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Historical Time Period Breakdown

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 12 years, 1 month ago


APUSH Thematic Review
Historical Periods


By the time you are ready to take the Advanced Placement (AP) test in May, you will have been bombarded by hundreds of facts and dates.  In this blizzard of information, it is possible to lose track of the broad delineations of U.S. history.  On the AP test, however, there will often be essay question or multiple-choice questions that refer to a historical period rather than to a set of specific years.  Unless you are familiar with the labels for these eras, you may misinterpret or incorrectly answer a question that you could otherwise easily master.


The following chart presents the major historical periods of U.S. history.  In addition, it identifies events that roughly marked the beginning and ending of the era.  You might review the chart by looking at a list of events (perhaps in the index of your primary textbook) and placing them in their appropriate historical period.  This will help you develop a stronger chronological sense and decrease the likelihood of encountering unfamiliar time references on the AP test.





Colonial Period


  1.  Jamestown founded
  2. French and Indian War ended

Revolutionary Period


  1. England ended salutary neglect
  2. Treaty of Paris signed ending Revolution

Confederation Period


  1. States surrender their western land claims
  2. Constitute ratified

Era of Good Feelings


  1. War of 1812 ended
  2. Election of 1824

Jacksonian Era


  1. Andrew Jackson elected president
  2. Mexican War ended/James Polk leaves office

Antebellum Period

(South before Civil War)


  1. Cotton gin invented/rise of slavery
  2. Civil War started

Reconstruction Era


  1. Civil War ended
  2. Compromise of 1877

Gilded Age


  1. Ulysses Grant elected president
  2. Assassination of William McKinley

Progressive Era


  1. Square Deal began
  2. America entered the Great War

New Deal Era


  1. Franklin Roosevelt began his presidency
  2. World War II began in Europe

Fair Deal Era


  2. Korean War divided nation/Truman retired

New Frontier/Great Society Era


  1. John Kennedy became president
  2. Vietnam War divided nation


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