AP US History : 1755–1800

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identity, Ideas, Beliefs, And Culture 1755–1800

Passage adapted from Richard Allen's "To Those Who Keep Slaves, and Approve the Practice" (1794)

"The judicious part of mankind will think it unreasonable that a superior good conduct is looked for from our race, by those who stigmatize us as men, whose baseness is incurable, and may therefore be held in a state of servitude, that a merciful man would not doom a beast to; yet you try what you can to prevent our rising from a state of barbarism you represent us to be in, but we can tell you from a degree of experience that a black man, although reduced to the most abject state human nature is capable of, short of real madness, can think, reflect, and feel injuries, although it may not be with the same degree of keen resentment and revenge that you who have been and are our great oppressors would manifest if reduced to the pitiable condition of a slave.

We believe if you would try the experiment of taking a few black children, and cultivate their minds with the same care, and let them have the same prospect in view as to living in the world, as you would wish for your own children, you would find upon the trial, they were not inferior in mental endowments."

To what group is Allen addressing his speech?

Possible Answers:

Southern Politicians

Southern Plantation Owners

Northern Manufacturers

Northern Abolitionists

Correct answer:

Southern Plantation Owners

Explanation:

Richard Allen's speech is directed "To Those Who Keep Slaves," which indicates his concern is primarily with those who own slaves. While slavery was not strictly regionally confined before 1800, the large Southern plantations had already been established as the main places where slaves were held. In particular, the plantation system featured chattel slavery, which is reflected in Allen's language about slaves being kept in a state that "a merciful man would not doom a beast to."

Example Question #2 : 1755–1800

Passage adapted from Richard Allen's "To Those Who Keep Slaves, and Approve the Practice" (1794)

"The judicious part of mankind will think it unreasonable that a superior good conduct is looked for from our race, by those who stigmatize us as men, whose baseness is incurable, and may therefore be held in a state of servitude, that a merciful man would not doom a beast to; yet you try what you can to prevent our rising from a state of barbarism you represent us to be in, but we can tell you from a degree of experience that a black man, although reduced to the most abject state human nature is capable of, short of real madness, can think, reflect, and feel injuries, although it may not be with the same degree of keen resentment and revenge that you who have been and are our great oppressors would manifest if reduced to the pitiable condition of a slave.

We believe if you would try the experiment of taking a few black children, and cultivate their minds with the same care, and let them have the same prospect in view as to living in the world, as you would wish for your own children, you would find upon the trial, they were not inferior in mental endowments."

Which of the following best explains why the conditions of slavery Richard Allen describes in his address were created?

Possible Answers:

The plantation culture of the south required serious amounts of labor in order to function.

Northerners were unwilling to countenance keeping labor that was not being paid.

The British government incentivized the development of large slave populations to help colonial efforts.

Southern colonists were more inclined to view Africans as inferior and able to be kept as slaves.

Correct answer:

The plantation culture of the south required serious amounts of labor in order to function.

Explanation:

The first slaves came to the British Colonies in America by the mid-17th century, first in Virginia, but then populated across the colonies; however their numbers were never even. The peculiar geographical and agricultural realities of the southern colonies, which were attempting to have large cash crop plantations, necessitated large and cheap labor forces. The solution most plantation owners found was to invest deeply in the transatlantic slave trade.

Example Question #1 : Identity, Ideas, Beliefs, And Culture 1755–1800

Passage adapted from Richard Allen's "To Those Who Keep Slaves, and Approve the Practice" (1794)

"The judicious part of mankind will think it unreasonable that a superior good conduct is looked for from our race, by those who stigmatize us as men, whose baseness is incurable, and may therefore be held in a state of servitude, that a merciful man would not doom a beast to; yet you try what you can to prevent our rising from a state of barbarism you represent us to be in, but we can tell you from a degree of experience that a black man, although reduced to the most abject state human nature is capable of, short of real madness, can think, reflect, and feel injuries, although it may not be with the same degree of keen resentment and revenge that you who have been and are our great oppressors would manifest if reduced to the pitiable condition of a slave.

We believe if you would try the experiment of taking a few black children, and cultivate their minds with the same care, and let them have the same prospect in view as to living in the world, as you would wish for your own children, you would find upon the trial, they were not inferior in mental endowments."

Allen's statements about educating slaves most directly foreshadows the beliefs of which African-American leader?

Possible Answers:

Ida B. Wells

Marcus Garvey

W.E.B. DuBois

Booker T. Washington

Correct answer:

Booker T. Washington

Explanation:

Allen asserts that if a group of black children were selected and educated to the standards made by plantation owners, then those black children would be shown to be just as gifted, bright, and achieving as white children. This line of argument directly foreshadows the reasoning used by Booker T. Washington in the late nineteenth century. Washington argued that education and self-improvement would change the lives of African-Americans for the better.

