SAT II US History : Facts and Details in U.S. Political 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 #1 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

"Our job as Americans and as Republicans is to dislodge the traitors from every place where they've been sent to do their traitorous work."

—Joseph McCarthy. 

Joseph McCarthy was attempting to?


Possible Answers:

Incite widespread fear in Communist nations

Identify members of the Communist party in high ranking positions of the American government

Convict members of the Communist party of treason

Deport members of the Communist party

Intensify the anxieties of the “Cold War”

Correct answer:

Identify members of the Communist party in high ranking positions of the American government

Explanation:

Joseph McCarthy sought to identify members of the Communist party in high ranking government jobs. He compiled a list of 200 names he believed were Communist with little evidence. He began trials that often ruined careers and reputations of those listed.

Example Question #1 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

The hearings conducted by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee investigated members of what political party in the 1950s

Possible Answers:

The Progressive Party

The Populist Party

The Green Party

The Know Nothing Party

The Communist Party

Correct answer:

The Communist Party

Explanation:

The McCarthy and HUAC hearings were the key elements of the second Red Scare, rooted largely in the 1950s, which focused on investigating Communist Party members in America.  None of the other answer choices feature parties that were very active during the 1950s, providing another clue and an ability to eliminate certain answer choices.

Example Question #2 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

The Watergate scandal centered on what crimes ordered by President Richard Nixon?

Possible Answers:

The privileging of high campaign donors in Ambassador Appointments, and the lightening of punishments on such donors.

The lying under oath about illicit campaign donations, and illegal visitors to White House functions.

The bribery of certain administration officials.

The breaking into of Democratic National Committee offices, and subsequent cover ups conducted by administration officials.

None of the answers given

Correct answer:

The breaking into of Democratic National Committee offices, and subsequent cover ups conducted by administration officials.

Explanation:

 The Watergate Scandal focused on the breaking and entering of Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate Office Complex in Washington, DC, on June 17, 1972.  In particular, investigations looked into President Nixon’s own involvement and the administration’s cover up of the break in.  In 1975, Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency instead of being impeached by the United States Congress.

Example Question #3 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

The 1960 Presidential Election between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon was notable for featuring what first in a presidential campaign?

Possible Answers:
A televised presidential debate
Personal campaigning across the country by candidates
Presidential primaries
Partisan National Conventions to select party nominees
Negative campaigning
Correct answer: A televised presidential debate
Explanation:

The 1960 Campaign featured the first Presidential Debate to be televised to a national audience, and led to speculation as to the effect of television on campaigns.  Personal campaigning and primaries both were innovations of the 1890s, while Conventions predate the Civil War by decades.  Negative campaigning is as old as democracy itself, and goes back to antiquity.

Example Question #4 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

Which amendment to the Constitution established the right of government to collect income tax?

Possible Answers:
Thirteenth
Fifth
Sixteenth
Eighteenth
Twenty-First
Correct answer: Sixteenth
Explanation:

Sixteenth Amendment. For much of its early history the United States government collected finances mostly through custom duties and excise taxes. Income tax was generally viewed as an unconstituional incursion on the right of individuals to acquire wealth. However, during the cash-strapped years of the Civil War the Republican goverment levied a three-percent income tax. It proved to be extremely lucrative and after it was repealed in 1872, many Populist and Socialist movements began to demand a graduated income tax. The movement picked up momentum when the Democratic Party adopted it to its platform in 1908, and the Sixteenth Amendment was adopted into the Consitution in 1909 allowing the United States government to collect an income tax without regard to how the money was earned or a need to parcel the money out to the States. It represents a major extension of Federal power in the Twentieth Century. 

Example Question #6 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

Which of the following groups was a member of the “New Right” that helped Ronald Reagan win the 1980 Presidential Election?

Possible Answers:
Gays and Lesbians
Conservative Christians
Ethnic Minorities
Academics
Labor Unions
Correct answer: Conservative Christians
Explanation:

Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election caused a major restructuring of the American political landscape, bringing many groups into the Republican column that had previously been strongly Democratic.  This restructuring also firmed up many Democratic voters.  Particularly key to Reagan’s victory were conservative Christian voters, while all the other groups listed became firmly Democratic.

Example Question #5 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it.

I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what, together, we can do for the freedom of man.

Which American president delivered the famous inaugural address from which this excerpt is taken?

Possible Answers:
John F. Kennedy
Dwight Eisenhower
Ronald Reagan
Franklin Roosevelt
Jimmy Carter
Correct answer: John F. Kennedy
Explanation:

On January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy delivered this famous inaugural address in Washington.

Example Question #8 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

Which of the following presidents was successfully assassinated? 

Possible Answers:

William Howard Taft

Warren Harding

William McKinley

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Correct answer:

William McKinley

Explanation:

William McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist in Buffalo, New York, in 1901. His killer was convicted and sentenced to death, even though his political motives are still unclear. 

Example Question #9 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

Which of these groups were not part of the Democratic coalition that returned Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Presidency in the 1936 election? 

Possible Answers:

African Americans

Urban poor

Catholics

Wealthy land owners

The unemployed

Correct answer:

Wealthy land owners

Explanation:

In the 1936 election the incumbent Democratic candidate, Franklin Roosevelt, defeated the Republican challenger, Herbert Hoover, in a landslide. Roosevelt received a great deal of popular support from, amongst others, the urban poor, farmers, the unemployed, African Americans (who had previously traditionally voted Republican), Catholics, and Progressives. Roosevelt’s policies had generally endeared him to the working and middle classes, but his policies generally angered the wealthy, who found their income heavily taxed—as much as seventy-five percent—under Roosevelt’s new graduated income tax.

Example Question #6 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

Who was the first woman in Congress?

Possible Answers:

Sojourner Truth

Margaret Fuller

Lucretia Mott

Susan B. Anthony

Jeanette Rankin

Correct answer:

Jeanette Rankin

Explanation:

Jeanette Rankin was the first woman elected to Congress, from the state of Montana in 1916. Rankin was a prominent member of the female suffrage movement in the early Twentieth Century and helped achieve full voting rights for women in both Montana and Washington. Like many influential women of her time, Rankin believed that the corruption and backwardness of American politics was a result of the lack of feminine participation in government. Aside from her position as a champion of female rights, Rankin is also well known for being a dedicated pacifist—she was the only member of Congress to vote against declaring war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Rankin actually achieved her position in Congress before women had full suffrage rights in the United States (1920). At the moment of her election, in 1916, women were voting in several different forms in the majority of American states.

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