Unit 3 DBQ (Economic Issues)

5 min readnovember 17, 2021

AP US History 🇺🇸

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AP US History Document-Based Question for Economic Issues

👋 Welcome to the AP US History Unit 3 DBQ (Economic Issues). These are longer questions, so grab some paper and a pencil, or open up a blank page on your computer. After you finish, you can see how you did with the Unit 3 DBQ (Economic Issues) Answers.
⏱ The AP US History exam has a mixture of free-response questions and allotted times. For these types of questions, there will be 1 DBQ, and you will be given 60 minutes to complete it. It is suggested that you spend 15 minutes to read the documents and spend 45 minutes to draft your response.
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In your response you should do the following:
  • Respond to the prompt with a historically defensible thesis or claim that establishes a line of reasoning.
  • Describe a broader historical context relevant to the prompt.
  • Support an argument in response to the prompt using at least six documents.
  • Use at least one additional piece of specific historical evidence (beyond that found in the documents) relevant to an argument about the prompt.
  • For at least three documents, explain how or why the document’s point of view, purpose, historical situation, and/or audience is relevant to an argument.
  • Use evidence to corroborate, qualify, or modify an argument that addresses the prompt.
Adapted from College Board DBQ Instructions


Evaluate the extent to which economic issues fostered governmental change in the United States from 1781 to 1800.

Document 1 (Hamilton)

Source: Report of the Secretary of the Treasury [Alexander Hamilton] of the United States, on the subject of Manufactures. December 5, 1791.
The expediency of encouraging manufactures in the United States, which was no longer deemed very questionable, appears at this time to be pretty generally admitted. The embarrassments which have obstructed the progress of our external trade, have led to serious reflections on the necessity of enlarging the sphere of our domestic commerce: the restrictive regulations, which in foreign markets abridge the vent of the increasing surplus of our agricultural produce, serve to beget an earnest desire, that a more extensive demand for that surplus may be created at home: And the complete success conspiring with the promising symptoms which attend some less mature essays in others, justify a hope, that the obstacles to the growth of this species of industry are less formidable than they were apprehended to be; and that it is not difficult to find, in its further extension, a full indemnification for any external disadvantages, which are or may be experienced, as well as an accession of resources, favorable to national independence and safety.

Document 2 (Washington)

Source: Sixth Annual Message of George Washington. November 19, 1794.
During the session of the year 1790 it was expedient to exercise the legislative power granted by the Constitution of the United States "to lay and collect excises''. In a majority of the States scarcely an objection was heard to this mode of taxation. In some, indeed, alarms were at first conceived, until they were banished by reason and patriotism. In the four western counties of Pennsylvania a prejudice, fostered and embittered by the artifice of men who labored for an ascendency over the will of others by the guidance of their passions, produced symptoms of riot and violence…..Hence, while the greater part of Pennsylvania itself were conforming themselves to the acts of excise, a few counties were resolved to frustrate them.

Document 3 (Jay's Treaty)

Source: Courtesy, George Washington’s Mount Vernon. (Jay’s Treaty).

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Document 4 (Washington to Lincoln)

Source: “To George Washington from Benjamin Lincoln,” Founders Online, National Archives,
Shays did not point his force to any object until the 24th. …...They were jointly to have made an attack on the Magazine at 4 oClock P.M. January 25th, one of the Letters from Day to Shays was intercepted which would have delayed Shay’s movements. He came on in open column, was repeatedly warned of his danger by General Shepard, and finally if he progressed in any degree farther he would fire upon him. He moved, and the General fired over him, hoping to deter him from proceeding, but to no effect. He then fired two pieces into his column which he attempted to display. By these shots three men were killed, and a number wounded. His people were thrown into the utmost confusion, and dispersed for a time but soon collected as they were not followed by General Shepard, who could have destroyed a great proportion of them had he been disposed to do it.

Document 5 (Jefferson)

Source: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 1791.
“The second general phrase is, "to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers." But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank therefore is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase.”

Document 6 (Jefferson to Madison)

Source: Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, December 20, 1787
The late rebellion in Massachusetts has given more alarm than I think it should have done. Calculate that one rebellion in 13 states in the course of 11 years, is but one for each state in a century & a half. No country should be so long without one. Nor will any degree of power in the hands of government prevent insurrections [revolutions]. France, with all its despotism [dictatorship], and two or three hundred thousand men always in arms has had three insurrections in the three years I have been here in every one of which greater numbers were engaged than in Massachusetts & a great deal more blood was spilt.

Document 7 (Illustration)

Source: Courtesy, the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, circa 1798.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Answers & Rubric

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🌽Unit 1 – Interactions North America, 1491-1607
🦃Unit 2 – Colonial Society, 1607-1754
🔫Unit 3 – Conflict & American Independence, 1754-1800
🐎Unit 4 – American Expansion, 1800-1848
💣Unit 5 – Civil War & Reconstruction, 1848-1877
🚂Unit 6 – Industrialization & the Gilded Age, 1865-1898
🌎Unit 7 – Conflict in the Early 20th Century, 1890-1945
🥶Unit 8 – The Postwar Period & Cold War, 1945-1980
📲Unit 9 – Entering Into the 21st Century, 1980-Present
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