Course Description

Advanced Placement American Studies (AMSTUD) is a comprehensive interdisciplinary survey course fostering critical analysis of American identity through U.S. History and American Literature.   The course is aligned with College Board Advanced Placement guidelines for both AP US History and AP Language and Composition.  Students will focus on understanding political institutions, social and economic changes, international relationships, and cultural and intellectual developments throughout the history and literature of the United States.  They will also be trained to understand the guiding principles of rhetoric, argument, and critical literary theory, getting significant practice in close reading, complex analysis, and synthesis of texts across diverse genres, media, and time periods.  This is a challenging course, which asks students to do college-level work, and they have the potential to earn college credit for good scores on the AP Exams in May.




UNC Writing Center Tips and Guidelines

AP USH Review Guide: 
Gilder Lehrman Site

Theoretical Lenses Activity

Give Me Liberty by Eric Foner US History Textbook  
Here is a code: XNM-RTE-KPF with 540 uses to accompany GIVE ME LIB 3E AP HS. Once activated, each “use" will remain active for 360-days. 
To redeem these codes, visit:
Click the “Sign in, register a code, or purchase access” buttonChoose “No, I need to register,” then click the “Register, purchase…” buttonFill in the required fields. The system may not think your email address is your official school one. Just choose OK.Enter your registration code and click “Register my code.” If the system previously questioned your email address, a red window will appear with a similar message. Just choose “Register my code” again.Be sure to choose “high school student,” then your state and schoolOnce registration is done, click the big “Ebook” iconA VitalSource window will pop up and will prompt you to register for a Bookshelf ID. Please be sure to temporarily disable pop-blockers so that you may view this window.Once you have completed VitalSource registration and have opened the ebook, you can read it online. 
For offline access:
Click “Bookshelf” in the upper left corner.Download and install the correct Bookshelf app for your device.

REPS reflective note taking sheet for history chapters

Hamilton, The Sequel Lyrics

GW resigns his commission


What is it then between us?
What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?
Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails not…
I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan island…
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me...



Mr. Nulf (English):

Mr. Parisi (History):


2018-19 American Studies Due Dates:

narrative documentary short models
Seeding Fear
8 shorts
Liberal Intolerance, too?
whats the fed?
 A Populist AND Progressive Moment

Friday, 2/22:
Sports Heroes of the 20s
Pop Culture Heroes of the 20s

Thursday, 2/21:
Locate a Dada image that fits with today's class:  1920s Theater of the Absurd:  Eugenics, "politics makes strange bed-fellows"
Explain (6-8 sentences) specific elements of the film that we watched, as they apply to your artwork.  Paste your work here.

Wednesday, 2/20:
Give Me Liberty:  p. 832-852
1. How are the 20s a shadow-effect of The Great War?
2. What events/specific examples from the 20s illustrate "Gatsby-esque" themes?
3. What questions do you have?
The 20s Survey Says....

Tuesday, 2/19:
Finish Gatsby.  
Complete this activity on the Palmer Raids.

Thursday, 2/14:
In class:
Why did the War breed mass consumerism?  Why is left wing a "clear and present danger", but right wing speech is unlimited?  Slides Analysis

Wednesday, 2/13:
Read Chs III-VI in The Great Gatsby. 
Nick says, at the end of Ch III, that he is one of the few honest people he has known. Do you feel he is honest, a reliable narrator? Be prepared to support with evidence. To what extent are the other characters in the book dishonest? Be prepared to give several examples.

Monday, 2/11:
Watch 55min film:  Hatred and Hunger
1. Make a list of Unexpected Effects of WWI.  Rank that list by their virtue of their long term significance.  2. What happened to the 14 points?
3. What questions do you have?

Friday, 2/8:
The Great Gatsby, chapters 1 and 2
Create a one-page character map including quick initial descriptions (cite brief text) that shows relationships.
In addition to character map - Take some notes on key historical contexts that are mentioned/established in the book - how is this book an expression of its era?

Wed, 2/6:
America's Most Famous Socialist Jailed WWI
What ironies exist?  Where should the line be drawn between civil liberties and national security during wartime?

Tuesday, 2/5: 
GML, text Chapter 19, 1) find examples to support this statement:
World War I achieved both the highest hopes and the darkest depths of Progressivism.  It also showed how Progressives could kill their own movement.
2) Write down your own questions for clarification or discussion.

Monday, 2/4:
Read "The White Heron", by Sarah Orne Jewett (856-863 in Conversations).  Complete questions 2, 5, and 8. Be prepared to discuss how this story may be related to our understandings of Huck, Edna, Zitkala Sa, and the Progressive era.

