AP US History : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US History

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

← Previous 1

Example Question #1 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

Passage adapted from William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold Speech" (1896)

I shall not slander the fair state of Massachusetts nor the state of New York by saying that when citizens are confronted with the proposition, “Is this nation able to attend to its own business?”—I will not slander either one by saying that the people of those states will declare our helpless impotency as a nation to attend to our own business. It is the issue of 1776 over again. Our ancestors, when but 3 million, had the courage to declare their political independence of every other nation upon earth. Shall we, their descendants, when we have grown to 70 million, declare that we are less independent than our forefathers? No, my friends, it will never be the judgment of this people. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good but we cannot have it till some nation helps us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we shall restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States have.

If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

Bryan's speech is an example of which of the following nineteenth-century political philosophies?

Possible Answers:

Laissez-faire liberalism

Anarchism

Populism

Nativism

Correct answer:

Populism

Explanation:

William Jennings Bryan was perhaps Populism's greatest voice, and his 1896 nomination for President by the Democratic Party sealed its place in national politics. The tenets of populism were support of farmers, election reform, and the removal of the gold standard. The gold standard referred to pegging the value of the American dollar to gold, which caused fluctuations in prices despite its consistent logic. Bryan argued for bimetallism, which made the dollar valued in comparison to gold and silver.

Example Question #2 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

Passage adapted from William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold Speech" (1896)

I shall not slander the fair state of Massachusetts nor the state of New York by saying that when citizens are confronted with the proposition, “Is this nation able to attend to its own business?”—I will not slander either one by saying that the people of those states will declare our helpless impotency as a nation to attend to our own business. It is the issue of 1776 over again. Our ancestors, when but 3 million, had the courage to declare their political independence of every other nation upon earth. Shall we, their descendants, when we have grown to 70 million, declare that we are less independent than our forefathers? No, my friends, it will never be the judgment of this people. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good but we cannot have it till some nation helps us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we shall restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States have.

If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

The reference to Britain following America's example reflects which of the following cultural shifts in the late nineteenth century?

Possible Answers:

America had become a world leader in business and industry

America's increasing economic reliance on agriculture

The increasing failure of many Western agricultural holdings

The lack of trust in banks and other financial institutions by most Americans

Correct answer:

America had become a world leader in business and industry

Explanation:

A large concern of Bryan's opponents who wished to keep the gold standard was that the rest of the world remained steadfast in their use of the gold standard, meaning America would lag behind more industrialized nations like Great Britain. Bryan's argument is that, echoing the Revolution, the rest of the world would have to take notice of America. This is an argument that can only be placed in the context of America's increasing dominance in business and industry throughout the late nineteenth century.

Example Question #3 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

Passage adapted from William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold Speech" (1896)

I shall not slander the fair state of Massachusetts nor the state of New York by saying that when citizens are confronted with the proposition, “Is this nation able to attend to its own business?”—I will not slander either one by saying that the people of those states will declare our helpless impotency as a nation to attend to our own business. It is the issue of 1776 over again. Our ancestors, when but 3 million, had the courage to declare their political independence of every other nation upon earth. Shall we, their descendants, when we have grown to 70 million, declare that we are less independent than our forefathers? No, my friends, it will never be the judgment of this people. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good but we cannot have it till some nation helps us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we shall restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States have.

If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

What was the largest effect of this speech on domestic politics?

Possible Answers:

The electoral success of the Populist Party in the 1896 election.

The adoption of bimetallism by Congress in the 1890s.

The success of the Democratic Party in the Plains states.

William Jennings Bryan becoming President in the 1896 election.

Correct answer:

The success of the Democratic Party in the Plains states.

Explanation:

William Jennings Bryan rode the Cross of Gold speech to the Democratic Nomination for President in 1896; however, Bryan would lose to William McKinley, and the gold standard remained as U.S. law until the 1970s. What Bryan's nomination did was fully pull populism into the Democratic Party fold, which both ended the electoral ambitions of the Populist Party and made the Plains States solidly Democratic for the next few decades.

Example Question #4 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

A PROCLAMATION

Whereas, it has become necessary to call into service not only volunteers but also portions of the militia of the States by draft in order to suppress the insurrection existing in the United States, and disloyal persons are not adequately restrained by the ordinary processes of law from hindering this measure and from giving aid and comfort in various ways to the insurrection;

Now, therefore, be it ordered, first, that during the existing insurrection and as a necessary measure for suppressing the same, all Rebels and Insurgents, their aiders and abettors within the United States, and all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments, resisting militia drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practice, affording aid and comfort to Rebels against the authority of United States, shall be subject to martial law and liable to trial and punishment by Courts Martial or Military Commission:

Second. That the Writ of Habeas Corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter during the rebellion shall be, imprisoned in any fort, camp, arsenal, military prisons, or other place of confinement by any military authority of by the sentence of any Court Martial or Military Commission.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this twenty fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the 87th.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln's suspension of the Writ of Habeus Corpus during the Civil War was Constitutionally significant because __________.

Possible Answers:

it showed the US government's desperation to draft new soldiers

it allowed the US government to indefinitely imprison any person it chose by imposing martial law

it was the instigation behind Congress' threat to impeach Abraham Lincoln

it denied citizen's First Amendment rights

None of these answers accurately reflect the constitutional significance of Lincoln's actions

Correct answer:

it allowed the US government to indefinitely imprison any person it chose by imposing martial law

Explanation:

Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 of the US Constitution states, "The Privilege of the Write of Habeus Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." The Writ of Habeus Corpus ensures prisoners a speedy trial and the right to be told what crimes they are charged with. It is considered a basic building block of a democratic legal system. Due to the nature of the Civil War, spies were prevalent. Lincoln rightly believed that many US soldier's lives were lost due to the passing of important information to the Confederacy. His suspension of the Writ of Habeus Corpus, and proclaiming his ability to declare martial law wherever he felt the need, was a military necessity, but it's Constitutional legality is still debated.

