SAT II US History : Representative Viewpoints 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 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

Which of the following was not a tenet of Henry Clay’s American System?

Possible Answers:

Support for high tariffs 

Maintenance of high public land prices

Less funding given to the Armed Forces 

Maintenance of a Federal Bank

Development of internal infrastructure, like roads and canals

Correct answer:

Less funding given to the Armed Forces 

Explanation:

The American System refers to a series of economic programs designed to improve the economy of the United States. It was heavily supported by Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, as well as many other Democratic-Republican American politicians in the first half of the nineteenth century.  Later the plan would be supported by the Whig Party and opposed by the Republican Party of Andrew Jackson. The plan called for the maintenance of a Federal Bank to provide sound currency and centralized control of banking. It also called for high tariffs to be introduced on foreign goods, which helped ensure the prosperity of American producers. Clay argued passionately for the maintenance of high public land prices to ensure the government continued to make enough money to support massive spending. Finally, the American System called for intensive focus on the development of internal infrastructure to foster a growing national economy. One thing the plan did not focus on was reducing money allocated to the Armed Forces; at the original conception of the plan in 1815 the Armed Forces were expanded. 

Example Question #2 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

“There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that, if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them. You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard; we reply that the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.”

The previous quote can most likely be attributed to                     .

Possible Answers:

Woodrow Wilson

William Jennings Bryan

Theodore Roosevelt

William McKinley 

Calvin Coolidge

Correct answer:

William Jennings Bryan

Explanation:

William Jennings Bryan spoke those words at the Democratic National Convention in 1896. The speech is generally referred to as the “Cross of Gold” speech due to Bryan’s conclusion that “mankind shall not be crucified on a Cross of Gold!” The speech supported the use of “free silver,” which Bryan and his supporters believed would help remedy the economic stagnation in the United States that had existed since the Panic of 1893, and which heavily affected the rural poor and even wealthy farmers. Bryan gained the Democratic nomination for the 1896 election, but ultimately lost to the Republican candidate William McKinley.

Example Question #3 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

“The man who dies rich . . . dies disgraced”

The above quote could be most likely attributed to __________.

Possible Answers:

William Taft

Calvin Coolidge

Andrew Carnegie 

Upton Sinclair 

Warren G. Harding

Correct answer:

Andrew Carnegie 

Explanation:

The above quote reflects the philanthropic principles of nineteenth-century industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie moved from Scotland to America and almost literally started from nothing. By the time he was an old man, Carnegie owned the largest Steel company in the United States, as well as a number of other businesses. Carnegie never forgot where he came from, and he believed that it was the duty of all wealthy men to invest their riches in the betterment of society. Carnegie was particularly interested in funding the arts and educational facilities. His views are most succinctly expressed in his book The Gospel of Wealth.

Example Question #4 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

Henry Clay's American System called for all of the following policies except ___________________.

Possible Answers:

a national bank

subsidies for the building of roads

subsidies for the building of canals

subsidies to encourage the growth of plantations

a protective tariff

Correct answer:

subsidies to encourage the growth of plantations

Explanation:

Henry Clay, who served in some capacity in the Federal government from 1811 to 1852, first proposed the "American System" when he was Speaker of the House in 1816. With a stated goal of promoting and developing American industry, business, and agriculture, the plan called for a higher tariff to protect American industry, a national bank to regulate commerce, and a series of internal improvements such as roads, bridges, and canals to encourage trade. The "American System" became the bulwark domestic policy platform of the Whig Party during the Second Party System.

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