Friday 2/1:
History Test: The Progressive-Imperialist Test 1880-1914)

Thursday, 1/31:

The Art of Politics

Wed, 1/30:
In Conversations, read p. 965 Erich Schlosser, p. 980 Florence Kelley, p. 1007 Ellison D. Smith.
1. How do they make you care? (give best example for each)  2. What is the essential problem that each targets?  3.  What specific solutions to these problems were found in chapter 18?

Mon, 1/28:
in Conversations, read pages 41-51.
Apply "the Art and Craft of Analysis" from the text to your reading/annotation of "On the Training of Black Men" by DuBois. Be prepared to do such rhetorical analysis in class.

Fri, 1/25:
Give Me Liberty, Chapter 18, The Progressives
REPS Sheet
Omaha Platform
Gold and Silver Workers in Panama

Thurs, 1/24:
Read "The White Man's Burden" and respond to it in the voice of WEB DuBois (You must hand-write your response in the margin to the right of the poem).
Read "On the Meaning of Progress"
What is the argument? Structure? Rhetorical keys?
View TR Documentary on Panama and Square Deal. [Find this on Netflix: The Roosevelts, An Intimate Portrait; episode 2: In the Arena  clip 30:30-39:00 and 1:18:00-1:30:00]  
How did TR define Progress?  What were his rhetorical moves?  
Is Dubois vision of progress compatible with TR's?  Use evidence to make your case.

Wed, 1/23:
Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, Forethought and Chapter 1

Tu, 1/22:
1. Watch 2-hour Feature Film:  Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee  You will find link to the film and the assignment here.

Fri, 1/18:
Finalize your film narratives.  Feedback Here

Th, 1/17:
Imperialism debate role-preparation

Wed, 1/16:
Give Me Liberty, Imperialism pp. 703-721
REPS sheet.  Did new frontier validate Turner's Thesis about the old frontier?

Tue, 1/15:
Consider Sherman Alexie's response as it applies to the Searchers, pp. 1047-1049

Mon, 1/14:
Reconstruction film due.

Wednesday, 1/9:
Read in Conversations:
Zitkala -Sa: p. 934
Nimmo: p. 1024
Kasson: p. 1050
1. What does each say about Turner's Thesis?
2. Answer one other question at the end of each reading.

Tuesday, 1/8:
Read in Conversations:
"The Significance of the Frontier in American History" by Frederick Jackson Turner(1029-1043)-
Answer questions 1, 4, 6 & 7

Monday, 1/7: 
Give Me Liberty, chapter 16.  1. compare and contrast industrialization's effects on the West to that of the East.  2. What how did the meaning of the following things change?  Progress, Freedom, Equality, Individualism.

Friday, 1/4:
Read Kate Chopin's The Awakening.
As you read, consider: what elements of this novel are similar to Huckelberry Finn? How is it different? Be prepared to cite some examples. What questions do you have about the novel as you read?

Friday, 12/14:
The Need For A True Narrative!  The Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Lost Cause.
Do more research on your person:

Emma - Highgate
Lily - Stanton
Ashley - Delaney
Abby M  - T. Stevens
Sophie  - Ackerman
Ann - Lynch
Baker - Sumner
Izzy - Forest
Meghan - Booth
Chris - Lee
Elena - Grant
Abbie O - Davis
Jane - Marston
Sachit  - Schurz
Anna -  OO Howard
Kathryn  - Campbell
Madelyn  -  Butler

Thursday, 12/13:
Read Chapters XXXVIII-XLI of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Take notes as below.

Wednesday, 12/12:
Textbook:  Finish Chapter 15.
Consult your Reconstruction Plan again.  1. What progress was made in any of your parts of your plan?  2. To what do you attribute the failure of Reconstruction?  3. Select and Juxtapose two visuals from your chapter that tell the tale best.

Tuesday, 12/11:
Read Chapters XXXIV-XXXVII of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Take notes on: How does Tom justify his methods of "evasion"? What is Twain's tone towards Tom's plans? Be ready to cite detail.

Monday, 12/10:
Give Me Liberty, First Half of Chap 15, pp. 586-606; Take notes in the following manner: Consider your plan for Reconstruction (choices checklist I gave you on Thursday).  Which solutions were tried?  What conflicts emerged?  What solutions/problems did you not forsee?  What questions do you have?

Friday, 12/7:
Read Chapters XXIX-XXXIII in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Be ready to discuss - to what degree has Huck evolved in his capacity to do the right thing?