(Passage adapted from Abraham Lincoln's Presidential Proclamation #94 (1862))

Example Question #5 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

What political viewpoint is this cartoon trying to convey?

Possible Answers:

Abraham Lincoln is the least important figure in the war against the South

The most effective means of defeating the Southern rebellion is the Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation is the least likely to end the war against the South

It will take as many people as possible to defeat the South

Jefferson Davis is as strong as a mythical, scary dog

Correct answer:

The most effective means of defeating the Southern rebellion is the Emancipation Proclamation

Explanation:

"J. Davis" (Jefferson Davis, the leader of the southern "rebellion") is advertised as having the strongest backbone in the world, setting up the challenge for northerners to "break" his backbone, defeat the rebellion, and end the war. Gyascutis is an imaginary beast, but that fact does not matter to the outcome of this cartoon. Various figures in Northern uniforms are shown swinging mallets labeled "skill" and "strategy," which are facets of the Northern approach to the war. Last in line are Abraham Lincoln and another political figure debating whether the draft or the Emancipation Proclamation will be the best way to win the war. We can infer that the artist thinks the Emancipation Proclamation is more likely to be successful because Lincoln is shown wielding an axe, the implement that seems most likely of the bunch to be successful in defeating the big dog.

Example Question #6 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

-- An amendment to the U.S. Constitution

When was this amendment ratified?

Possible Answers:

1865

1863

1861

1866

Correct answer:

1865

Explanation:

The amendment was ratified in December 1865. The Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued in 1863, had freed slaves in the Confederate states, but did not address the issue on a constitutional level. The amendment was part of the Reconstruction amendments adopted after the Civil War, which also included the 14th and 15th amendments.

Example Question #7 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

-- An amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Which amendment is quoted above?

Possible Answers:

21st Amendment

15th Amendment

13th Amendment

14th Amendment

Correct answer:

13th Amendment

Explanation:

This is the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. It was the first of the Reconstruction Amendments, which includes the 14th and the 15th amendments. It outlawed slavery within the United States. It was ratified in 1865. It followed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the Confederate states in 1863.

Example Question #8 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

I have heard it asserted by some that, as America has flourished under her former connection with Great Britain, the same connection is necessary towards her future happiness, and will always have the same effect. Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument. We may as well assert that, because a child had thrived upon milk, it is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty. But even this is admitting more than is true. For I answer roundly that America would have flourished as much, and probably much more, had no European power taken any notice of her…

Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)

Which of the following historical figures would have been least likely to agree with the ideas expressed by Thomas Paine in the passage above?

Possible Answers:

John Adams

John Paul Jones

Thomas Hutchinson

Patrick Henry

Nathanael Greene

Correct answer:

Thomas Hutchinson

Explanation:

Thomas Hutchinson was a leading Boston merchant from an old American family, who served as governor of Massachusetts. Viewed as pro-British by some citizens of Boston, Hutchinson's house was burned in 1765 by an angry crowd protesting the Crown's policies. In 1774, Hutchinson left America for London where he died in 1780.

John Paul Jones was a Patriot naval hero. Nathanael Greene served as a general of the colonial forces. Patrick Henry was a noted orator and, alongside Thomas Paine, helped bolster popular support for independence. John Adams assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence.

Example Question #9 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

"The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. The West and South are bound and prostrate before the manufacturing East..The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us. We were told two years ago to go to work and raise a big crop, that was all we needed...and what came of it? Eight-cent corn, ten-cent oats, two-cent beef and no price at all for butter and eggs...We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the foreclosure system wiped out..."

- Mary E. Lease, lawyer, in an 1890 speech

Which of the following groups formed in response to the problems described by Lease in this passage?

Possible Answers:

The Populist party

Social Darwinists

Suffragists

The Temperance League

The progressive movement

Correct answer:

The Populist party

Explanation:

Developing from economic cooperatives like the Farmers' Alliance, the Populist party represented the interests of the agricultural workers and sought (fairly unsuccessfully) political influence on the state and national level.

Example Question #10 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

"One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. ... With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

Passage adapted from :Second Inaugural Address" by Abraham Lincoln (March 4, 1865)

Which belief of Abraham Lincoln's does this passage reflect?

Possible Answers:

Slavery was unjust and immoral.

Charities should be set up to help the south recover.

Slavery was an illegal institution and should be dismantled.

The country should focus on reconciliation with the Southern states rather than punishment.

Correct answer:

The country should focus on reconciliation with the Southern states rather than punishment.

Explanation:

Lincoln almost legitimizes the Southerners reasons for going to war in political and economic terms (slaves are concentrated in the south and there is a powerful interest in that area in keeping the institution alive). He also notes that neither side could have anticipated the magnitude of the war, and does not blame the southerners for perpetuating it. We can also find a clue in his suggestion that the country move forward "with malice toward none" and "with charity toward all." Lincoln certainly believed that slavery was unjust, but this excerpt does not mention this belief, instead framing the causes of the Civil War in political and economic terms. Slavery was not illegal in the United States until the ratification of the 13th Amendment at the end of 1865. He notes that one of the causes of the Civil War was the union government's desire to stop the territorial expansion of slavery, not to make it illegal. He also mentions that the soldiers who fought, without qualification for which side they fought on, as well as their wives and children should be cared for.

← Previous 1
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: