Disfigured History

How the College Board Demolishes the Past
David Randall

November 15, 2020


Peter W. Wood


National Association of Scholars

What happened to the College Board?

A century ago the College Board began to regularize America’s college entrance examinations. By 1926 it had launched the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) as a way to spot academic talent wherever it might be found, regardless of a student’s formal preparation. The College Board then stood for a uniquely American combination of academic rigor and democratic opportunity.1 It even made a modest profit, which it invested in improving the quality of its examinations.

Today the College Board, although it formally remains a non-profit, has become a billion-dollar international business. It faces little competition for the SAT and virtually none for the Advanced Placement examinations, so it profits from a vast captive market. The College Board can do what it likes because parents and school districts have no alternative.

The College Board has long since abandoned its old ideals. The College Board used to aspire to educate a broad mass of Americans to possess solid knowledge and to prize their history and their liberty. Now it serves a rising caste system, where the children of the gentry learn that “social justice” justifies their rule and the children of the masses learn ever less, from grammar to biology to history—save that it is right that they be ruled by the progressive gentry. The College Board, as it promotes progressive ideology in schools and curries favor with hostile foreign regimes, acts aggressively to forward the interests of the progressive establishment while sacrificing the interests of ordinary Americans.

For almost a decade, the College Board has taught American students that the history of their country and their civilization deserves indifference or hatred. The even more aggressive historical illiteracy of The 1619 Project gained sway among a generation brought up on College Board history.2 The orgy of iconoclastic rioting in the summer of 2020, the destruction of statues ranging from Christopher Columbus to Miguel de Cervantes to Abraham Lincoln to Frederick Douglass, translated the College Board’s vandalism of history from the page to the public square.

The National Association of Scholars has criticized a broad spectrum of College Board initiatives for many years.3 We have particularly focused on the College Board’s Advanced Placement History examinations since the release of its revised Advanced Placement U.S. History Standards (APUSH) in 2014. In July of that year, I published “The New AP History; A Preliminary Report,”4 which drew attention to some of the odd emphases and still odder omissions in these important standards. Others picked up the thread, including the redoubtable Stanley Kurtz. Kurtz delved into the twenty-year campaign by leftist American historians, who finally succeeded in imposing their distinctly anti-American agenda on these standards.5 They did so with the enthusiastic help of David Coleman, the new head of the College Board, fresh from his success in getting many states and the Obama administration to back his “Common Core” national curriculum for public schools.

One thing led to another, and NAS played a key role in assembling a coalition of historians who signed a letter objecting to the slanted history the College Board had imposed on the nation’s most talented high school students.6 After nearly a year of stonewalling, the College Board agreed to make some changes in APUSH. The Wall Street Journal happily but mistakenly announced, “Hey Conservatives, You Won.”7 We didn’t win. We merely slowed down the conquering army.8

But we did learn the value of paying attention to this vital part of the American educational machinery. Our next big contribution was our 2016 study by David Randall, The Disappearing Continent: A Critique of the Revised Advanced Placement European History Examination.9 David exposed the same pattern in the European history standards that we spotted in the American history standards: the imposition of a pervasive leftist slant and the suppression of any meaningful account of the history of liberty, the importance of religion, and the role of key individuals. This was European history without Columbus or Churchill.

Once again, the College Board made concessions. It added Churchill, though it still ignored Columbus.10 The basic structure of their standards remained unchanged.11

That’s true even after the College Board’s latest round of revisions. In 2019, the College Board released new versions of all three of its Advanced Placement History examinations—European History, United States History, and World History. All of them are slipshod and biased. The newly revised standards are the subject of David Randall’s new report, which is before you.

In the meantime, NAS has been poking at the College Board’s other fatal attraction: its warm embrace of the Chinese Communist Party. In September 2020, we released Rachelle Peterson’s study, Corrupting the College Board: Confucius Institutes and K-12 Education.12 Rachelle’s work has rightly captured national attention. And while the College Board is busy trying to explain away its deep ties to China and its compromises of academic standards in furthering those ties, we thought the time was right to put a spotlight on the College Board’s continuing efforts to undermine the integrity of school instruction in American, European, and World history.

The basic lesson of these reports, taken cumulatively, is that America needs a viable alternative to the College Board.13 The College Board by now has proven itself irredeemably unworthy of the public trust and the vast public expenditure that supports it. We have no immediate alternative to offer at the moment, but we welcome the efforts of entrepreneurs to create some. While we wait for these to mature, we welcome public pressure on the College Board to clean up its act.

David concludes his incisive analysis of the three sets of AP history standards with his recommendations for truly worthwhile standards for high school students about to matriculate to college. We harbor slim hope that the College Board will incorporate many of these suggestions, which will surely be seen as out-of-touch with the march of social justice ideology. But his recommendations serve three other important purposes. They underline some of what is missing from the College Board’s Advanced Placements standards. They offer counsel to those who are working on alternative standards and tests, such as the Classical Learning Test and American Achievement Testing.14 David’s recommendations also provide students—who are thirsty to learn some of the history excluded from the teach-to-the-test curricula of their high schools—a do-it-yourself path to better historical literacy.

This report has benefited from the careful eyes of Stephen H. Balch, Robert L. Paquette, and David Bryant. Any errors remaining, of course, are NAS’s, and not theirs.


Since 2014 the College Board has continued to revise and develop the Advanced Placement European, United States, and World History examinations. It keeps getting in trouble.15 Many critics have excoriated the College Board for teaching history grossly politicized to the left—history without the history of freedom, history that teaches hatred of America and Europe, and history to promote social justice activism and the welfare state.16 Some progressive critics have criticized the World History exam for being “too Eurocentric.”17 Critics also censure the College Board for micromanaging what history will be taught: the College Board’s latest rounds of history Course and Exam Descriptions are far more detailed and intrusive than their predecessors.

Rather than issuing detailed guidelines, the College Board has in the past furnished a brief topical outline for teachers, leaving them free to choose what to emphasize. … But with the new 2014 framework, the College Board has put forward a lengthy 134-page document which repudiates that earlier approach.18

The criticism is so intense because the stakes are so high. The College Board possesses no small educational niche, but an effective monopoly on advanced placement history testing.19 The College Board now markets its “advanced placement” tests for college readiness: “Students with AP on their high school transcripts show exposure to rigorous, college-level curricula—a key element of college readiness.”20 More than 900,000 students now take AP History examinations each year: in 2019, 100,655 took European History, 496,573 took United States History, and 313,317 took World history21 The College Board’s advanced placement history examinations effectively have become the senior year history courses for our nation’s high schools.22 They thus are a fulcrum on which pivots virtually all history instruction in the United States. Schools mold earlier K-12 history instruction to prepare students to take the AP History examination. The College Board’s curricula guide textbook composition and teacher preparation. College professors retain greater control over their curricula, and usually stamp undergraduate history courses with their individual interpretations. Yet the College Board model still molds college history, both because publishers sell the same textbooks to colleges and because the College Board has already molded the minds of the students who enroll in undergraduate history classes.23

The College Board’s advanced placement history examinations effectively have become the senior year history courses for our nation’s high schools. They are a fulcrum on which pivots nearly all history instruction in the United States.

The way the College Board teaches history matters even more than how it teaches other subjects. History is our national memory. History provides the basic civic instruction that shapes our children into Americans. If the College Board flubs its biology examination, our children do nothing worse than conflate mitosis with meiosis. If it bungles its history examinations, our children forget what it means to be American. Americans must ensure that high school history classes portray American history accurately.

America would be better served if new providers of standardized assessments could give the College Board a proper incentive to produce accurate history or provide it themselves in the College Board’s default. Until such alternates emerge, the College Board will possess monopoly control over advanced placement history instruction. Their examinations must be critiqued in hopes that the College Board will improve its offerings—and to provide a guide for what a new provider of standardized assessments ought to offer.

Ideal Advanced Placement History Examinations: An Outline

This essay largely consists of critiques of the latest round of College Board advanced placement history examinations. I outline here what advanced placement history examinations should be, so that the reader may judge how badly the College Board’s examinations fall short of that ideal.

Advanced placement history Course and Exam Descriptions, and examinations, should satisfy these eleven citeria:

  1. Rigor: Test for knowledge sufficient to receive a passing grade in an undergraduate history survey course, not merely for knowledge sufficient to be ready for an undergraduate history survey course.
  2. Comprehensive Knowledge: Test for knowledge of an entire subject matter, rather than provide lists of what should be studied that double as lists of what need not be studied.
  3. Facts: Provide students the means to assess conflicting historical interpretations by requiring knowledge of an extensive catalogue of historical facts, including dates, places, people, and laws.
  4. Skills: Leave skills-training to individual teachers, and only require skills specific to historic inquiry, such as source evaluation and historical comparison.
  5. Historical Integrity: Teach disciplined inquiry that aims to understand the past rather than cherry-pick decontextualized facts to support present-day political arguments.
  6. Impartiality: Provide students material they can use to argue for a wide range of political beliefs rather than material tailored to forward narrow political arguments.
  7. Broad Historiography: Acknowledge historiographical debate, eschew the silent elimination of entire historiographical schools, alert students to contested definitions of terms, and carefully define abstractions such as “capitalism” to avoid embracing a narrow historiography.
  8. Comparative Evaluation: Test the ability to make qualitative judgments of historical subjects, while eschewing the present-mindedness that only judges the past is inferior.
  9. Individual Action and Contingency: Test students’ ability to comprehend that history is the consequence of individual and collective decisions that could have led to significantly different outcomes and not a pre-ordained arrival at the present moment.
  10. Autonomy: Test students’ ability to understand the autonomous dynamics of intellectual, political, and cultural history, distinct from the dynamics of social and economic history.
  11. Minds: Test students’ ability to empathize intelligently with the minds of people living in widely varied places and times.

Advanced placement history courses should teach students how America came to be, what it has achieved, how disparate peoples became Americans, and why its citizens love their country and serve it loyally.

Advanced placement history courses also have a civic function, to teach students their national heritage. They should emphasize the study of historical themes that help students understand how America came to be, what it has achieved, how disparate peoples became Americans, and why its citizens’ have given their country affection and allegiance. These include:

  1. Liberty: The slow development and application of the ideals and institutions of liberty, particularly those embodied in constitutional self-government.
  2. Faiths and Nations: The distinctive histories and characters of the world’s enduring faiths and nations and their importance as wellsprings of human behavior.
  3. Science and Technology: The unique development of Western science and technology and the consequent transformation of the world from poverty to affluence.
  4. Economics: The development of conscious awareness of how markets promote human flourishing and the development of institutions and policies to deepen their benefits and broaden the number of beneficiaries.
  5. State and Society: The development of the coercive powers of the state, for good and for ill, as a complement to the autonomous, self-regulatory dynamics of human societies.
  6. Achievement: The exceptional but fragile achievement embodied in the creation and preservation of the American republic, which has to a remarkable extent institutionalized the practice of liberty and extended its habits within the American nation.

European, United States, and World History examinations should emphasize specific historical subject matters.

  1. European History: The continuous development of Western civilization from Sumer and Egypt, self-conscious from ancient Greece and Israel, through Rome, medieval Christendom, and the European creation of the modern world since the Renaissance. Europe’s internal and external wars, which shaped the character of European civilization, preserved that civilization from conquest by its rivals, and culminated, during a brief apogee, in Europe’s extraordinary conquest of much of the world. Particular attention to the development of democratic and republican ideals and institutions via the matrices of classical and Christian thought, and to the history of England, which links the broader history of European liberty with the history of the United States of America. Emphasis on the uniquely European histories of science, technology, and free-market economics.
  2. United States History: The development of the American nation from its origins in England and England’s colonies on the Atlantic seaboard. The exceptional development of American liberty from European ideals and practices, its institutionalization in the revolutionary republic’s Constitution, and its extension and application in America’s subsequent history. Particular attention to the interplay of republican ideals and institutions and the creation of an American nation, imbued with the habits and culture of liberty, and willing to welcome newcomers into its capacious hearth. Emphasis on the role of faith in sustaining and extending liberty, and on the economic and technological sinews of power that gave America the capacity to champion freedom throughout the world during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
  3. World History: The migrations, conquests, and technological advances of prehistory and history that peopled the world. The development and character of small-scale tribes, nomadic societies, and villages that preceded civilization, whose nature must be understood to comprehend the nature and the magnitude of the civilizing process. The development and distinctive character of the larger civilizations, with evaluative comparison of their strengths and weaknesses. Examination of how Europe created a world system that united largely separate regions and gave birth to new nations in the Americas and Australasia. Analysis of the interplay of common human dynamics such as agriculture, commerce, and state-building and the particular events, faiths, and cultures of each region—with particular attention to the power and appeal of Europe’s unique ideals and institutions of liberty, and their varying reception by different civilizations. Particular emphasis on Sinic civilization, Europe’s most formidable rival, which may soon re-center around itself the world system created by Europe.

The College Board ought to provide advanced placement history Course and Exam Descriptions, and examinations, that approximate these ideals. Regrettably, they do not.

The 2019 Course and Exam Descriptions

The College Board issued revised Course and Exam Descriptions of all three of its history examinations in 2019—AP European History (APEH 2019), AP United States History (APUSH 2019), and AP World History: Modern (APWHM 2019)—as the keystones of its simultaneous revisions of all three examinations.24 The AP History examinations consist of a much larger apparatus that includes question composition, teacher preparation, textbook composition, recommended instructional supplements (“Classroom Resources”), and classroom study—but these instructional components all depend upon the Course and Exam Descriptions.

The 2019 Course and Exam Descriptions follow up on the College Board’s piecemeal revisions since 2014.25 They are all similarly formatted to forward in concert the College Board’s latest pedagogical idées fixes. They all put learning “skills” before learning historical content—for the Board, historical facts are tools to acquire “learning skills” (APEH 2019: 13-32; APUSH 2019: 13-32; APWHM 2019: 13-31). They are all, however, essentially edited versions of the previous Course and Exam Descriptions.26 Their structures remain unchanged.

The 2019 Course and Exam Descriptions are all formatted so that students learn “historical skills” rather than learn actual history.

The way the College Board organizes its exam descriptions itself makes a historical argument. The exam descriptions’ structures pretend to impartiality, but that supposed objectivity is deceptive. The Course and Exam Descriptions obscure progressive assumptions as they emphasize some facts, obscure others, and code hidden premises and assertions into the descriptions’ phraseology. The College Board resorts to obfuscation because critics held them accountable in earlier editions, when the College Board laid out its premises explicitly.27 The College Board still pursues the same goal, but now it seeks to avoid even that small previous measure of accountability.

The Course and Exam Descriptions hide progressive political premises in their history. They emphasize facts that support a progressive narrative and omit facts that contradict that narrative. They use an analytic vocabulary that predetermines progressive conclusions.

The College Board’s revisions proffer history examinations built on progressive premises that have eliminated the most egregious avowals of progressive ideology. Concretely, the College Board has deleted the thematic overviews and the summary historical narratives, which revealed a great deal of the Course and Exam Descriptions’ bias. The College Board thereby has removed economically and historically illiterate howlers such as free trade “reducing or holding down the wages of workers in Europe” (APEH 2017: 16). Yet the College Board retained the historical bullet points within each subsection, usually verbatim, that say what precisely should be studied. The progressive narrative explicitly stated in previous incarnations remains mostly unsaid in the 2019 Course and Examination Descriptions, but all the bricks of that narrative remain in place.

The College Board has reduced the number of its explicitly progressive (mis)interpretations of history. But the misinterpretations remain. APWHM 2019 does not say outright that it wants to avoid “Eurocentrism”—that is, to minimize the European contribution to world history. Instead APWHM 2019 resorts to bland euphemism: “Balanced coverage of the regions within the course ensures that a single region is not situated at the center of the historical narrative” (APWHM 2019: 31). Every APWHM bullet point, as we shall see, registers the same, sustained desire to minimize Europe. APEH 2019 and APUSH 2019, likewise, do not proclaim that they want to minimize the history of liberty, which animates European and American history—but, as we shall also see, they can scarcely bear to mention the word. The College Board thereby distorts the very history that it purports to teach fair-mindedly.

AP European History and AP United States History do not proclaim that they want to minimize the history of liberty, which animates European and American history—but they scarcely mention the word.

What isn’t said really matters. The critique below emphasizes what isn’t mentioned as much as what is mentioned because teachers teach to the test.28 The College Board makes the pious disclaimer that “Although the course framework is designed to provide a clear and detailed description of the course content and skills, it is not a complete curriculum. Teachers create their own local curriculum [sic] to meet the needs of their students and any state or local requirement” (APEH 2019: 11; APUSH 2019: 11). Yet when the College Board says a subject matter won’t be tested, it won’t be studied. The College Board’s silences in its Course and Exam Descriptions are not mere abbreviating shorthands: textbook composition and classroom instruction will both inevitably neglect the vast swathes of history irrelevant to securing a high Advanced Placement score. The College Board’s silences are the means by which to excise inconvenient history. Out of sight truly is out of mind.

When the College Board says a subject matter won’t be tested, it won’t be studied.

APEH 2019, APUSH 2019, and APWHM 2019 have excised much progressive misinterpretation of history—although by no means all. The remaining detailed narratives are closer to accurate history, although frequently phrased peculiarly, with odd interpretive emphases—and APWHM’s bizarre treatment of world history registers both the world history subdiscipline’s progressive assumptions and slipshod errors that resulted from rushing this revision to publication.29 Yet progressive misinterpretation of history shapes how the College Board structures the topics, the odd selection of trivial facts as worthy of mention, the egregious absences that remove from the three examinations intellectual history and the history of science, the histories of nation, faith, and liberty. Above all, progressive misinterpretation of history excises the exceptional characteristics of Europe from World History, of Britain from European History, and of New England from American History.

Thematic Order and Focus

APEH 2019 begins by minimizing one of the most extraordinary components of modern European history—Europe’s conquest of much of the world, and the further expansion of its influence by colonization, trade, and the reshaping of world culture and society on a European model. APEH 2019 renders this triumph in the first of its seven themes as “Interaction of Europe and the World”—an oddly passive formulation, exacerbated by the obscurantist stipulation that these interactions “influenced both European and non-European societies.” The next theme, “Economic and Commercial Developments,” underwrites the loosely Marxist view of historical causation, while “Cultural and Economic Developments” speaks of authority but not of liberty. The political narrative finally appears in the phraseology of “States and Other Institutions of Power,” which again has no mention of liberty. This absence of liberty is unsurprising, for the language of power in modern academia is the language of the followers of Michel Foucault, who deny the existence of individual autonomy or freedom, and explain all history as a succession of oppressions defined as power relations. The fifth theme, “Social Organization and Development,” borrows again from a Marxist framework. “National and European Identity” finally mentions nations —but integrated with “European Identity,” as if promoting European Union propaganda to a category of historical analysis. “Technological and Scientific Development,” inserted into the list of themes since APEH 2017, gives no sense of Europe’s extraordinary, distinctive creation of modern science and technology: “Scientific and technological innovations have increased efficiency, improved daily life, and shaped human development and interactions, having both intended and unintended consequences.” APEH 2019’s themes declare that the “meaningful connections” in European history are banal abstractions, where economic and social history determine a political history defined by power rather than by the diffusion of an expansive notion of liberty (APEH 2019: 21; APEH 2017: 10).

The contemporary academy’s cultish fixation on power comes from Michel Foucault, the late French theorist who denied the existence of individual autonomy or freedom and attempted to explain all history as nothing more than power relations of domination, control, and oppression.