Thursday In class:
[film clip: 5:00-16:00)
What issues mattered most for Reconstruction to be successful?
[Read Good Riddance : How did the Cult of Lee blind Americans throughout the ages]

Wed, 12/5:  
Document Analysis Packet:  SOAPS analysis of these docs.  Take notes using these docs to evaluate the claim:  Given the context of the 1860s, Lincoln deserves the title the Great Emancipator as he delivered what he could when he could as he could.

Tues, 12/4:
Complete your passage analysis activity using your lens, and prepare bullet notes.
Read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Chapters XXIV-XVIII

Mon, 12/3:
Give Me Liberty, Chapter 14.  REPS sheet
[in class: Lincoln's Crossroads)
(NYC Draft Riots 1:12:00 mark)

Fri, 11/30:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Chaps XIX-XXIII, use same note-taking method - be on the look-out for further examples of moral reasoning.


Wed, 11/28:
Read This:  Abraham Lincoln and the Great Sioux Uprising
1. Compare and Contrast your decision on posthumously pardoning John Brown with Lincoln's rationale:  1a. Why did he pardon who he did?  1b. Why didn't he pardon the rest?  2. How does Lincoln's example make you rethink your own decision making on the Brown pardon?

Classwork - Applying Kohlberg's Moral Reasoning

Tues, 11/27
Conversations:  John Brown: Patriot or Terrorist? pp. 731-757.  (Choose 2 of the first 3 sources Brown-Thoreau; Choose 3 of the last 4 Chowder-Horwitz)
For each resource, write down the author's purpose, POV, and audience.
Overall, which arguments are most compelling?
Prepare for debate on whether now is time  (in 2018) for the president to pardon John Brown.

Mon, 11/26:
Read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, chapters XI-XVIII. In my book (and, I think, yours)  that ends on page 134. Take your own notes as below.
[The San Patricios first 25 mins]

Wed, Nov 21:
Read "Freebirds", an essay by Michael Branch.
Be ready to articulate your understanding of Branch's key arguments. Also, make some notes on Branch's most effective rhetorical strategies. Be prepared to cite examples.

Tue, Nov 20:
History Test 1830-1860

Mon, Nov 19:
Read Chapters I-X of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Take your own notes on questions you have, and your emerging ideas about the long-term question: What is the argument the book raises?

Fri, Nov 16:
Finish Chapter 13, p. 511-532; a. Add to your reps sheet; b. how did Lincoln win?  c. what was the crucial change that happened between 1844 and 1860? d. Is America today on a parallel track to Civil War-- what similarities do you see?

Wed, Nov 14:
First Half of Chapter 13, p 492-510 Textbook, REPS

Tues, Nov 13:
Conversations:  Margaret Fuller p. 607-613, questions 3, 4, 9, 10.  

Fri, Nov 9:
Final Draft of Scarlet Letter essay due.
[in-class: PA Hall and Harriett Beecher Stowe]

Th, Nov 8:
Written: Submit to Tunitin
a. Who Did IT.  Proof? Explain how you know.
b. You Did IT.  Explain how and why you did IT and how you got away with IT.  Evidence File is here.

Conversations: Bring to class 
[in-class: Margaret Fuller, p. 607; Frederick Douglass, p. 614; Compare and Contrast their rhetorical strategies.]

Wed, Nov. 7:
Written Alibi and Accusations for your Jacksonian Whodunnit.  Please post HERE.

Mon Nov 5:
Church of Transcendentalism Ad due

Fri Nov 2: 
Continue work on WeVideo ad.
Record voice-over of your passage in a quiet space.
Continue to collect relevant media.
We will work more on it for some of the class.

Th Nov 1:
Research focused notes:  How democratic was Jacksonian Democracy?  Watch film clip times : 1:28:00- 2:05:00
Create Church of Transcendentalism Ad

Wed, Oct 31:
Chapter 10 Textbook; Critical Chapter (long)
REPS sheet
[in class: Jacksonian Survey]

Tuesday, Oct 30:
hudson river school slides[hudson river school slides]
1. Read "I Used to be a Human", by Andrew Sullivan.Print and annotate (or write down numerous key phrases/quotes) with an eye toward tracing connections between/among this article,  Walden, and the era of The Second Great Awakening.  Also pay attention to how Sullivan structures the piece, and what makes it effective in achieving its purpose.
2. Self-assign(choice) one additional chapter/essay from Walden; that has been inspired by Walden activities (field trip, conversation with Jeff, your interest in other chapters, etc.).

