash. This trend is noticeable with the Enlightenment and First Great Awakening, Market Revolution and Second Great Awakening, and Gilded Age industrialization and Social Gospel Movement. In the 1920s, the primary battle was betweenfundamentalistsandmodernists. Fundamentalists believed that the Bible was literally (or fundamentally) true, whereas modernists believed that there was room for interpretation or scientific truth in the Bible.

This battle came to a head with theScopes Monkey Trial. In 1925, the state of Tennessee passed the Butler Act, making it illegal to teachDarwin’s Theory of Evolutionin school. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) placed an advertisement in the local paper asking for a teacher to step up and risk being sued to test the validity of the law - John Scopes agreed. William Jennings Bryan, who advocated for the Butler Act, to begin with, took on the role of prosecuting Scopes for the state of Tennessee. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but the verdict was later overturned on a technicality. The Butler Act was not repealed until 1967.

Fundamentalists similarly took offense to changing gender roles in the 1920s. Emboldened by wartime service and the passage of the19th Amendment, American women took on new ideas of socialization and dress.Flapperswore dresses of brighter colors, shorter hemlines, and flashier materials. They also wore their hair in shorter styles called a “bob,” which attracted considerable criticism from conservative men who referred to the Biblical principle of long hair as a sign of modesty. Women also increasingly went out without chaperones, smoked in public, and flirted openly with men in public - all considered taboo before World War I.

It is important to note that this lifestyle was anidealfor women. Purchasing new clothing, going out dancing, and keeping up with new trends was expensive. Most women kept up with the flapper look in certain aspects, but most American women were not running around living outThe Great Gatsby.

The 1920s also created an atmosphere of toleration (at least during Prohibition) forLGBTQ+communities in urban centers like New York City. In night clubs and speakeasies (already suspect to police interference), transgender performers found outlets for their artistic expression, and LGBTQ+ patrons could socialize in a comfortable atmosphere. In entertainment, LGBTQ+ themes and entertainers were visible until the introduction of theHays Codein 1930.


The post-war era was not equally positive for all groups, though. Following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the United States increased nativist resentment against immigrants from southern and eastern European nations. ThisRed Scare, from 1917 to 1920, led to the targeting of immigrants for little other than their national origin. From 1919 to 1920, a series of investigations calledPalmer Raidsallowed the Justice Department to ransack the homes and businesses of thousands of suspected radicals. In 1921, Italian immigrants NicolaSaccoand BartolomeoVanzettiwere convicted of murder, despite any real evidence of the crime.

The 1920s also saw a resurgence of theKu Klux Klanthat, in addition to persecuting African Americans, sought to protect the “American” way of life by attacking non-Protestant immigrants. The federal government also made strides toward protecting the “American” way of life with theImmigration Act of 1924, which created a quota system allowing two percent of persons from any given country to come into the United States from their overall number as of the 1890 census.

Period 8 (1945-1980)

After World War II, the United States experienced a period of relative cultural conformity. For white Americans, the GI Bill provided benefits like healthcare, low-interest loans, and education that allowed economic mobility and the ability to move to the suburbs - typically referred to asLevittowns.White flightmovement to these cookie-cutter communities, paired with ababy boomin the post-war years, also contributed to increased consumer spending on commercial goods - which also tended to conform across racial lines due to a boom in advertising spending.

Another reason for this sense of conformity in the post-war era was theSecond Red Scare. Unresolved issues from the Potsdam Conference led to tension between the United States and the Soviet Union that launched both nations into a Cold War. By failing to conform to standards of patriotism and capitalist spending, Americans could draw suspicion of their community or the government.


Not all Americans conformed to these standards, though. As is typical of this trend, challenges to mass culture came from artists, scholars, and young people. In the 1950s, theBeat Movementsymbolized this spirit of anti-conformity. Writers likeJack Kerouacin his bookOn the Road(1957) symbolized the alienation felt by a younger generation in search of real satisfaction apart from material goods.

