AP Euro Period 3 Review (1815-1914)

8 min readdecember 21, 2021

AP European History 🇪🇺

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Period 3: Industrialization, Nationalism, & Imperialism (1815-1914)

In AP® European History, period 3 spans from 1815 to 1914 CE. The following guide will be updated periodically with hyperlinks to excellent resources. As you are reviewing for this era, focus on the key concepts!


STUDY TIP: You will never be asked specifically to identify a date. However, knowing the order of events will help immensely with cause and effect. For this reason, we have identified the most important dates to know.
1830 - Revolutions in France, Belgium, & Greece
1848 - Liberal Revolutions
1848 - Marx & Engel publish Communist Manifesto
1861 - Unification of Italy
1861 - Emancipation of Serfs in Russia
1871 - Unification of Germany
1884 - Berlin Conference (Scramble for Africa)
1900 - Freud publishes Interpretation of Dreams
1905 - Russian Revolution

Past Essay Questions from Period 3

STUDY TIP: Content from the this era has appeared on the essays twenty-one times since 2010. Take a look at these questions before you review the key concepts & vocabulary below to get a sense of how you will be assessed. Then, come back to these later and practice writing as many as you can!
*The AP European History exam was significantly revised in 2016, so any questions from before then are not representative of the current exam format. You can still use prior questions to practice, however DBQs will have more than 7 documents, the LEQ prompts are worded differently, and the rubrics are completely different. All prompts from 1999-2015 can be found here.


*The following outline was adapted from the AP® European History Course Description as published by College Board in 2019 found here. This outline reflects the most recent revisions to the course.

3.1. The Industrial Revolution

1. Great Britain established the first industrial dominance.
  1. Britain had a natural supply of coal, iron ore, and other raw materials.
  2. British private initiative led the process of industrialization.
  3. Britain’s parliament promoted industrial interests.
2. Industrialization spread throughout continental Europe.
  1. France industrialized gradually, with government support.
  2. Prussia industrialized rapidly under government sponsorship.
  3. Eastern and Southern Europe lagged in industrial development because of serfdom, inadequate government support, and lack of natural resources.
3. Second Industrial Revolution sparked activity across Europe.
  1. Mechanization and the factory system became predominant.
  2. New technologies (electricity, mass production) , new transportation (railroads), and better communication (radio, telegraph, telephones) contributed to a more integrated economy and increased urbanization.
  3. Corporations and governments managed the market through monopolies, banking practices, and tariffs.

3.2. Everyday life was shaped by industrialization

1. New social classes developed in industrial regions.
  1. Socioeconomic changes created divisions of labor (middle class).
  2. In less industrialized areas, agricultural elites continued to dominate.
  3. Social associations and trade unions reinforced class identity.
2. Rapid population growth and urbanization affected social classes.
  1. Population increased because of longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality, and increased production of food.
  2. Cities experienced overcrowding while rural areas suffered from the decline of labor. 
3. Industrialization altered the family structure and class relations.
  1. Bourgeois families focused on the nuclear family and cult of domesticity.
  2. Quality of life for the working class was improved by higher wages, restrictions to child labor, social welfare programs, improved diet, and access to birth control.
  3. Motivation for marriage shifted from economic to companionship.
  4. Leisure time centered on activities for family (parks, beaches, theaters).
4. Second Industrial Revolution increased consumerism.
  1. Consumerism was increased because of mass marketing and industrial production for consumer goods.
  2. Better transportation created new industries, improved distribution of goods, and enhanced the quality of life (steamships, railroads, refrigerated rail cars, cars).
5. Less industrialized areas of Europe faced famine, debt, and land shortages.
  1. Hungry ‘40s, Irish potato famine, Russian serfdom

3.3. Political revolutions and the effects of industrialization triggered a range of responses.

1. New ideologies developed in response to revolution and industrialization.
  1. Liberals emphasized popular sovereignty and individual rights, but debated which groups in society should actively participate (Bentham, Mill).
  2. Activists demanded universal male suffrage and some argued for female suffrage.
  3. Conservatives supported traditional political and religious authorities based on the idea that human nature was not perfectible (Metternich).
  4. Socialists argued that resources and wealth should be redistributed (Marxism).
  5. Anarchists asserted that all forms of government were unnecessary.
  6. Nationalists encouraged loyalty to a nation in a variety of ways.
  7. Zionism (Jewish nationalism) developed in response to growing anti-semitism.
2. Governments responded to the problems created by industrialization.
  1. Liberalism shifted from laissez-faire to interventionist economic policies.
  2. Cities were transformed by modernizing infrastructure.
  3. Public education was promoted to advance nationalism and economic growth.
3. Political movements and social organizations responded to industrialization.
  1. Political parties emerged to promote reforms.
  2. Workers established labor unions to promote reforms.
  3. Feminists promoted legal, economic, and political rights for women.
  4. Religious movements assisted the poor and worked to abolish slavery and serfdom.