AP European History’s themes declare that the “meaningful connections” in European history are banal abstractions, where economic and social history determine a political history defined by power rather than by the diffusion of an expansive notion of liberty.

APUSH 2019 does a better job in its theme order, which puts “American and National Identity” first among eight themes—although the dull, loosely Marxist imperatives of economic and social interpretation register in four of the eight themes, “Work, Exchange, and Technology,” “Geography and the Environment,” “Migration and Settlement,” and “Social Structures.” “Politics and Power” again registers the Foucaultian emphasis on power without liberty, and “America in the World” remarkably obscures America’s rise to become the most powerful nation in the world via the unrevealing phrase “the influence of the United States on world affairs.” Both “American and National Identity” and “American and Regional Culture” describe American identity and culture as one of several equal alternatives; “American exceptionalism” is mentioned as a topic of study, not as a category of analysis (APUSH 2019: 21). “American and Regional Culture” does not mention religion at all in its initial description, although “religious beliefs” appear later in the “American and Regional Culture” Thematic Focus (APUSH 2019: 21, 61, 83, 103-05, 121, 168, 187, 196, 199). APUSH 2019’s thematic coverage treats religion, which has been the vital heart of American culture, as a fugitive, ghostly presence.

AP United States History’s thematic coverage treats religion, which has been the vital heart of American culture, as a fugitive, ghostly presence.

APWHM 2019 goes even further in its six themes in banishing politics and emphasizing the banal, the abstract, and the loosely Marxist. Four of the six themes are “Humans and the Environment,” “Cultural Developments and Interactions,” “Economic Systems,” and “Social Interactions and Organization.” “Technology and Innovation” manages to avoid using the word science. “Governance,” that term of art beloved of progressive non-government organizations seeking to leach power from democratically elected legislatures, ranks only as the third of the six themes, and again fails to mention liberty. APWHM 2019’s themes outline world history as the creation of the environment and societies, as a tissue of human development and state formation—but prominent individuals and their works are scarcely hinted at. The themes stress instead an inhuman world history shaped by reified abstractions (APWHM 2019: 19).

AP World History goes even further in its six themes in banishing politics and emphasizing the banal, the abstract, and the loosely Marxist.

All three of these Course and Exam Descriptions’ thematic orders and foci argue about what matters in history. The themes integrate and subordinate the chronological narrative of topics and subtopics: “The themes serve as the connective tissue of the course and enable students to create meaningful connections across units” (APEH 2019: 21; APUSH 2019: 21; APWHM 2019: 19). The College Board’s progressive misinterpretation of history begins with the way it orders and focuses its themes.

The traditional order in presenting history is to put the political and intellectual narrative first. Historians do this both as the essential means to understand what happened and to state that the political and intellectual worlds are what matter most in history—the worlds of personal achievement and contingency, the history of ideas that concerns itself purely with what was thought rather than with the reductionist catalogue of who thought them. Social and cultural history only provide enriching supplements to explain what happened and why it happened. To reverse the order of topics, to put social and cultural history first, is to make the loose­ly Marxist claim that the inevitabilities of social and cultural history fundamentally explain the past, and that political and intellectual histories are mere epiphenomena without a life of their own. The minimization of political and intellectual history also facilitates the progressive polemic that European and American history consist primarily of a catalogue of victimizations in the service of “systems” of brute power, since students are no longer taught about the Western ideals and institutions that have championed and sustained liberty. The three Course and Exam Descriptions reduce both the general importance of political and intellectual history and the specific importance of Western liberty by the way they arrange these Themes.

The three Course and Exam Descriptions minimize political and intellectual history so as to facilitate the progressive polemic that European and American history consist primarily of a catalogue of victimizations in the service of “systems” of brute power.

APEH 2019, APUSH 2019, and APWHM 2019 all advertise their frailties and distortions in their banal, abstract, and loosely Marxist themes. The omissions are equally telling. APEH 2019 excises “religion” entirely from its Themes, APUSH 2019 reduces it to a fleeting phantom, and APWHM 2019 mentions it once as a component of “Cultural Developments and Interactions” (APEH 2019: 21; APUSH 2019: 21; APWHM 2019: 19). The themes would lead the reader to expect the Course and Exam Descriptions’ detailed coverage to contain substantial flaws as well.

The three Course and Exam Descriptions meet this expectation.


As in APEH 2015 and APEH 2017, APEH 2019’s narrative traces the rise of the administrative regime—the European Union, a secular welfare state at present animated by a variety of egalitarian identity-group movements.30 The College Board shears away every aspect of history that doesn’t contribute to this narrative. It also trims away the historical patterns that made Europe distinctive from the rest of the world.

The largest absence from the exam is liberty. The very words liberty and freedom scarcely appear in APEH 2019.31 Their absence not only distorts a remarkable range of historical topics but also prevents students from learning the intellectual foundations of the American Founding. The discussion of Renaissance humanism mentions secularism and individualism, but not the liberty championed by Coluccio Salutati, the republicanism of Niccolò Machiavelli, or the tolerance of Michel de Montaigne (APEH 2019: 40-42). Early modern political history emphasizes the rise of absolutist France, but minimizes the history of the Netherlands and Britain, the cradles of liberty and limited government (APEH 2019: 44, 64-66, 80, 84, 87, 115). APEH 2019 never discusses Dutch liberty, never states squarely that Parliamentary Britain was a land of liberty, and not merely a tool of the aristocracy, and never explains precisely what Voltaire, Montesquieu, and the Physiocrats knew in their bones—that Britain defeated France in a century of war precisely because it was the freer nation (APEH 2019: 84-87, 114-15). Property rights, the economic foundation of individual liberty, receive only one brief mention (APEH 2019: 81). APEH 2019 likewise minimizes the role of freedom in the Industrial Revolution and Victorian Britain’s economic zenith (APEH 2019: 114-15, 132-33). Tellingly, APEH 2019’s account of fascism mentions that it “rejected democratic institutions”—but not that it rejected liberty (APEH 2019: 178). APEH 2019 virtually muffles liberty, the leitmotif of European history.

The very words liberty and freedom appear extraordinarily rarely in AP European History. AP European History virtually muffles liberty, the leitmotif of European history.

What’s the Point of the Bill of Rights?

America’s Bill of Rights didn’t spring from thin air. James Madison, and the many other Americans who had been pressing for our Constitution to guarantee individual liberties, drew on the long political, legal, intellectual, military, and constitutional history of Europe—above all the historyof England—as they formulated the Constitution’s first ten Amendments. Just as important, theylearned from the European history of governmental abuse of power, as much as from their person- al experience of British rule, why Americans needed a Bill of Rights. Succeeding generations of Americans read that same history and learned why they should cherish the Bill of Rights, our unique bulwark of individual liberty.

APEH 2019, as it generally eliminates liberty from the narrative of European history, erases almost every aspect of European history that explains why Americans have a Bill of Rights and should hold it dear.

  • APEH 2019’s discussion of religion never explores why individuals love God so much thatthey would resist a government demand to abjure their faith. APEH 2019 never mentions the word martyr, much less hints at the existence of that second Bible of Protestant England, John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. APEH 2019 does not inform students how the over-mighty Frenchstate eliminated piecemeal the guarantees of the Edict of Nantes (1598), first disarming theProtestant Huguenots in the 1620s and then expelling them entirely from France by the Edictof Fontainebleau (1685). APEH 2019 does not hint that the Dutch Golden Age owed anyof its prosperity and splendor to religious toleration and passes silently over the wonderful precedent of the English Act of Toleration (1688). The arguments for religious tolerance of Desiderius Erasmus, Michel de Montaigne, and John Milton go unmentioned—as does Voltaire’s furious condemnation of religious bigotry and persecution in the Calas Affair. In short, APEH 2019 presents virtually nothing of European history that would explain why Americans sought to guarantee freedom of religion in the First Amendment, or the history they built on to craft that guarantee.
  • The history that provides the rationale and the models behind the First Amendment guar- antees of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition likewise disappears. APEH 2019’s elimination of individual liberty from its discussion of British political history eliminates with it mention of the Petition of Right (1628), the Habeas Corpus Act (1640), the lapse of the Press Licensing Act (1695), or the English Bill of Rights’ guarantee of the individual right to petition. The very concept of freedom of speech appears to be absent from APEH 2019, as is John Milton’s championship of free speech in Areopagitica(1644), Galileo Galilei’s terrified recantation of heliocentrism and his dogged whisper32 and the burgeoning Enlightenment defense of freedom of speech by philosophers ranging from Baruch Spinoza to John Locke to Voltaire.
  • The history that explains the Second Amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms disap- pears as well. APEH 2019 never mentions the word militia, much less the arguments of thinkers such as Niccolò Machiavelli, James Harrington, and John Trenchard that an armed citizenry provides the essential defense of liberty. Nor does it mention the English Bill of Rights’ guaran- tee of the right to bear arms. Only the brief mention that the New Monarchies of early modern Europe “laid the foundation for the modern state by ... employing military force” (APEH 2019: 44) even hints at the essential backdrop to the arguments for an armed militia—the state’s useof standing armies to destroy individual liberty, exemplified in incidents unrecorded by APEH2019 such as Oliver Cromwell’s soldierly suppression of Parliament, or the French crown’s ability to dispense with summoning the Estates General for centuries precisely because its standingarmy underwrote its ability to collect taxes without parliamentary consent.
  • APEH 2019 provides extraordinarily little background to explain the Bill of Rights’ other eight Amendments. APEH 2019 never uses the word soldier, and with that disappearance also van- ishes the rationale for the Third Amendment’s prohibition of forcible peacetime quartering of soldiers. APEH 2019 does not use the words common law or jury, and that renders incom- prehensible the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Amendments, which wove common law and juries into the fabric of our Constitution. More broadly, APEH 2019 only mentions law as the instrument of state power, and never introduces students to legal history, or even the notion that debates about how to interpret laws compose much of European history. Neither does APEH 2019 mention the history of federalism in Western thought, notably advocated by Montesquieu as a means to secure liberty by dividing government power—save the unreveal- ing statement that “The competition for power between monarchs and corporate and minority language groups produced different distributions of government authority in European states” (APEH 2019:78). These absences make unfathomable the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, writ- ten to prevent judicial construction detrimental to the people’s liberties or to the sovereignties of the states. Neither does APEH 2019 mention exponents of English common law such as Edward Coke and William Blackstone, the English Bill of Rights’ guarantees of immunity fromabuses by the judiciary ranging from excessive fines to cruel and unusual punishments, orliterary evocations of abuses that follow quartering of soldiers such as Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s The Mayor of Zalamea.
  • Indeed, APEH 2019 deals as badly with the Constitution as a whole as it does with the Bill of Rights. APEH 2019 titles an entire chronological unit “Absolutism and Constitutionalism”—but never explains what a constitution is, how it defends liberty, or why Europeans thought so highly of one that Constitutionalism characterizes half the period. APEH 2019 spares only apro forma invocation of Constitutionalism to illuminate the European background that explains why America has a Constitution at all. We cannot expect APEH 2019 to mention every part of the European historical background to the Bill of Rights. Yet it is astonishing historical malfeasance to erase virtually every aspect of the history behind the Bill of Rights—and behind the Constitution as a whole. APEH 2019 seems designed to raise a generation of Americans who do not know why we have a Bill of Rights and will not notice if they lose the liberties it guarantees.

APEH 2019 likewise minimizes the history of Britain, Europe’s enduring avatar of freedom. APEH 2019 mentions the rising power of the Renaissance New Monarchies, but not the parliaments who resisted their grasp for power—above all, the English Parliament, which could not have resisted the 17th-century absolutist onslaught had it not gained power in the 16th century, and whose triumph in the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution was not merely to protect “the rights of gentry and aristocracy” but to establish liberty for every Englishman (APEH 2019: 44, 80). The scandalously brief treatment of Britain’s 18th-century ascendency does not hint at the prerequisites for that ascendency, Britain’s revolutionary society and culture of liberty—nor of the century of British proto-industrialization that made possible the Industrial Revolution (APEH 2019: 114-15). The accounts of the Napoleonic Wars and World War I fail to mention that Britain won both wars (APEH 2019: 119, 172-73). The treatment of decolonization does not mention the grant of Indian independence, the Suez Crisis, Harold Macmillan’s Winds of Change speech, or the existence of the British Commonwealth (APEH 2019: 203). APEH 2019’s constant, perverse minimization of British history profoundly distorts European history—and cripples American students’ knowledge of what connects them to their European heritage, since Britain and its history is the bridge that connects Europe to the United States.

AP European History’s constant, perverse minimization of British history cripples American students’ knowledge of what connects them to their European heritage, since Britain and its history is the bridge that connects Europe to the United States.

APEH 2019’s minimization of British history complements its broader elimination of the particularities of faith and nation, its reduction of European history to a narrow narrative largely centered on the emergence of the European Union from a statist, secular, homogenous Western Europe. Some part of this reduction can be understood: there are only so many class hours in a year. Yet APEH 2019 scarcely mentions the great realms of Russia, Poland, and the Ottoman Empire before 1648, and incorporates them incoherentlyinto narratives of Western European history for the period between 1648 and 1815 (APEH 2019: 65-66, 85-87). The bloody frontier of Islam and Christendom, from Taganrog to Tangier, almost disappears (APEH 2019: 66, 86). APEH 2019 never uses the words Orthodoxy or Islam, and Muslim only appears in post-1945 Illustrative examples of Ethnic Cleansing, within “Bosnian Muslims” and “Albanian Muslims of Kosovo” (APEH 2019: 199). Jews are relatively fortunate in the attention they receive and appear thrice: as the beneficiaries of civil equality ca. 1800; by turns acculturated, Zionist, and the victims of anti-Semitism in the 19th century; and finally as the victims of the Holocaust (APEH 2019: 104, 152, 182). But APEH 2019 generally endorses the Parisian belief that Europe lies between the Pyrenees and the Elbe, and correspondingly impoverishes its account.

AP European History scarcely mentions the great realms of Russia, Poland, and the Ottoman Empire. The bloody frontier of Islam and Christendom almost disappears. AP European History generally endorses the Parisian belief that Europe lies between the Pyrenees and the Elbe.

APEH 2019 likewise reduces Europe’s unique and enormous contribution to intellectual history. It does mention the Renaissance, Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment—although even here APEH 2019 makes the odd decision to mention the continuing appeal of alchemy and astrology during the Scientific Revolution, but not to mention (for example) Robert Boyle’s formulation of Boyle’s Law, Isaac Newton’s transformation of optics, or Antonie van Leewenhoek’s pioneering use of the microscope to establish the discipline of microbiology (APEH 2019: 40-42, 97-99). Nor does it narrate how Europe’s exceptional Scientific Revolution, applied to farm and factory, fostered equally exceptional agricultural and industrial revolutions, which propelled the continent to world dominance (APEH 2019: 83, 100-01, 132). APEH 2019’s coverage of intellectual history dwindles sharply thereafter, to pay glancing heed to Darwin, Freud and Einstein—but not to mention how 19th- and 20th-century Europeans created the entire modern architecture of knowledge, ranging from economics to genetics to sociology to statistics (APEH 2019: 155-56, 183, 207). Neither does APEH 2019 mention Europe’s distinctive institutions of learning—not the Renaissance Republic of Letters, not the 18th-century university seminar, and not the 19th-century research university. APEH 2019 depicts the European search for knowledge that lit up the universe as a guttering candle.

AP European History makes the odd decision to mention the continuing appeal of alchemy and astrology during the Scientific Revolution, but not to mention Robert Boyle’s formulation of Boyle’s Law, Isaac Newton’s transformation of optics, or Antonie van Leewenhoek’s pioneering use of the microscope to establish the discipline of microbiology.

AP European History depicts the European search for knowledge that lit up the universe as a guttering candle.

A host of smaller omissions and peculiar phrasings distort APEH 2019. APEH 2019, as its predecessors, cannot bring itself to mention the name of Christopher Columbus, although this leaves unexplained the term Columbian Exchange, embedded in the title of Topic 1.8 Colonial Expansion and Columbian Exchange (APEH 2019: 48). The exam mentions the contribution of colonial resources to early modern European wealth, but not the contributions by development of Europe’s own resources—neither North Sea herring nor East European grain, neither German silver mines nor Peter the Great’s iron foundries, neither French silk industries nor English cement technology (APEH 2019: 83). The discussion of the Enlightenment bizarrely states that “intellectuals such as Rousseau offered controversial arguments for the exclusion of women from political life,” when the more natural phrasing would be that “intellectuals such as Condorcet offered controversial arguments for the inclusion of women in political life” (APEH 2019: 98). The Russian empire in Siberia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus, the pendant to the overseas expansion of the Western European nations, silently vanishes from APEH 2019. APEH 2019’s description of Soviet tyranny retains the Communist euphemism “liquidation of the kulaks” to refer to Stalin’s indiscriminate mass murder and exile of peasants. (APEH 2019: 179).

AP European History, as its predecessors, cannot bring itself to mention the name of Christopher Columbus, although this leaves unexplained the term Columbian Exchange.

Finally, APEH 2019 inevitably distorts European history because it starts too late. Students cannot understand Europe’s distinctive historical character without learning about the long narrative of Western civilization, which connects Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome to Renaissance Europe by way of a thousand years of monastic devotions, Viking raids, and troubadour chants. APEH 2019 weakly acknowledges that “Using earlier periods to establish the thematic foundations of the course can help students deepen their understanding of modern Europe’s history,” and suggests that teachers “spend a class period” to help students “understand context” by learning about either “preceding historical developments” or “Similarities and/or differences with contemporaneous historical developments in different regions or geographical areas” (APEH 2019: 19, 38). This proffered solution is grossly inadequate.

The College Board would improve matters by strongly recommending that AP European History classes spend at least two weeks reviewing European history from the foundation of Rome to the fall of Constantinople—but students would still receive inadequate, superficial coverage of the deep roots of European history. The College Board should recommend that high school students study the entire sequence of ancient and medieval European history, before they take the AP European history course. Since teaching to the test is ubiquitous, the College Board can promote this reform most effectively by providing a separate exam on Ancient and Medieval European History—an exam which surely could secure as many students as do AP Japanese Language and Culture (2,479) or AP Studio Art – 3D Design (6,040), and probably could secure at least as many students as do AP Comparative Government and Politics (23,522) or AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism (25,342).33

United States

APUSH 2019 has the easiest task of the College Board’s three history examinations, since it only has to provide coverage of 400 years of the history of one country. It has also benefited from a longer period of critique than have APEH 2019 or APWHM 2019. Notably, the College Board was remarkably reluctant to mention the Founding Fathers, and its present improved coverage is the result of sustained rounds of outside critique and public pressure.34 APUSH 2019 therefore meets its assigned task with greater success than APEH 2019 or APWHM 2019. Its list of detailed topics provides reasonably comprehensive coverage of American history, and it suffers from fewer egregious omissions.

Yet APUSH 2019 retains significant flaws. As with APEH 2019, it gives remarkably little coverage to freedom and liberty. The word liberty appears seven times in APUSH 2019 topic descriptions, mostly in topics pertaining to colonial and revolutionary history (APUSH 2019: 62, 71, 74, 82, 172, 194, 214). Freedom appears slightly less frequently in topic descriptions (APUSH 2019: 54, 165, 173), but recurs in APUSH 2019’s Thematic Focus on American and National Identity (APUSH 2019: 62, 74, 120, 126, 128, 140, 185). Where APUSH 2019 does mention freedom, it is with peculiar reserve, as in this description of World War II: “Americans viewed the war as a fight for the survival of freedom and democracy against fascist and militarist ideologies. This perspective was later reinforced by revelations about Japanese wartime atrocities, Nazi concentration camps, and the Holocaust” (APUSH 2019: 173). Viewed, perspective: APUSH 2019, confronted with America’s life-and-death struggle to preserve liberty and defeat the most savage of tyrants, cannot bear to state outright the truth of America’s dedication to freedom.

