SAT II US History : Summary of U.S. Intellectual and Cultural History from 1790 to 1898

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Summary Of U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

The Idea that the United States has a divinely ordained right to spread West and colonize Native lands is best expressed as?

Possible Answers:
Popular Sovereignty
Manifest Destiny
The California Gold Rush
The Frontier Movement
"54-40 or fight!"
Correct answer: Manifest Destiny
Explanation:

In the Nineteenth Century, many Americans believed that the United States was ordained by God to expand westwards and occupy all the lands of North America, between the Atlantic and the Pacific. This ideology was expressed as Manifest Destiny. Although never universally accepted, it was a strong influencing factor in the way many American’s looked at the future of their nation. And, it was variously co-opted by political factions to support war with Mexico and territorial disagreement with Great Britain. The key terminology in the question here is “divinely ordained” for Manifest Destiny expressly stated that America’s westward expansion was a part of God’s will. 

Example Question #2 : Summary Of U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

The use of art and literature to depict ordinary life in a direct manner describes which American artistic movement?

Possible Answers:

Impressionism

The Hudson River School

Tonalism 

Realism

Luminism

Correct answer:

Realism

Explanation:

Realism refers to an attempt to depict the subject matter in an accurate and direct manner. It was often used in the United States to depict ordinary men or women going about daily life in a realistic manner. It is considered one of the most important artistic movements in European and American history.

Example Question #3 : Summary Of U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

Who authored the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin?

Possible Answers:

Mark Twain 

Harriet Beecher Stowe 

Stephen Douglas

Abraham Lincoln 

William Lloyd Garrison

Correct answer:

Harriet Beecher Stowe 

Explanation:

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was authored by Harriet Beecher Stowe and published in 1852. The author was a devout abolitionist and the novel centers on the character Uncle Tom—a long suffering black slave. The book was a seminal influence in growing the abolitionist movement. It became the best-selling novel of the nineteenth century and was a significant literary influence on the nature of black identity in the United States. 

Example Question #4 : Summary Of U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

Which of these statements best describes transcendentalism?

Possible Answers:

Information derived from math and scientific exploration is the only true knowledge.

The thought process of the individual should be directed towards its greatest possible usage.

Individual actions are right so long as they provide happiness for the individual.

There is an inherent unity between man and nature.

God is a “watch-maker” who sets the rules of the universe and then steps aside.

Correct answer:

There is an inherent unity between man and nature.

Explanation:

Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement in the early nineteenth century. It explicitly opposed the teachings of the Harvard Divinity School. Transcendentalists argued that there is an inherent unity between man and nature, and both man and nature are inherently good. Central to transcendentalist beliefs is the notion that organized religion and political parties corrupt the nature of the individual and are therefore deplorable. Influential transcendentalists include Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

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