3.4. An Age of Nationalism and Revolution

1. Concert of Europe sought to maintain the status quo.
  1. Metternich used the Concert of Europe to suppress nationalist & liberal revolutions.
  2. Conservatives re-established control and suppressed movements for change.
  3. Revolutionaries attempted to destroy the status quo (Decembrist revolt).
  4. Revolutions of 1848 triggered by economic hardship and political discontent.
2. Breakdown of the Concert of Europe opened the door for nationalism and liberal reforms.
  1. Crimean War created the conditions in which Italy and Germany could be unified.
  2. Conservative leaders used popular nationalism to strengthened state (Bismarck).
  3. Austria-Hungary developed a dual monarchy to stabilize the state.
  4. Russian leaders reformed & modernized, which gave way to the Russian Rev. of 1905.
3. Unification of Italy & Germany transformed the European balance of power.
  1. Italy was unified through Cavour’s diplomacy and Garibaldi’s military campaigns.
  2. Germany was unified through Bismarck’s Realpolitik strategies.
  3. Bismarck created a complex system of alliances directed at isolating France.
  4. International tensions were heightened in 1890 after Bismarck’s dismissal.
  5. Tensions in the Balkans pulled the Great Powers into crises leading up to WWI.

3.5. Nationalism and imperialism increased tensions between the Great Powers.

1. Asia and Africa became increasingly colonized by European states.
  1. National rivalries and strategic concerns led to imperial expansion and competition.
  2. Search for materials & markets motivated Europeans to colonize Africa & Asia.
  3. Europeans used theories of cultural and racial superiority to justify imperialism.
2. Europeans strengthened control of global empires with new technologies.
  1. Advanced weaponry ensured a military advantage for Europeans abroad.
  2. Communication and transportation technologies facilitated expansion.
  3. Medicinal advancements enabled European survival in Asia and Africa.
3. Imperialism affected society and culture in Europe, while also creating resistance abroad.
  1. Imperialism created diplomatic tensions (Berlin Conference).
  2. Works of art and literature provoked debate over imperialism.
  3. Non-Europeans educated in western values challenged imperialism through nationalist movements and modernizing economies (India, China, Japan).

3.6. European ideas and culture showcased tensions between realism and expressionism.

1. Romanticism placed more emphasis on emotion.
  1. Romantic artists emphasized emotion, nature, and national histories.
  2. Romantic writers expressed similar themes and responded to current events.
2. The Revolutions of 1848 prompted a wave of realist and materialist world views.
  1. Positivism emphasized rational and scientific analyses.
  2. Darwin provided evidence for biological change that was used to justify racism.
  3. Marx provided a critique of capitalism and historical evolution.
  4. Realist and materialist attitudes were depicted through the lives of ordinary people.
3. Modernism in intellectual and cultural life reflected a loss of confidence in objectivity.
  1. Philosophy emphasized irrationality and impulse (Nietzsche).
  2. Freud emphasized the struggle between the conscious and subconscious.
  3. Scientists developed new theories - quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity.
  4. Impressionism and Cubism focused on abstract and expressive art forms.


STUDY TIP: These are the concepts and vocabulary from period 3 that most commonly appear on the exam. Create a quizlet deck to make sure you are familiar with these terms!
  • abolition
  • Albert Einstein
  • Alexander II of Russia
  • anarchism
  • Anti-Corn Law League
  • Anti-imperialism
  • anti-Semitism
  • Berlin Conference 1884
  • BEssemer process
  • Bismarckian System of Alliances
  • bourgeoisie
  • Boxer Rebellion
  • British Labour Party
  • Cavour
  • Charles Darwin
  • Charles Dickens
  • Chartists
  • Claude Monet
  • Concert of Europe
  • Congress of Berlin
  • Congress System
  • conservatism
  • consumerism
  • Crimean War
  • Crystal Palace
  • Cubism
  • cult of domesticity
  • Decembrist Revolt
  • Dreyfus Affair
  • Dual Monarchy
  • economic liberalism
  • Emmeline Pankhurst
  • Factory Act
  • factory system
  • feminism
  • First & Second Balkan Wars
  • First Industrial Revolution
  • Friedrich Engels
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • german Unification
  • Giuseppe Garibaldi
  • Giuseppe Mazzini
  • Great Powers
  • Greek War of Independence
  • imperialism
  • Impressionism
  • Indian Congress Party
  • Irish Potato Famine
  • Italian Unification
  • Jeremy Bentham
  • John Stuart Mill
  • Jules Verne
  • July Revolution
  • Karl Marx
  • Law League
  • liberalism
  • Marie Curie
  • Marxism
  • mass marketing
  • mass production
  • materialism
  • Max Planck
  • Meiji Restoration
  • Metternich
  • Metternich Conservatism
  • middle class
  • Mines Act
  • monopolies
  • Napoleon III
  • nationalism
  • nuclear family
  • Otto von Bismarck
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Polish Revolt
  • popular sovereignty
  • positivism
  • proletariat
  • realism
  • Realpolitik
  • relativism
  • Revolutions of 1848
  • Robert Owen
  • romanticism
  • scientific realism
  • scientific socialism
  • Second Industrial Revolution
  • Sepoy Mutiny
  • Sergei Witte
  • Sigmund Freud
  • social darwinism
  • socialism
  • suffrage
  • Temperance Movement
  • Ten Hours Act
  • textiles
  • Theodor Herzl
  • Thomas Malthus
  • trade unions
  • trade unions
  • Triple Alliance
  • urbanization
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • zionism 
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🎨Unit 1 – Renaissance & Exploration
⛪️Unit 2 – Reformation
👑Unit 3 – Absolutism & Constitutionalism
🤔Unit 4 – Scientific, Philosophical, & Political Developments
🥖Unit 5 – Conflict, Crisis, & Reaction in the Late 18th Century
🚂Unit 6 – Industrialization & Its Effects
Unit 7 – 19th Century Perspectives & Political Developments
💣Unit 8 – 20th Century Global Conflicts
🥶Unit 9 – Cold War & Contemporary Europe
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