Although The Essential Content did crush the May SAT II and the regular APUSH exam, my students did report being surprised by the modern history questions. For example, on the May SAT II test writers expected students to know that President Bush attacked Afghanistan (and not Iran) in the months immediately following 9/11. On the regular APUSH exam, test writers expected students to know that House Speaker Newt Gingrich often thwarted President Clinton’s legislative agenda.
For purposes of the SAT II and APUSH exams, lets define modern history as events taking place from 1975 to the present. Students taking the June SAT II and the upcoming APUSH makeup exam can expect to see a few multiple-choice (but no DBQ’s or FRQ’s) from this period. Unfortunately, the questions tend to be very random. For purposes of review here is PART I of a list of fifteen recent events and trends you should be familiar with:
1. POP ART – Andy Warhol; Campbell Soup cans; Marilyn Monroe
2. THE ERA – the ERA amendment did NOT pass. Opponents led by Phyllis Schlafly successfully argued that the ERA would take away their civil rights
3. INFLATION IN THE 1970’s: The soaring cost of OPEC oil was the primary cause of inflation during the 1970s
4. THE PRIMARY GOAL OF JIMMY CARTER’S FOREIGN POLICY – Human rights
5. CARTER’S GREATEST FOREIGN POLICY ACHIEVEMENT – the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt
6. CARTER’S GREATEST FOREIGN POLICY FAILURE – the Iran Hostage Crisis
7. KEY ISSUES OF THE 1980 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN – Iran Hostage Crisis and inflation
8. REAGAN DOCTRINE – US will actively confront and contain communism
9. REAGANOMICS – also called supply-side economics; cut spending on domestic programs;
tax cuts benefited wealthy Americans the most
10. PRESIDENT CLINTON – supported NAFTA (North American Free Trade Association) and the WTO
(World Trade Organization); but many domestic initiatives were thwarted by House Speaker Gingrich
11. US OBJECTIVE IN THE FIRST GULF WAR – drive Iraq out of Kuwait
12. THE US CONTINUES TO HAVE DEFENSIVE TROOPS STATIONED IN SOUTH KOREA – they have been stationed along the border with North Korea since the end of the Korean War
13. US VICTORY IN THE FIRST GULF WAR – ended the VIETNAM SYNDROME
14. LARGEST MINORITY GROUP IN THE US – Hispanics
15. AFGHANISTAN – US attacked the Taliban in the months immediately following 9/11. Note that the US invaded Iraq in the Spring of 2003

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