AP United States History cannot bear to state outright the truth of America’s dedication to freedom.

APUSH 2019 mentions neither liberty nor freedom in its coverage of The Constitutional Convention and Debates over Ratification, The Constitution, the Monroe Doctrine, Abolitionism, women’s rights, the Republican Party’s 1860 Platform, Civil War Emancipation, Reconstruction, Gilded Age laissez-faire policies, anti-imperial critiques, 1920s Political and Cultural Controversies, the Cold War, domestic anti-communism (tendentiously titled “The Red Scare”), the Civil Rights Movement, Reagan and Conservatism, and economic deregulation (APUSH 2019: 79-80, 98, 105, 117, 124, 126-27, 130, 148, 160, 168, 184-85, 188-89, 191-93, 197, 210-12). When, for example, APUSH 2019 mentions that the Constitution established “federalism ... and a separation of powers between its [the new federal government’s] three branches[,]” it does not mention why this was done—as a means to institutionalize liberty in American government (APUSH 2019: 80). APUSH 2019 provides no coverage at all of private property rights, the growth of commercial and corporate law that sustained economic liberty, the Open Door Policy, liberty-based opposition to temperance and Prohibition, opposition to preservation, conservation, and environmentalism, opposition to the New Deal and the Great Society, the Four Freedoms, Freedom Riders, or the struggle for Second Amendment liberty (APUSH 2019: 78, 99-100, 142,160, 162-63, 168-70, 173, 188-89).

AP United States History gives no hint of America’s defining culture of liberty.

APUSH 2019 likewise gives no hint of America’s defining culture of liberty, exemplified by Henry David Thoreau’s maxim that “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty,” Samuel Francis Smith’s ode to America as the “Sweet land of liberty,” and the very name of the Statue of Liberty. Particularly telling is APUSH 2019’s odd description of the Gettysburg Address as articulating “the struggle against slavery as the fulfillment of American’s founding democratic ideals”—which peculiarly truncates a document whose most notable phrases include “a new nation, conceived in liberty” and “a new birth of freedom” (APUSH 2019: 126). APUSH 2019 gives the distinct impression that the problem with slavery was that it rendered men unequal, not that it rendered men unfree.

AP United States History gives the distinct impression that the problem with slavery was that it rendered men unequal, not that it rendered men unfree.

AP United States History’s account of slavery and abolition is caricature, not history.

Slavery and Abolition

APEH 2019 virtually erased the history behind the Bill of Rights; APUSH 2019, by contrast, discusses slavery and abolition at length. Yet its phrasing and its omissions seriously distort the history of this very important topic in American history. APUSH 2019 gives students the misleading impression that it actually informs them about the history of slavery and abolition.

  • APUSH 2019 erases the vast history of religious opposition to slavery, save for the faint men- tion that abolitionists presented “moral arguments against the institution” (APUSH 2019: 122). Students will have no idea of the existence of Bartolomé de las Casas’ Catholic opposition to Indian slavery, which persuaded the Spanish crown to ban such enslavement in 1542; or of the eighteenth-century Quaker opposition to slavery, notably illustrated by John Woolman’sSome Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes (1754) and the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s decision in 1776 to forbid its members to own slaves; or of the nineteenth-century evangel-ical abolitionism of Presbyterian clergymen Charles Grandison Finney and Theodore Wright,Congregationalist businessmen Lewis and Arthur Tappan, and Methodist ministers Orange Scott and Adam Crooks. Students will not learn how Christian abolitionism tore apart American denominations, most notably in the schisms of the Methodists and the Baptists—or about proslavery theologians such as the Baptist Richard Furman and the Presbyterian James Henley Thornwell, who sought their own reform of the master-slave relation by constraining it with- in Christian principles. Students will not understand the coming of the Civil War unless theyunderstand the Christian faith that inspired the abolitionist efforts of William Lloyd Garrison,Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown.
  • APUSH 2019 likewise reduces black Americans’ Christianity to attempts to “maintain” their “religion” or to create “communities” (APUSH 2019: 60, 105). This generic account obscures the grand narrative of black Americans’ conversion to and creative appropriation of Christian theology and culture—and likewise obscures an extraordinary amount of the fabric of life forslaves and freedmen. APUSH 2019 makes it difficult to teach about the rise of a class of slavepreachers, of whom the rebel Nat Turner would become the most famous; the foundation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church by Richard Allen and Absalom Jones; or the formationof the spiritual genre, articulating its own opposition to slavery, exemplified by songs such asWade in the Water, Steal Away, and Roll, Jordan, Roll. APUSH 2019 likewise makes it difficult to learn about the clergy’s leading role in free black society, exemplified by the work of Episcopal priest Peter Williams, Jr., whose achievements included co-founding the first American blacknewspaper, Freedom’s Journal.
  • APUSH 2019 eliminates the successes of Southern antislavery efforts by its argument that “Antislavery efforts in the South were largely limited to unsuccessful slave rebellions” (APUSH 2019: 106). APUSH 2019 obscures the distinction between anti-slavery sentiment and imme-diate abolitionism, the former of which gained significant purchase in the South, even if the latter did not. APUSH 2019 thereby makes it difficult (for example) for students to learn that, asa result of manumissions by Southerners, and population growth thereafter among the popula- tion of freedmen, there were more free blacks in the South than the North in every census from 1790 to 1860, or that nearly one half of blacks in Maryland were free in 1860. The statement that “most [Southern] leaders argued that slavery was part of the Southern way of life” (APUSH 2019: 107) likewise obscures the lives and works of abolitionists such as Cassius Marcellus Clay,James Birney, and the sisters Angelina and Sarah Grimké—and of notable politicians such aseventual Unionist Andrew Johnson, who, besides his love of the Union, in a pinch disliked thewealthy Southern elite more than he loved slavery. Gone with President Johnson is the political culture of the Appalachian South, the home of the great majority of the 100,000 white Southerners who would enlist in the Union army during the Civil War. APUSH 2019 grosslyand distortingly simplifies its portrait of the antebellum South’s complex relationship to slavery.
  • • APUSH 2019 engages in ethnic cheerleading when it states without qualification that “Africansdeveloped both overt and covert means to resist the dehumanizing nature of slavery and to maintain their family and gender systems, culture, and religion” (APUSH 2019: 60; and see 106). Blacks, as all human beings, accommodated themselves to slavery as well as resisting it— usually simultaneously, for accommodation and resistance are not mutually exclusive. APUSH 2019 obscures the existence of black slaveowners such as Justus Angel, Antoine Dubuclet, William Ellison, and Anthony Johnson, as well as the larger class of black slave drivers (agricul- tural foremen), usually slaves themselves, who far outnumbered white overseers. Every black American who bought his freedom accommodated himself to slavery. The mutual antagonismsbetween field slaves and house slaves cannot be understood without reference to accommo- dation. Just as Frenchmen accommodated their Nazi masters, and Koreans accommodated their Japanese rulers, so black Americans accommodated the slave regime. APUSH 2019 turns American history into a fairy tale when it suggests otherwise.

American chattel slavery surely brutalized, and slave life cannot be told without mention of resis- tance. Brutality and resistance are not the whole of the history of slavery and abolition. Nor is history that cannot bring itself to mention the word Christian. APUSH 2019 virtually erases religion from its history of slavery and abolition, homogenizes the beliefs and actions of white Southerners, and minimizes both reform and accommodation by its simplistic emphasis on resistance. APUSH 2019’s account of slavery and abolition is caricature, not history.

APUSH 2019’s minimization of freedom produces further distortions to its entire historical narrative. New England’s distinctive culture, the cradle of revolution, reform, and individual liberty throughout American history, receives remarkably short shrift (APUSH 2019: 55-56, 59, 73-76, 83, 97, 99, 103, 105-06, 121-22, 126, 151, 160, 162-63). APUSH foregrounds statist reformers throughout 19th- and 20th-century American history, and largely relegates the defenders of liberty to the brief and isolated coverage of Topic 9.2 Reagan and Conservatism—a momentary rebuttal to the triumphant coverage accorded to the progressive pantheon (APUSH 2019: 105, 147, 162-63, 170, 188, 191-97, 210, 214). APUSH 2019’s narrative leads the broad sweep of American history toward an emotional climax in three entire subtopics about postwar America’s identity politics movements, youth culture, and environmentalism (APUSH 2019: 195-97).

AP United States History narrates the broad sweep of American history as a prologue to postwar America’s identity politics movements, youth culture, and environmentalism.

APUSH 2019 also minimizes American religion. As noted above, no APUSH 2019 Theme mentions religion—although the American and Regional Culture Thematic Focus briefly refers to “religious beliefs.” APUSH 2019’s coverage of American religion is correspondingly curtailed. Aside from generic references that religion mattered (APUSH 2019: 43, 60, 87, 168), the only substantive references to religion concern motivations for European exploration, colonization, and treatment of non-Europeans, the First and Second Great Awakenings, religion’s role to inspire the American Revolution, the antebellum Age of Reform, anti-Catholic nativism, indirect mention of the Mormon Exodus, 19th-century immigration, postwar evangelical churches, and religious conservatives (APUSH 2019: 40, 44, 54-55, 61-62, 74, 104-05, 118, 121,144, 199). APUSH 2019 leaves out far more American religion than it allows in. Neglected topics include the substance of the distinctive religious cultures of Puritans, Quakers, and Anglicans; African-American religion from the foundation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church to the sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.; the central role of religion in abolitionism from John Woolman to John Brown, as well as its central role in moral reform movements such as temperance and the Social Gospel; Bible and sermon culture; the Bible Belt; the long history of evangelical Christianity between the Second Great Awakening and 1945, including the Holiness Movement, Pentecostalism, and radio evangelism; missionary culture and its influence on American diplomacy; and the continuing fault-lines between Protestantism and Catholicism that endured at least until the election of John F. Kennedy to the presidency. The very word Christian only appears once in APUSH 2019’s coverage of the history of the United States, and then very late: “The rapid and substantial growth of evangelical Christian churches and organizations was accompanied by greater political and social activism on the part of religious conservatives” (APUSH 2019: 199).35 APUSH 2019’s coverage of American religion is remarkably thin gruel.

AP United States History leaves out far more American religion than it allows in.

APUSH 2019’s erasure of religion minimizes American culture—and it likewise scants America’s secular culture, with little beyond bromides such as “A new national culture emerged that combined American elements, European influences, and regional cultural sensibilities” and “New cultural and intellectual movements both buttressed and challenged the social order of the Gilded Age” (APUSH 2019: 103, 137). As that last quotation indicates, APUSH 2019 in general invokes culture to illustrate social “controversies.” The sheerly joyful texture of the common American culture makes no appearance—neither Stephen Foster nor Horatio Alger nor Babe Ruth, much less any mention at all of music or dime novels or sports. The sour comment that “Mass culture became increasingly homogenous in the postwar years” (APUSH 2019: 187) obscures the twin Southernizations of country and rock-n-roll, the rise of the Broadway musical, or the American invention of abstract expressionism. APUSH 2019 removes the substance of American cultural history.

The sheerly joyful texture of the common American culture makes no appearance—neither Stephen Foster nor Horatio Alger nor Babe Ruth, much less any mention at all of music or dime novels or sports.

Finally, APUSH 2019 provides glaring loopholes that will allow radical teachers to eviscerate the teaching of American history. APUSH 2019 states that it “includes a minimal number of individual names …. to ensure teachers have flexibility to teach specific content that is valued locally and individually”—but to delegate responsibility to teachers to select specific individuals for study allows teachers to ignore the pageant of individual Americans who made our history (APUSH 2019: 11). Moreover, APUSH 2019’s rationale facilitates the loosely Marxist misinterpretation of history that reified abstractions make history, not individuals. APUSH 2019 likewise states that teachers may use the Founding Documents “to help students trace ideas and themes throughout American history”—but may means they are free not to teach them (APUSH 2019: 11). Moreover, APUSH 2019’s pious endorsement of the value of studying the Founding Documents is a dodge: if reading the Founding Documents isn’t required for the APUSH test, most APUSH teachers won’t teach them. APUSH 2019 opens wide the door to removing the Founding Documents from students’ curricula, with teach to the test the obvious mechanism for their removal.

AP United States History provides glaring loopholes that will allow radical teachers to eviscerate the teaching of American history.


APWHM 2019 is the worst of the three history exams. To be sure, it is difficult to try to teach 800 years of world history; any course on so large a subject risks becoming a concatenation of shallow generalizations. But APWHM suffers further from ideological distortion of history and sheer sloppiness. APEH 2019 and APUSH 2019 provide some historical value; APWHM virtually none.

AP European History and AP United States History provide some historical value; AP World History virtually none.

APWHM 2019’s slipshodness is the product of hasty revision. As noted above, protest by radical World History teachers forced the College Board to include a section on World History between ca. 1200 and 1450, to ‘minimize Eurocentrism.’36 The first of APWHM 2019’s nine chronological units, “The Global Tapestry,” covers this newly added period by providing a static introduction of different world culture areas, each one simplified, vapidly generalized, and ideal-typed so that it loses all historical particularity (APWHM 2019: 33-48). The Global Tapestry betrays its hasty composition by the repeated phrase “demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity.”

Empires and states in Afro-Eurasia and the Americas demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity in the 13thcentury. … These [Muslim] states demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity. … State formation and development [in South and Southeast Asia] demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity. ... In the Americas, as in Afro-Eurasia, state systems demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity … In Africa, as in Eurasia and the Americas, state systems demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity (APWHM 2019: 38, 40, 42-43).

APWHM 2019 fails to describe Europe as demonstrating continuity, innovation, and diversity—presumably because “diversity” is a euphemism for “non-European,” since the text actually provides particulars about the genuinely diverse social and political character of medieval Europe (APWHM 2019: 45-46). APWHM’s elimination of Europe from this cut-and-paste descriptive phrase is doubly ironic since the cultural preferences for innovation and diversity are historically rare, and European civilization was unique in the great worth it ascribed to these values.37 But the meaningless cant of continuity, innovation, and diversity provides clear evidence that the College Board didn’t have time to provide real material for The Global Tapestry. APWHM 2019 instead stuffed the Unit with pablum as a sop to the radical world history teachers.

The meaningless cant of continuity, innovation, and diversity provides clear evidence that the College Board didn’t have time to provide real material for their first chronological Unit. AP World History instead stuffed it with pablum as a sop to radical world history teachers.

APWHM’s later Units are more polished, but grossly distorted by World History’s disciplinary assumptions. The most distorting assumption is that the interrelations between different regions of the world matter most in history—that intercontinental trade and migration drives economic history, that intercivilizational contact drives cultural history, that intercontinental conflicts drive political history. The Topic names of Unit 2 all reinforce this assumption: The Silk Roads, The Mongol Empire and the Making of the Modern World, Exchange in the Indian Ocean, Trans-Saharan Trade Routes, Cultural Consequences of Connectivity, Environmental Consequences of Connectivity, Comparison of Economic Exchange (APWHM 2019: 22). APWHM 2019’s emphasis on regional interrelations also presumably justifies oddities such as the duplicated mention of “Songhai Empire’s conflict with Morocco”—a trivial conflict that must merit mention only because it is an Intraregional Conflict between a Sub-Saharan and a Mediterranean state (APWHM 2019: 69, 85). Likewise, APWHM 2019 cites “imperialist expansion and competition for resources” first as a cause of World War I—also a loosely Marxist interpretation, but largely to argue for the importance of “world” history (APWHM 2019: 131). APWHM 2019 throughout deforms world history to focus on intraregional connections.

The real history of the world, after all, has consisted largely of local and regional history, with only a thin overlay of global history. “Cultural Consequences of Connectivity” ought to be accompanied by “Absolute Ignorance of the World Beyond the Village”; “Comparison of Economic Exchange” by “Immemorial, Unchanging Agriculture.”38 Students of world history ought to be introduced to the extraordinarily important debate about how much of technological change is the result of diffusion from a single source, such as the spread of the alphabet from the Levant to Greece to Rome, and how much is independent invention of a similar concept, such as the construction of pyramids in Egypt and Mesoamerica.39 They should also learn that throughout virtually all of Chinese history domestic trade along rivers and canals mattered more than the entirety of overseas trade—even accounting for the silver imports that facilitated early modern Chinese economic growth. Whatever prompt medieval Europeans got from Muslim or Hindu mathematicians and scientists, the vast bulk of European scientific and technological innovation from 1500 onward, and hence of world scientific innovation, developed internally within Europe (APWHM 2019: 90). The persistence of Hinduism within South Asia mattered far more than the “interactions” with Islam that produced Sikhism (APWHM 2019: 71). APWHM 2019’s distorting focus gives students the entirely misleading impression that the marginal “global” aspects of World History were its core.

AP World History’s distorting focus gives students the entirely misleading impression that the marginal “global” aspects of World History were its core.

APWHM 2019 adds to this distortion its failure to provideevaluative comparison between the world’s different sections. Much of this reluctance doubtless stems from the realization that any competent comparison would embarrassingly distinguish the history of Europe and America and their singular civilizational accomplishments from those of the rest of the world. But whatever the reason, APWHM 2019 eschews any discussion of technological advancement, political sophistication, or social structure that would make such comparisons possible. APWHM 2019 therefore does not mention that the most technologically advanced pre-Columbian states could not smelt iron, and that a handful of Spaniards, astutely enlisting native allies for their enterprise, conquered the Aztec and Inca empires. The banal statement that African state systems “expanded in scope and reach” provides no means to compare state complexity in Kongo with the vastly more sophisticated imperial bureaucracy of China (APWHM 2019: 38, 48). APWHM 2019 omits discussion of Mesoamerican religion, probably so as to avoid detailed comparison between Buddhist pacifism and Aztec human sacrifice (APWHM 2019: 42-43). APWHM 2019 fails to compare Western feudalism with the feudalisms of the Ottoman Empire, Japan, and India (APWHM 2019: 45). All APWHM 2019 teaches is that every area of the world demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity—except Europe.

All AP World History teaches is that every area of the world demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity—except Europe.

APWHM 2019 compounds these flaws by its astonishing erasure of as much European and American history as possible. APWHM 2019 fails to mention that the Enlightenment was European, remarkably delays mention that the Industrial Revolution began in Europe, and likewise describes the Technology of the Industrial Age without locating that technology in Europe or America (APWHM 2019: 98, 102-04). Liberty and freedom, the distinguishing ideals of Europe and America, scarcely appear: the word liberty does not appear in any topic description in APWHM 2019, and freedom only appears once, while being repressed during World War II in totalitarian states (APWHM 2019: 136). APWHM 2019’s distaste for American history leads it to pass overwhat truly is a world-historical change—the rise of a new nation on American soil, from scattered infant colonies to continental superpower. Chinese, Egyptians, and Englishmen existed in 1200; Americans did not. Neither did Brazilians, for that matter, now the second most numerous people of the Americas. APWHM 2019’s dislike of European and American history eliminates recognition of the significance of these epochal transformations.

AP World History’s distaste for American history leads it to pass overwhat truly is a world-historical change—the rise of a new nation on American soil, from scattered infant colonies to continental superpower.

