SAT II US History : Cause and Effect in U.S. Economic History from 1899 to the Present

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #33 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Which of the following was directly caused by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s?

Possible Answers:
Mass migration of people from Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas to California
Increased productivity of farmland in the Great Plains
Increased technological development in industrial farming
A banking boom throughout the United States
Increased food supplies throughout the United States
Correct answer: Mass migration of people from Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas to California
Explanation:

The Dust Bowl of the 1930s was a period of drought which caused massive dust storms and failed crops throughout the Great Plains.  As a result of unproductive farmland, many people moved from Oklahoma, Texas, and California.  If the Dust Bowl is unfamiliar, the 1930s should be a good clue that increased productivity or investment of any sort would be a wrong answer.

Example Question #33 : U.S. Economic History

Which of these was not a consequence of Roosevelt's New Deal program?

Possible Answers:
All of these were consequences of the New Deal
The growth of America into a welfare state
The development of new ideas about the role and scope of government
The expansion of Social Security
Political realignment in the Democratic and Republican Parties
Correct answer: The growth of America into a welfare state
Explanation:

FDR's New Deal program was a massive economic undertaking that focused on three major areas (called the three R's, for simplicity): Relief, for the poor and unemployed; Recovery, for the depressed economy; Reform, of the financial and political system to ensure there would not be a repeat of the Great Depression. It is generally considered a turning point in American history when the bulk of the American people began to believe that Government direct intervention in the economy was a positive, not a negative. For the Democratic Party it ushered in an unprecedented level of popularity - propelling them to victory in seven of the next nine elections. For the Republican Party, it caused fracturing and realignment. It greatly expanded Social Security programs, but what it did not do is turn America into a welfare state. Most historians agree that America is too ruggedly "individualistic" for a true welfare state to govern - as has been evidence in the recent debate over health care in the Twenty-First Century. 

Example Question #1 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Economic History From 1899 To The Present

The period of extreme dust storms throughout the American and Canadian prairie lands in the 1930s known as the Dust Bowl caused severe agricultural and ecological damage.  This Dust Bowl was caused by all of the following EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

Drought

Absence of dryland farming techniques

Combine harvesting

Deep plowing of Great Plain's virgin topsoil

El Niño–Southern Oscillation

Correct answer:

El Niño–Southern Oscillation

Explanation:

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation is a band of warm ocean water that develops off the western coast of South America and has been known to cause climatic change across the Pacific Ocean, but not the plains of America and Canada.

Example Question #35 : U.S. Economic History

Which of the following is true about the Great Depression?

Possible Answers:

In 1928, the Fed increased the interest rate.

In the stock market crash, over 50% of wealth was lost.

The US never went off the gold standard.

Commodity prices increased.

The International Trade Organization banned open market operations.

Correct answer:

In 1928, the Fed increased the interest rate.

Explanation:

The Fed did in fact increase the interest rate in 1928. This led to a decrease in the available credit supply, because businesses would now have to borrow at higher interest rates. 

All other answer choices are false. The stock market crash, even though much talked about, only effected the loss of 10% of all wealth.  The bigger issue here was the lack of trust in banking and government that came from the crash.  America did eventually go off the gold standard. Commodity prices decreased because of a lack of demand. Finally, the International Trade Organization wasn't created until 1945.

Example Question #36 : U.S. Economic History

Rosie the Riveter and other women in industrial jobs joined the workforce due to which of the following reasons?

Possible Answers:

The skyrocketing unemployment rates.

The Rockefeller foundation's support of women working outside the home.

The influence of international Communism.

The depression in the agricultural economy.

The draft forcing men into military service and departure to war.

Correct answer:

The draft forcing men into military service and departure to war.

Explanation:

As World War Two began to enlist more and more men into service, including the draft, the women were left without any means of support. Simultaneously, the push for munitions to supply the war efforts began to reach a higher level of demand. The combination of these two causes allowed women to easily fill the gaps left behind by the departing workforce into battle.

Example Question #38 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

The Agricultural Marketing Act of 1929                      .