Example Question #1 : 1755–1800

Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or Ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

Passage adapted from "Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom" by Thomas Jefferson (January 16, 1786)

Which document does not mirror the views found in this excerpt by Thomas Jefferson?

Possible Answers:

The First Amendment of the US Constitution

Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man (1791)

Epperson v. Arkansas

John Winthrop's "A City on a Hill" speech (1630)

Correct answer:

John Winthrop's "A City on a Hill" speech (1630)

Explanation:

John Winthrop was a Puritan governor of Massachusetts. The Puritans separated church and state, but they clearly thought the two institutions should work in tandem to support, protect, and promote "true" Christianity.

The First Amendment says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Thomas Paine was firmly a part of the same school of thought as Jefferson and the other founding fathers, and believed in the separation of church and state. In The Rights of Man, he wrote that “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.” Lemon v. Kurtzman held that states could not reimburse private religious schools for teacher salaries and materials. Epperson v. Arkansas struck down an Arkansas statute that prohibited the teaching of human evolution on religious grounds.

Example Question #21 : Ap Us History

I have heard it asserted by some that, as America has flourished under her former connection with Great Britain, the same connection is necessary towards her future happiness, and will always have the same effect. Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument. We may as well assert that, because a child had thrived upon milk, it is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty. But even this is admitting more than is true. For I answer roundly that America would have flourished as much, and probably much more, had no European power taken any notice of her…

Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)

Thomas Paine's writing style was primarily employed to achieve which of the following goals?

Possible Answers:

To target the colonial elites, whom he felt would be the only ones that could act responsibly in the face of Revolution

To demonstrate his intelligence and refinement by using the formal, learned style favored by educated men during his time period

To render complex ideas in a way that was easily understood by average readers of the day by with clear, concise writing

To address King George III directly and appeal to him to stop oppressive trade practices

To appeal emotionally to his readership through impassioned language and religious metaphors

Correct answer:

To render complex ideas in a way that was easily understood by average readers of the day by with clear, concise writing

Explanation:

Thomas Paine was a populist who wrote Common Sense, pioneering a style of political writing suited to the democratic society he envisioned. His goal was to break down and explain complex ideas in a way that the general population could understand.

Example Question #1 : Identity, Ideas, Beliefs, And Culture 1755–1800

On Reflection it now seems probable, that if the foregoing Plan or some thing like it, had been adopted and carried into Execution, the subsequent Separation of the Colonies from the Mother Country might not so soon have happened, nor the Mischiefs suffered on both sides have occurred, perhaps during another Century. For the Colonies, if so united, would have really been, as they then thought themselves, sufficient to their own Defence, and being trusted with it, as by the Plan, an Army from Britain, for that purpose would have been unnecessary: The Pretences for framing the Stamp-Act would not then have existed, nor the other Projects for drawing a Revenue from America to Britain by Acts of Parliament, which were the Cause of the Breach, and attended with such terrible Expence of Blood and Treasure: so that the different Parts of the Empire might still have remained in Peace and Union.

-"Remark on the Albany Plan of Union" by Benjamin Franklin (1789)

What was the purpose of Benjamin Franklin's Albany Congress meeting?

Possible Answers:

none of these

to levy taxes against the French

to unite the colonies for the purposes of defenses

to fight the British

Correct answer:

to unite the colonies for the purposes of defenses

Explanation:

The Albany Congress had two major purposes to gain help from the Iroquois and to discuss unification for defensive purposes. This congress would have had power to maintain an army, levy taxes, deal with Indian attacks and control westward expansion had it succeeded. This early attempt at unification was shot down by Britain and colonial legislatures as they felt that a union in the colonies would make them too strong. Individual colonies were unwilling to give up any of their powers to a grand council.

Example Question #22 : Ap Us History

"I am greatly astonished that the French have so little cleverness, as they seem to exhibit in the matter of which thou hast just told me on their behalf, in the effort to persuade us to convert our poles, our barks, and our wigwams into those houses of stone and of wood which are tall and lofty, according to their account, as these trees. Very well! But why now, do men of five to six feet in height need houses which are sixty to eighty? For, in fact, as thou knowest very well thyself, Patriarch—do we not find in our own all the conveniences and the advantages that you have with yours, such as reposing, drinking, sleeping, eating, and amusing ourselves with our friends when we wish?"

Passage adapted from William F. Ganong, trans. and ed., New Relation of Gaspesia, with the Customs and Religion of the Gaspesian Indians,by Chrestien LeClerq (1910).

To what attitude or belief is the author of this passage likely responding?

Possible Answers:

The French belief that they were superior to the British.

The French belief that Indians did not live inside.

