AP US History Practice Questions: Revolutionary Era

AP US History Practice Questions Revolutionary Era

A statue of George Washington in Boston

The Revolutionary Era is the major focus of APUSH Period 3: 1754-1800. Practice questions that mimic the real exam are an important part of being prepared for test day. Here are a few sample AP US History practice questions on the Revolutionary Era to help you know what to expect.

Revolutionary Era Practice Questions

Here are some official AP US History practice questions released by College Board.

Multiple Choice:

(questions from the official AP US History Practice Exam)

Questions 1-2 are based on the following excerpt:
“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
-Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, 1776

1. This excerpt was written in response to the
A) British government’s attempt to assert greater control over the North American colonies
B) British government’s failure to protect colonists from attacks by American Indians
C) colonial governments’ failures to implement mercantilist policies
D) colonial governments’ attempts to extend political rights to new groups

2. The ideas about government expressed in the excerpt are most consistent with which of the following?
A) The concept of hereditary rights and privileges
B) The belief in Manifest Destiny
C) The principle of religious freedom
D) The ideas of the Enlightenment



1. (A)
The colonists’ pursuit of freedom from British rule came after a period of attempts by the British government to exert increasing power over the American colonies. During their early years, the colonists enjoyed relative freedom during the period of “salutary neglect” in which they were left to develop fairly independently. With the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, however, salutary neglect came to an end as the British (now plagued by war debt) finally sought to enforce mercantilist policies and take greater economic and political control of the colonies. Most infuriating to many colonists were British taxes, which were imposed despite the colonists’ lack of direct representation in Parliament. “No taxation without representation” became a rallying cry of colonists opposed to measures such as the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, and the Tea Act. Additionally, the British increased their control in other ways. For example, they restricted colonists’ westward movement with the Proclamation of 1763 and forced them to house British soldiers with the Quartering Act. Colonists resented the British attempts to assert greater control over their money and their freedoms, and tensions eventually built to the point where revolution and this Declaration of Independence became inevitable.

2. (D)
When drafting the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson drew heavily from Enlightenment philosophy, especially that of English philosopher John Locke. In his “Two Treatises on Government,” Locke proposes the idea of natural rights, the government’s duty to protect them, and the people’s right to change or overthrow a government that fails in that sacred duty. This right of the people is based in the fact that governments exist only by the “consent of the governed”—that is, the will of the people. The Declaration uses this line of thinking to justify independence from Great Britain.

Short Answer:

(from the 2015 AP US History Exam)

“As to the history of the revolution, my ideas may be peculiar, perhaps singular. What do we mean by the revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington.”
-Former president John Adams to former president Thomas Jefferson, August 1815

“There is nothing more common than to confound the terms of the American Revolution with those of the late American war. The American war is over: but this is far from being the case with the American Revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the great drama is closed. It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government; and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens, for these forms of government, after they are established and brought to perfection.”
-Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence and delegate to the Continental Congress, January 1787

Using the excerpts, answer (a), (b), and (c).

a) Briefly describe ONE significant difference between Adams’ understanding and Rush’s understanding of the American Revolution.
b) Briefly explain how ONE specific historical event or development from the period between 1760 and 1800 could be used to support Adams’ interpretation.
c) Briefly explain how ONE specific historical event or development from the period between 1760 and 1800 could be used to support Rush’s interpretation.

See scoring guidelines and sample student responses to this question.

Document-Based Question:

For a great document-based question on the Revolutionary Era, check out the 2017 AP Exam. (DBQ is on pages 7-11.)

Note: Student responses and scoring guide have not yet been released for this most recent exam

Long Essay Question:

(from the 2015 AP US History Exam)

Evaluate the extent to which the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War, 1754-1763) marked a turning point in American relations with Great Britain, analyzing what changed and what stayed the same from the period before the war to the period after it.

See scoring guidelines and sample student responses to this question.

Where to Find More AP US History Practice Questions on This Topic

Looking for even more AP US History practice questions about the Revolutionary Era? Check out these great resources:

  • Albert has 124 multiple choice practice questions on the period from 1754-1800
  • Khan Academy has 4 quizzes covering the period from 1754-1800

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  • Sarah Bradstreet

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