APWHM 2019 also downplays military conquest remarkably—as it more broadly downplays the outsized role of war in human history.40 The Mongol conquests become an “expansion,” European states “established” new empires, and the Manchu conquest of Ming China becomes “the transition to the Qing Dynasty” (APWHM 2019: 55, 83, 89). Communist China’s mass famine of the Great Leap Forward and spasmodic terror of the Cultural Revolution emerge as “negative repercussions for the population” (APWHM 2019: 147)—a euphemization also typical of APWHM 2019’s penchant to particularly downplay violence by non-Europeans and left-wing revolutionaries (and see APWHM 2019: 69, 72, 83-84, 89, 100-01, 105, 118, 130, 133, 148-51, 166). Throughout, APWHM 2019 euphemizes violence and suffering.

AP World History euphemizes Communist China’s mass famine of the Great Leap Forward (at least 20 million dead) and spasmodic terror of the Cultural Revolution (at least 1 million dead) as “negative repercussions for the population.”

APWHM 2019 then indulges in a penchant for politically correct exempla and phrasing. Ming Admiral Zheng He receives the now ritual citation of his long-forgotten and sterile voyages to the Indian Ocean—with no mention that he was also a eunuch and a slave, facts that would uncomfortably illuminate the nature of Ming politics, society, and culture (APWHM 2019: 58). Margery Kempe joins Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo as an Illustrative Example of a medieval Traveler—presumably because she is a feminist icon, and not because any contemporary European paid attention to her routine pilgrimage to Jerusalem (APWHM 2019: 61). APWHM performs a politically correct obeisance by using the topic title “Developments in Dar al-Islam from c. 1200 to c. 1450” instead of the more obvious alternative “Developments in the Muslim World from c. 1200 to c. 1450.” The jargon-laden description of the Enlightenment declares that “Demands for women’s suffrage and an emergent feminism challenged political and gender hierarchies,” while in the 20th century “Rights-based discourses challenged old assumptions about race, class, gender, and religion” (APWHM 2019: 136, 164). The entire topic “Calls for Reform and Responses After 1900,” blending mention of more innocuous causes such as women’s suffrage with radical movements such as liberation theology, doubles as a catalogue of APWHM 2019’s political preferences (APWHM 2019: 164).

AP World History indulges in political correctness. Ming Admiral Zheng He receives the now ritual citation of his long-forgotten and sterile voyages to the Indian Ocean—with no mention that he was also a eunuch and a slave.

APWHM 2019’s erasure of the sepoys, the Indian soldiers in British service who provided the necessary manpower for Britain’s conquest of India, provides the clearest example of its concatenated flaws. The sepoys should figure in APWHM 2019 as an example of European-Indian ‘interaction’: social and cultural adaptation by large numbers of Indians of the norms and institutions of the European ‘military revolution,’ by which a subaltern Indian elite serving the East India Company—a global institution—spread throughout India and made possible the world-transforming British conquest of India. But APWHM 2019 does not mention sepoys; it even refers to the Sepoy Mutiny by the unrevealing name of “1857 rebellion in India.” That mention comes in “Indigenous Responses to State Expansion from 1750 to 1900—responses that consist solely of anticolonialism, resistance, and rebellion, and do not hint at the loyalty of the majority of sepoys, faithful to their salt, without which Britain could not have put down the Mutiny (APWHM 2019: 118). The elimination of the sepoys illustrates perfectly how APWHM 2019, by its subservience to political fashion, obscures a world of history.

Asia, 1750 to 1900

APWHM 2019 teaches remarkably little about Asian history between 1750 and 1900, even though Asians were a majority of the world population. APWHM 2019’s necessary focus on industrialization and the growth of the European imperial system inevitably shunts Asian history to the periphery. Yet the entire structure of APWHM 2019 also renders much of Asian history unteachable.

  • APWHM 2019’s lack of interest in village life and agriculture erases the history of that vast majority of Asians who remained peasants. APWHM 2019 provides no easy means of access to Chinese peasant culture and psychology,41 nor to the Chinese peasantry’s dynamics of intertwined population growth, persistent family farming, and commercialization;42 students therefore cannot understand either the character of Chinese history or the social pressures that produced the nineteenth-century Taiping Rebellion and the twentieth-century Communist Revolution. Neither does APWHM 2019 provide easy access to Indian peasant culture and psychology,43 the Indian peasantry’s social and economic history,44 or to the history of famine,45 a crucial topic of historical debate with broad political ramifications.46 The most important single element in Asian life between 1750 and 1900 was monsoon agriculture; astonishingly, APWHM 2019 only mentions monsoon once, and in reference to trade rather than to agricul- ture (APWHM 2019: 58).
  • APWHM 2019’s downplaying of military conflict by non-Europeans, except when engaged in“anti-imperial resistance” (APWHM 2019: 118), erases vast amounts of Asian history. APWHM 2019 provides no easy means to teach the devastating Persian civil wars that preceded the Qajar Dynasty’s seizure of power in 1789; the Burmese wars of the 1750s and 1760s against China and Siam; Muhammad Ali of Egypt’s near-conquest of the Ottoman Empire in 1839; the Vietnamese wars with Siam of the 1830s and 1840s; the persisting nineteenth-century civil wars of Kokand (Central Asia); or the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64) and the Dungan Revolt (1862-77) in China. The erasure of these episodes also erases the possibility of interpretingJapan’s conflict with China (1895) and annexation of Korea (1910) as part of a continuum of intra-Asian military conflict, rather than as an example of quasi-European imperial expansion(APWHM 2019: 117).
  • APWHM 2019 pays virtually no attention to Asian religious history in this period, save to note blandly that “Increasing discontent with imperial rule led to rebellions, some of which wereinfluenced by religious ideas” (APWHM 2019: 118). APWHM 2019 provides no easy meansto teach the interpenetration of Sh’ia faith and Persian state power, which affected much of Persian domestic and foreign policy; the nineteenth-century establishment and spread of the Bahá’í faith; the Brahmo Samaj’s monotheistic reform of Hinduism from 1828 onward; and the Japanese government’s shifting attitudes toward Shinto, oscillating between sponsorship of Shinto-Buddhist syncretism and State Shinto’s more exclusive sponsorship of Shinto. APWHM 2019 does not use the word pilgrim: students cannot learn from it that Asian life between 1750 and 1900 also consisted of Muslim hajjis returned from pilgrimage to Mecca, Hindu worship-pers traveling to bathe in the Ganges, and the Chinese Buddhist pilgrimages to the FourSacred Mountains. APWHM 2019 never mentions caste in its treatment of India under the British Raj, and thus erases every aspect of Indian life in this period that follows from caste’s existence.47
  • APWHM 2019 does not even hint at the history of Asian fine arts and literature. Students willhave no idea that Japan produced Hokusai’s woodprint blocks and Masaoka Shiki’s modern haiku; India the paintings of Nainsukh and the novels of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee; or China the calligraphy of Wu Changshuo and the paintings of Ren Xiong. APWHM 2019 leaves a great blank those areas of Asian life concerned with creating beauty.

APWHM 2019’s trouble is not lack of classroom hours, or “excessive Eurocentrism,” but lack of inter-est in vast areas of human history, among them peasant life, wars, religion, and fine arts. APWHM2019 reduces the history of Asia between 1750 and 1900 to a dull outline—as it does the history of every part of the world from 1450 onward.

APWHM 2019 is also remarkably narrow. A great many disciplines have contributed to our understanding of human history, including archeology, genetics, and linguistics.48 APWHM 2019 evinces no awareness in its account of the discoveries in any of these fields. Neither does it provide that students should explore such fields if they wish to learn a properly sophisticated, multidisciplinary world history. APWHM 2019 and its protagonists conceive of themselves as broadminded, but their world history is parochial.

AP World History conceives of itself as broadminded, but its world history is parochial.

APWHM 2019 exceeds APEH 2019 and APUSH 2019 in one particular only: it mentions Christopher Columbus by name (APWHM 2019: 80). APWHM 2019’s transgression of the College Board’s Columbus Taboo indicates that APEH and APUSH might ultimately allow the word “Columbus” to appear on their pages as well.

But this virtue matters relatively little compared to APWHM 2019’s slipshod first units, its euphemisms and erasures, its failure to provide comparative evaluation, and, above all, the structural distortions imposed by World History’s disciplinary assumption that the marginally important connections between the different world regions are world history’s heart. APWHM 2019 isn’t European history Plus, or even Non-European history; it is all history mis-taught. APWHM 2019, obsessed with history’s margins,is not even marginally educational.

AP World History isn’t European history Plus, or even Non-European history; it is all history mis-taught.


I have not dwelt on further and pervasive small errors in APEH 2019, APUSH 2019, and APWMH 2019—although Appendix I below will illustrate how every topic in APEH 2019 requires correction. These three history Course and Exam Descriptions’ grosser flaws are sufficient to warrant substantial condemnation. All three grossly understate the importance of liberty and faith in history. In APWMH 2019, these absences translate to a minimization of Europe and America; in APEH 2019, to a parallel minimization of Britain; in APUSH 2019, to a minimization of New England history and culture. All three ascribe greater explanatory power to social and economic transformation than to the contingencies of political events. Reified abstractions replace individual achievement as the motor of history—American “Large-scale industrial production” never mentions the name of Henry Ford (APUSH 2019: 136). Cultural history dwindles to illustration of some social problem or development. All three Course and Exam Descriptions minimize the importance of violence in history, by euphemism or excision—and particularly minimize violence committed by revolutionaries or non-whites. The three history Course and Exam Descriptions are only even-handed to the extent that they render all history in banal, superficial jargon. The College Board’s fundamental interest in teaching skills rather than content will produce students at best expert at arguing from ignorance. Its Course and Exam Descriptions illustrate why textbook history has a bad name.

The College Board’s Course and Exam Descriptions illustrate why textbook history has a bad name.

The three history Course and Exam Descriptions are not all unprofessionally bad. Much is merely mediocre, and some rises to the level of competence. APUSH 2019, the beneficiary of the most sustained external criticism, is the best of the three. But such solidity as they possess is always in detail, marred both by the broader interpretations the details serve and by the absences that make it impossible to weigh the details properly. Progressive politics distorts far too much of the curriculum—whether in the option to remove the Founding Documents from APUSH 2019, the minimization of English liberty in APEH 2019, or in the rote cant of demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity in APWHM 2019. The world as it is will surprise any graduate of the College Board’s advanced placement history courses, because they do not teach the history of the world as it was.

I provide a series of recommendations to the College Board below, which suggest in detail how it might improve its history examinations. But the College Board has now reformed its history Course and Exam Descriptions time and time again—and it never discards their fundamentally unsound structures. The Course and Exam Descriptions need to be redone from the ground up. The work must be done by a new set of historians, who are not subject to the biases that have made the current Course and Exam Descriptions so lamentably poor.

Practically speaking, the College Board has proved that its administrators will never make the necessary changes. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” wrote George Santayana, and the effects of historical amnesia are doubly unfortunate in an organization devoted to history assessment. The College Board does not learn from its own mistakes, and it condemns America’s students—the leaders and sovereign citizens of tomorrow—to duplicate the errors of a past they have never learned.

The College Board does not learn from its own mistakes, and it condemns America’s students—the leaders and sovereign citizens of tomorrow—to duplicate the errors of a past they have never learned.

America must replace the College Board with new providers of standardized assessments. Our future, chained to their bankrupt status quo, will be endless test reform, changing course with every political and pedagogical gust, that renders impossible stable, effective pedagogy and never arrives at historical truth. The College Board’s sorry record of revising its history Course and Exam Descriptions illustrates the endless mutability of error.

Oliver Cromwell’s words to the Rump Parliament seem apt: You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you.


Our fundamental recommendation is to provide the College Board with competition from new providers of standardized assessments. In the interim, the College Board should make the following reforms. These recommendations may also serve as recommendations to such new providers, when they emerge.

Increased Rigor

The College Board should eliminate college readiness as an institutional goal and draft examinations that genuinely test for advanced placement. All three history examinations, as well as the College Board’s other advanced placement examinations, should be revised to test rigorously for the ability to place out of an introductory undergraduate course. The College Board should consult with a broad variety of colleges and universities that have ceased to grant credit to students for doing well in College Board advanced placement tests, and increase the rigor of its advanced placement examinations to satisfy these colleges’ and universities’ expectations as to what constitutes genuinely collegiate-level instruction.

The College Board should eliminate college readiness as an institutional goal and draft examinations that genuinely test for advanced placement.

Content Focus

The College Board should eliminate Skills as an explicit goal and focus on Content. Skills without content knowledge are ignorance unaware of its ignorance, and thorough focus on content knowledge naturally leads to the development of analytical and writing skills. The College Board in any case should stick to its real goal—assessment—and leave skills instruction to individual teachers. The College Board should eliminate every part of the Course and Exam Descriptions devoted to pedagogical process, such as Thinking Skills, Reasoning Processes, and Learning Objectives.

The College Board’s Course and Exam Descriptions served teachers and students better when they articulated the comprehensive expectation You should know every aspect of [European/American/World] history. If they must list a series of topics, which invites teaching to the test, the topics should include historic specifics and avoid banality, jargon, and undefined key concepts. The College Board also should expand the Topics to include all material currently listed as Illustrative Examples—not least because an “Illustrative Example” may never actually be taught. The College Board should require knowledge of a substantial catalogue of significant individuals and events—not least to underscore that individuals and events make history, and reified abstractions do not.49

Thematic Revision

If the College Board’s history Course and Exam Descriptions are to be retained at all, the College Board should reform their basic structure root and branch. The Course and Exam Descriptions’ Themes provide a shorthand of the necessary changes. Proper advanced placement history instruction will require thematic revision along these lines.

APEH 2019

Current Themes

Suggested Revised Themes

  1. Interaction of Europe and the World
  2. Economic and Commercial Developments
  3. Cultural and Intellectual Developments
  4. States and Other Institutions of Power
  5. Social Organization and Development
  6. National and European Identity
  7. Technological and Scientific Innovation
  1. Durable Nations and Transitory Empires: War, Conquest, and Peace
  2. The Growth of Liberty: Ideals, Institutions, and Culture
  3. Europe’s Religions: Secularization and Enduring Faith
  4. The Broadening Horizons of European Knowledge: Humane Studies, Scientific Revolution, and Technological Innovation
  5. The Economic Revolutions
  6. State and Society: Coercion and Self-Reliance

APUSH 2019

Current Themes

Suggested Revised Themes

  1. American and National Identity
  2. Work, Exchange, and Technology
  3. Geography and the Environment
  4. Migration and Settlement
  5. Politics and Power
  6. America in the World
  7. American and Regional Culture
  8. Social Structures
  1. Forging the American Nation: Settlement, Migration, and Union
  2. The Links of Liberty: Faith, Freedom, Property, and Republican Self-Government
  3. Empire of Liberty: America’s Rise to World Power
  4. Ingenuity and Innovation: Business, Science, and Technology
  5. American Harmony: The Making of Our Common Culture
  6. State and Society: Coercion and Self-Reliance

APWHM 2019

Current Themes

Suggested Revised Themes

  1. Humans and the Environment
  2. Cultural Developments and Interactions
  3. Governance
  4. Economic Systems
  5. Social Interactions and Organizations
  6. Technology and Innovation
  1. Durable Nations and Transitory Empires: War, Conquest, and Peace
  2. Liberties and Laws: Secular Visions of the World
  3. Rival Faiths: Sacred Visions of the World
  4. The Great Liberation: Scientific Revolution and Technological Innovation
  5. Economic Progress: Property and Markets
  6. States and Societies: Coercion and Self-Reliance

New Examinations

The College Board’s existing history examinations fail to cover large amounts of essential historical material or, in the case of World History, fundamentally misconceive how the material should be taught. The College Board should add to, or replace, its list of history examinations.

European History

The College Board should establish an Advanced Placement European History: Ancient and Medieval (APEHAM) examination, to cover material from ca. 3000 BC to ca. 1450 AD. APEHAM topics should include Egypt and Mesopotamia, Ancient Israel, Classic Greece and Rome, the rise and evolution of Christianity, the challenge of Islam, Byzantium, the medieval Latin West, ancient and medieval intellectual history, the birth and early development of European liberty, and the exceptional history of Anglo-Saxon and medieval England.

United States History

The College Board should establish an Advanced Placement Constitutional History (APCH) examination, distinct from Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics (APUSGP). APCH should narrate the history of our nation’s constitution, integrating coverage of individual people, documents, and underlying principles. APCH topics should include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Founding Fathers, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Reconstruction Amendments, the New Deal, and the Warren Court. This course should provide advanced placement credit that can be applied either to American history or to political science.

World History

APWHM requires revision so major as effectively to create a new exam. The new APWHM should teach students how much of world history consists of violence and war; hierarchy and servitude; the endless round of agricultural labor, and all the accompanying articulations of social and cultural history; the deep autonomy and differentiation of the different world regions in their secular and religious worldviews, only eroded to a limited extent by Europe’s assemblage of a global political and economic system after ca. 1500; histories of ideas, science, technology, and religion that do not depend on social or cultural history; and the unparalleled impact of Europe, and its daughter American civilization, upon the rest of the world, which has to an astonishing extent remade the world in Europe’s image. Such an exam would need to be shorn of political correctness, exemplified by the cant repetition of the phrase continuity, innovation, and diversity, and to provide students the material by which to make meaningful evaluative comparisons among the different regions of the world.

AP World History requires revision so major as effectively to create a new exam.

The College Board should also consider creating one or more examinations devoted to specific regions—China, India, the Muslim World, Africa, and Latin America. If the College Board believes that it can only support one of these exams, it should choose China, with subject matter to include Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other nations in the Sinic civilizational orbit. Both China’s importance in the long narrative of world history and its current importance as the great rival to America for world dominance justify giving priority to China. But if the College Board does create such an examination, it should make sure that it is a rigorous history, and not an exercise in ethnic-studies cheerleading.

Appendix I: APEH 2019, Comprehensive Revision


As noted above, APEH 2019, APUSH 2019, and APWMH 2019 each warrant detailed, substantive, and comprehensive revision. This appendix substantiates that claim by providing detailed emendation of every topic in APEH 2019. Parallel revisions could easily be provided for APUSH 2019 and APWMH 2019.

These emendations should be read in conjunction with APEH 2019 (https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/ap/pdf/ap-european-history-course-and-exam-description.pdf), although I have tried to phrase them so as to be reasonably self-explanatory. I have added italicized explanations so as to make rationales for the alterations more transparent to the reader.

These suggestions are not comprehensive; e.g., although I have thickened reference to Jewish history, APEH 2019’s structure precludes proper coverage.

These emendations include a very substantial thickening of Illustrative Examples. Partly I have included these Illustrative Examples to make clear just how much history APEH 2019 omits. Partly I have included them to clarify what precisely I mean by my own amendments, which to some extent adopt the College Board’s abstracting language. Most importantly, I include these Illustrative Examples to provide the material for what ultimately should replace the entire category of Illustrative Examples—a catalogue of detailed, required Content Knowledge about specific individuals and events.

Where I suggest limited changes to existing APEH 2019 subtopics, I use bold-faced words for my emendations. I use normal text for subtopics that I have entirely added or replaced.

I have not emended each Unit’s introductory and concluding Topic, which summarize the substantive Topics. These should be revised as well, to incorporate the alterations below.

These revisions expect more from students than does APEH 2019. These revisions aim to produce genuine advanced-placement level knowledge of European history, and not simply college readiness.



