SAT II US History : Summary of 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

Example Question #1 : Summary Of U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

Which of the following groups was NOT a component of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Democratic coalition in the 1930s and 1940s?

Possible Answers:
Bankers
Labor Unions
Intellectuals
Southerners
Ethnic Minorities
Correct answer: Bankers
Explanation:

Occurring in the midst of the greatest economic crisis in the country’s history and a world war, FDR’s electoral victories were significant for their breadth of support.  Roosevelt campaign against business interests and the lax banking regulations, positioning himself as on the side of progressive reformers and the common man.  The only group mentioned as an answer choice that would disagree with his sentiments is Bankers.

Example Question #2 : Summary Of U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

What does the term “Solid South” refer to in American politics?

Possible Answers:
The tendency for the South to vote overwhelmingly Republican before the American Civil War
The group of Southern Senators who voted in a bloc against all of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Programs
The resolute Southern legislators who opposed Civil Rights legislation in the mid-20th Century
The dominance of third parties in local elections throughout the South in the early part of the 20th Century
The tendency of the former Confederacy to vote overwhelmingly Democratic from Reconstruction through the mid-20th Century
Correct answer: The tendency of the former Confederacy to vote overwhelmingly Democratic from Reconstruction through the mid-20th Century
Explanation:

The Civil War and Reconstruction were widely viewed as Republican attempts to publish Southerners throughout the South.  For nearly a century, this caused the entire former Confederacy to vote so overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party that often Republicans would not run in state and local elections.  This phenomenon was referred to as the “Solid South” for voting Democratic in a large block.

Example Question #3 : Summary Of U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

Which of these statements best describes the Warren Court of the 1960s?

Possible Answers:
Conservative and Strict Constructionist
Moderate and Strict Constructionist
Liberal and Strict Constructionist
Liberal and Loose Constructionist
Moderate and Loose Constructionist
Correct answer: Liberal and Loose Constructionist
Explanation:

The Warren Court, lead by Chief Justice Earl Warren, ran a program of liberal reforms and loose interpretation of the Constitution from 1953 to 1969. The Court was lauded (and criticized) for helping to end racial segregation in America and expanding civil liberties, as well as, judicial power and Federal power. The Warren Court was controversial in its time for often ignoring legal precedent in favor of encouraging a movement towards liberalism.

Example Question #4 : Summary Of U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

All of the following were key tenets of Ross Perot's 1992 presidential campaign EXCEPT __________.

Possible Answers:

Social Security reform

strengthening of the war on drugs

opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement

balancing the federal budget

nationalization of the oil industry

Correct answer:

nationalization of the oil industry

Explanation:

Ross Perot jumped into the 1992 presidential election in February of 1992 by declaring on CNN that he would run if petitions were filed on his behalf in all 50 states. A grassroots movement sprung up, and Perot was the frontrunner for a large chunk of the summer of 1992, until he abruptly quit amid falling numbers in mid-July. In October, Perot reentered to continue pushing his key issues, particularly a blend of free-market economic ideals, technological advances, and a tough-on-crime attitude, all designed to cut government expenditures and balance the federal budget. Perot would end up winning 19% of the popular vote as a third party candidate, but won no electoral votes.

Example Question #5 : Summary Of U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

What was the result of the election of 1964?

Possible Answers:

John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated Richard Nixon.

Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in a landslide.

John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon in a landslide.

Barry Goldwater narrowly defeated Lyndon B. Johnson.

Lyndon B. Johnson narrowly defeated Barry Goldwater.

Correct answer:

Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in a landslide.

Explanation:

In the election of 1964, LBJ defeated Republican challenger Barry Goldwater in a landslide. The most significant reason for this heavily lopsided victory was LBJ’s successful attempt to associate himself with the recently assassinated President Kennedy. He was also a southern Democrat, helping him to carry many southern states that would generally go to a Republican.

John F. Kennedy narrowly defeating Richard Nixon describes the result of the election of 1960.

Example Question #6 : Summary Of U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

The House Un-American Activities Committee was formed primarily to detect __________.

Possible Answers:

Japanese spies

Illegial immigrants

Catholics

Communists

Escaped slaves

Correct answer:

Communists

Explanation:

The House Un-American Activities Committee was formed in 1938, with the expressed purpose of investigating disloyalty and subversive activities among American citizens. The committee focused its investigations on suspected communists, who were believed to hold positions of influence within American society. Charges of espionage were famously brought against Alger Hiss in the 1940s. 

Example Question #7 : Summary Of U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

What 20th Century President said, "We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land" at his inaugural address?

Possible Answers:

Franklin Roosevelt

John Kennedy

Lyndon Johnson

Herbert Hoover

Correct answer:

Herbert Hoover

Explanation:

Herbert Hoover made this statement as part of his inaugural address in 1929. As fate would have it though, the stock market would crash seven months later, sending the nation into the deepest depression in its history. This quote has become known mostly for the sad irony underpinning it.

Example Question #8 : Summary Of U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

One of the first parts of the New Deal that Franklin Roosevelt passed was the Glass-Steagall Act. This act helped tackle issues with the failing banks, and created the FDIC. What was the purpose of the FDIC?

Possible Answers:

To regulate banks so they would stop using questionable policies

To federalize failing banks

To guarantee bank accounts up to a certain amount

To consolidate failing banks into one larger, more stable bank

Correct answer:

To guarantee bank accounts up to a certain amount

Explanation:

The FDIC, or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, was meant to act as insurance for people who deposited their savings into private banks. That way if the bank went under the federal government would reimburse the account holder up to a certain amount. This was meant to inspire confidence in banks and get people to deposit in banks again, so the banks could then begin loaning money again.

Example Question #9 : Summary Of U.S. Political History From 1899 To The Present

Under which presidential administration did the Teapot Dome scandal occur?

Possible Answers:

Herbert Hoover

William Howard Taft

Calvin Coolidge

Warren G. Harding

Woodrow Wilson

Correct answer:

Warren G. Harding

Explanation:

In 1923, Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana investigated the leasing of oil fields in Teapot Dome, Wyoming and various spots in California by the Department of the Interior to well-connected oil companies. Although occurring after his death the Teapot Dome Scandal was a massive stain on the legacy of President Warren G. Harding, particularly as his Secretary of the Interior, Albert G. Fall, became the first and only cabinet member to be sentenced to a term in prison.

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