2.1 Unit 2 Overview: Contextualization

2 min readjanuary 10, 2023


James Glackin

AP US History 🇺🇸

454 resources
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Contextualizing the Unit 

Britain, Spain, France, and the Netherlands were all competing against each other for land, riches and power in the world between c. 1450-1800.  Exploring and obtaining new colonies in the Americas were a big part of this competition.
Their competition led to both alliances and conflicts between the colonists and the Native Americans living in America. Both the Europeans and Americans had to decide how they were going to be settled and governed. These decisions would lead to conflicts.
This unit will help us better understand the origins of life in early America.  These origins include motives for colonial settlement, the evolution of government, their economies, religions and culture.  A guiding question is: How did both Europeans and Americans influence these origins?

Main Events

1607:  Jamestown was founded.
1619:  First African slaves arrive in America.  House of Burgesses created in Virginia.
1620:  Pilgrims sail on the Mayflower.
1676:  Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia.
1680s: Large expansion of slavery in the colonies.
1681:  Pennsylvania founded by William Penn.
1692:  Salem Witch Trials.
1734:  Great Awakening.
1754:  French and Indian War begins.

Major Trends Between 1607-1754

  • European powers compete for colonies. Each country has different motives for colonization and settles in different landscapes and climates.  This leads to various settlements. 
  • Interaction between Europeans, colonists, and native Americans includes both cooperation and conflict.  The identity of America and its institutions is influenced by the European way of life. Is American becoming  more European or more American?
  • Europeans want cheap labor for goods being produced in America.  Indians and white indentured servants were their original laborers.  Bacon’s Rebellion forces Europe to embrace the African slave trade as slavery accelerates.
  • The Indians form alliances and rivalries with both Europeans and colonists in an attempt to preserve their land and way of life.
  • Colonists begin to desire their own, independent culture and institutions, such as government, churches, economies, and laws. This leads to conflict with their European bosses.
Browse Study Guides By Unit
🌽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
🚀Thematic Guides
🧐Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
📋Short Answer Questions (SAQ)
📝Long Essay Questions (LEQ)
📑Document Based Questions (DBQ)
📆Big Reviews: Finals & Exam Prep
✍️Exam Skills (MC, SAQ, LEQ, DBQ)

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