Young Americans also rebelled in inter-generational divides throughRock and Rollmusic, which was the first genre of music truly tailored to teenagers. Despite its roots in the African American community (a mixture of blues, jazz, gospel, and swing), the white artists like Elvis Presley who capitalized (unfairly) on Rock and Roll also gave a voice to marginalized rural whites and made them dominant consumers of the music market.

As the Vietnam War escalated, so did challenges to social norms by younger generations of Americans. Less convinced of the immediate threat of Communism as their parents’ generation, teens and college-age students of the Vietnam War era engaged in a variety ofcounterculturemovements to express their disillusionment with a government and society seen as not meeting their needs.

In the 1960s and 1970s, members of the counterculture movement became known asHippies- “hip” coming from the earlier Beat generation. Hippies often wore long hair and casual, colorful clothing. They tended to favor a simplistic life, criticizing materialism and the repression of individualism. A key aspect of Hippie culture was folk and rock music. Some of the more popular artists included the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones. In 1969, this style of music became almost synonymous with the Hippie movement with theWoodstockmusic festival.

Young people, especially women, who participated in the counterculture movement also rejected many of the sexual norms of their parents’ generation. In a new wave of the sexual revolution, young women increasingly used theBirth Control Pill(approved by the FDA in 1960). Young men and women of the Hippie movement also sometimes lived together incommunes- collective communities sharing all possessions. These environments tended to skew traditional gender roles as participants also shared responsibilities for survival and care.

Some, but not all, Hippies took part in political activities. As the Vietnam War escalated, young Americans participated in anti-war protests that increased in frequency and sometimes led to violence. Groups likeStudents for a Democratic Society(founded in 1960) took a broad approach of criticizing not only the Vietnam War but other injustices in American society like poverty and racism. The linking of social justice issues such as these became the core of a new political movement called theNew Left.

As the war in Vietnam continued, divisions grew betweenHawks(those who supported the war) andDoves(those who did not support the war). Tensions ran especially high as these divisions often occurred within single households. Older generations who lived through the early Cold War and experienced the fear of Soviet infiltration of bombings daily felt that Domino Theory was a justifiable cause for war. Younger generations - those actuallyfightingthe war - saw it in very different terms. In addition to the specific discomforts of fighting in Vietnam, Doves argued against the racial disparities inherent in the draft and fighting methods used against enemy troops.

Young Americans often learned about these injustices and social issues in their college classrooms. In addition to traditional coursework, professors stagedteach-insat universities across the United States. In protest against academic censorship, professors at the University of Michigan taught classes all night about the draft and the realities of the Vietnam War in March 1965.

Some groups, however, rejected liberal policies under the argument that leaders did too little to actively transform the disparities and immoral policies they identified. TheBlack Panther Party, for example, advocated for a form of black nationalism that focused on community uplift and fighting brutality with force if necessary. As part of the greaterBlack Power Movement, African Americans of the late 1960s and 1970s largely subscribed to the dogma of “Black is beautiful” and advocated for the transformation of stereotypes about black culture.

Those who refused selective service also fell into this category of liberals disenchanted by their leadership. Conscientious objectors to war (which have existed in every American war) increased during the conflict in Vietnam. Others like, famously,Muhammad Alirefused military service in protest of the war’s aims and the disproportionate draft rate of people of color. At a press conference in 1967, he remarked that whereas Jim Crow was responsible for the mistreatment of millions of African Americans in the U.S., “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.”

Anti-War Protests

As the war escalated, so did the protests. In 1968, violent riots broke out at an anti-war protest outside theDemocratic National Conventionin Chicago. AtKent State Universityin 1970, four students were killed by the Ohio National Guard during a protest against the bombing of Cambodia under the Nixon administration.