The French belief that its tall, imposing Gothic buildings were superior to all others.

The French belief that their culture was inherently superior to the culture of Native American.

Correct answer:

The French belief that their culture was inherently superior to the culture of Native American.

Explanation:

Relations between Europeans and American Indian populations were often tense. Initial interactions were characterized by mutual misunderstandings of language, culture, and many other aspects of life. Europeans often espoused racial, cultural, and religious justifications for the subjugation of Native Americans, some of which are mentioned in the passage. As the Europeans encroached on more and more Native American land, native people pushed back in an attempt to maintain their belief systems and ways of life.

Example Question #1 : 1755–1800

Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin produced all of the following results except __________.

Possible Answers:

The cotton gin began a sharp increase in the building of factories in the South.

The cotton gin caused additional inventions to be created such as machines to spin and weave the additional cotton.

All of these statements are true.

The cotton gin helped cotton overtake tobacco as the South's leading export by the mid-1800's.

The cotton gin caused the growth in the use of slave labor, because of cotton was now so profitable.

Correct answer:

The cotton gin began a sharp increase in the building of factories in the South.

Explanation:

Although the South was producing more cotton as a result of the cotton gin, it remained primarily an agrarian society. The invention of the steam engine allowed Southern planters to ship their cotton more quickly and less expensively to the Northern factories. Until the Civil War, there was no need for the South to build additional factories.

Example Question #2 : Work, Exchange, And Technology 1755–1800

An act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America; for allowing a drawback of the duties of customs upon the exportation, from this kingdom, of coffee and cocoa nuts of the produce of the said colonies or plantations; for discontinuing the drawbacks payable on china earthen ware exported to America; and for more effectually preventing the clandestine running of goods in the colonies and plantations.

WHEREAS it is expedient that a revenue should be raised in your Majesty’s dominions in America, for making a more certain and adequate provision for defraying the charge of the administration of justice, and the support of civil government, in such provinces where it shall be found necessary; and towards further defraying the expenses of defending, protecting, and securing, the said dominions; we, your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the commons of Great Britain, in parliament assembled, have therefore resolved to give and grant unto your Majesty the several rates and duties herein after mentioned; For every hundred weight avoirdupois of crown, plate, flint, and white glass, four shillings and eight pence…

The Townsend Act, 1767

What was the purpose of the Townshend Act?

Possible Answers:

To stop colonists from destroying English goods

To stop the colonists from boycotting teas, paper goods and glass

To raise revenue in the colonies to pay the salaries of governors and judges that were loyal to Great Britain

To house troops in the colonies

Correct answer:

To raise revenue in the colonies to pay the salaries of governors and judges that were loyal to Great Britain

Explanation:

The Townshend Acts were a series of acts passed, beginning in 1767, by the Parliament of Great Britain relating to the Colonies in North America. The purpose of the Townshend Acts was to pay larger salaries of governors and judges who would remain loyal to Great Britain. It was also passed to create a more effective means of enforcing compliance with trade regulations, to punish New York province for failing to comply with the Quartering Act, and to establish the precedent that the British Parliament had the right to tax the colonies.

 The Townshend Acts were met with resistance in the colonies, prompting the occupation of Boston by British troops in 1768, which eventually resulted in the Boston Massacre of 1770.

Example Question #10 : 1755–1800

Five of our number in the passage dy'd, 
Who were cast into the ocean wide, 
And, after sailing seven weeks and more, 
We at Virginia all were put on shore. ...

Our faces shav'd, comb'd our wigs and hair, 
That we in decent order might appear, 
Against the Planters did come us to view, 
How well they lik'd this fresh transported crew ...

At length a grim old man unto me came, 
He ask'd my trade, likewise my name, 
I told him I a tin-man was by trade, 
And not eighteen years of age I said ...

At last to my new master's house I came, 
To the town of Wicowoco call'd by name, 
Here my European cloaths were took from me, 
Which never after I could ever see.

Passage adapted from "The Poor Unhappy Transported Felon's Sorrowful Account" by James Revell (1767)

Who is the most likely author of this passage?

Possible Answers:

An African slave brought to Virginia for sale to a plantation owner

An American abolitionist

An indentured servant brought to the American colonies to work off his debt

A Puritan man convicted and sentenced to hard labor

Correct answer:

An indentured servant brought to the American colonies to work off his debt

Explanation:

Many Europeans who arrived in North America during the 17th and 18th centuries came under contract as indentured servants; however, an improving economy in England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries meant that fewer workers chose to go to the colonies. The transformation from indentured servitude to slavery was a gradual process in Virginia. The major clues that the author of this piece was a European servant rather than an African slave are the fact that he was wearing a wig, the fact that he had learned a trade, and the fact that he came to his master's house in European clothes.

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