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1. About this Course

It reviews all of the substantive material that is usually taught in the first semester of the two-semester course in the United States history. It covers the period of United States history from early European colonization to the end of Reconstruction, with the majority of the questions on the period of 1790 through 1877. Emphasis is placed on the British colonies in the part covering the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The goal of the creator of this course – Modern States Education Alliance, a non-profit organization – is to prepare you to pass the College Board's CLEP examination and obtain college credit for free.

"After studying these lectures, reviewing the materials, understanding the presented exercises, and working with the practice questions, you will be fully prepared to take and pass the CLEP exam", explains our lead professor, Dr. Elvin T. Ramos from St. John's University in New York.

The CLEP exam contains approximately 120 questions to be answered in 90 minutes.

Our “History of the United States I” course is completely self-paced. There are no prerequisites to take this course, and it is entirely free. Any student who wants to save time and money while completing freshman year in college can take it.

2. About Dr. Elvin T. Ramos

Dr. Elvin T. Ramos currently teaches history at St. John’s University, City University of New York, and School of Visual Arts in New York City. From 2010-2014, Dr. Ramos served as the Assistant Dean and Interim Chair at Metropolitan College of New York located in downtown New York City. He is the founder, president, and the chief executive officer at Global Tassels. As president and CEO, he is responsible for leading the development and execution of the organization’s growth, short term, and long term strategic plans. Dr. Ramos is a committed facilitator of change and a stapled believer of serving others through community work.

He teaches courses in World History, United States History, Social Sciences, Urban Studies, and Global Development. His field of research is in the history of world poverty and his special interest lies in finding ways to help eradicate world poverty in concert with the efforts of modernization, globalization, and international development. He has presented his research at the Romanian Institute of Orthodox Theology and Spirituality and at the Asian Conference on Arts and Humanities in Osaka and Kobe, Japan. He was involved in Middle States Commission on Higher Education participating in the accreditation processes of Universidad Metropolitana in 2012 and Escuela de Artes Plasticas in 2013 both located in Puerto Rico.

In 2006, he received his baccalaureate degree in political science and history and in 2007 his masters in education both from Adelphi University. Finally, he graduated with his doctorate in history from St. John’s University in 2010.

3. Required Knowledge and Skills

The CLEP exam requires you to demonstrate one or more of the following abilities:

  • Identify and describe historical phenomena.

  • Analyze and interpret historical phenomena.

  • Compare and contrast historical phenomena.

4. Course Modules

Following are the main topics and percentages of the exam’s questions, mostly based on the College Board's description of the course:


Module 1: The Colonial Period

1.0 Introduction to The Colonial Period   

1.1 The Age of Exploration   

1.2 The Beginnings of Colonization   

1.3 The Colonial World    

1.4 The 18th Century   


Module 2: The American Revolution

2.0 Introduction to The American Revolution   

2.1 The Coming of the American Revolution   

2.2 The War for Independence   

2.3 The Creation of New Governments   


Module 3: The United States Constitution

3.0 Introduction to The United States Constitution   

3.1 Development and Ratification   

3.2 Outline of the United States Constitution and Separation and Limitations of Powers   


Module 4: The New Nation (1789-1824)

4.0 Introduction to The New Nation   

4.1 The Federalist Era   

4.2 The Washington's Administration (1789-1797)   

4.3 Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs   

4.4 John Adam's Administration (1797-1801)   

4.5 Jeffersonian Era   

4.6 Madison's Administration (1809-1817)   

4.7 Internal Development (1820-1830)   

4.8 The Expanding Economy and Industrialization   


Module 5: Jacksonian Democracy and Westward Expansion (1824-1850) 

5.0 Introduction to Jacksonian Democracy and Westward Expansion   

5.1 The Jacksonian Democracy (1829-1841)   

5.2 The Jacksonian Indian Policy    

5.3 The Election of 1840   

5.4 An Age of Reform   

5.5 The Role of Minorities   

5.6 The Westward Expansion   


Module 6: Sectional Conflict and the Causes of the Civil War (1850-1860)

6.0 Introduction to Sectional Conflict and the Causes of the Civil War   

6.1 The Crisis of 1850 and America at Mid-Century   

6.2 The Return of Sectional Conflict   

6.3 The Coming of the Civil War   


Module 7: The Civil War and Reconstruction (1860-1877)

7.0 Introduction to The Civil War and Reconstruction   

7.1 Hostilities Begin    

7.2 The Union Preserved    

7.3 The Ordeal of the Reconstruction   

5. How CLEP Works

Developed by the College Board, CLEP (College-Level Examination Program®) is the most widely accepted credit-by-examination program.

CLEP’s credits are accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities, according to the College Board. These tests assess college-level knowledge in 33 subject areas.

Modern States Education Alliance is the non-profit organization behind these edX-style courses. Its project is called “Freshman Year for Free” and its mission is to make college more accessible and affordable through free, high-quality online education.

• CLEP® History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877: at a Glance

• 'Passing the CLEP and Learning with Modern States' orientation course