AP US History : Geography, Environment, and Peopling 1608–1754

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US History

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Geography, Environment, And Peopling 1608–1754

"At last they brought him to [Werowocomoco], where was Powhatan their Emperor. Here more then two hundred of those grim Courtiers stood wondering at him, as he had been a monster; till Powhatan and his train had put themselves in their greatest braveries. Before a fire upon a seat like a bedstead, he sat covered with a great robe, made of Rarowcun [raccoon] skins, and all the tails hanging by. At his entrance before the King, all the people gave a great shout. 

Having feasted him after their best barbarous manner they could, a long consultation was held, but the conclusion was, two great stones were brought before Powhatan: then as many as could laid hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs, to beat out his brains, Pocahontas the Kings dearest daughter, when no intreaty could prevail, got his head in her arms, and laid her own upon his to save him from death."

- John Smith, the General History of Virginia, 1624

Which of the following best describes the perspective of John Smith in this passage?

Possible Answers:

Native American women were dominant in their society

Native Americans lacked the vices of the more corrupt and cultured Europeans

Powhatan and his people were backwards barbarians

The Native Americans were noble people who had great knowledge about their natural environment

Powhatan liked to mock royalty by dressing up in false finery

Correct answer:

Powhatan and his people were backwards barbarians

Explanation:

In this passage, John Smith looks down on Powhatan and his people due to cultural differences, describing their feast as "barbarous" and describing them as gawking at him during his arrival.

Example Question #2 : Geography, Environment, And Peopling 1608–1754

"At last they brought him to [Werowocomoco], where was Powhatan their Emperor. Here more then two hundred of those grim Courtiers stood wondering at him, as he had been a monster; till Powhatan and his train had put themselves in their greatest braveries. Before a fire upon a seat like a bedstead, he sat covered with a great robe, made of Rarowcun [raccoon] skins, and all the tails hanging by. At his entrance before the King, all the people gave a great shout. 

Having feasted him after their best barbarous manner they could, a long consultation was held, but the conclusion was, two great stones were brought before Powhatan: then as many as could laid hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs, to beat out his brains, Pocahontas the Kings dearest daughter, when no intreaty could prevail, got his head in her arms, and laid her own upon his to save him from death."

- John Smith, the General History of Virginia, 1624

Smith's story best illustrates which of the following about the society he was observing?

Possible Answers:

Powhatan and his people did not concern themselves with physical appearances.

Powhatan's Confederacy was divided by sharp gender and class distinctions

Powhatan's people made important decisions via discussion and consensus 

Powhatan's people lived in poverty

Powhatan had rights as a leader that were similar to autocratic monarchs in Europe

Correct answer:

Powhatan's people made important decisions via discussion and consensus 

Explanation:

The relevant part of the passage is as follows: "Having feasted him after their best barbarous manner they could, a long consultation was held, but the conclusion was, two great stones were brought before Powhatan."

This shows that Powhatan did not make decisions unilaterally like an autocrat would, but rather his people consulted together to make decisions.

Example Question #3 : Geography, Environment, And Peopling 1608–1754

The British North American colonies were settled for many reasons.  The King granted charters to venturing proprietors and joint stock companies to settle the colonies with the goal of making an economic profit for the British Crown. In addition, for many years Britain viewed North America as a base for piracy and harassment of the Spanish. But by the end of the 16th century the British Crown began to think of it as a place for colonization, trade and as a buffer zone. Thus, North America would be a market for British goods, a source of raw materials and commodities such as furs and would also serve as a safeguard against Spain’s Catholic settlements. The British Crown viewed North American as a perfect opportunity for the British government to obtain raw materials, maintain the colonies as a captive market for finished products from Britain and to settle Britain’s poor citizens to ensure they would contribute to the nation’s wealth by their work in the colonies. The Middle Colonies in particular were well situated to serve as distribution centers for the English mercantilism system and also became a crossroads for new ideas in the colonies. In addition to the profit motive, many individuals came to North America to establish colonies for religious freedom. The new settlers encountered the Native populations as well as French and Spanish settlers. These encounters led to many unique and unfortunate histories for the early colonies such as Roanoke and Jamestown. However, Pennsylvania stood out as a remarkable colonial success. Unlike its sister colonies, it did not engage in violent encounters with the Native population. The Pennsylvania settlers traded with the Native peoples and with other countries such as the West Indies. This success may have been the result of the unique method of acquisition of the land by William Penn. 

William Penn acquired the land called Pennsylvania, Penn’s Woods, through what means?