Media coverage of these events, as well as the war itself, led to decreased confidence in the government’s ability to handle both domestic and foreign affairs. Additionally, the federal government faced considerable scandals that contributed to acredibility gap- or perception between what is said and what is true. In 1969,

Although anti-communist foreign policy faced little domestic opposition in previous years, the Vietnam War inspired sizable and passionate anti-war protests that became more numerous as the war escalated and sometimes led to violence. In 1969, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story exposing the cover-up of theMai Lai Massacrewhere U.S. troops deliberately murdered up to 500 South Vietnamese civilians. TheNew York Timescontinued exposing government lies and inconsistencies with the publication of thePentagon Papers, beginning in 1971.

By the end of the 1970s, the growth of a religiously conservative movement in response to the New Left emerged accompanied by greater political activism. Organizations likeFocus on the Familyadvocated for traditional gender norms and a nuclear family model. As Ronald Reagan ran for the presidency, he garnered support from theMoral Majority- a political action committee dedicated to evangelical Christian values in opposition to LGBTQ+ rights and radical feminism.

Period 9 (1980-present)

The AP U.S. History curriculum does not specifically lay out thematic objectives for this time period relating to American and Regional Culture. However, students should generally be able to discuss the ways that foreign conflict and/or technology have shaped American and Regional Culture, and be able to connect that to other time periods.

(Video) APUSH Content Spotlight[Transcendentalists-Ralph Waldo Emerson: The American Scholar]

Sample LEQ

Evaluate the extent to which opposition to existing policies and values developed and changed from 1945-1980.


What does American and regional culture mean? ›

C - American and Regional Culture (ARC) Focuses on the how and why national, regional, and group cultures developed and changed as well as how culture has shaped gov't policy & the economy.

What are the 7 themes in US history that are developed in the AP course? ›

APUSH Themes
  • American & National Identity (NAT)
  • Politics & Power (POL)
  • Work, Exchange, & Technology (WXT)
  • Culture & Society (CUL)
  • Migration & Settlement (MIG)
  • Geography & the Environment (GEO)
  • America in the World (WOR)

What is the theme of the American and national identity? ›

It was created on the basis of four important themes of American identity: inalienable rights, the social contract, the right to revolt, and popular sovereignty.

What is an example of a regional culture? ›

Some examples of a culture region are China (a functional culture region defined as the communist state of China); Patagonia (an area with some shared cultural traits in southern South America); and the Anglosphere (countries speaking English). Each of these covers a specific region, which has a common feature.

What is an example of American culture? ›

Most Americans are always on the go. It seems they are often running from one appointment to the next, going to and from work, picking up kids, running errands, and going to business meetings and social outings. Because Americans are regularly on the move, there is often not enough time to have a formal, sit-down meal.

What is imperialism in period 7 Apush? ›

Imperialism. A policy in which a strong nation seeks to dominate other countries politically, socially, religiously and/or economically.

What period is unit 7 Apush? ›

Unit: Period 7: 1890-1945.

What was the Red Scare in Apush? ›

The Red Scare was a period of fear and persecution in the United States that occurred twice in the 20th century, first from 1917 to 1920 and again in the 1950s.

Is AP U.S. History harder than AP World History? ›

What is this? Because of the emphasis placed on details in US History, most people would say that AP US History (or APUSH) is harder than AP World History, but in reality, it depends on your skillset. They're just different.

What are the themes of AP language and culture? ›

What Are AP Themes?
  • Beauty and aesthetics.
  • Science and technology.
  • Personal and public identities.
  • Families and communities.
  • Global challenges.
  • Contemporary life.

What is the theme of cultural identity? ›

Artists often explore the characteristics that determine our personal and social identity. They construct a sense of who we are as individuals, as a society, or as a nation. They question stereotypes and conventions while exploring attributes such as gender, sexuality, race, nationality and heritage.

What are the five key themes of American identity? ›

Indeed, Gunnar Mydral (1944) famously wrote that American identity is built around a constellation of ideals—namely, individualism, liberty, equality, hard-work, and the rule of law—that comprise the American Creed.

