SAT II US History : Cause and Effect in U.S. Foreign Policy 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. Foreign Policy From 1790 To 1898

Which of the following was not a factor in the United States’ declaration of war against Britain in 1812?

Possible Answers:

British impressment of American sailors

British attempts to restrict American trade with France

The ascension of the anti-British Federalist party to a position of sole political power

American pride and desire to complete the break from the British Empire

British support of Native American attacks on the American frontier

Correct answer:

The ascension of the anti-British Federalist party to a position of sole political power

Explanation:

In the years between the end of the Revolutionary War and the outbreak of The War of 1812 the American merchant fleet grew dramatically. Although the majority of its trade continued to be with the British, the British public and government resented the added competition—in particular America’s trade with Britain’s perennial enemy, the French. During the Napoleonic Wars British ships often took to impressing American sailors to work aboard their ships—a provocative violation of American neutrality. In America the general response was outrage, and many prominent American politicians, like James Madison and Andrew Jackson, called for a “Second War of Independence” to finish the break with the Empire. Finally, many Americans living on the frontier were fighting a near constant conflict with displaced Native American populations and were offended to find that the British had been providing many Native American groups with weapons and supplies. The only false statement here is that it was the ascension of the Federalist Party that contributed to the outbreak of war. On the contrary, Federalist power was on the decline at the time. It was the Democratic-Republicans, and their significantly more staunch Anti-British feeling, that was in the ascension. 

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

"Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!"

The preceding text, referring to the sinking of the U.S. battleship USS Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898, was a rallying cry that helped propel America into what conflict?

Possible Answers:

The Spanish-American War

The Mexican-American War

The Spanish Civil War

The Cuban Revolution

The Cuban Missile Crisis

Correct answer:

The Spanish-American War

Explanation:

The popular phrase "Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!" was influential in beginning the Spanish-American War later that year, even though Spanish involvement in the sinking of the Maine was not conclusively determined.

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

The XYZ affair was important because               .

Possible Answers:

It caused the United States to declare war against Britain

It caused the United States to stop trading with Britain

It caused the United States to declare war on France

It led to the construction of the United States’ navy 

It caused the United States to stop trading with France

Correct answer:

It led to the construction of the United States’ navy 

Explanation:

In the years immediately after the French revolution, diplomatic tensions between the United States and France were growing very quickly and seemed to be precipitating war. In an attempt to avoid war President Adams sent a delegation of diplomats to negotiate with the famous French diplomat Talleyrand. Talleyrand demanded a bribe to even meet with the American representatives; when word spread back to Adams, the United States’ politicians were outraged.  Many Federalists called for war and pressed Adams to release a copy of the report filed to him. Adams did release the report, but changed the names of the French diplomats to W, X, Y, and Z thus earning the whole business the title “The XYZ Affair.” In response to the public outrage over this seeming affront to American dignity Federalists were able to push through a massive upgrade to the United States’ Navy. However, Adams steadfastly refused to declare war and tensions ultimately died down. 

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

What was the key effect of the Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg?

Possible Answers:

The Union Army managed to deflect the Confederate threat in the Eastern theater, but had to shift operations to the Western Front, which was seeing a series of Confederate victories.

The Union Army failed to fully pursue the Confederates and ultimately lost the campaign.

The Union Army was pinned back in its own territory with no ability to press the Confederate Army, despite its win on the field of battle.

The Confederate Army was decimated, leading to a quick summation of the war.

The Confederate Army never again attempted to invade Union territory, and was being continually pushed back for the rest of the war.

Correct answer:

The Confederate Army never again attempted to invade Union territory, and was being continually pushed back for the rest of the war.

Explanation:

The Battle of Gettysburg finished an effort by Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army to invade the North in Pennsylvania and create panic among the Union's populace.  The Union victory made Lee take his forces back into Southern territory, and from that point forward, the Southern Army was pushed further back on its heels.  The other significance of the Union victory was that it occurred on July 4, 1863, which was also the date that the Union won a victory at Vicksburg, MS, freeing up the Mississippi River.  The two victories brought an increasing focus on a smaller amount of Confederate Territory, and helped slowly bring the war to a close nearly two years later.

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

All of the following were an effect of the Battle of Fort Sumter EXCEPT __________.