Topic 1.2 Italian Renaissance

Topic omits liberty, social institutions supporting intellectual inquiry, and illustrative examples of the conception of the secular state.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-1.I.A: “Italian Renaissance humanists, including Petrarch, promoted a revival in classical literature and created new philological approaches to ancient texts. Some Renaissance humanists furthered the values of republican liberty, secularism, and individualism.” Illustrative examples, Republican liberty, Coluccio Salutati, Leonardo Bruni, Niccolò Machiavelli.
  2. Add subtopic on Republic of Letters: “The new Republic of Letters, which connected European thinkers by a network of letters and printed books, provided the essential social institution driving European intellectual development.” Illustrative examples, Petrarch [pre-1450], Erasmus.
  3. Add Illustrative examples, New Conceptions of the Secular State: diplomacy, lo stato.

Topic 1.3 Northern Renaissance

Topic omits broad range of Northern Renaissance innovations in secular thought and illustrative examples of Christian humanism.

  1. Add subtopic on secular thought: “Northern Renaissance intellectual innovations included utopianism, skepticism, tolerance, educational reform, and legal humanism.”Illustrative examples, Thomas More, Michel de Montaigne, Juan Luis Vives, Étienne Pasquier, Edward Coke.
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Christian humanism: John Colet, Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples, Philip Melanchthon, Johann Reuchlin.

Topic 1.4 Printing

Topic omits broad range of cultural effects of printing, which also serve to distinguish Renaissance culture from its medieval forbear.

  1. Add subtopic on print culture: “Aspects of Renaissance print culture included the popular Reformation, democratized religion, ballads, newspapers, and mass literacy.”Illustrative examples, Lutheran broadsides, cheap Bibles, Martin Marprelate controversy.

Topic 1.5 New Monarchies

Topic omits parliamentary power, obscures distinctiveness of English and Dutch history, and improperly assumes exclusively secular motives for state religious reform.

  1. Change topic title to Monarchs and Parliaments.
  2. Emend KC-1.II.A: “Monarchs and princes, including the English rulers Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, initiated religious reforms that gave states greater control over religious life and morality.”
  3. Replace “Illustrative examples, State actions to control religion and morality” with “Illustrative examples, State actions to promote and regulate religion and morality”.
  4. Add subtopic on parliamentary power: “Renaissance parliaments struggled to retain or even gain power; the success of the Reformation inadvertently increased parliamentary power in the Netherlands and England.” Illustrative examples, Dutch Revolt, Henrician Reformation Parliament, Thirty-Nine Articles.

Topic 1.6 Technological Advances and the Age of Exploration

Topic omits individual discoverers and conquerors, above all Christopher Columbus.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-3.II: “Advances in navigation, cartography, and military technology, combined with individual exploits of exploration and conquest, enabled Europeans to establish overseas colonies and empires.”
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Discoverers: Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, Jacques Cartier, Henry Hudson.
  3. Add Illustrative examples, Conquerors: Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro.

Topic 1.7 Rivals on the World Stage

Topic omits piracy and privateering and anachronistically includes material from after ca. 1648.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-3.III.C “The Atlantic nations of France, England, and the Netherlands followed by sponsoring pirates and privateers and establishing their own colonies and trading networks to compete with Portuguese and Spanish dominance in the 17th century.” Illustrative examples, Pirates and Privateers: Francis Drake, Piet Hein.
  2. Move subtopic KC-1.3.III.D (“The competition for trade led to conflicts and rivalries among European powers in the 17th and 18th centuries.”) to Topic 3.4 Economic Development and Mercantilism.

Topic 1.8: Colonial Expansion and Columbian Exchange

Topic omits military character of Portuguese imperial expansion, cultural complexity of Spanish American empire, and existence of Russian imperial expansion.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-3.III.A: “The Portuguese navy defeated Muslim naval powers and achieved naval dominance in the Indian Ocean, which allowed Portugal to establish a commercial network along the African coasts, in South and East Asia, and in South America in the late 15th and throughout the 16thcenturies.” Illustrative examples, Portuguese military leaders: Francisco de Almeida, Afonso de Albuquerque.
  2. Add subtopic on Spanish colonial culture and society: “Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans jointly created a blended culture and society in Spain’s new American empire.” Illustrative examples, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Juan Garrido, Gaspar Yanga.
  3. Add subtopic on Russian imperial expansion: “Russia conquered theVolga khanates and all of Siberia in the 16th and 17th centuries, and also established commercial relations with China.” Illustrative example, Yermak Timofeyevich.

Topic 1.9 The Slave Trade

Topic fails to contextualize European slave system and omits European debates about morality of slavery.

  1. Add subtopic on comparative forced-labor regimes: “European enslavement of Africans emerged and intensified in a world of forced-labor regimes, including Muslim slavery, Eastern Europe’s Second Serfdom, African slavery, and Native American slavery.” Illustrative examples, Barbary Corsairs, Aztec tlacotin.
  2. Add subtopic on Renaissance European debates: “Renaissance Europeans engaged in profound debates about the morality of slavery; these led Spain to ban enslaving Native Americans, but to permit enslaving Africans.” Illustrative examples, Bartolomé de las Casas, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda.

Topic 1.10 The Commercial Revolution

Topic omits technological innovations.

  1. Add subtopic on economic innovation: “Agricultural, industrial, and technological innovations greatly advanced the Renaissance commercial revolution.” Illustrative examples, silk industry, metallurgy, docks.

Unit 1, New Topic: Eastern Empires

New topic restores omitted eastern half of Europe, including the Ottoman Empire, Poland, Muscovy, Orthodoxy, and Islam.

  1. Add subtopic on Ottoman Empire: “The Ottoman Empire completed its conquest of the Balkans and Hungary and conducted a maritime campaign for control of Mediterranean, while establishing Muslim overlordship on subjugated Christian nations.” Illustrative examples, Suleiman the Magnificent, Siege of Malta, janissaries, Phanariots.
  2. Add subtopic on Poland: “Poland developed a system of harsh serfdom, extensive Jewish participation in commerce and estate management, religious tolerance, noble republicanism, and elective monarchy as it dueled with Muscovy, Sweden, and the Ottoman Empire for dominance in Eastern Europe.” Illustrative examples, Union of Lublin, Warsaw Confederation, Henrician Articles, Sigismund III Vasa.
  3. Add subtopic on Muscovy: “Muscovy developed a distinctive combination of autocracy, Orthodox Christianity, harsh serfdom, and estrangement from and limited opening to the West; after sustained reverses, Muscovy, renamed Russia, finally achieved military superiority over Poland in the aftermath of the Cossack Revolt.” Illustrative examples, Ivan the Terrible, Time of Troubles, Bohdan Khmelnytsky.

UNIT 2: AGE OF REFORMATION, C. 1450 – C. 1648

Topic omits Henrician Reformation in England, improperly relegated to Topic 1.5 New Monarchies.

Topic 2.2 Luther and the Protestant Reformation

  1. Add subtopic on English Reformation: “Henry VIII led England, in the face of significant popular resistance, into a partial Reformation that adapted traditional anti-Papal and anti-monastic sentiment, expropriated papal powers on behalf of the monarchy, preserved episcopal and liturgical continuity with the Catholic Church, and expanded Parliamentary authority as Henry resorted to Parliamentary laws to legitimate his actions.” Illustrative examples, Act of Supremacy, Dissolution of the Monasteries, Pilgrimage of Grace,Book of Common Prayer.

Topic 2.3 Protestant Reform Continues

Topic omits religious liberty, Elizabethan Reformation in England (improperly relegated to Topic 1.5 New Monarchies), and popular embrace of Protestantism.

  1. Emend KC-2.II.B: “Some Protestants, including Calvin, resistance theorists, and the Anabaptists, refused to recognize the subordination of the church to the secular state, and thereby strengthened the principle and the practice of religious liberty both for churches and for individuals.”
  2. Add Illustrative examples, resistance theory: George Buchanan, De Jure Regni apud Scotos; Theodore Beza, Right of Magistrates; Anonymous,Vindiciae contra tyrannos.
  3. Add subtopic on Elizabethan Reformation: “Elizabeth fostered theological compromise to create a stable and enduring Church of England; unreconciled Englishmen founded traditions of Puritanism, Catholic recusancy, and separatism.” Illustrative examples, Thirty Nine Articles, Martin Marprelate, Robert Southwell, Robert Browne.
  4. Add subtopic on popular Protestantism: “Aspects of popular Protestantism included the cult of Protestant martyrs, popular Puritanism, providentialism, and the transformation of family structure and women’s social status.” Illustrative examples, John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Anne Askew, Magdalena Heymair.

Topic 2.4 Wars of Religion

Topic omits political liberty, religious liberty, the birth of the system of secular states, and the Habsburg confrontation with the Ottoman Empire.

  1. Add subtopic on political liberty: “England’s Parliament and the Netherlands’ States General institutionalized substantial political liberty by championing Protestantism.” Illustrative examples: Act of Abjuration, Act for the Queen’s Safety.
  2. Add subtopic on religious liberty: “The principle of religious freedom gained strength in the aftermath of the Thirty Years War and the English Civil Wars, both to manage the enduring fact of religious pluralism and as an attractive alternative to the devastation wrought by religious war.” Illustrative examples: John Milton, Areopagitica; irenicism.
  3. Emend KC-1.5.I.B: “The Peace of Westphalia (1648), which marked the effective end of the medieval ideal of universal Christendom and the birth of the modern system of secular states, accelerated the decline of the Holy Roman Empire by granting princes, bishops, and other local leaders control over religion.”
  4. Add Illustrative example, Secular state theory: Hugo Grotius, On the Law of War and Peace.
  5. Add Illustrative examples, Hapsburg confrontation with Ottoman Empire: Siege of Vienna (1529), Battle of Lepanto, Barbary corsairs, Mercedarian Friars (redemption of Christian slaves from Muslim captivity).

Topic 2.5 The Catholic Reformation

Topic minimizes exploration of character of Tridentine Catholicism.

  1. Add subtopic on Tridentine Catholicism: “Aspects of Tridentine Catholicism included mysticism, individualized devotion, catechism, new Papal claims to authority within the Catholic Church, and missionary campaigns both to Protestant Europe and to the non-European world.” Illustrative examples: Charles Borromeo, Francis Xavier, Marian devotion.

Topic 2.6 16th-Century Society and Politics

Topic omits broad range of cultural innovation.

  1. Add subtopic on cultural innovation: “New aspects of European culture included increased popular literacy, print culture, theater, rogue literature, court culture, and commercial manners.” Illustrative examples: textile pattern books; Spanish and English public theaters (corral de comedias, The Globe); Lazarillo de Tormes; dueling; Richard Dafforne, The Merchants Mirrour.
  2. Add subtopic on female rulers: “A cohort of successful female monarchs, regents, and viceroys, including Elizabeth I of England, Catherine de’ Medici of France, and Isabella of the Spanish Netherlands, normalized women’s exercise of power and provided the precedent for later ruling queens including Anne of England, Maria Theresa of Austria, and Catherine of Russia.” Illustrative examples, debate about female rulers: Elizabethan Cult of Gloriana, John Knox, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women (1558).

Topic 2.7 Art of the 16th Century: Mannerism and Baroque Art

Topic mistitled; excludes early 17th-century culture, including material improperly relegated to Topic 4.5 18th-Century Culture and Arts; excludes literature, music, dance, and gardens.

  1. Change topic title to Late Renaissance and Baroque Culture.
  2. Add subtopic on vernacular literature: “The rise of vernacular literature brought with it pioneering exploration of individual psychology in realistic settings.”Illustrative examples, Miguel de Cervantes, François Rabelais, Marguerite of Navarre, William Shakespeare, Torquato Tasso.
  3. Add subtopic on music and dance: “Renaissance and Baroque innovations in music and dance includedballet de cour, madrigals, masques, opera, and polyphony.” Illustrative examples, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina; Ballet de la Merlaison; Claudio Monteverdi, L’Orfeo; Ben Jonson, News from the New World Discovered in the Moon.
  4. Insert, from Topic 5 18th-Century Culture and Arts, subtopic KC-2.3.V.A: “Until about 1750, Baroque art and music promoted religious feeling and was employed by monarchs to illustrate state power.”
  5. Insert, from Topic 4.5 18th-Century Culture and Arts, Illustrative examples, Baroque artists and musicians who promoted religion or glorified monarchy: Diego Velásquez, Gian Bernini, George Friedrich Handel, J. S. Bach. Add to these illustrative examples: Versailles palace and gardens.


Topic 3.2 The English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution

Topic omits extraordinary importance of 17th-century English liberty.

  1. Replace subtopic KC-5.III.A with: “The English Civil War, which began as Parliamentary and Puritan rebellion against King Charles I, allowed Englishmen during the abeyance of royal power unprecedented ability to articulate arguments for liberty, democracy, and religious toleration, briefly established a regicidal republic, and set England on the path toward political and religious liberty.”
  1. Replace subtopic KC-1.II.A with: “The outcome of the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution established the freest and most militarily efficient state in Europe. A coalition of aristocrats and gentry operated through Parliament to restrain the monarchy and supplant France as the greatest European power, while the middle classes and the poor majority increased their liberties and their power by invoking, with slowly increasing effectiveness, ‘the rights of Englishmen.’”
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Stuart and Civil War Laws and Debates of Liberty: Petition of Right (1628), Habeas Corpus Act (1640), Dissolution Act (1641), Putney Debates (1647).
  3. Add Illustrative examples, institutions of liberty: common law, trial by jury, lapse of the Press Licensing Act (1695).
  1. Add Illustrative examples, theorists of liberty: Marchamont Nedham, James Harrington, Algernon Sidney, John Locke.
  2. Add to Illustrative examples, Outcomes of the English Civil War and Glorious Revolution: Toleration Act, ministerial accountability to Parliament, Union of England and Scotland, military triumph over France.

Topic 3.3 Continuities and Changes to Economic Practice and Development

Topic places misleading emphasis on importance of intercontinental trade and omits both middle class culture and scientific and technological improvements.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-2.2.I: “Early modern Europe, increasingly integrated by intracontinental transport infrastructure and commerce, developed a market economy that provided the foundation for its global role.”
  1. Replace subtopic KC-2.II.D with: “Eastern European wheat exports, intensive Atlantic fishing, and European farmers’ adoption of American crops such as the potato and the tomato jointly increased the food supply in Europe.”
  1. Add subtopic on strengthening middle class: “A strengthening middle class created a new society and culture whose distinctive emphasis upon the ideals of self-control, individualism, and entrepreneurialism, particularly strong in denominations such as Huguenots and Quakers, produced increasing economic growth.”
  1. Add subtopic on scientific and technological improvements: “Scientific and technological improvements that promoted economic development included the development of crop rotation and model farms, the construction of turnpikes, aqueducts, canals, and lighthouses, and innovations in producing cement, porcelain, and glassware.” Illustrative examples, Four Field System, Eddystone Lighthouse, Dresden china, Ravenscroft lead glass.

Topic 3.4 Economic Development and Mercantilism

Topic omits colonial trade rivalries, improperly relegated to Topic 1.7 Rivals on the World Stage; improperly characterizes colonial policy as purely exploitative; places misleading emphasis on importance of intercontinental trade; omits Indian cotton; and omits individual theorists and practitioners of mercantilism.

  1. Insert, from Topic 7 Rivals on the World Stage, subtopic KC-3.III.D (“The competition for trade led to conflicts and rivalries among European powers in the 17th and 18th centuries.”). Add Illustrative examples, Trade rivalries: Anglo-French conflicts in India, Anglo-French conflicts in North America.
  2. Emend subtopic KC-2.II.A: “European states followed mercantilist policies by pacifying, investing in, and drawing resources from colonies in the New World and elsewhere.”
  3. Emend subtopic KC-2.2.II.C: “Overseas products and influences contributed minorly to the development of a consumer culture in Europe.”
  4. Emend subtopic KC-2.2.II.D: “The importation and transplantation of agricultural products from the Americas, adding to the development of Eastern European wheat exports and intensive Atlantic fishing, contributed to an increase in the food supply of Europe.”
  5. Emend Illustrative examples, Overseas products: Replace “Silks and other fabrics” with “Silk, cotton, and other fabrics”.
  6. Add Illustrative examples, Theorists and practitioners of mercantilism: Antoine de Montchrestien, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Thomas Mun.

Topic 3.5 The Dutch Golden Age

Topic omits Dutch liberty, Dutch sinews of power, and Dutch Golden Age culture; part of Dutch Golden Age culture improperly relegated to Topic 4.5 18th-Century Culture and Arts.

  1. Add subtopic on Dutch liberty: “The Dutch Republic provided a theoretical and practical model of freedom to Europe; aspects of Dutch liberty included the Estates General, federalism, religious toleration, and commercial republicanism.” Illustrative examples, Johan and Pieter de la Court, Johan de Witt.
  2. Add subtopic on Dutch sinews of power: “The Dutch Republic held its own in conflicts with the larger powers of Spain, France, and England; the Dutch sinews of power included financial innovations, a highly trained army, maritime dominance, and colonial empire.” Illustrative examples, Dutch East India Company, Maurice of Nassau, Michiel de Ruyter.
  3. Add subtopic on Dutch Golden Age culture: “The Dutch Republic produced a golden age based on mercantile leadership, global trade, and mass prosperity; its cultural achievements included artistic realism, Calvinist theology, and theories of international law.” Illustrative examples, Hugo Grotius, Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer, Joost van den Vondel. This subtopic incorporates material taken from Topic 4.5 18th-Century Culture and Arts: Illustrative examples, Artistic movements that reflected commercial society or Enlightenment ideals, Dutch painting, Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer.

Topic 3.6 Balance of Power

Topic omits both English diplomacy and the intellectual history of conceptions of balance of power; topic improperly incorporates histories of Poland, Austria, and the Ottoman Empire.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-5.II.A: “Following the Peace of Westphalia, religion declined in importance as a cause for warfare among European states; the newly articulated concept of the balance of power played an important role in structuring diplomatic and military objectives.”Illustrative examples, Conceptions of balance of power: Charles Davenant, Essays on the Balance of Power; Emer de Vattel, The Law of Nations; Frederick the Great, Anti-Machiavel.
  2. Add subtopic on English diplomacy: “England, whose rising financial and naval power combined with its defensible island location to give it diplomatic freedom to maneuver, practiced successful balance-of-power diplomacy to prevent any rival state from establishing dominance on the European continent.” Illustrative examples, Treaty of Utrecht, William Pitt the Elder.
  1. Move subtopic KC-2.1.I.D (“The inability of the Polish monarchy to consolidate its authority over the nobility led to Poland’s partition by Prussia, Russia, and Austria, and its disappearance from the map of Europe.”) to Unit 3, New Topic: Eastern Europe’s Modernizing Empires.
  2. Move subtopic KC-2.1.III.B (“After the Austrian defeat of the Turks in 1683 at the Battle of Vienna, the Ottomans ceased their westward expansion.”) to Unit 3, New Topic: Eastern Europe’s Modernizing Empires.

Topic 3.7 Absolutist Approaches to Power

Topic improperly includes autocratic Russia and improperly excludes absolutisms of Western, Southern, and Central Europe.

  1. Move subtopic KC-2.I.E (“Peter the Great ‘westernized’ the Russian state and society, transforming political, religious, and cultural institutions; Catherine the Great continued this process.”), and accompanying Illustrative Examples: Peter the Great of Russia, Russian westernization, with sub-headings Russian Academy of Sciences, Education, Western Fashion, and Expanded military, to Unit 3, New Topic: Eastern Europe’s Modernizing Empires.
  2. Add subtopic on absolutist institutions beyond France: “Beyond France, the Spanish Habsburgs’ absolutist modernization proved abortive, English absolutism failed, Scandinavia moved toward absolutism, and Germany developed many “well-ordered police states”; the supra-legal Russian autocracy remained distinct from law-bound Western European absolutism.” Illustrative examples, Denmark’s King’s Law(1665), Sweden’s Great Reduction (1680).

