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AP English Language and Composition Free-Response Questions

Question 1: Synthesis Essay

Directions: The following prompt is based on the accompanying sources.
This question requires you to synthesize a variety of sources into a coherent, well-written essay.
Synthesis refers to combining the sources and your position to form a cohesive, supported
argument and accurately citing sources. Your argument should be central; the sources should
support this argument. Avoid merely summarizing sources.
Remember to attribute both direct and indirect citations.
Freedom has been interpreted in many ways over time in United States history. What are the
main points and how do they all relate to one another? Are all ideas of freedom the similar or do
some have completely different goals in mind?
Remember to attribute both direct and indirect Citations
Read the following sources (including the introductory information) carefully. Then, in an essay
that synthesizes at least three of the sources for support, take a position that supports or
challenges that all types of freedom have one main idea in mind.
You may refer to the sources by their titles (Source A, Source B, etc.) or by the descriptions in
Source A (Jefferson)
Source B (Johnson)
Source C (Amendment 19)
Source D (Amendment 15)
Source E (Roosevelt)

Source A
Jefferson, Thomas. Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty,
and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, 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 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.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed
for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more
disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to
which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably
the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is
their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Source B
Johnson, Lyndon B. Voting Rights Act Address

This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great
phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, north and south: "All men are
created equal" "Government by consent of the governed" "Give me liberty or give me
Those words are a promise to every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man. This dignity
cannot be found in man's possessions. It cannot be found in his power or in his position. It really
rests on his right to be treated as a man equal in opportunity to all others. It says that he shall
share in freedom, he shall choose his leaders, educate his children, provide for his family
according to his ability and his merits as a human being.
Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about this there can
and should be no argument. Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no
reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on
us than the duty we have to ensure that right.

Source C
United States Constitution: 19th Amendment

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United
States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.

Source D
United States Constitution: 15th Amendment

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United
States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Source E
Roosevelt, Franklin D. The Four Freedoms

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four
essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the
The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic
understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide
reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a
position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in the world.