What are the themes of the American? ›

Newman's major ideological differences with Claire and Valentin revolve around the relative weight of personal freedom—happiness, autonomy, interest and so forth—on the one hand, and duty to family, tradition, history and progeny on the other.

What are the 7 major cultural regions in the world? ›

Geographers recognize several major cultural regions in the world today, including the Middle East, Latin America, North America, Europe, Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa, China, Japan, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

What are the names of the 7 cultural regions of the world? ›

Nominations by indigenous peoples' organizations

These socio-cultural regions are Africa; the Arctic; Asia; Central and South America and the Caribbean; Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia; North America; and the Pacific.

What are the 7 cultural regions? ›

The seven cultural regions are seven areas where native americans developed different ways of living. The seven cultural regions are North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica.

What are the characteristics of American culture? ›

American Values and Assumptions
  • Individualism. ...
  • Equality. ...
  • Informality. ...
  • The Future, Change, and Progress. ...
  • Achievement, Action, Work, and Materialism. ...
  • Directness and Assertiveness. ...
  • Time.

What were three examples of American popular culture? ›

Shakespeare and Italian opera in the nineteenth century, Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers, the world's fair midways and Coney Island amusement parks, Elvis and Sinatra, the Simpsons and the Sopranos, Tupac and Destiny's Child—all represent popular culture in its appeal to audiences defined by their heterogeneity.

What are the best things about American culture? ›

  • Independence. Americans strongly believe in the concept of individualism. ...
  • Equality. The American Declaration of Independence states that “all [people] are created equal,” and this belief is deeply embedded in their cultural values. ...
  • Informality. ...
  • Directness.

What are the key points of Unit 7 Apush? ›

Key topics in this unit include imperialism, the Spanish-American War, the Progressiva Era, World War 1, pop culture and innovation in the 1920's, The Great Depression, The New Deal, and World War 2.

What are the 7 causes of imperialism? ›

The following are the causes for the rise of Imperialism.
  • Industrial revolution : Industrial revolution in European countries resulted in a great increase in production. ...
  • National security : ...
  • Nationalism : ...
  • Balance of Power : ...
  • Discovery of new routes : ...
  • Growth of population : ...
  • State of Anarchy :

What are some examples of American imperialism? ›

U.S. imperialism took a variety of forms in the early 20th century, ranging from colonies in Puerto Rico and the Philippines to protectorates in Cuba, Panama, and other countries in Latin America, and open door policies such as that in China.

What were the major changes in period 7 APUSH? ›

Domestic changes included democratizing the political process, curbing the excesses of capitalism through government intervention, and moving toward a mass consumer society.

How many hours is APUSH? ›

The APUSH exam takes 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete and is comprised of two sections: a multiple-choice/short answer section and a a free response section. There are two parts to each section.

Which event ends period 7 in AP U.S. history? ›

December 10, 1898. In the 1898 Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War, Spain ceded the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the United States.

What were 2 main causes of the first red scare? ›

Causes of the Red Scare

The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which led many to fear that immigrants, particularly from Russia, southern Europe, and eastern Europe, intended to overthrow the United States government; The end of World War I, which caused production needs to decline and unemployment to rise.

What does the term McCarthyism represent? ›

[The American Heritage Dictionary gives the definition of McCarthyism as: 1. The political practice of publicizing accusations of disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence; and 2. The use of methods of investigation and accusation regarded as unfair, in order to suppress opposition.]

How did the Red Scare impact American life? ›

The general effect, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison scholar Qing Liu, was to simultaneously demand that Chinese (and other Asian) students politically support the American government yet avoid engaging directly in politics. The Second Red Scare profoundly altered the temper of American society.