Possible Answers:

failed to avert the food crisis of the early 1930s 

bought up surplus crops and sold them to foreign markets

kept crop prices low and ensured there was enough food to go around

ensured that farmers were able to survive throughout the Great Depression

was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first attempt to reform agriculture, later improved by the Agricultural Adjustment Act

Correct answer:

failed to avert the food crisis of the early 1930s 

Explanation:

The Agricultural Marketing Act of 1929 was an attempt by President Hoover to ensure the prosperity of the farming industry in uncertain times. Prior to the Act, crop prices had been spiraling downwards and forcing many farmers to go out of business. The Act gave the Federal government mandate to buy up surplus crops. For a short time this stabilized crop prices, but it eventually led to an overreliance on Federal support among the farming industry which helped contribute to the food crisis of the early 1930s—all the food was being bought and stored in warehouses, as opposed to sold or distributed to the poor. Historians generally consider the attempt to be morally sound, but the execution of the program to be disastrous. It was eventually improved upon by the Agricultural Administration Act that was enacted during Roosevelt’s early days in office. 

Example Question #37 : U.S. Economic History

Which of the following was NOT a contributor to the Great Depression?

Possible Answers:

The Stock Market Crash of 1929

World War I debt payments

Protectionist tariffs

The Dust Bowl

Over investment and speculation

Correct answer:

World War I debt payments

Explanation:

The immediate cause of the Great Depression was the stock market crash of Black Tuesday, October 24, 1929.  Many factors contributed to the worldwide crisis, but World War I debts were paid off as scheduled and the years following the 1919 Armistice were actually an economic boom time.

Example Question #40 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff                  .

Possible Answers:

dramatically reduced American imports and exports 

helped protect American industry from the worst of the Great Depression

was designed to protect American industry, but ignored American agricultural failings

propelled Herbert Hoover to an exalted position in public opinion

is considered Franklin D. Roosevelt’s greatest failure

Correct answer:

dramatically reduced American imports and exports 

Explanation:

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act was passed in 1930 by the Hoover administration. It was designed to protect American agriculture and industry against foreign competition, but the overall effect was profoundly negative for the United States. The act set record high tariff rates on several thousand goods and greatly discouraged trade with Europe and Asia. United States’ overall exports and imports fell by more than half almost immediately. This heightened the suffering felt during the Great Depression.

Example Question #2 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Economic History From 1899 To The Present

Which of these factors did not contribute to the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression? 

Possible Answers:

A weak banking system

Reduced trade with Europe due to crippling tariffs

A shortage of crops leading to rapid food price inflation

Lack of diversity in the United States economy

Too much stock purchased on margin

Correct answer:

A shortage of crops leading to rapid food price inflation

Explanation:

Historians generally find it impossible to identify just one or two causes for the Stock Market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression. So a simple explanation is difficult, however the following factors were all relevant and need to be understood for the test: A weak banking system that did not garner consumer confidence caused many Americans to rush to the banks to withdraw their money the moment the crisis began causing rapid deterioration; A crippling tariff system that was closing the United States off to profitable trade with Europe; Far too much stock and property purchased on margin or credit (similar reasons to our modern recession); A complete lack of diversity in the American economy, as the industrial and car manufacturing industries were dwindling their was nothing rising to fill the gap, leading to widespread unemployment; Overproduction of crops causing prices to drop and farmers to be unable to make ends meet. Therefore we understand that there was no shortage of crops nor rapid food price inflation, quite the opposite. It is important to remember that there was no one single cause of the Great Depression, but rather it was a combination of several factors. 

Example Question #3 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Economic History From 1899 To The Present

During the so-called "Roaring 20s," what contributed to the most economic growth? 

Possible Answers:

Prices of fruits and vegetables increased

The country expanded into the West

Trading with other countries increased

The minimum wage increased

Americans produced more consumer goods

Correct answer:

Americans produced more consumer goods

Explanation:

During the 1920s, the country was prosperous mainly because of American goods that were being produced within the country. America did not have to do as much trading with other countries to get the products they needed because they were being created on American soil. People also wanted to buy American goods.

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