SAT II US History : Representative Viewpoints in U.S. Political History from 1790 to 1898

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

“The great and leading principle is, that the General Government emanated from the people of the several States, forming distinct political communities, and acting in their separate and sovereign capacity, and not from all of the people forming one aggregate political community; that the Constitution of the United States is, in fact, a compact, to which each State is a party, in the character already described; and that the several States, or parties, have a right to judge of its infractions; and in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of power not delegated, they have the right, in the last resort, to use the language of the Virginia Resolutions, “to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining, within their respective limits, the authorities, rights, and liberties appertaining to them.”

The above quote represents the viewpoint of which politician?

Possible Answers:

John Adams

John C. Calhoun

Henry Clay

Thomas Jefferson

Abraham Lincoln

Correct answer:

John C. Calhoun

Explanation:

The above quote is taken from a speech given by John C. Calhoun defending the doctrine of nullification, the theory that states could invalidate Federal laws they believed were unconstitutional.  Calhoun is often seen as the paragon of a states’ rights Southern politician thanks to his role in the Nullification Crisis of 1831-32, where he resigned his position as Vice President to Andrew Jackson due to their disagreement on South Carolina’s attempted Nullification of the Tariff of 1832.

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

Which of the following people would have most likely opposed war with Britain in 1812?

Possible Answers:

Daniel Webster

Henry Clay

James Madison

John Calhoun

Andrew Jackson

Correct answer:

Daniel Webster

Explanation:

The bulk of popular support for the War of 1812 came from the southern and western states of America. Henry Clay, as the most prominent representative of the Western states and John Calhoun, as the most prominent of the Southern States, both heavily supported war with Britain and were the two primary forces behind the passage of war through Congress. Andrew Jackson was an exceedingly prominent “war-hawk” and clamored for war, which he claimed was necessary to complete the break from Britain. Likewise, President James Madison was a supporter of a war which he believed was necessary to maintain American pride and neutrality. The only area of the country to generally oppose war was New England. Daniel Webster, as a prominent New England lawyer and politician, is by far the most likely of these five to have both publically and privately opposed a declaration of war.

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

The 1819 Missouri Compromise did not address which of the following topics?

Possible Answers:

The inclusion of Missouri as a state

The balance of power within the Union in light of new changes in agriculture.

The moral issue of slavery in the United States.

The mathematical "counting" of slaves in relation to the number of Congressmen per state.

The balance of slave states versus abolitionist states in Congress

Correct answer:

The moral issue of slavery in the United States.

Explanation:

The Missouri compromise addressed the issue of free versus slave states in congress, in order to hold a balance between the north and south. Northerners believed that the Southern whites were overrepresented in Congress, and wished to contain this issue. Henry Clay thus worked out a compromise, without addressing the moral issue of slavery at all.  

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

The original purpose for writing the Constitution was to               .

Possible Answers:

transcribe the debates of the Constitutional Convention

copy Benjamin Franklin's utopian ideals for society for posterity.

provide a record of the genius of James Madison

allow a newspaper publication of the debates.

promote popular opinion of the Federalist Papers

Correct answer:

transcribe the debates of the Constitutional Convention

Explanation:

The debates of the Convention were held in secret, but are considered to be an equal representation of many different voices of the different writers and participants. The newspapers and the Federalist papers were thus unable to publish anything about the Constitution until its completion.

Example Question #5 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Which of these prominent early American politicians opposed the creation of a national bank?

Possible Answers:

They all supported the creation of a national bank

Alexander Hamilton

John Adams

Thomas Jefferson

George Washington

Correct answer:

Thomas Jefferson

Explanation:

The creation of the national bank was the brainchild of Federalist Party member Alexander Hamilton and was supported by the President at the time, George Washington. It also had the support of John Adams. The only one of the four to oppose the creation of the national bank was Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson and Madison both believed that the creation of a national bank would be to the detriment of a sound money supply. They also believed that it would serve the interests of foreign investors and Northern commercial speculators better than it would serve the interests of the American people. The arguments of Hamilton won the day, however, and the bank was incepted by George Washington in 1791.

