AP World History Exam: Period 5 Notes (1750 to 1900 C.E.)

Six things to know about AP World History Period 5

  1. Industrialization led the world to become truly interdependent. Industrialized nations in search of raw materials and new markets often colonized areas to advance their economic interests.
  2. Populations grew, and many people migrated to cities in search of work in factories. Free-wage laborers were more desirable than forced labor in this new market-driven economy. As a result, slaves and serfs were emancipated.
  3. Women gained some economic opportunities in the factories but were paid considerably less than their male counterparts. These new economic opportunities and Enlightenment ideals pushed women to fight for political rights as well.
  4. The working class emerged as a force for change. Through organization into unions, these workers were able to advocate for improving their dangerous and oppressive working conditions.
  5. Western culture strongly influenced many Asian and African areas through colonization. At the same time, Asian and African culture and art strongly influenced European intellectuals and artists. Enlightenment ideals such as equality, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion became very influential in many parts of the world, yet in other parts, traditional organized religion maintained power and influence.
  6. The ideas of the Enlightenment said that the government was responsible to its people, inspiring revolutions and independence movements and pushing some governments to experiment with democratic values. This democracy, however, proved to extend to a limited class of people. “The nation” and nationalism became the new concepts of identity in the nineteenth century and would soon spread to many parts of the world.

Key Topics–Period 5: 1750 to 1900 C.E.

Remember that the AP World History exam tests you on the depth of your knowledge, not just your ability to recall facts. While we have provided brief definitions here, you will need to know these terms in even more depth for the AP World History exam, including how terms connect to broader historical themes and understandings.

Revolutions and Independence Movements

  • Enlightenment: Post-Renaissance period in European history devoted to the study and exploration of new ideas in science, politics, the arts, and philosophy.
  • American Revolution: After American colonists served alongside the British in the French and Indian War, the Crown issued a series of taxes to recover the war debt. The colonists, angered that they were being taxed without representation, protested the taxes and began fighting for independence. Although the Revolutionary War itself lasted from 1775–1781, the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 was significant in that it laid the foundations for the first large-scale democracy since Ancient Greece.
  • French Revolution: Inspired by America’s victory in its own revolution, the “commoners” of eighteenth-century France sought to create a new political and social order free from royal control. The Third Estate, who vastly outnumbered the First and Second Estates (clergy and nobility, respectively), created the National Assembly and issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. In response, the French faced war with the other European powers, in which they emerged victorious thanks to the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Maroon: Term for a nineteenth-century escaped slave in the Americas who settled in his or her own settlement away from plantations. They caused tensions with the colonial authorities. This term can also be used to describe their present-day descendants.
  • Haitian Revolution: Led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, this slave revolt lasted from 1791–1804, after which the former French colony of Saint-Domingue became the independent nation of Haiti, the second independent nation in the Western Hemisphere and the world’s first black republic.
  • Latin American independence movements: Inspired by the success of the Haitian Revolution, these movements against Spanish colonial rule in Central and South America in the 1810s and 1820s led to the independence of every nation in those areas. Key leaders were Simon Bolívar, José de San Martín, and Bernardo O’Higgins.

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