Fri, Oct 27:
Complete "Seizing Florida in 1816" Activity
[in-class: The Mormons 25;00-51:00]

Thurs, Oct 26:
Read "Visitors" from Walden, and complete notes as below.  Be sure you have several specific questions to ask Jeff Cramer in Skype lesson.

Tue, Oct 24:
Chapter 9: REPS sheet share with me at .net [ in class:
Marshall Court]

Mon, Oct 23:
1. Meriwether to Thoreau assignment:
Live deliberately by wandering through the journals here. Select one passage  from 3 different days, that you feel might attract Henry David Thoreau to leave Walden and venture out west.  Explain your choices in terms of the sights and sounds that might best intrigue Henry.
2. Read "Solitude" from Walden, do same note-taking strategy once again.

Fri, Oct 19:
Read Chs 3&4 of Walden: "Reading" & "Sounds".
Continue taking notes as instructed below. You may consider these chapters as one for the purposes of the note-taking assignment, so you do not need to do double work. Just be sure to spread your selections out across the chapters.
[In-class:  Analyze Whitman poem, I hear America Singing; Do Northwest Ordinance activity]

Th, Oct 18:
History Test 1776-1816
To Study, a. analyze G.W.'s Farewell Address, b. Take the survey quiz we created below to review major issues, c. review your notes on the period.

Wed, Oct 17:
Read Chapter 2 of Walden, "Where I Lived and What I Lived For.
Define 6 vocab words or allusions that helped you understand-cite page numbers; Cite top 3 quotes that most help you make sense of HDT's claims(Briefly explain your reasoning)  What questions occur as you read -- which 3 would you like to ask Thoreau?
[In-class: Take political ideology quiz to find out your political party;  design a similar survey for 1789-1815]

Tu, Oct 16:
Read Two Articles.  What new issues emerge from each?  How do these articles change the stakes?
The Bittersweet Victory at Saint-Domingue
The Opposition to the War of 1812

Mon, Oct 15:
1. Read Chapter 1 of Walden, "Economy" (through p. 58)
Take general notes, and distill as follows:
Define 6 vocab words or allusions that helped you understand-cite page numbers; Cite top 3 quotes that most help you make sense of HDT's claims(Briefly explain your reasoning)  What questions occur as you read -- which 3 would you like to ask Thoreau?
2. Finish and review the FEDSJEFFS issue document from class.
Economy Activity

Fr, October 12:
1. Watch this to understand the "dangerous to democracy" video clip from Tuesday AND SAVE your soul!!!!
2. Give Me Liberty: Second Half of chapter 8, Who betrayed the American Revolution: The Federalists or the Jeff. Republicans?
[Link to FEDSJEFFS issue doc in class; Attack Ads circa 1800]

Th, October 11:
Scarlett Letter Paper Draft Due
For guidance on the process, check out this handout - with special attention to steps 5-9.

Wed, October 10th:

Tuesday, Oct 9:
Give Me Liberty: First Half of chapter 8, Fill in REPS Sheet

Monday, Oct 8:
Conversations:  Self-Reliance, p. 590-600.  question 9 and 11

Friday, Oct 5
Conversations: Madison, Federalist X, p. 407 question 7; and Levinson, Our Imbecilic Constitution, p. 414 question 4 and 4.

Thursday, Oct 4
Watch 44 min video.  What was wrong with the national government? What was wrong with the state government? Consider POV from Shays, Sam Adams, George Washington.
[In class:  1. Rate Revolutionary Paragraphs in groups.  2. Use the interactive Constitution to do the Constitution Search for today.  3. Which things in the Constitution help Daniel Shays?  Which things hurt him?]

Wed, October 3rd:
Yearbook Pictures at 11:05AM

Tues, Oct 2nd:
1. In your Give Me Liberty,  read RED sections: Toward Religious Toleration pp.226-233, Slavery and the Revolution pp. 238-248.  Pick two examples in each selection that help you answer this question:  Was the revolution a turning point for religion and slavery in America?
Tiokasin Ghosthorse is coming to FLHS - 7PM in the AUDITORIUM. Please make every effort to attend!  We will ask you to write a response to this presentation.If you cannot make it, you may watch THIS VIDEO INTERVIEW as a substitute.

Mon, 10/1:  
**Be sure to register for AP Exams deadline

Finish The Scarlet Letter
Finish "Yorktown projects" -- ready to perform

Fri, 9/28:
History Test 1689-1783.  Chapters 4 and 5.