What is the most failed AP exam? ›

Top 10 Hardest AP Classes by Exam Pass Rate
AP Class/ExamPass Rate (3+)Perfect Score (5)
1. Physics 151.6%8.8%
2. Environmental Science53.4%11.9%
3. Chemistry56.1%10.6%
4. U.S. Government and Politics57.5%15.5%
6 more rows

What is the rarest AP class? ›

In 2021, the least popular AP exams were as follows, based on number of test-takers:
  • AP Italian (2,102 test-takers)
  • AP Japanese (2,204 test-takers)
  • AP German (4,315 test-takers)
  • AP 3-D Art and Design (4,573 test-takers)
  • AP Latin (4,889 test-takers)

What AP has the lowest pass rate? ›

At many high schools, AP Physics is notorious for its difficulty level. In addition, it has the lowest overall pass rate of any AP exam.

What is the easiest AP class? ›

Easiest AP exams by pass rate
  • AP Art & Design: Drawing.
  • AP Art & Design: 2-D.
  • AP Calculus BC.
  • AP Chinese Language.
  • AP English Literature.
  • AP French Language.
  • AP Government & Politics.
  • AP Italian Language.
Jan 13, 2023

What is the best AP class to take? ›

When Should I Take AP Classes?
GradeRecommended Number of AP Classes to TakeRecommended AP Classes
11th Grade3-5English, Calculus AB, Biology, Spanish (or other foreign language), U.S. Government and Politics
12th Grade3-6Chemistry, Physics C, Calculus BC
2 more rows

Should I take APUSH as a sophomore? ›

AP US history is one of the most commonly accepted AP credits by colleges around the country. Honors history in sophomore year teaches you how to excel in AP US history if you decide to do that in your junior year. It teaches you skills that you will need to pass the AP test and get college credit.

Is AP Spanish language and culture hard? ›

The AP® Spanish Language and Culture test can be difficult. Learning a second language can be difficult in general, and being tested on five or more years of Spanish classes for them AP® Spanish Language exam doesn't make things any easier.

Is AP Chinese language and Culture hard? ›

AP Chinese has the highest 5 rate out of every AP subject, but most students who take the test already speak Chinese at home. AP Chinese is probably going to be difficult if you aren't a native speaker, but there's good news!

Is AP Spanish literature and culture easy? ›

Because of its emphasis on literature, students may find it difficult to keep up with everything. "AP Spanish Lit was pretty difficult because you have to not only know the plots and dates of important literature, but also write about it in Spanish"—Brandon W.

What are the seven themes of culture? ›

There are seven elements, or parts, of a single culture. They are social organization, customs, religion, language, government, economy, and arts.

What are the four main themes of cultural analysis? ›

There are four themes to sociological cultural analysis:
  • Adaptation and Change. This refers to how well a certain culture adapts to its surroundings by being used and developed. ...
  • How culture is used to survive. How the given culture helps its members survive the environment.
  • Holism, Specificity. ...
  • Expressions.

What is the difference between culture and cultural identity? ›

Culture is a set of norms and values that we may not even know we have because we learn them as part of growing up in a group that shares them. Identity includes culture and many other personal things about you such as gender identity, education, religion, sexual orientation, and many others.

What is American and regional culture? ›

The topic “American and Regional Culture” picks up again following the American Revolution with the formation of a distinctive national culture during George Washington's presidency. Broadly, cultural divisions on a national level emerged as debates centered around issues of politics and slavery.

What is the theme of the Apush period 7? ›

APUSH Theme 7: America in the World

This theme focuses on the interactions between nations around the world, and what role they play in North American history. Specifically study the colonial period for this one! Also look at the influence the United States has on world affairs, both in the past and currently.

What is the theme of identity in Apush? ›

American & National Identity (NAT)

This theme focuses on how and why definitions of American and national identity and values have developed, as well as related topics such as citizenship, constitutionalism, foreign policy, assimilation, and American exceptionalism.

What factors have shaped the American identity? ›

Myrdal (1944) famously wrote that American identity is based on a collection of ideals that he termed the American Creed. These ideals include individualism, the notion and promise of hard work, freedom, equality, and the rule of law.

What is the definition of American identity? ›

It's a collection of ideals that include the rule of law, equality, freedom, hard work, and individualism.