Possible Answers:

Penn fled the conservative Massachusetts Bay Colony to establish his more liberal colony in Pennsylvania

William Penn’s trading company negotiated with King Charles II to establish a trading colony in the Middle Colonies

King Charles II owed a vast sum of money to the Penn family and gave the land to William Penn to settle the debt

Penn purchased the land from the Native Americans

King Charles II sent William Penn to the Middle Colonies to establish a port colony for trade with the West Indies

Correct answer:

King Charles II owed a vast sum of money to the Penn family and gave the land to William Penn to settle the debt

Explanation:

King Charles owed a large debt of $80,000.00 to William Penn’s father. Upon the death of William Penn's father, the King saw the opportunity to settle the debt with the family and establish a colony for religious and political outsiders and dissidents. William Penn saw this as an opportunity to settle in the New World and establish a colony that was based on human freedoms, with emphasis on religious freedom. He set in motion a democratic system of life in Pennsylvania. Though Penn was born into the Anglican faith, he felt drawn to the Quaker faith. After seeing the prosecution of the Quakers in England, he decided that his new land could become a refuge for the Quakers, some of whom had already settled in the area and welcomed Penn. Penn settled in the new land with the ideas of tolerance, common sense and what he called “the Holy Experiment”. While King Charles did not object to this and did have an interest in using the colonies as a profit making experience, it was not his primary intent in granting the land to Penn. The settlement of the debt was the primary motive for granting the land to Penn. Penn never lived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony; his sights were always set on Pennsylvania.

Example Question #4 : Geography, Environment, And Peopling 1608–1754

"For having protected, favored, and emboldened the Indians against his Majesty’s loyal subjects, never contriving, requiring, or appointing any due or proper means of satisfaction for their many invasions, robberies, and murders committed upon us."

- Declaration of Nathaniel Bacon, leader of a rebellion of former indentured servants against Governor William Berkeley, 1676

"I have lived 34 years amongst you, as uncorrupt and dilligent as ever Governor was, Bacon is a man of two years amongst you, his person and qualities unknown to most of you, and to all men else, by any virtuous action that ever I heard of...I will take Council of wiser men then my self, but Mr. Bacon hath none about him, but the lowest of the people."

- Governor Williams Berkeley, in response to Bacon's Rebellion, 1676

Which of the following best explains the role of Native Americans in the conflict at the heart of Bacon's Rebellion and other flare-ups within colonial society?

Possible Answers:

By this time, disease had wiped out most of the native population on the Eastern seaboard, meaning that white settlers had limited interaction with native peoples

Faced with swindling resources and violent, discriminatory actions by colonists, Native Americans often raided border settlements

The threat of a Native American-Slave alliance in the southern colonies increased tensions among white settlers

Native Americans fought on the side of colonists against royal authorities

Native Americans often allied and intermarried with British colonial settlers, forcing the British government to ban the practice due to fear and racial prejudice

Correct answer:

Faced with swindling resources and violent, discriminatory actions by colonists, Native Americans often raided border settlements

Explanation:

The large number of British settlers combined with poor relations with native tribes led to violence between Native Americans and colonists, especially along the vulnerable frontier.

Example Question #5 : Geography, Environment, And Peopling 1608–1754

"For having protected, favored, and emboldened the Indians against his Majesty’s loyal subjects, never contriving, requiring, or appointing any due or proper means of satisfaction for their many invasions, robberies, and murders committed upon us."

- Declaration of Nathaniel Bacon, leader of a rebellion of former indentured servants against Governor William Berkeley, 1676

"I have lived 34 years amongst you, as uncorrupt and dilligent as ever Governor was, Bacon is a man of two years amongst you, his person and qualities unknown to most of you, and to all men else, by any virtuous action that ever I heard of...I will take Council of wiser men then my self, but Mr. Bacon hath none about him, but the lowest of the people."

- Governor Williams Berkeley, in response to Bacon's Rebellion, 1676

Indentured servitude was a major source of labor in which of the following colonial regions in the seventeenth century?

Possible Answers:

The southern colonies like South Carolina

The New England colonies like Massachusetts Bay

French-held Caribbean island colonies like Saint-Domingue

The British West Indies like Barbados

The Chesapeake Bay and Middle colonies such as Virginia

Correct answer:

The Chesapeake Bay and Middle colonies such as Virginia

Explanation:

Particularly in Virginia, indentured servants were a significant source of labor under the headright system, unlike the Southern colonies that had adopted the chattel slavery institution as modeled by colonists in Barbados. Colonists in New England were much more likely to be small, independent land owners.

Example Question #6 : Geography, Environment, And Peopling 1608–1754

We know our Lands are now become more valuable. The white People think we do not know their Value’ but we are sensible that the Land is everlasting, and the few Goods we receive for it are soon worn out and gone… We are not well used with respect to the lands still unsold by us. Your People daily settle on these Lands, and spoil our Hunting. We must insist on your Removing them, as you know they have no Right to settle.

-Canassatego, Chief of the Onondaga Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy, speech to representatives of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, 1742.

The causes of the French and Indian War included all of the following EXCEPT __________.

Possible Answers:

conflicted territorial claims

competition over the trade

discovery of gold in the Appalachian Mountains

the movement into Ohio Valley

Correct answer:

discovery of gold in the Appalachian Mountains

Explanation:

In North America, the underlying causes of Anglo- French issues were overlapping territorial claims and competition over the fur trade. These two causes led to French and their Indian allies raiding English frontier settlements. The final push towards war was dispute over the land in the valley of Ohio River. Both the English and French claimed this area and as colonists moved into the new region for settlement, the struggle increased. The struggle came to the colonies as The French and Indian War.

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