Unit 3, New Topic: Eastern Europe’s Modernizing Empires

Topic unites material on Austria and Prussia (improperly relegated to Topic 4.6 Enlightened and Other Approaches to Power), Poland, and the Ottoman Empire (Topic 3.6 Balance of Power), and Russia (Topic 3.7 Absolutist Approaches to Power); topic replaces misleading language describing Austria, Prussia, and the Ottoman Empire.

  1. Insert, from Topic 4.6 Enlightened and Other Approaches to Power, subtopic KC-2.III.A (“As a result of the Holy Roman Empire’s limitation of sovereignty in the Peace of Westphalia, Prussia rose to power, and the Habsburgs, centered in Austria, shifted their empire eastward.”), and accompanying Illustrative Examples: Prussian and Habsburg Rulers: Maria Theresa of Austria, Frederick William I of Prussia, Frederick II of Prussia.
  2. Replace subtopic KC-1.III.Awith: “After the Peace of Westphalia ended the possibility of German unity within the Holy Roman Empire, power shifted to Germany’s territorial states. Militarized Brandenburg became the Kingdom of Prussia, and conquered Silesia from Austria, while Austria conquered Hungary (including Slovakia, Transylvania, and Croatia) from the Ottoman Empire.”
  3. Insert, from Topic 7 Absolutist Approaches to Power, subtopic KC-2.1.I.E (“Peter the Great ‘westernized’ the Russian state and society, transforming political, religious, and cultural institutions; Catherine the Great continued this process.”), and accompanying Illustrative Examples: Peter the Great of Russia, Russian westernization, with sub-headings Russian Academy of Sciences, Education, Western Fashion, and Expanded military. Add Illustrative example, iron foundries.
  4. Insert, from Topic 3.6 Balance of Power, subtopic KC-2.1.I.D (“The inability of the Polish monarchy to consolidate its authority over the nobility led to Poland’s partition by Prussia, Russia, and Austria, and its disappearance from the map of Europe.”) AddIllustrative examples, liberum veto, Kościuszko Uprising.
  5. Insert, from Topic 3.6 Balance of Power, KC-2.1.III.B (“After the Austrian defeat of the Turks in 1683 at the Battle of Vienna, the Ottomans ceased their westward expansion.”)
  6. Replace subtopic KC-2.1.III.B with: “The Ottoman Empire successfully captured Crete from Venice in 1669, but failed to capture Vienna in 1683. In the next century, successive Austrian and Russian campaigns detached Hungary and the north coast of the Black Sea from the increasingly feeble Ottoman Empire, which failed to modernize economically and militarily, and reduced its European territory to the Balkans.”Illustrative examples, Treaty of Karlowitz, Imperial Naval Engineering School.


Topic 4.2 The Scientific Revolution

Topic omits the social institutions of science, new scientific instruments, philosophy, mathematics, and disciplinary innovations in biology, chemistry, optics, and physics.

  1. Add subtopic on social institutions of science: “The social institutions of science included royal patronage, church patronage, the Republic of Letters, learned societies, and the growth of a lay public interested in scientific developments.” Illustrative examples, Medicean patronage of Galileo; Gregorian calendar; The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge; Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (1686).
  2. Add subtopic on mathematical developments: “Mathematical developments included calculus, logarithms, number theory, probability theory, graph theory, and early calculating machines.” Illustrative examples, Leonhard Euler, Pierre de Fermat, Gottfried Leibniz, John Napier, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton.
  3. Add subtopic on disciplinary innovation: “Scientists made important discoveries in disciplines including biology, chemistry, optics, and physics.” Illustrative examples, Robert Boyle, William Gilbert, Otto von Guericke, Christiaan Huygens, Johannes Kepler, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Isaac Newton.
  4. Add Illustrative examples, innovative philosophers: Thomas Hobbes, Samuel von Pufendorf, Baruch Spinoza.
  5. Add Illustrative examples, new scientific instruments: barometers, clocks, microscopes, telescopes, vacuum pumps.

Topic 4.3 The Enlightenment

Topic mischaracterizes relationship of Scientific Revolution to the Enlightenment; omits liberty; mischaracterizes Enlightenment conceptions of women; truncates the social framework of Enlightenment thought; omits conservative strands of Enlightenment thought; truncates and mischaracterizes Enlightenment religious thought; and truncates the range of Enlightenment thought by its limited catalogue of illustrative examples.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-2.3.I.A: “Intellectuals, including Voltaire and Diderot, began to use the Scientific Revolution as a model for how to think about society and human institutions.”
  2. Emend subtopic KC-3.I.B: “Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau developed new political models based on the concepts of liberty, natural rights, and the social contract.”
  3. Replace subtopic KC-2.I.C with: “Intellectuals applied Enlightenment principles of equality ever more broadly; some, such as the Marquis de Condorcet, innovatively argued that these principles should apply to women.” Replace associated Illustrative examples with: “Illustrative examples, Individuals who debated the status of women: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft.”
  4. Emend subtopic KC-2.3.II.A: “A variety of institutions, including the Republic of Letters, salons, and the popular press explored and disseminated Enlightenment culture.”
  5. Emend subtopic KC-2.3.III.A: “Political theories, including John Locke’s, conceived of society as composed of individuals driven by self-interest and united by sociability, argued that the state originated in the consent of the governed (i.e., a social contract) rather than in divine right or tradition, and concluded that individuals and governments should work to expand the political, religious, and social spheres of liberty.”
  6. Emend subtopic KC-2.3.1: “Enlightenment thought that focused on concepts such as empiricism, skepticism, human reason, rationalism, and classical sources of knowledge innovated upon, increasingly challenged, and inspired new arguments to buttress the prevailing patterns of thought with respect to social order, institutions of government, and the role of faith.”
  7. Emend subtopic KC-2.3.IV.A: “Some intellectuals, including Voltaire and Diderot, developed new philosophies of deism, skepticism, and atheism; while figures such as William Warburton and Moses Mendelssohn engaged with Enlightenment principles and incorporated them into religious thought and practice.
  8. Emend subtopic KC-2.3.IV.B: “Religion was viewed increasingly as cultivation of interior spirituality, a matter of tolerance, and of private rather than public concern.” Add to associated Illustrative examples, Religious Developments: Pierre Nicole (Jansenism), George Fox (Quakerism), Avvakum Petrov (Old Believers), Ludovico Muratori (Catholic scholarship), Nicolaus Zinzendorf (Moravian Church), Baal Shem Tov (Hasidic Judaism), John Wesley (Methodism), Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment).
  9. Replace “Illustrative examples, Works applying scientific principles to society” with “Illustrative examples, Works applying principles of liberty to society.” Add to Illustrative examples, Works applying principles of liberty to society: John Locke, Two Treatises of Government.
  10. Add subtopic on enlightened humanitarianism: “Enlightened principles and religious faith combined to inspire a new movement of enlightened humanitarianism.” Illustrative examples, enlightened humanitarianism: Foundling Hospital (1739), Royal Institution for Blind Youth (1784), John Howard’s The State of the Prisons (1777),Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade (1787).
  11. Add to Illustrative examples, Intellectuals: Edmund Burke, Edward Gibbon, Immanuel Kant.

Topic 4.4 18th-Century Society and Demographics

Topic omits link between demographic growth and imperial expansion; topic mischaracterizes the history of inoculation to forward polemical feminist history.

  1. Add subtopic on imperial expansion: “The growing number of Europeans provided the manpower for imperial expansion as soldiers, sailors, merchants, and settlers, as well as an expanding market for colonial goods.”
  2. Add to Illustrative examples, Inoculation and disease control: Edward Jenner.

Topic 4.5 18th-Century Culture and Arts

Topic omits Enlightenment aesthetics and a broad range of 18th-century topics and individuals; topic improperly incorporates material from the Baroque and the Dutch Golden Age.

  1. Add subtopic on Enlightenment aesthetics: “An increasingly egalitarian, conversational aesthetic spread out from Parisian salons to provide the model for much of European aesthetics and fine arts.” Illustrative examples, Belles-lettres theory, rococo art, interior décor, Ballet d’action, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Lancelot “Capability” Brown.
  2. Add to Illustrative examples, Artistic movements that reflected commercial society or Enlightenment ideals: William Hogarth, The Circus in Bath.
  3. Move, to Topic 2.7 Art of the 16th Century: Mannerism and Baroque Art, subtopic KC-2.V.A: “Until about 1750, Baroque art and music promoted religious feeling and was employed by monarchs to illustrate state power.”
  4. Move, to Topic 2.7 Art of the 16th Century: Mannerism and Baroque Art,Illustrative examples, Baroque artists and musicians who promoted religion or glorified monarchy: Diego Velásquez, Gian Bernini, George Friedrich Handel, J. S. Bach.
  5. Move, to Topic 3.5 The Dutch Golden Age, Illustrative examples, Artistic movements that reflected commercial society or Enlightenment ideals, Dutch painting, Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer.

Topic 4.6 Enlightened and Other Approaches to Power

Topic omits Southern Europe and a broad range of illustrative examples of types of Enlightened reforms; topic improperly includes material on narrative of Prussian and Austrian history.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-2.I.C: “In the 18th century, a number of states in southern, eastern, and central Europe experimented with enlightened absolutism.”
  2. Add to Illustrative examples, Enlightened monarchs: Charles III of Spain, Joseph I of Portugal (Marquis of Pombal).
  3. Add Illustrative examples, Enlightened absolutist theories and policies: Cameralism, administrative modernization, anticlericalism, toleration, legal reform, serf emancipation.
  4. Move to Unit 3, New Topic: Eastern Europe’s Modernizing Empires, subtopic KC-2.1.III.A (“As a result of the Holy Roman Empire’s limitation of sovereignty in the Peace of Westphalia, Prussia rose to power, and the Habsburgs, centered in Austria, shifted their empire eastward.”), and accompanying Illustrative Examples: Prussian and Habsburg Rulers: Maria Theresa of Austria, Frederick William I of Prussia, Frederick II of Prussia.


Topic 5.2 The Rise of Global Markets

Topic omits broad range of illustrative examples and euphemizes Europe’s imperial conquests.

  1. Add Illustrative examples, European Policy and Global Markets: Dutch East India Company, British East India Company, British Navigation Acts, British slave trade asiento in Spanish America, Calico Acts, French exclusif mitigé, Trial of William Hastings. Note: The Dutch East India Company and the British East India Company also appear as Illustrative examples of Innovations in banking and finance in Topic 10 The Commercial Revolution. Both subtopics should cover these two trading companies.
  2. Add Illustrative examples, European Global Warfare: sepoy armies, line-of-battle naval tactics.
  3. Add Illustrative examples, Imperial conquerors: Robert Clive, Marquis Dupleix, William Pitt the Elder.

Topic 5.3 Britain’s Ascendency

Topic omits extraordinary importance of 18th-century British liberty in its politics, economy, and culture, as well as British protoindustrialization and scientific advance.

  1. Add subtopic, British liberty: “Britain’s unique political system, founded on Parliamentary sovereignty, ministerial accountability, widespread individual liberty, and a relatively egalitarian political culture, provided the precondition both for Britain’s social and economic dynamism and for its military and imperial success.”
  2. Add subtopic, British protoindustrialization: “Britain’s intensifying fiscal, commercial, and technological innovation led it via several generations of protoindustrialization to pioneer the world’s first Industrial Revolution.”
  3. Add Illustrative examples, Politics of liberty: prime ministership of Robert Walpole (1721-1742), elections of John Wilkes (1768-1774), Somersett’s Case (1772), William Wilberforce’s campaign to abolish the slave trade (1789-1806).
  4. Add Illustrative examples, Culture of liberty: Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal (1729), theatrical run of The Beggar’sOpera (1728), Bluestockings.
  1. Add Illustrative examples, Theorists of liberty: William Blackstone, Edmund Burke, John Trenchard.
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Military leaders: John Churchill (Duke of Marlborough), Horatio Viscount Nelson, Arthur Wellesley (Duke of Wellington).
  3. Add Illustrative examples, Exploration and science: Joseph Banks, James Cook, William and Caroline Herschel, Joseph Priestley.
  4. Add Illustrative examples, Fiscal and commercial policy and advances: Bank of England, Inclosure Acts, insurance companies, Turnpike Acts.
  5. Add Illustrative examples, Industrial and technological advances: steam engines, precision tools, marine chronometers, textile machinery, blast furnaces, factories.
  6. Add Illustrative examples, Inventors: Thomas Newcomen, John Harrison, James Watt, James Hargreaves, John Wilkinson.

Topic 5.4 The French Revolution

Topic mischaracterizes breakdown of French monarchy and progress of French Revolution; minimizes Revolutionary slaughter; and omits liberty, French military leadership, and illustrative examples of French military leaders.

  1. Replace KC-2.1.IV.A: “The French Revolution resulted from short-term fiscal and economic crises in the 1780s that compounded the long-term breakdown of the authority of the French monarchy and nobility, both socially and politically brittle and subject to increasingly radical Enlightenment critiques.”
  2. Add subtopic on parallel revolutions: “The middle classes, urban poor, peasantry, and regional leaders undertook parallel revolutions that left France in chaos until the revolutionary republic could re-establish state authority.”
  3. Emend KC-2.1.IV.C: “After the execution of Louis XVI, the radical Jacobin republic led by Robespierre responded to opposition at home and war abroad by instituting the Reign of Terror, mass slaughter of peasants in the Vendée, fixing prices and wages, and pursuing a policy of de-Christianization.”
  4. Emend KC-2.1.IV.D: “Revolutionary armies, raised by mass conscription and led by officers promoted for talent rather than for noble rank, sought to bring the changes initiated in France, symbolized by the revolutionary slogan of liberté, egalité, fraternité, to the rest of Europe.”
  5. Add Illustrative examples, Military leaders: Napoleon Bonaparte, Lazare Carnot, Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, André Masséna, Jean Moreau.

Topic 5.5 The French Revolution’s Effects

Topic assigns misleading importance to Haiti by abbreviating coverage of French Revolution’s effects within Europe.

  1. Add subtopic, European ideological division: “The French Revolution divided Europeans between supporters and opponents of the French Revolution, which enduringly crystalized ideological and partisan divisions within each nation.”
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Supporters of the revolution: Batavian Republic, Society of United Irishmen, Thomas Paine, Andreas Joseph Hofmann.
  3. Add Illustrative examples, Opponents of the revolution: Joseph de Maistre, Louis de Bonald.

Topic 5.6 Napoleon’s Rise, Dominance, and Defeat

Topic omits transformation of socioeconomic power within France, the causes and course of British victory, devastation of Europe, and reform by traditional regimes.

  1. Add subtopic, smallholder power: “Napoleon’s rule confirmed the revolutionary redistribution of French land from the church and the nobility to middle-class and peasant smallholders, and ensured that the balance of economic, social, and political power in France would remain with these smallholders for generations.”
  2. Add subtopic, British victory: “Britain successfully responded to Napoleon’s military triumphs and economic blockade by colonial conquest, seeking new markets beyond Europe, Union with Ireland, forced-draft industrialization, diplomatic alliances, economic subsidies of continental military powers, naval warfare, transporting and maintaining an ultimately victorious army in the Iberian peninsula, and finally by defeat of Napoleon’s own army at the Battle of Waterloo.” Illustrative examples, Royal Arsenal, The Battle of Trafalgar, Lines of Torres Vedras, Treaty of Chaumont.
  3. Emend subtopic KC-2.1.V.C: “Napoleon’s expanding empire left millions dead from his wars and created both nationalist responses throughout Europe and creative adaptations of France’s reforms to strengthen traditional regimes.”
  4. Add to Illustrative examples, Nationalist responses to Napoleon: Prussian Stein-Hardenberg reforms, Austrian levée en masse, British militia and volunteers.

Topic 5.7 The Congress of Vienna

Topic omits long-term success of Congress of Vienna and illustrative examples of diplomats.

  1. Emend KC-2.1.V.D: “After the defeat of Napoleon by a coalition of European powers, the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815) attempted to restore the balance of power in Europe and contain the danger of revolutionary or nationalistic upheavals in the future. No general European war would recur until 1914, nearly a century after the Congress of Vienna.”
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Diplomats at the Congress of Vienna: Prince Metternich, Viscount Castlereagh, Tsar Alexander I, Prince Talleyrand.

Topic 5.8 Romanticism

Topic mischaracterizes religion, includes no illustrative examples, and anachronistically includes John Wesley and Methodism.

  1. Replace subtopic KC-2.3.VI.C with: “Innovative religious thought and movements emerged at the same time as Romanticism, many of which shared with it the critique of reason devoid of passion.”
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Religious thought and movements: Clapham Saints, François-René de Chateaubriand, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Prussian Union of Churches.
  3. Move to Topic 4.3 The Enlightenment, subtopic KC-2.IV.B, reference to John Wesley and Methodism.


Topic 6.2 The Spread of Industry Throughout Europe

Topic minimizes extraordinary importance of Britain’s pioneering industrial revolution as it omits liberty, acknowledgment of Britain’s prior proto-industrialization, Victorian middle-class culture, individual enterprise, the rationale for laissez-faire policy, the British-built international financial system, and a supportive range of illustrative examples.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-3.I.A: “Britain’s ready supplies of coal, iron ore, and other essential raw materials promoted its continued economic growth.”
  2. Emend subtopic KC-3.1.I: “Great Britain established its industrial dominance through the mechanization of textile production, iron and steel production, and new transportation systems in conjunction with uniquely favorable institutions and culture of political and social liberty; its increasingly democratic parliamentary government effectively promoted commercial and industrial interests.”
  3. Emend subtopic KC-1.I.B: “Economic institutions, secure property rights, the development of contract law, widespread education, Victorian values of self-reliance, piety, and diligence, and individual enterprise by engineers, inventors, and businessmen helped Britain lead the process of industrialization, largely through private initiative.”
  4. Add Illustrative examples, British engineers, inventors, and businessmen: Isembard Kingdom Brunel, Henry Bessemer, William Pilkington.
  5. Replace KC-3.1.I.C, whose substance has been moved to KC-3.1.I: “Britain’s parliamentary government promoted laissez-faire policies of government non-intervention in the economy so as to promote economic growth and the general welfare.”
  6. Replace “Illustrative examples, Commercial interest in government” with “Illustrative examples, Laissez-faire policies.” Add to Illustrative examples, Laissez-faire policies: Gladstone Budget (1860).
  7. Add subtopic, administrative modernization: “Administrative reformers created a new and more efficient civil service bureaucracy, animated by ideals of meritocracy and public service.” Illustrative examples, Northcote-Trevelyan Report (1854), Indian Civil Service.
  8. Add subtopic, international framework: “Britain promoted a system of international free trade, buttressed by an international financial system founded on the gold standard.” Illustrative examples: Bank Charter Act, Cobden-Chevalier treaty, free-trade empire, American grain invasion.

Topic 6.3 Second Wave Industrialization and Its Effects

Topic omits protectionist motivations, German resource endowment, and industrial science.

  1. Emend KC-3.III.C: “Economic protectionism and volatile business cycles in the last quarter of the 19th century led corporations and governments to challenge the British model of laissez-faire and free trade and try to manage the market through a variety of methods, including monopolies, banking practices, and tariffs.”
  2. Emend KC-3.IV.A: “Industrialization in Prussia, fueled by its concentrations of coal and iron ore in the Ruhr and Silesia, allowed that state to become the leader of a unified Germany, which subsequently underwent rapid industrialization under government sponsorship.”
  3. Add subtopic, industrial science: “Businesses increasingly applied scientific research to industrial innovation; German chemistry notably forwarded its dyes and pharmaceuticals industries.” Illustrative examples: aspirin, aniline dyes.

