In AP® US History, period 2 spans from 1607 to 1754 CE. The following guide will be updated periodically with hyperlinks to excellent resources. As you are reviewing for the colonial era, focus on the key concepts and use the essential questions to guide you.
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.
1492 - Columbus’ first voyage
1607 - Jamestown
1649 - Toleration Act
1688 - Glorious Revolution
1692 - Salem Witch Trials
STUDY TIP: Use the following essential questions to guide your review of this entire unit. Keep in mind, these are not meant to be practice essay questions. Each question was written to help you summarize the key concept.
In what ways did Europeans develop different patterns of colonization?
How did European colonization of North America intensify conflicts between colonizers and Natives?
What impact did the increase in exchanges within the Atlantic World have on colonial societies?
STUDY TIP: Content from the colonial era has appeared on the essays fourteen times since 2000. 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 APUSH exam was significantly revised in 2015, 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. Use questions from 2002-2014 with caution. Essays from 1973-1999 available here. *The following outline was adapted from the AP® World History Course Description as published by College Board in 2019 found here. This outline reflects the most recent revisions to the course.
Spanish, French, Dutch, and British colonizers differed in their goals and development.
- Spanish colonizers extracted wealth and developed coercive labor systems, which included converting Natives to Christianity.
- French & Dutch colonizers relied on trade alliances and intermarriage to acquire wealth.
- English colonizers included a large number of British migrants who settled on land taken from Native Americans and developed segregated societies.
British colonies on the Atlantic coast had regional differences.
- Chesapeake & North Carolina prospered from exporting tobacco on the backs indentured servants and African slaves.
- New England colonies developed small Puritan towns with family farms.
- Middle colonies exported cereal crops and attracted diverse European migrants.
- Southern colonies developed large plantations to export staple crops, which depended on enslaved Africans for labor.
- Britain left the colonies alone to develop self-governing democratic institutions.
- Exam Tip: Comparison is super important in period 2! Make sure to read up on Comparisons in Period 2
Conflict between European rivals and American Indians continued.
- Atlantic economy expanded based on exchange of goods and slaves: Check out the Transatlantic Trade System ⛵
- Continued trade further spread diseases, which wiped out native populations.
- Europeans allied with, armed, and fought American Indian tribes.
- Colonists and European leaders differed on interests, which sparked issues.
- Military confrontations occurred between Europeans and natives (Metacom’s War).
- Native resisted through revolts (Pueblo Revolt).
^^ From a Fiveable Live Review!
British colonies were increasingly connected to Britain as they developed.
- Religious & ethnic pluralism sparked debates which were enhanced by the First Great Awakening and Enlightenment.
- British colonies were Anglicanized overtime by English political models and trade.
- Britain tried to develop a coherent imperial administration over the colonies, but conflicts with Native Americans made things difficult.
- Colonists increasingly resisted imperial control as they experienced greater diversity, independence, and evolving political thought.
Slavery developed across all British colonies.
- All British colonies had slaves. New England used less, Chesapeake & South more, but most enslaved Africans were sent to the Caribbean and South America.
- New laws were created to segregate and oppress communities based on race.
- Africans resisted in overt and covert ways to maintain traditions.
STUDY TIP: These are the concepts and vocabulary from period 2 that most commonly appear on the exam. Create a quizlet deck to make sure you are familiar with these terms!