Published Online: August 18, 2015
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What’s in the New, New AP History Framework?

In 2014, the College Board issued a new, re-envisioned Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum framework, aimed at giving teachers who were leading the college-level high school course more guidance. That document received adamant backlash, mostly from conservatives, and has since been completely re-revised. Here’s how the 2014 and 2015 versions differ on four topics.

Related: Historians: AP U.S. History Changes Are 'Evenhanded'

European Settlement
2014 Version
2015 Version

“Many Europeans developed a belief in white superiority to justify their subjugation of Africans and American Indians, using several different rationales.”

There was debate among European leaders “about how non-Europeans should be treated, as well as evolving religious, cultural, and racial justifications for the subjugation of Africans and Native Americans.”

Manifest Destiny
2014 Version
2015 Version

“The idea of Manifest Destiny, which asserted U.S. power in the Western Hemisphere and supported US expansion westward, was built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority, and helped to shape the era’s political debates.”

The movement west was due to “the desire for access to natural and mineral resources and the hope of many settlers for economic opportunities or religious refuge.” Advocates of annexing lands “argued that Manifest Destiny and the superiority of American institutions compelled the United States to expand its borders westward to the Pacific Ocean.”

World War II
2014 Version
2015 Version

“The mass mobilization of American society to supply troops for the war effort and a workforce on the home front ended the Great Depression and provided opportunities for women and minorities to improve their socioeconomic positions. Wartime experiences, such as the internment of Japanese Americans, challenges to civil liberties, debates over race and segregation, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb raised questions about American values.”

“Mobilization and military service provided opportunities for women and minorities to improve their socioeconomic positions for the war’s duration, while also leading to debates over racial segregation. Wartime experiences also generated challenges to civil liberties, such as the internment of Japanese Americans.”

Ronald Reagan
2014 Version
2015 Version

“President Ronald Reagan, who initially rejected détente with increased defense spending, military action, and bellicose rhetoric, later developed a friendly relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, leading to significant arms reductions by both countries.”

“Reagan asserted U.S. opposition to communism through speeches, diplomatic efforts, limited military interventions, and a buildup of nuclear and conventional weapons. Increased U.S. military spending, Reagan’s diplomatic initiatives, and political changes and economic problems in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were all important in ending the Cold War.”

Source: 2014 and 2015 AP U.S. History Framework | Images: Getty | Design & Visualization: Alison Kitchens
Vol. 35, Issue 01
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