Topic 6.4 Social Effects of Industrialization

Topic omits beneficial effects of laissez-faire policies, assumes a universal preference for birth control, and omits sustained treatment of 19th-century mass culture.

  1. Emend KC-3.2.III.B: “By the end of the century, laissez-faire policies promoting economic growth, scientific and technological advances, higher wages, laws restricting the labor of children and women, social welfare programs, improved diet, and increased access to birth control for those who preferred smaller families affected the quality of life for the working class.”
  2. Add subtopic, mass culture: “A new mass culture formed, centered upon the pleasures of the working and middle classes, including pubs, music halls, sporting events, tourism, popular newspapers, department stores, and museums.” Illustrative examples, Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, La Doyenne cycling race, Wertheim department store.

Topic 6.5 The Concert of Europe and European Conservatism

Topic omits reformist and popular conservatism, anachronistically relies for its illustrative examples on early 19th-century conservatives, and omits illustrative examples of conservatives from the mid- and late-19th century.

  1. Add subtopic, reformist conservatism: “Reformist conservatism carried out substantial political, economic, and social reforms, to strengthen the established order against revolutionary challenges.” Illustrative examples, Robert Peel (Metropolitan Police Act, 1829), Otto von Bismarck (Health Insurance Bill, 1883).
  2. Add subtopic, popular conservatism: “Conservative thinkers and politicians developed a democratic conservative politics with mass appeal.” Illustrative examples, Napoleon III, Benjamin Disraeli, German Navy League.
  3. Move Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre in Illustrative examples, Influential conservative influences to Topic 5.5 The French Revolution’s Effects, Illustrative examples, Opponents of the revolution. (Where Edmund Burke is already listed.)
  4. Add to Illustrative examples, Influential conservatives: Thomas Carlyle, Charles Maurras.

Topic 6.6 Reactions and Revolutions

Topic mischaracterizes Russian history, minimizes revolutionary violence, and omits illustrative examples of individual revolutionaries.

  1. Emend KC-3.4.II.D: “In Russia, although autocratic leaders pushed through a program of reform and modernization, including the emancipation of the serfs, revolutionary movements resorted to terrorizing assassination and forced the Tsarist government to adopt a constitution during the Russian Revolution of 1905.”
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Revolutionaries: Karl Marx, Peter Kropotkin, Georgi Plekhanov.

Topic 6.7 Ideologies of Change and Reform Movements

Topic fails to distinguish between classic liberalism and social liberalism, and omits reform socialists and religious reform.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-3.3.I.A: “Classical liberals emphasized individual liberty, limited government, popular sovereignty, individual rights, and enlightened self-interest as the best means to promote the general welfare, but debated the extent to which all groups in society should actively participate in governance.”
  2. Replace “Illustrative examples, Liberals” with “Illustrative examples, Classical Liberals.”
  3. Add subtopic, reform socialists: “Reform socialists parted ways from their revolutionary comrades and committed themselves to peaceful, parliamentary, and democratic means to achieve socialist ends.” Illustrative examples, Fabian Society, Eduard Bernstein, Jean Jaurès.
  4. Add subtopic, religious reform: “Christian reformers, opposed both to secular laissez-faire and to secular socialism, combined religious faith with calls for extensive social transformation.” Illustrative examples, Anti-Slavery Society, Leo Tolstoy, Rerum novarum.

Topic 6.8 19th-Century Social Reform

Topic omits iconically important illustrative examples.

  1. Add to Illustrative examples, Reform movements and social reformers: Florence Nightingale, The Salvation Army.

Topic 6.9 Institutional Responses and Reform

Topic omits illustrative examples of individual reformers.

  1. Add Illustrative examples, Social liberals: Léon Bourgeois, David Lloyd George, Franz Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch.

Unit 6, New Topic: 19th-Century Religion

Topic restores omitted history of 19th-century religion, including religious revival, religious innovation, and secularization.

  1. Add subtopic, religious revival: “Aspects of traditional Christianity that gained renewed importance during the 19th century included evangelical revival, missionary societies, the popular pilgrimages, and Marian veneration.”Illustrative examples, Oxford Movement, Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Thérèse of Lisieux, London Missionary Society.
  2. Add subtopic, religious innovation: “Innovations in religious thought included Biblical criticism, comparative religious studies, Christian nationalism, Christian ethics, and liberal theology.” Illustrative examples, Søren Kierkegaard, Max Müller, Charles Péguy, David Strauss.
  3. Add subtopic, secularization: “Many Europeans abandoned their traditional faiths; aspects of secularization included skepticism, socialism, and anticlericalism.” Illustrative examples, Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach,” Darwinism, Marxism, Kulturkampf, laïcité.


Topic 7.2 Nationalism

Topic omits reference to Irish nationalism.

  1. Add to Illustrative examples, Nationalists: Charles Parnell.

Topic 7.3 National Unification and Diplomatic Tensions

Topic omits role of religion in 19th-century diplomacy.

  1. Add subtopic, religious affinities: “Religious sentiment and affinity continued to influence international diplomacy.” Illustrative examples, Napoleon III’s defense of the Papacy, Serbo-Russian alliance, Gladstonian foreign policy.

Topic 7.4 Darwinism, Social Darwinism

Topic omits constructive intellectual influence of Darwinism in multiple scientific disciplines.

    1. Add subtopic, intellectual influence: “Darwinian biology stimulated the development of several domains of scientific and social-scientific inquiry, including paleontology, genetics, sociology, and zoology.” Illustrative examples, Ernst Haeckel, Herbert Spencer, Hugo de Vries.

Topic 7.5 The Age of Progress and Modernity

Topic omits extraordinary importance of 19th-century European creation of virtually every modern intellectual discipline, including humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as the creation of the modern research university and the ideal of academic freedom.

  1. Add thematic focus, intellectual disciplines: “19th-century European thinkers invented much of the disciplinary architecture of modern knowledge.”
  2. Add subtopic within intellectual disciplines, humanities and social sciences: “19th-century European thinkers invented much of the disciplinary architecture of the modern humanities and social sciences.” Illustrative examples, Heinrich Schliemann (archaeology); Heinrich Wölfflin (art history); David Ricardo, Carl Menger, Vilfredo Pareto (economics); Leopold von Ranke (history); Jean-François Champollion, Ferdinand de Saussure (linguistics); Georg Hegel, Edmund Husserl, Bertrand Russell (philosophy); Émile Durkheim (sociology).
  3. Add subtopic within intellectual disciplines, sciences: “19th-century European thinkers invented much of the disciplinary architecture of the modern sciences.” Illustrative examples, Marie Curie, Dmitri Mendeleev (chemistry); Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace (computer science); George Boole, Georg Cantor, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Nikolai Lobachevsky (mathematics); James Clerk Maxwell, Ludwig Boltzmann (physics).
  4. Add subtopic within intellectual disciplines, institutional architecture: “19th-century Europeans constructed most of the institutional architecture of modern inquiry.” Illustrative examples, research university, ideals of academic freedom (Lehrfreiheit, Lernfreiheit).

Topic 7.6 New Imperialism: Motivations and Methods

Topic omits concern for the spiritual and bodily welfare of colonial subjects, as well as European ethical critiques of imperialism.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-3.5.I: “European nations were driven by economic, political, religious, and cultural motivations in their new imperial ventures in Asia and Africa.”
  2. Emend subtopic KC-3.5.I.C: “European imperialists justified overseas expansion and rule by claiming missionary imperatives, cultural and racial superiority, and a desire to promote both the interests of the imperialists and the welfare of the imperialized.”
  3. Replace “Illustrative examples, Ideas of cultural and racial superiority” with “Illustrative examples, Ideas of superiority and service.” Add to these examples: Father Damien.
  4. Emend subtopic KC-3.5.II.C: “Advances in medicine enabled European survival in Africa and Asia and began to improve life expectancy among colonized peoples.”
  5. Add subtopic, ethical critiques: “Liberals and socialists developed overlapping critiques of imperialism.” Illustrative examples, John A. Hobson, Congo Reform Association, Vladimir Lenin. Illustrative examples taken from Topic 7.7: Imperialism’s Global Effects, Illustrative examples, Participants in the imperialism debate.

Topic 7.7: Imperialism’s Global Effects

Topic improperly incorporates material on European ethical critiques of imperialism; topic omits illustrative examples of individual imperialists.

  1. Move material in Illustrative examples, Participants in the imperialism debateto Illustrative examples, Promoters of imperialism and toTopic 7.6 New Imperialism: Motivations and Methods, subtopic ethical critiques, Illustrative examples.
  2. AddIllustrative examples, Promoters of imperialism: Joseph Chamberlain, Jules Ferry, Pan-German League. “Pan-German League” taken from Illustrative examples, Participants in the imperialism debate.
  3. AddIllustrative examples, Notable imperialists: Cecil Rhodes, Lord Curzon, Hubert Lyautey, Leopold II of Belgium.

Topic 7.8 19th-Century Culture and Arts

Topic omits religion and curtails the broad range of modern artists outside of France.

  1. Add Illustrative examples, Religious writers: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Joris-Karl Huysmans.
  2. Move Fyodor Dostoevsky from Illustrative examples, Realist artists and authors toIllustrative examples, Religious writers.
  3. Add to Illustrative examples, Modern artists: Umberto Boccioni, Edward Burne Jones, Antoni Gaudí, Wassily Kandinsky, Gustav Klimt, Franz Marc, William Morris, Alfons Mucha, Edvard Munch, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Joaquín Sorolla.
  4. Add subtopic, traditional art: “Traditional artistic styles retained their popularity and prestige throughout the nineteenth century.” Illustrative examples, Academic art, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Edwin Landseer, Karl von Piloty.


Topic 8.2 World War I

Topic omits who won World War I and why it mattered.

  1. Add subtopic, Allied victory: “Allied victory at great price ensured the triumph of Britain and France, the two free and democratic European great powers, and the defeat of semi-authoritarian Germany’s campaign to achieve European hegemony.” Illustrative examples, Miracle of the Marne, Verdun, Battle of the Somme, French Army Mutinies, German Spring Offensive, Hundred Days Offensive.

Topic 8.3 The Russian Revolution and Its Effects

Topic omits Bolsheviks’ policies of economic revolution, domestic terror, military conquest, and extension of influence abroad via local communist parties.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-4.2.I.C: “The Bolshevik takeover, which brought with it one-party dictatorship and government seizure of most privately owned industry and commerce, prompted a protracted civil war between communist forces and their opponents, who were aided by foreign powers.”
  2. Add subtopic, Bolshevik terror: “The Bolshevik regime established itself by terror, the establishment of an unprecedently efficient secret police, and economic policies that exacerbated widespread famine in rural Russia.” Illustrative examples, NKVD, War Communism, Kronstadt Rebellion, Volga Famines.
  3. Add subtopic, Bolshevik expansion: “Poland turned back Bolshevik attempts to use the Red Army to spread Communism through Europe; the Bolsheviks afterward focused on securing the survival of the new Soviet Union, which had reunited much of the old Russian Empire, and the extension of influence abroad via local communist parties.” Illustrative examples, Battle of the Vistula, Communist International, Socialism in One Country.

Topic 8.4 Versailles Conference and Peace Settlement

Topic omits John Maynard Keynes, the most important critic of the Versailles settlement.

  1. Add Illustrative example, Critic of the Versailles Conference: John Maynard Keynes.

Topic 8.5 Global Economic Crisis

Topic omits crucial events in interwar economic history.

  1. Add Illustrative examples, Economic events: Weimar hyperinflation (1923), British Gold Standard Act (1925), Failure of Credit-Anstalt (1931), British abandonment of Gold Standard (1931).

Topic 8.6 Fascism and Totalitarianism

Misnamed title euphemizes Communism; topic omits Fascist opposition to liberty, mischaracterizes Fascism, fails to distinguish between Fascism and Nazism; mischaracterizes Spanish history; minimizes Communist atrocities; and omits atheistic Communist persecution of religious believers.

  1. Change topic title to Totalitarian Regimes: Fascism, Nazism, and Communism.
  2. Emend subtopic KC-4.II.A: “Fascist dictatorships used modern technology and propaganda that rejected liberty, parliaments, and democratic institutions, promoted charismatic leaders, and glorified war and nationalism; these ideals attracted Europeans disillusionedby the perceived political, economic, and spiritual failures of free states and societies.”
  3. Emend subtopic KC-4.2.II.B: “Mussolini and Hitler rose to power by making use of national sentiment, postwar bitterness, and economic instability, using terror, and undermining the fledgling, unpopular, and ineffectual democracies in their countries; Hitler’s Nazi regime swiftly acquired far greater domestic power than Mussolini’s longer-lasting Fascist regime.”
  4. Emend subtopic KC-2.II.C: “In the Spanish Civil War, Nationalists allied with Italian and German fascists defeated Republicans allied with Soviet Russia, while the Western democracies did not intervene; the Spanish Civil War gave the German military a testing ground for tactics they would use in World War II and resulted in authoritarian rule in Spain from the Civil War’s end in 1939 to the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975.”
  5. Emend subtopic KC-4.2.I.D.II: “After Lenin’s death, Stalin undertook a centralized program of rapid economic modernization that increased heavy industry but inflicted catastrophic damage on commerce and agriculture as Stalin targeted for destruction “class enemies” such as the middle classes and the peasantry.”
  6. Emend subtopic KC-4.2.I.E: “Stalin achieved complete Communist control of the Soviet Union by measures including the terror-starvation of the peasantry, the almost total elimination of private landholding, annihilation of perceived enemies of the state such as priests and the faithful, devastating famine in the Ukraine, purges of political rivals, systematic censorship and propaganda, and, ultimately, the creation of an oppressive political system that eliminated civil society and remolded every aspect of daily life to forward Communist ideals.”
  7. Add to Illustrative examples, The Soviet Union’s oppressive political system: League of Militant Atheists.

Topic 8.7 Europe During the Interwar Period

Topic omits interwar social and economic modernization.

  1. Add subtopic, social developments: “Britain and France pioneered limited but real economic and social modernization across the continent, with substantially increased government intervention justified by the need first to recover from World War I and then to ameliorate the effects of the Great Depression.” Illustrative examples, Unemployment Insurance Act (1920), Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act (1928), Matignon Agreements (1936), Code de la famille (1939).

Topic 8.8 World War II

Topic omits World War II’s role in bringing about postwar West European unification and postwar East European subjugation to the Soviet Union.

  1. Add subtopic, West European unification: “World War II ultimately forwarded European unification by providing under German aegis a brutal precedent for cooperation, by discrediting extreme nationalism, and by so weakening the west-central European states that they came to believe they had no alternative to unification.” Illustrative example, Vichy collaboration.
  2. Add subtopic, East European subjugation: “The waxing and waning of Nazi might passed Eastern Europe from brutal German occupation to nearly as brutal occupation by Soviet Russia.” Illustrative examples, Lidice Massacre, Katyn Massacre, Warsaw Uprising.

Topic 8.9 The Holocaust

Topic omits religion and illustrative examples of mass killings outside the death camps.

  1. Add subtopic, Religious responses: “The repression and mass killings of Nazism and Communism brought mixed responses from the Christian Churches.” Illustrative examples, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Niemöller, Pius XII, Patriarch Sergius.
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Wartime mass killings: Siege of Leningrad, Babi Yar, expulsions of ethnic Germans.

Topic 8.10 20thCentury Cultural, Intellectual, and Artistic Developments

Topic mistitled so as to conflate 1914-1945 and 1945 to the present; topic omits film, religion, and traditionalizing culture; includes the second-rate Erich Maria Remarque for purposes of polemical pacifist history; and omits interwar Europeans’ major contributions to a wide variety of intellectual disciplines.

  1. Change topic title to Cultural, Intellectual, and Artistic Developments, 1914-1945.
  2. Insert from Topic 9.14 20th- and 21st-Century Culture, Arts, and Demographic Trends subtopics KC-4.3.I.B, KC-4.3.IV, KC-4.3.IVA, KC-4.3.IV.B.
  3. Emend subtopic KC-4.I.B: “The effects of world war and economic depression undermined confidence in science and human reason, giving impetus to movements such as existentialism andsurrealism, and providing a spur to theological innovation.”
  4. Emend subtopic KC-3.IV: “During the early 20th century, the arts were defined by a mixture of traditionalism and experimentation with self-expression and subjectivity, and the increasing influence of the United States in both elite and popular culture.”
  5. Emend subtopic KC-4.3.IV.A: “New movements in the visual arts, architecture, film, and music radically shifted existing aesthetic standards, explored subconscious and subjective states, and satirized Western society and its values.”
  6. Emend subtopic KC-4.3.IV.B: “A number of artists and writers challenged traditional artistic and literary conventions, questioned Western values, and addressed controversial social and political issues; others renovated old themes and forms, especially those of faith, to make new and distinctive contributions to early 20th-century European culture.”
  7. Insert from Topic 9.14 20th- and 21st-Century Culture, Arts, and Demographic Trends, Illustrative examples: New movements in the visual arts: Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism; New architectural movements: Bauhaus, Modernism; New movements in music: Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Richard Strauss; Writers: Franz Kafka, James Joyce, Erich Maria Remarque, Virginia Woolf, Jean-Paul Sartre.
  8. In Illustrative examples, Writers: remove Erich Maria Remarque and Jean-Paul Sartre and add Thomas Mann and Marcel Proust.
  9. Add Illustrative examples, Innovative film directors: Sergei Eisenstein, Fritz Lang, Luis Buñuel.
  10. Add Illustrative examples, Innovative theologians: Karl Barth, Martin Buber, Rudolf Bultmann.
  11. Add Illustrative examples, Religious artists and writers: Georges Bernanos (novelist); Marc Chagall, Georges Rouault (painting); David Jones (poet).
  12. Add subtopic, Intellectual disciplines: “Europeans continued to lead developments in the sciences and social sciences, although the center of intellectual progress had begun to shift to the United States.” Illustrative examples, Bronislaw Malinowski (anthropology);Georges Lemaître (astronomy); J. B. S. Haldane, Hans Krebs (biology); Irène Joliot-Curie (chemistry); John Maynard Keynes, Ragnar Frisch (economics); R. A. Fischer (mathematics); Rudolf Carnap, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Karl Popper, Jean-Paul Sartre (philosophy).


Topic 9.2 Rebuilding Europe

Topic mischaracterizes the Marshall Plan and omits illustrative examples; topic omits Eastern European economic recovery.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-4.2.IV.A: “Marshall Plan funds from the United States, distributed by cooperating European states, financed an extensive reconstruction of industry and infrastructure and stimulated an extended period of free-market growth in Western and Central Europe.”
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Marshall Plan aid: Technical Assistance Program, Committee of European Economic Co-operation.
  3. Add subtopic, Eastern European recovery: “The Soviet Union and its East European subject states rejected Marshall Plan aid and experienced a slower economic recovery within a socialist economy.” Illustrative examples, East German reparations, Comecon.

Topic 9.3 The Cold War

Topic omits Soviet responsibility for the Cold War and omits narrative of Cold War within Europe.