What are examples of themes in American history? ›

Examples of such themes could include: the frontier experience in America, slavery and emancipation, American foreign policy, history of American education and the immigrant experience in America.

What are the regional cultures? ›

Regional culture – the whole of the environment and the cultural activities carried out therein that is created and fostered by the residents of the region and which reflects the ethnic, linguistic, historical and cultural regional identity and traditions and creates preconditions for the development of cultural and ...

What are 5 examples of cultural region? ›

Geographers recognize several major cultural regions in the world today, including the Middle East, Latin America, North America, Europe, Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa, China, Japan, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

What culture region is the United States? ›

For example, five major cultural regions—New England, the Midland, the South, the Middle West, and the West—have been identified (Zelinsky, 1973) based on a synthesis of regional patterns in a wide range of cultural factors, including ethnicity, religion, economics, and settlement history.

What are the 3 types of cultural regions? ›

The three types of cultural regions are functional, formal, and perceptual.

What is the difference between country culture and regional culture? ›

Country Culture is the entire country but regional culture is based on the region or area within the country.

What are the four US cultural regions? ›

Thus the Manufacturing Belt, a core region for many social and economic activities, now spans parts of four traditional culture areas—New England, the Midland, the Midwest, and the northern fringes of the South.

What are some examples of cultural culture? ›

Customs, laws, dress, architectural style, social standards, and traditions are all examples of cultural elements.

What are the 5 major cultural regions in North America? ›

  • The Arctic and Subarctic. Arctic and Subarctic Indians probably came to Alaska and Canada from northern Siberia about 10,000 years ago. ...
  • The Northeast. These Indians lived between the Great Lakesand the Atlantic Coast and as far west as the Mississippi. ...
  • The Southeast. ...
  • The Plains. ...
  • The Mountain Region. ...
  • The Southwest.

What are the 3 types of regions and examples? ›

Three types of regions are formal, vernacular, and functional. Formal regions are uniform. Everyone shares in common one or more distinctive characteristic. An example would be the Mid West being considered the Corn Belt because corn is their distinctive characteristic.

What type of culture is American culture? ›

American culture includes both conservative and liberal elements, scientific and religious competitiveness, political structures, risk taking and free expression, materialist and moral elements.

What cultures influenced American culture? ›

Nearly every region of the world has influenced American culture, most notably the English who colonized the country beginning in the early 1600s, according to the Library of Congress. U.S. culture has also been shaped by the cultures of Indigenous Americans, Latin Americans, Africans and Asians.

How many cultures are in America? ›

It may also be a country comprised of several tribes or factions. That's according to award-winning author Colin Woodard, who writes in his book "American Nations" that there are 11 distinct cultures that have historically divided North America (Canada is included in his overall analysis).

What are the 6 cultural regions? ›

The map is broken down into six regions — Pacific, Midwest, Northeast, Frontier, the South, and the Caribbean — with dozens of subregions. Areas like New England might seem like no brainers, but you might not have considered the Ozarks and Chesapeake to be their own cultural pockets.

What are the 4 basic types of culture explain? ›

They identified 4 types of culture – clan culture, adhocracy culture, market culture, and hierarchy culture. You can take the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) to assess your organization's culture in just 15 minutes and make strategic changes to foster an environment that helps your team flourish.

What are the 3 main cultural traits? ›

Mentifacts, artifacts, and sociofacts are the types of cultural traits.


1. Complete APUSH Review - Period 1 w/TIMESTAMPS - ALL TOPICS
(Morgan AP Teaching)
2. APUSH - Period 4-6 Market Revolution & Gilded Age Review
(Roy Olson)
3. APUSH 8 2 and 8 3
(Tyler George)
4. APUSH - Periods IV & V: Antebellum America, Disunion and Reconstruction
5. APUSH Midterm Review with Tom Richey
(Marco Learning)
6. APUSH Review #11- Industrialization, 1870-1910.mp4


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