SAT II US History : Cause and Effect in U.S. Economic History from 1790 to 1898

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT II US History

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

What was the most significant consequence of the invention of the cotton gin?

Possible Answers:
The destruction of Southern soil, causing widespread food-shortage and poverty
A decrease in slave trade
An increase in slave trade
The North began to produce cotton on similar levels to the South - causing discontent to foster between Southern plantation owners at loss of business
A massive oversupply of cotton, causing prices to drop dramatically - leading to a brief recession
Correct answer: An increase in slave trade
Explanation:

Before the invention of the cotton gin, cotton was notoriously difficult to profitably produce. Cotton is encased in a hard shell - extracting it and removing excess material was a time consuming and costly process. The cotton gin, by mechanizing the process, dramatically increased the amount of cotton that a plantation owner could produce and made the cash crop extremely profitable again. However, in order to process the cotton it first needed to be picked - which called for an influx of a massive number of forced laborers (slaves). More than one of the answers presented here are true, however the key component is "most significant". The massive importation of slaves to harvest cotton probably prolonged the death of slavery by several years in the South and has ramifications for the economic, social and political make-up of America to this day. 

Example Question #2 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

The Pony Express, a mail delivery service reliant upon horseback mail-carriers, served the west of the United States from Missouri to California for roughly a year-and-a-half, from 1860 to 1861.  It was the quickest means of communication in the West until the establishment of what?

Possible Answers:

The Transcontinental Railroad

The telegraph

The interstate highway system

The automobile

The telephone

Correct answer:

The telegraph

Explanation:

It was the establishment of the telegraph that rendered the Pony Express obsolete. 

Example Question #3 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

The California Gold Rush of 1849 was enabled by which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The annexation of California by the United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

The removal of the gold standard

The opening of the Panama Canal

New, quicker methods of overland transportation

New markets for gold in Europe and the large eastern cities of America

Correct answer:

The annexation of California by the United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

Explanation:

Gold was found at Sutter’s Mill in Northern California in January of 1848, weeks before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo made California an American territory.  The ever present desire for gold led people to endure brutal travel either overland in stagecoaches or wagon trains, or by sailing to Panama and crossing the Isthmus by foot.

 

Example Question #4 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

Which inventor and industrialist first mass-produced the revolver, the weapon credited with helping to tame the Wild West?

Possible Answers:

Rollin White

Daniel B. Wesson

Samuel Colt

Oliver Winchester

Horace Smith

Correct answer:

Samuel Colt

Explanation:

Samuel Colt, of Colt 45 fame, is the inventor credited with mass-producing the revolver for the first time.

Example Question #5 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

What was one of the significant causes of the Panic of 1873?

Possible Answers:

Bank failures due to rampant speculation over railroads

Decoupling of the monetary supply from the gold standard

The failure of international trade with European powers

An inability of former Confederate states to pay back debts from the Civil War

The failure of President Ulysses S. Grant to cut business taxes

Correct answer:

Bank failures due to rampant speculation over railroads

Explanation:

The Panic of 1873 was one of the worst world wide economic depressions until the Great Depression occurred in 1929. The Panic began after widespread railroad speculation in the post Civil War era overstretched financial resources throughout the country. After the failure of a handful of railroads, banks themselves failed causing widespread unemployment, inflation, and bank runs. The depression would last until 1879, covering all of Ulysses S. Grant's second term in office.

Example Question #6 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

The cotton gin allowed the plantation system in the South to __________.

Possible Answers:

collapse under its own weight

change away from a slave dominated economy

expand greatly due to increased productivity

turn from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy

turn from an industrial economy to an agricultural economy

Correct answer:

expand greatly due to increased productivity

Explanation:

The cotton gin (short for engine) was invented by the Connecticut born Eli Whitney in 1793, and quickly the model spread throughout Southern plantations. The cotton gin was able to separate the cotton fibers from the seeds extremely quickly and efficiently, and allowed the production of cotton to increase exponentially. This meant that Southern plantation owners also increased their importation and trade of slaves, leading to a boom in the Southern slave population.

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