  1. Emend subtopic KC-4.IV.A: “Despite Western efforts to maintain international cooperation through the newly created United Nations, the USSR’s subjection of Eastern Europe and its obdurate and aggressive foreign policy led to the division of Europe, which was referred to in the West as the Iron Curtain.”
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Soviet provocation of the Cold War: Czech coup d’etat, Berlin Blockade, Greek Civil War, Turkish Straits crisis.
  3. Emend subtopic KC-4.1.IV.B: “The Cold War played out both within Europe and on a global stage and involved propaganda campaigns; negotiations; covert actions; limited “hot wars” in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean; and an arms race, with the threat of a nuclear war.”
  4. Add Illustrative examples, Cold War in Europe: Cambridge Spy Ring, Berlin Crisis (1961), Helsinki Accords (1975), Euromissile Crisis.

Topic 9.4 Two Super Powers Emerge

Topic omits European manipulation of rival superpowers.

  1. Add subtopic,European manipulation of superpowers: “European political leaders exploited superpower rivalry to serve their own interests.” Illustrative examples, Walter Ulbricht, Konrad Adenauer, Josip Broz Tito.

Topic 9.5 Postwar Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Atrocities

Topic omits constructive role of postwar European nationalism.

  1. Add subtopic, nationalist movements: “Nationalism continued to inspire constructive political and cultural movements throughout Europe.” Illustrative examples, Charles de Gaulle; Andrzej Wajda; Stephen, the King Hungarian rock opera.

Topic 9.6 Contemporary Western Democracies

Topic omits persistence of dictatorship, fragility of Western democracy, and illustrative examples for any subtopic.

  1. Change topic title to Democracy and Dictatorship.
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Founders of Postwar Europe: Ludwig Erhard, Alcide de Gasperi, Robert Schuman, Paul-Henri Spaak.
  3. Add Illustrative examples, Free-market reformers: Margaret Thatcher, Mont Pelerin Society, Carl Bildt.
  4. Add subtopic, persisting dictatorship: “Dictators continued to rule in Greece, Spain, and Portugal until the 1970s, and even democracies such as France suffered near-lapses into dictatorship.” Illustrative examples: Greek Colonels, Francisco Franco, António Salazar, Fall of the Fourth Republic (1958).

Topic 9.7 The Fall of Communism

Topic omits role of Western policy in the fall of Communism.

  1. Add subtopic, Western policy: “American and Western European military modernization, fueled by vigorous free-market economies, placed unendurable pressure on the Soviet Union as it strove to match their military spending, while Western diplomatic campaigns reduced Soviet mistrust and thereby facilitated the eventual Soviet withdrawal from its East European empire.” Illustrative examples, Strategic Defense Initiative, Ostpolitik, Two Plus Four Agreement.

Topic 9.8 20th-Century Feminism

Topic omits conservative women.

  1. Add subtopic, conservative women: “Women were not defined or limited by the feminist movement and participated at the highest level in European conservative movements.” Illustrative examples, Conservative women: Marion Le Pen, Pia Kjærsgaard, Siv Jensen.

Topic 9.9 Decolonization

Topic omits American pressure to decolonize, the Soviet empire, and illustrative examples of European decolonization initiatives.

  1. Add subtopic, American pressure: “The United States placed steady pressure on Western European states to dismantle their empires, while Western European states used their status as essential Cold War allies to stave off American pressure; American policy strongly influenced the pace of European decolonization.” Illustrative examples, Indonesian National Revolution, Battle of Dien Bien Phu, Suez Crisis.
  2. Add subtopic, Soviet empire: “The Russian empire in Central Asia and the Caucasus endured until the fall of the Soviet Union.” Illustrative examples, Virgin Lands campaign, veil ban, disappearance of Aral Sea.
  3. Add Illustrative examples, European decolonization initiatives: Indian Independence Act, Winds of Change speech, Commonwealth of Nations (British Commonwealth), Financial Community of Africa (CFA) franc.

Topic 9.10 The European Union

Topic omits illustrative examples of individuals.

  1. Add Illustrative examples, European Union Founders: Jean Monnet, Robert Lecourt, Jacques Delors.
  2. Add Illustrative examples, Euroskeptics: Nigel Farage, Alexis Tsipras, Geert Wilders, Beppe Grillo, Viktor Orbán.

Topic 9.11 Migration and Immigration

Topic omits Islam, Islamist terror, and illustrative examples of anti-immigration politicians.

  1. Emend KC-4.3.III.C: “Increased immigration into Europe altered Europe’s religious makeup, most notably by introducing a large Muslim minority to West-Central Europe, causing debate and conflict over Islamist terror and the role of religion in social and political life.” Illustrative examples, Islamist terror: Madrid Train Bombings, Bataclan Massacre, Manchester Arena Bombing.
  2. Add Illustrative examples, anti-immigration politicians: Enoch Powell, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Topic 9.12 Technology

Topic omits the considerable continuing European contribution to the sciences and social sciences.

  1. Change topic title to Postwar Social Science, Science, and Technology.
  2. Add subtopic, Social scientific and scientific development: “Europeans made major contributions to international scientific developments, albeit in an age dominated by American scientific research.” Illustrative examples, Claude Lévi-Strauss (anthropology); Francis Crick, Alexander Fleming, Bernhard Resnch (biology); John Pople (chemistry); Alan Turing, Tim Berners-Lee (computer science); James Meade, Gunnar Myrdal, Joan Robinson (economics); Austin Bradford Hill (epidemiology); Laurent Schwartz, René Thom, Andrew Wiles (mathematics); Gerd Binnig, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (physics).

Topic 9.13 Globalization

Topic mischaracterizes history of 20th-century economic integration and omits illustrative examples of American cultural influence.

  1. Add subtopic, Autarky and reglobalization: “World War I shattered the substantially globalized pre-1914 economy and European states retreated into substantial protection and autarky; after World War II the American-led free trade system slowly restored a globalized economy, which finally returned to pre-1914 levels of global economic integration by the end of the century.”
  2. Add Illustrative examples, American cultural influence: Hollywood movies, rock and roll, youth culture, civil rights politics, identity politics.

Topic 9.14 20th- and 21st-Century Culture, Arts, and Demographic Trends

Topic improperly unites interwar and postwar Europe and improperly unites discussion of society and culture; topic omits free-market growth and postwar wealth.

  1. Change topic title to Postwar Society.
  2. Retainsubtopics KC-4.4.I.C, KC-4.4.II.C, KC-4.4.III.B, and KC-4.4.III.C; and Illustrative examples, Government policies promoting population growth: Neonatalism, Childcare facilities.
  3. Add subtopic, Postwar wealth: “West-Central Europe’s free-market growth created a new society of broadly distributed wealth.” Illustrative examples, hypermarkets, mass tourism, Volkswagen Beetle.
  4. Move to Topic 8.9 The Holocaust theIllustrative examples Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemöller.
  5. Move to Topic 8.10 Cultural, Intellectual, and Artistic Developments, 1914-1945 subtopics KC-4.3.I.B, KC-4.3.IV, KC-4.3.IVA, KC-4.3.IV.B.
  6. Move to Topic 8.10 Cultural, Intellectual, and Artistic Developments, 1914-1945, Illustrative examples: New movements in the visual arts: Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism; Illustrative examples, New architectural movements: Bauhaus, Modernism; Illustrative examples, New movements in music: Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Richard Strauss; Writers: Franz Kafka, James Joyce, Erich Maria Remarque, Virginia Woolf, Jean-Paul Sartre.
  7. Move to Unit 9, New Topic: Postwar Culture subtopics KC-4.3.III, KC-4.3.III.A, KC-4.3.III.B, and all remainingIllustrative examples.

Unit 9, New Topic: Postwar Culture

Topic focuses on postwar culture, with broad range of illustrative examples.

  1. Insert fromTopic 9.14 20th- and 21st-Century Culture, Arts, and Demographic Trends subtopics KC-4.3.III, KC-4.3.III.A, KC-4.3.III.B, and all of that Topic’s Illustrative examples not assigned to other Topics.
  2. Rename “Illustrative examples, Christian responses to totalitarianism” as “Illustrative examples, Christian responses to communism.”
  3. Add to Illustrative examples, Christian responses to communism: Cardinal József Mindszenty.
  4. AddIllustrative examples, theologians: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Benedict XVI, Hans Kung, Rowan Williams.
  5. Add subtopic, Postmodernism: “Continued skepticism in science and human reason, along with further experimentation with self-expression and subjectivity, produced philosophical and artistic movements such as postmodernism.”
  6. Add subtopic, Tradition and Innovation: “Writers continued to challenge and to renovate literary conventions and Western values.”
  7. AddIllustrative examples, Composers: Benjamin Britten, Arvo Pärt, Francis Poulenc, Karlheinz Stockhausen.
  8. Add Illustrative examples, Writers: Samuel Beckett, Italo Calvino, Camilo José Cela, Michel Houellebecq, Milan Kundera, Aleksandr Solzhenitysn, J. R. R. Tolkien.
  9. AddIllustrative examples, Film directors: Federico Fellini, Werner Herzog, Andrei Tarkovsky, François Truffaut.
  10. Add Illustrative examples, Philosophers: J. L. Austin, Jacques Derrida, Jürgen Habermas, Friedrich Hayek.

1 For an insider’s account, see John A. Valentine, The College Board and the School Curriculum: A History of the College Board's Influence on the Substance and Standards of American Education 1900-1980 (New York: College Entrance Examination Board, 1987).

2 The 1620 Project, National Association of Scholars, https://www.nas.org/topics/1620-project.

3 Peter Wood, “The SAT Upgrade Is a Big Mistake,” Minding the Campus, March 9, 2014, https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2014/03/09/the_sat_upgrade_is_a_big_mista/; Madison Iszler, “Keep the SAT Essay,” National Association of Scholars, February 1, 2016, https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/keep_the_sat_essay; Peter Wood, “The Final Corruption of the SAT’s,” Minding the Campus, May 20, 2019, https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2019/05/20/the-final-corruption-of-the-sats/.

4 Peter Wood, “The New AP History; A Preliminary Report,” National Association of Scholars, July 1, 2014, https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/the_new_ap_history_a_preliminary_report.

5 Stanley Kurtz, “How the College Board Politicized U.S. History,” National Review, August 25, 2014, https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/how-college-board-politicized-us-history-stanley-kurtz/.

6 Scholars Concerned About Advanced Placement History, “Letter Opposing the 2014 APUSH Framework,” National Association of Scholars, June 2, 2015, https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/open_letter_american_historians.

7 Daniel Henninger, “Hey Conservatives, You Won,” Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2015, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hey-conservatives-you-won-1440628311.

8 Peter Wood, “Re-re-re-revising American History,” National Association of Scholars, September 11, 2015, https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/re-re-re-revising_american_history.

9 David Randall, The Disappearing Continent: A Critique of the Revised Advanced Placement European History Examination (New York: National Association of Scholars, 2016), https://www.nas.org/reports/the-disappearing-continent-a-critique-of-the-revised-ap-european-history-examination.

10 David Randall, “Churchill In, Columbus Still Out: A Half-Loaf from the College Board,” National Association of Scholars, December 5, 2017, https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/churchill_in_columbus_still_out_a_half_loaf_from_the_college_board.

11 See also Peter Wood, “An Open Letter to the College Board on AP: World History,” National Association of Scholars, August 2, 2018, https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/an_open_letter_to_the_college_board_on_ap_world_history.

12 Rachelle Peterson, Corrupting the College Board: Confucius Institutes and K-12 Education (New York: National Association of Scholars, 2020), https://www.nas.org/reports/corrupting-the-college-board

13 E.g., Jeremy Tate, “Reclaiming Intellectual Freedom with a New Alternative to the SAT,” National Association of Scholars, December 5, 2016, https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/reclaiming_intellectual_freedom_with_a_new_alternative_to_the_sat; National Association of Scholars, “NAS Embraces Classical Alternative to the PSAT,” National Association of Scholars, January 20, 2017, https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/nas_embraces_classical_alternative_to_the_psat.

14 Classic Learning Test, https://www.cltexam.com; American Achievement Testing, https://www.aateducation.org/.

15 Wood, “The New AP History: A Preliminary Report”; Robert L. Paquette, “Push-Back on APUSH,” National Association of Scholars, January 12, 2015, https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/push_back_on_apush; Randall, Disappearing Continent; Wood, “An Open Letter to the College Board on AP; “AP Course and Exam Redesign,” College Board, https://aphighered.collegeboard.org/courses-exams/course-exam-redesign.

16 Valerie Strauss, “College Board bows to critics, revises AP U.S. History course,” Washington Post, July 31, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/07/31/college-board-bows-to-critics-revises-ap-u-s-history-course/; Randall, Disappearing Continent.

17 Colleen Flaherty, “Compromising on a Timeline for History,” Inside Higher Ed, July 19, 2018, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/07/19/college-board-backtracks-plan-begin-ap-world-history-exam-year-1450-saying-it-will.

18 Scholars Concerned about Advanced Placement History, “Letter.”

19 Swetha Berana, “The College Board’s Monopoly on Paths to Higher Education,” Texas Orator, October 18, 2018, https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/bitstream/handle/2152/69221/The%20College%20Board’s%20Monopoly%20on%20Paths%20to%20Higher%20Education%20–%20The%20Texas%20Orator.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y; Student Post Staff, “The College Board’s Monopoly on Education,” Student Post, November 11, 2017, https://www.studentpost.org/2017/11/college-board-monopoly-on-education/.

20 “AP and College Enrollment,” College Board, https://aphighered.collegeboard.org/college-enrollment.

22 Tamar Lewin, “The Two Faces of A.P.,” New York Times, January 8, 2006, https://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/08/education/edlife/the-two-faces-of-ap.html?mcubz=1; Robert Stevens, “Back to the Future: Merit or Equity in AP Social Studies?,” Social Education 77, no. 5 (2013), 252-55, https://www.socialstudies.org/system/files/publications/articles/se_7705252.pdf.

23 Stanley Kurtz, “The College Board is in a position to create a de facto national curriculum,” Washington Post, September 11, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-next-great-education-debate/2015/09/11/f726ceca-5881-11e5-b8c9-944725fcd3b9_story.html.

24 AP European History Course and Exam Description, Effective Fall 2019, College Board, https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/ap/pdf/ap-european-history-course-and-exam-description.pdfAP U. S. History Course and Exam Description, Effective Fall 2019, College Board, https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/ap/pdf/ap-us-history-course-and-exam-description.pdfAP World History: Modern Course and Exam Description, College Board, Effective Fall 2019,https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/ap/pdf/ap-world-history-modern-course-and-exam-description.pdf.

25 E.g., AP European History Course and Exam Description, Updated Fall 2015, College Board; AP European History Course and Exam Description, Effective Fall 2017, College Board. The College Board removes previous versions of its Course and Exam Descriptions from its website.

26 E.g., compare APEH 2017: 50 and APEH 2019: 40; and compare APEH 2017 and APEH 2019 throughout.

27 Wood, “The New AP History: A Preliminary Report”; Paquette, “Push-Back on APUSH”; Randall, Disappearing Continent; Wood, “An Open Letter to the College Board.”

28 Bonnie Raskin, “The Efficacy of Advanced Placement Programs for Gifted Students,” Institute for Educational Advancement, February 7, 2017, https://educationaladvancement.org/blog-efficacy-advanced-placement-programs-gifted-students/.

29 Flaherty, “Compromising on a Timeline for History.” The College Board hastily inserted units on World History from ca. 1200 to ca. 1450 to appease critics of the exam’s ‘Eurocentrism.’ As we shall see, this new section contains the College Board’s worst material.

30 Randall, Disappearing Continent; David Randall, “Churchill In, Columbus Still Out.”

31 The word liberty does not appear in any topic description in APEH 2019;  freedom only appears twice, to describe postwar Soviet “restriction of individual rights and freedoms” in Eastern Europe and how Woodrow Wilson’s “principle of national self-determination raised expectations in the non-European world for new policies and freedoms” (APEH 2019: 197, 203).

32 The phrase may be apocryphal, although it expresses Galileo’s spirit well enough. Mario Livio, “Did Galileo Truly Say, ‘And Yet ItMoves’? A Modern Detective Story,” Scientific American, May 6, 2020, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/did-galileo-truly-say-and-yet-it-moves-a-modern-detective-story/.

33 Wood, “An Open Letter to the College Board on AP: World History”; “Program Summary Report,” College Board. 

34 APUSH 2019: 75, 79, 82; Wood, “The New AP History: A Preliminary Report”; Scholars Concerned about Advanced Placement History, Letter Opposing the 2014 APUSH Framework; Peter Wood, “The College Board’s Modified, Limited Hang Out,” National Association of Scholars, September 11, 2015, https://www.nas.org/articles/Re-re-re-revising_American_History.

35 Christianity appears twice more in the sections on colonial history, as a motivation for European exploration and conquest of the New World, and as a tool of Spanish colonial policy. APUSH 2019: 40, 54.

36 Colleen Flaherty, “Compromising on a Timeline for History.”

37 Robert Friedel, A Culture of Improvement: Technology and the Western Millennium (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007); David S. Landes, The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Peter Wood, Diversity: The Invention of a Concept (New York: Encounter Books, 2003).

38 For agricultural history, see Marcel Mazoyer and Laurence Roudart, A History of World Agriculture: From the Neolithic Age to the Current Crisis (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2006); Mark B. Tauger, Agriculture in World History (New York: Routledge, 2011).

39 See generally Daniel T. Potts, “Technological Transfer and Innovation in Ancient Eurasia,” Brewminate, May 9, 2019, https://brewminate.com/technological-transfer-and-innovation-in-ancient-eurasia/.

40 Azar Gat, War in Human Civilization (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006); Jean Guilaine and Jean Zammit, The Origins of War: Violence in Prehistory (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005); Lawrence H. Keeley, War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996); Keith F. Otterbein, The Anthropology of War (Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 2009).

41 E.g., Jonathan D. Spence’s slightly out of period The Death of Woman Wang (New York: Viking Press, 1978); or, for the end of this period and into the twentieth century, Ning Lao T’ai T’ai, A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman, ed. and trans. Ida Pruitt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1945).

42 E.g., Philip C. C. Huang, The Peasant Economy and Social Change in North China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985); and Philip C. C. Huang, The Peasant Family and Rural Development in the Yangzi Delta, 1350-1988 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990).

43 For two memoirs from the perspective of the rural Bengali elite, see Rassundari Devi, Aamar Jiban, trans. Enakshi Chatterjee (Calcutta: Writers Workshop, 1999); and (slightly out of period) Nirad C. Chaudhuri, The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian (London: Macmil-lan, 1951).

44 E.g., Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri, Peasant History of Late Pre-Colonial and Colonial India (New Delhi: Pearson Longman, 2008); Sumit Guha, The Agrarian Economy of the Bombay Deccan 1818-1941 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).

45 E.g., David Hall-Matthews, Peasants, Famine and the State in Colonial Western India (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).

46 Amartya Sen, Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982).

47 APWHM 2019 never defines caste, and only mentions it once, in the phrase “Caste reservation in India”, as a political topic in twentieth-and twenty-first century Indian history (APWHM 2019: 164). APWHM 2019 informs students about the Indian government’s caste-based affirmative action laws without telling them what caste is, how deep-rooted it is in Hindu religion and society, or how it affects the fabricof Indian life. APWHM 2019 therefore makes it impossible for students to know why the Indian government would bother to impose such job quotas on its citizens.

48 David W. Anthony, The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007); C. W. Ceram, Gods, Graves & Scholars: The Story of Archaeology, Second Revised Edition (New York: Knopf, 1967); David Reich, Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past (New York: Pantheon, 2018). 

49 For a useful model, see Massachusetts History and Science Curriculum Framework (2003), http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/hss/2003-08.docx, esp. pp. 51-80.