Selected Sources and References | Sherpa Learning

Selected Sources and References

U.S. History Skillbook

Selected Sources and References

Below are several sources that will help you strengthen and reinforce your AP U.S. History skills and knowledge. All these sources are useful in developing debates, supporting written arguments, completing classroom assignments, deepening your understanding of specific topics, and constructing your own DBQs.


Davidson, James West, and Mark Hamilton Lytle. After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999.

This book gives a student “two for the price of one.” It provides historical information about major topics such as the Salem Witch Trials, John Brown’s Raid, and Watergate at the same time it provides guidance on historical skills such as the problem of selecting evidence, using psychohistory, conducting oral history, and determining points of view.

Dollar, Charles M., and Gary W. Reichard, ed. American Issues: A Documentary Reader. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002.

This reader is a collection of primary and secondary sources that are chronologically arranged, so it can be used with any textbook. The primary sources are informative and could be valuable in constructing student-made DBQs. The secondary sources offer provocative points of view of the events and topics in the chapter.

Finkenbine, Roy E. Sources of the African-American Past: Primary Sources in American History. Rye, New York: Pearson Longman Publishing, 2003.

A comprehensive survey of sources from the African-American perspective that includes speeches, letters, poetry, and essays by prominent black leaders. It is a very useful source in the area of social and cultural history.

Madaras, Larry, and James M. SoRelle, ed. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in American History. Guilford, Connecticut: Duskin Publishing Group, 2000.

This two-volume reader provides contrasting points of views on major issues and events from 1607 to the 1990s. By offering contrasting positions, the book is an excellent source for classroom debates and for strengthening historical arguments. The book deals with all the major topics of the survey.

McClellan, Jim R. Changing Interpretations of America’s Past. Guilford, Connecticut: Dushkin Publishing Group, 1994.

This book of primary and secondary readings deals with all the major topics in the survey course. It has first impressions (primary sources) of an event, which are useful for adding depth to your knowledge and could be valuable in assembling student-made DBQs. The second impressions are secondary sources that add a historiographic slant to various topics.

Monk, Linda R., ed. Ordinary Americans: U.S. History Through the Eyes of Everyday People. Washington: Close Up Publishing, 1994.

This set of primary readings has a unique perspective. All the views are from “regular people” who see historical events through the eyes of unheralded individuals who are trying to earn a living and raise their families. An excellent source for viewing history from the “bottom up.”

Ruiz, Vicki L., and Ellen DuBois, eds. Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U.S. Women’s History. New York: Routledge Publishing, 2000.

This reader examines women’s roles in American history from a variety of ethnic and racial perspectives. It is an excellent source for social history and the role of some of the forgotten players of history.

Spoehr, Luther, and Alan Fraker. Doing the DBQ. New York: The College Board, 1995.

This book has all the DBQs from 1973 to 1994. It is not only a great place to look at the topics that have been used for DBQs, but it offers comments on each DBQ with specific guidance about the type of analysis of the documents and outside information that would be necessary for a successful answer to the question.


American Memory - The Library of Congress

The American Memory project of the Library of Congress has over seven million digital items. It is an outstanding source for papers, debates, and DBQs.

A good source for documents and cartoons and information about the United States history course in general.

History Matters

"History Matters - The U.S. History Survey on the Web" is a comprehensive collection of web resources and other useful materials for U.S. History teachers and students.

American Diplomacy

A vast collection of sources in American Diplomatic History, as well as thought-provoking articles on current international issues.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

The Gilder Lehrman Collection is a wonderful source of primary documents and ideas for using them. The site now also offers a study guide specific to AP U.S. History.

The National Archives - Teacher Resources

The National Archives has many primary sources and ideas for using them, including the DocsTeach program.

America in Caricature, 1765-1865

Good source for cartoons dealing with the first half of the AP U.S. History course survey.

The National Archives - Online Exhibits

National Archives exhibits with many interesting photos and documents. See the “Picturing the Century” exhibit for photos from the twentieth century.