Possible Answers:

the Union effectively blockading Charleston Harbor

four additional slave states joining the Confederacy

Confederate troops taking full control of Charleston harbor

large numbers of volunteers signing up for the Army

an increase of controversy and political debates in border states

Correct answer:

the Union effectively blockading Charleston Harbor

Explanation:

The Battle of Fort Sumter broke out in the early morning of April 12, 1860, with Confederate troops bombarding the tiny island fort in Charleston Harbor. Confederates claimed that it was their property, as it was in Confederate territory, while Lincoln refused to let go of Union Army installations. Forces led by Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard bombarded the fort for two days, until the Union troops surrendered, and the Confederates took control of the fort and the harbor. The Battle marked the official start of the Civil War, and many northern volunteers came forward. In slave states that had not joined the Confederacy, secession debates were enflamed once more, with Virginia, Tennesee, North Carolina, and Arkansas rounding out the Confederacy.

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

All of the following were causes of the Mexican-American war except __________.

Possible Answers:

the Annexation of Texas by the United States

Americans' desire for territorial expansion

America's isolationist approach to foreign policy

President James K. Polk's campaign promises

the claims of Mexico to Texas

Correct answer:

America's isolationist approach to foreign policy

Explanation:

The Mexican-American War was initially incited by the United States' annexation of the Republic of Texas, which Mexico still claimed much of as its own territory. President James K. Polk had been elected by promising to spread American territory to the Pacific, and war with Mexico brought this about most easily. The United States won quite handily, quickly occupying New Mexico and California, and eventually occupying Mexico City. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established peace by giving the present day American Southwest to the United States, and giving America a coast to coast territorial presence.

Example Question #7 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1790 To 1898

What was the primary consequence of the Citizen Genet affair?

Possible Answers:

Thomas Jefferson's acquisition of the Louisiana territory .

The establishment of a temporary alliance between the United States and France.

John Adams declaring war on France.

A weakening of the Democratic-Republicans.

A straining of diplomatic relations between the United States and France .

Correct answer:

A straining of diplomatic relations between the United States and France .

Explanation:

Edmond-Charles Genet was a French diplomat to the United States during the French Revolution. He was dispatched to the United States to try to encourage American support for the French wars against other European nations, primarily Britain. Citizen Genet ignored official diplomatic avenues, instead focusing on organizing popularly-supported mercenaries to fight Britain’s ally, Spain, in Florida. His success undermined Washington’s proclamation of neutrality, and Washington widely condemned his actions. The matter came to an end when a different form of government came to power, and Genet was branded a criminal in France.

Example Question #8 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1790 To 1898

Which of the following was not a cause that directly affected the American declaration of war against Britain in 1812?

Possible Answers:

The Chesapeake-Leopard Affair

The interest of some American groups to expand into British-controlled territory in North America

The Intolerable Acts

The Orders in Council

British impressment of U.S. sailors

Correct answer:

The Intolerable Acts

Explanation:

The Intolerable Acts was the collective name for the series of restrictions placed on the New England colonies in the events preceding the American Revolution. The other answers were causes of the War of 1812.

Example Question #9 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1790 To 1898

The chief effect of the Battle of Gettysburg on the course of the Civil War was __________.

Possible Answers:

to prevent the Confederacy from attacking the North for the rest of the war

to cause the immediate dismissal of Robert E. Lee as General of the Army of Northern Virginia

to continue the Confederacy's invasion of the North

to disrupt the Union Army's supply lines, leading to a series of Confederate victories

to demoralize the Union morale and public support for the war

Correct answer:

to prevent the Confederacy from attacking the North for the rest of the war

Explanation:

The Battle of Gettysburg was the decisive turning point in the Civil War. Coming as the culmination of an invasion of the Northern states by the Confederate Army, the Battle of Gettysburg was an overwhelming Union victory. The Union win made the Confederate troops take a torturous retreat that weakened and morale. While the war would continue for almost two more years, the Confederacy was fighting off the back foot for the remainder of the conflict. Although Robert E. Lee resigned as commander of the Confederate Army after the battle, his resignation was refused, and he remained in the role until 1865.

Example Question #10 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Foreign Policy From 1790 To 1898

The most significant and direct cause of the Spanish-American War was __________.

Possible Answers:

political unrest along the Mexican-American border

the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor

the rebellion against Spanish rule in the Philippines

the invasion of Florida by Spanish troops

the imprisonment of American sailors by Spanish ships

Correct answer:

the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor

Explanation:

The United States had always had a special interest in Spain's Caribbean colonial possessions, as they lay so close to the U.S. mainland. In 1898, the Naval battleship U.S.S. Maine was stationed in Havana harbor off the coast of Cuba when it sank under mysterious circumstances. The outcry in the press over the destruction of the American ship made the public and politicians clamor for a war to free Cuba from Spanish rule.

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