AP US History + The Act = You?

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Close your eyes (perhaps squint so you can still read this) and imagine this scenario: You are a junior in high school sitting in a class. Not just any class, but a class with your favorite teacher and your favorite subject. US History. AP US History to be exact. It’s the first day of class and your teacher begins to share the litany of topics you will study over the course of the year. Then she mentions the ACT you will take in the spring. The what?!? Your hopes of a riveting class are whisked away and replaced, instead, by anxiety of yet another impending test. So what do you do?

You learn. That’s what.

You learn that the ACT stands for American College Testing and that you need to take it to get into your university of choice. But it doesn’t have a history component, so why should you care about the ACT in your AP US History class?

You want an edge to getting into your first choice university, so naturally you will take the optional writing section of the ACT. Guess what. The prompts are about a social issue relevant to high school students. This generation doesn’t deal with prohibition, but think about other similarities you will learn about the 1920s and today’s historical concerns through your AP US History course.

Immigration quota, anyone?

In 1921, Congress passed immigration restrictions, particularly for individuals from Southern and Eastern European countries. In 2010, Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 seeks to revise, amend, and enforce federal immigration laws.

How about some trickle-down economics?

“We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land… we shall soon, with the help of God, be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this nation.”

– Presidential candidate Herbert Hoover, 1928

During the Great Depression the phrase “trickle-down” was used to describe the thought that if money was appropriated to the wealthy that it would “trickle-down” to those below, as was supposed to happen in the 1920s with the astronomical rise of the stock market. As if money dripped down from a leaky faucet. President Ronald Reagan re-introduced this in the 1980s, although his administration called it “supply-side” economics because it had a nicer ring to it than its negative predecessor. The gap between classes widens.

Making any connections yet?

Now, open your eyes. Take your connections and go show that silly old AP US History class and subsequent ACT who’s boss.


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