SAT II US History : Representative Viewpoints 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 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

What were the primary objectives of Richard Nixon’s “New Federalism”?

Possible Answers:

To end the war in Vietnam and bring the troops home before the 1972 election

An expansion of social programs and greater government involvement in the economy

A reduction of Federal authority over the States and fewer social programs 

To terminate the funding to NASA and end the war in Vietnam

To encourage nuclear non-proliferation and trade agreements with China and USSR

Correct answer:

A reduction of Federal authority over the States and fewer social programs 

Explanation:

The term “New Federalism” refers to a policy of increasing the power of the States, at the expense of Federal authority. Nixon used the term to include an additional reduction in programs providing for social-welfare. By 1971 approximately two-thirds of Americans disapproved of the ongoing war in Vietnam. Nixon was aware that in order to win the election of 1972, he had to bring the troops home, which he did; however, this decision does not fit under the umbrella of “New Federalism." Nixon also encouraged more familiar relations with the USSR, in an attempt to discourage armament, a move thatalso opened relations with China.

Example Question #2 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

Blue laws are                       .

Possible Answers:

accepted universally throughout the United States

designed to preserve a portion of land for a national park or forest

laws designed to discourage non-white political participation

generally based on religion or notions of immorality

created to prevent further immigration from a certain region or nationality

Correct answer:

generally based on religion or notions of immorality

Explanation:

Blue laws are a type of law designed to ensure the observance of some religious code of morality. Typically in American history they have been used to ensure the observance of a religious holiday or feast day, or to ensure that minority religious groups do not break with Christian law. Today, most (but not all) Blue laws have been rendered illegal, unconstitutional, or both; many Blue laws persist in the form of alcohol prohibition, however. 

Example Question #3 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

The above quote could most reasonably be attributed to __________.

Possible Answers:

Daniel Webster

Alexander Hamilton 

Franklin D. Roosevelt 

George H.W. Bush

John Jay

Correct answer:

Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Explanation:

The above quote comes from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inauguration speech, after he defeated the incumbent Republican, Herbert Hoover, in the election of 1932. At the time the United States was firmly mired in the worst of the Great Depression, and the country was in desperate need of a man with Roosevelt’s leadership qualities. In this quote, Roosevelt asserts that the country must not fear change, because change is all that could drive the country forward. 

Example Question #4 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

To which political and social reformer could the above quote most reasonable be attributed?

Possible Answers:

Malcolm X

Eleanor Smeal

Martin Luther King Jr. 

Doris Stevens

Margaret Sanger

Correct answer:

Martin Luther King Jr. 

Explanation:

The above quote was spoken by Martin Luther King Jr, in an address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1967. The speech was titled Where do we go from here? It was something of a call to arms (as was much of what King said and did). He called on people to start correcting the racial injustices that had existed in the United States throughout its history—before the injustices started to correct themselves—in a less peaceful manner. 

Example Question #5 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”

The above quote could most reasonably be attributed to which United States President? 

Possible Answers:

William Taft

Dwight Eisenhower 

George H.W. Bush 

Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Ronald Reagan 

Correct answer:

Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Explanation:

The above quote reflects the political and economic views of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was President during the Great Depression, and during his thirteen years as President he did a great deal to expand welfare, social security, and healthcare, as well as helping to reduce the massive financial gap between the wealthy and the poor. 

Example Question #6 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

The American President impeached by the House of Representative for lying to congress in 1998 was __________.

Possible Answers:

Bill Clinton

George H.W. Bush

George W. Bush

Ronald Reagan

Barack Obama

Correct answer:

Bill Clinton

Explanation:

President Bill Clinton was revealed to have had an affair with a White House Intern, Monica Lewinsky, in 1998. Initially, Clinton attempted to deny the affair, but evidence was provided to make it clear he had the affair. Thanks to his denial in front of Congress, a Republican led House brought impeachment charges. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate, and remained President.

Example Question #7 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

Which of the following reasons were given for President Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan?

Possible Answers:

He wanted to frighten the axis powers in Europe.

He wanted to end the war and save American lives.

He wanted to conquer Japan as an American colony.

He wanted to divide the occupied zones before the Potsdam conference.

He wanted to control all South Pacific trading through a show of strength.

Correct answer:

He wanted to end the war and save American lives.

Explanation:

The media and President Truman's staff presented a united face behind the decision to drop the atomic bombs, announcing that the cultural climate in Japan would not allow the Japanese to surrender until every American and Japanese soldier had died; therefore, dropping the bomb would allow the American soldiers to return home.

Example Question #8 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

“I’m the ultimately responsible person in this organization. Other people can pass the buck to me, but I can’t pass the buck to anyone else.”

To which United States President does the above quote belong?

Possible Answers:

William Henry Harrison 

Dwight Eisenhower

John F. Kennedy

Theodore Roosevelt

Harry S. Truman

Correct answer:

Harry S. Truman

Explanation:

The above quote is credited to President Harry S. Truman. He famously kept a note on his desk that read “The buck stops here.” It was Truman’s view that in politics, responsibility is generally passed upwards in order to transfer responsibility in the event of failure.

Example Question #9 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

What was the name of the document written by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey that detailed policy perspectives and promises by House Republicans in advance of the 1994 midterm elections?

Possible Answers:

National Security Restoration Plan

Pledge to America

Contract with America

Republican Revolution

Fiscal Responsibility Pledge

Correct answer:

Contract with America

Explanation:

The document detailing House Republican policies and promises was titled the "Contract with America." Proposed bills in the document included the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the National Security Restoration Act. The Pledge to America was a similar document drafted by House Republicans in advance of the 2010 midterm elections.

Example Question #10 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

Which of the following was a major argument advanced by groups opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment?

Possible Answers:

The Amendment was redundant with laws that were already in existence that protected individual rights

The Amendment was too general, offering little in the way of new governmental protections

The Amendment did not do enough to ensure its stated goals with concrete provisions

The Amendment would enforce new rules which would radically damage societal structures

The Amendment was an overreach of the Federal government's power over and above state law

Correct answer:

The Amendment would enforce new rules which would radically damage societal structures

Explanation:

The Equal Rights Amendment stated simply that "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." First introduced in 1923, the Amendment finally gained momentum in the early 1970s, being ratified by 35 of the 38 states needed to make it official; however, a group of conservative women led by Phyllis Schlafly began a campaign against the ERA, which largely centered on the argument that the Amendment would enforce new strictures that would eliminate the traditional role of women and reshape society to a deleterious effect. The ERA was never ratified.

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