Th, 9/27
The Scarlet Letter, chapters XVI-XX
Continue taking notes including any questions you have as you read, and some brief key quotations that illuminate evolving themes.  Keep thinking about the power of diction.

Wed, 9/26:
Finish Chapter 5:  What were the "keys to victory in the American Revolution"?

Tues, 9/25:
Conversations Selections:
1.Abigail and John Adams p. 385; compare with characterizations in John Adams Film.
2.Benjamin Banneker p. 426. and Thomas Jefferson reply p. 429. (p. 429 question 1)
3. How do these passages contribute to Frederick Douglass's purpose? Type and submit into

Pearl Key Passages Doc
Hester Key Passages Doc 

Mon, 9/24:
The Scarlet Letter, chapters IX-XV
Continue taking notes including any questions you have as you read, and some brief key quotations that illuminate evolving themes.  Keep thinking about the power of diction.

Friday, 9/21:
1. Read The Scarlet Letter chapters VII and VIII -
Continue to use reading guide as below.
2. Read Frederick Douglass on the meaning of the Fourth of July; excerpted here.  Pick out critical aspects of his structure and diction.

Thursday, 9/20:
Chapter 4 Thesis Statements

Tuesday, 9/18:
1.LEQ Paper: colonial development Due on Turnitin.  
2. Read and take notes on first half of text Chapter 5.

Monday, 9/17:
Read Chs I through VI in The Scarlet Letter.
Use this READING GUIDE to help focus your attention/notes throughout the novel.

Friday, 9/14:
Watch film: The Terrible Transformation (from 57:00-end)  Complete Worksheet.

Thursday, 9/13:
Give Me Liberty Text, Chapter 4
Look for: What phenomena were continuous from the 1600s?  What new developments defined this as a new era?

Wednesday, 9/12:
Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Read "The Custom House"(7-35).
Pay special attention to how this introduction helps you to understand the CONTEXT out of which the rest of the tale is spun.  Respond to the following prompts. Cite brief quotes to ground/develop your answers. Confine your formal answers to 1.5 pages.
1. Describe Hawthorne's complex attitudes about his roots/heritage.
2. What are his attitudes toward the time he spent at the Custom House?
3. How does this introduction manage to draw the reader into the actual tale of the "scarlet letter"?
The Scarlet Letter to class with you.

Friday, 9/7:
Conversations, The Captivity Narrative of Mary Rowlandson, pp. 231, questions 2 and 5

Thursday, 9/6
Review:  Go back to textbook chapters 1-3, pick out three terms/events that defined EACH chapter (9 total).  Write down some questions that still are confusing to you.  (Note:  If you can upload this assignment to -- that would be awesome, because we can test the system and you can receive my feedback quicker-- thank you, cP -- remember our class ID is 18876369 and our join key is APrules)

Wednesday, 9/5:
Conversations, A Model of Christian Charity by John Winthtrop p.254:  Do Question 2;
The Requierimiento by King Ferdinand p. 284.  Do Question 4.

Tuesday, 9/4:

1. Read pages 1-23 in Conversations.  Take notes for yourself to help understand the book's claims about how to read and analyze texts in terms of rhetoric.  Using the two examples in the reading as models, create two SOAPS charts, one for The Crucible, and one for Caleb's Crossing.  For the second one, be sure to distinguish between Bethia as a speaker, and Brooks as a speaker (see model on page 23).
2. View hour documentary: Pocahontas Revealed
Focus of Notes: What methods were used and what key pieces of evidence meant the most?  What questions drove the researchers?

Friday, 8/31:
Read the Paula Gunn Allen excerpt about Pocahontas from Conversations in American Literature (330-333).  Answer question #1, and one other question of your choice from page 333.
Your answer to each question must be at least 1/2 page, but not more than 1 page.  Be sure to support your claims with references to the Allen piece, and other evidence as appropriate.

College Board Registration:
Follow distributed directions to Join our classes through
Join Codes:
AP Lang/Comp: 63K99X
AP USH: A27R92
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CONTESTS and Special Workshops -

Kemper Human Rights Education Foundation Essay Contest 2018/19

Social Issue Essay Contest Sponsored by the CT Bar Association

2016-2017 Prompt

Thoreau Essay Contest Sponsored by the Walden Woods Project
"Live Deliberately Essay Contest"

Apply for - New England Young Writers' Conference in May

CT Writing Project at Fairfield University - Summer Programs

Enter CT History Day Contest!

Profile in Courage Essay Contest

Gilder Lehrman Age of Revolution Essay Contest