Example Question #6 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the United States.  President Thomas Jefferson purchased the land from France for all of the following reasons EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

To fund Napoleon's planned invasion of the United Kingdom

To protect Americans on the Mississippi River

To secure the property rights of those United States citizens who had already migrated to the land

To remove France from the region

To protect American access to the Port of New Orleans

Correct answer:

To fund Napoleon's planned invasion of the United Kingdom

Explanation:

Although the proceeds of the Louisiana Purchase were put toward funding Napoleon's planned invasion of the UK, this was not the intention of President Thomas Jefferson.

Example Question #7 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions were written to protest which law passed by the Adams administration?

Possible Answers:

The Eleventh Amendment 

Federal Bankruptcy Act

The XYZ Affair

The Alien and Sedition Acts 

The Naturalization Act

Correct answer:

The Alien and Sedition Acts 

Explanation:

The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions were written with the objective of garnering support for opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts. The primary argument of the documents was that the Alien and Sedition Acts violated protected First Amendment rights and that the Adams’ Presidency was acting unconstitutionally. In the second of his Kentucky Resolutions, Jefferson famously argues that the States have the right to nullify any Federal law which goes above and beyond the proscribed powers of the Federal government. Jefferson and Madison urge those who are wavering to demand the repeal of the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions became important documents in shaping the early ideology of Jefferson’s political party and campaigns. The public outrage at the Alien and Sedition Acts culminated in the defeat of the Federalist Party in the election of 1800 (the so-called Revolution of 1800) and the ascension of Jefferson and the Republican Party. 

Example Question #8 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

The Free-Soil Party was founded on the belief that                .

Possible Answers:

Slavery should not be allowed to expand into any of the Western territories 

Slavery should be immediately abolished throughout the United States

That the United States should close off immigration to all individuals arriving from a Catholic country

There should be no cap on the immigration of any nationalities into the United States

The government should provide inexpensive land to Western settlers to encourage expansion

Correct answer:

Slavery should not be allowed to expand into any of the Western territories 

Explanation:

The Free-Soil Party was a short lived political party that contested elections in 1848 and 1852. Its membership was mainly composed of anti-slavery Whigs and Democrats from the North-East of the country. The Free-Soil Party ran a campaign that slavery should not be allowed to expand into any of the Western territories. They very rarely went so far as to call for the immediate abolition of slavery, as even most abolitionists realized this would likely lead to civil war. The Party was accommodated into the Republican Party by the election of 1856. Another short-lived political party that argued for anti-immigration and anti-Catholic policies was the American Party (also called the “Know-Nothing Party”)

Example Question #9 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Which of the following is NOT an appropriate description of the differences between the Federalist Party led by John Adams and Alexander Hamilton and the Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr?

Possible Answers:

The Federalists favored an alliance with Spain, while the Republicans sought an alliance with Austria.

The Federalists favored an alliance with Britain, while the Republicans favored an alliance with France.

The Federalists favored the power of the Federal government, while the Republicans favored the power of the State governments.

The Federalists supported the supremacy of the executive branch, while the Republicans supported the supremacy of the legislative branch.

The Federalists favored business interests, while the Republicans supported agricultural interests.

Correct answer:

The Federalists favored an alliance with Spain, while the Republicans sought an alliance with Austria.

Explanation:

The Federalists and Republicans both developed around the election of 1796, when Adams and Jefferson faced off in the Presidential contest.  The Federalists favored th Executive, the Federal government, and business interests, while the Republicans favored the Legislature, the State governments, and agricultural interests.  In foreign policy, most decisions focused on Britain and France, while Spain and Austria were hardly considered by the new government,

Example Question #10 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

In the elections of 1896 and 1900 William McKinley                 .

Possible Answers:

won on an independent platform.

won by supported the interests of big business and imperialism.

lost by supporting the interests of big business and imperialism.

lost by supported the interests of Populists and anti-imperialists.

won by supported the interests of Populists and anti-imperialists.

Correct answer:

won by supported the interests of big business and imperialism.

Explanation:

William McKinley contested the elections of 1896 and 1900 for the Republican Party and won both elections. He ran against William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic and Populist candidate, on each occasion. McKinley represented the interests of big business and Imperialism whereas Bryan represented the views of Populism. McKinley’s support of high protective tariffs and the expansion of United States’ influence abroad assured him the support of the wealthy and middle classes. 

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