AP US History : 1849–1900

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : 1849–1900

"The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. The West and South are bound and prostrate before the manufacturing East..The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us. We were told two years ago to go to work and raise a big crop, that was all we needed...and what came of it? Eight-cent corn, ten-cent oats, two-cent beef and no price at all for butter and eggs...We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the foreclosure system wiped out..."

- Mary E. Lease, lawyer, in an 1890 speech

The ideas expressed in the passage reflect which of the following continuities in U.S. history?

Possible Answers:

Disagreement over federal responsibility for social welfare

Clashes between regional and federal regulation

Disagreement about the level of corporate influence on the government

Conflict between economic freedom and government 

Conflict between agrarian and industrial interests

Correct answer:

Conflict between agrarian and industrial interests

Explanation:

Because of the differences in the economic and political desires of rural farmers who were often in debt and urban manufacturers who competed with international imports, conflicts between agrarian and industrial interests occurred continuously in American history.

Example Question #1 : Identity, Ideas, Beliefs, And Culture 1849–1900

Andrew Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth" belief stated that __________.

Possible Answers:

wealth would come to those that performed good deeds

all people had a responsibility to tithe to their church

with great wealth comes great responsibility

money was the new religion

wealth is only acquired through the exploitation of others, and is thus anti-Christian

Correct answer:

with great wealth comes great responsibility

Explanation:

Carnegie believed in Social Darwinism, or the theory that the fittest corporations would survive in a capitalist society. As one of the wealthiest few, he believed that it was his duty to use his wealth for the betterment of those less fortunate. This belief he termed the "Gospel of Wealth." He did not approve of charity, gifts of money or goods bestowed on those in need, but did believe strongly in philanthropy and created many public libraries and other public facilities. Carnegie's philanthropic causes focused mostly on education and the arts.

Example Question #71 : Ap Us History

"The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. The West and South are bound and prostrate before the manufacturing East..The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us. We were told two years ago to go to work and raise a big crop, that was all we needed...and what came of it? Eight-cent corn, ten-cent oats, two-cent beef and no price at all for butter and eggs...We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the foreclosure system wiped out..."

- Mary E. Lease, lawyer, in an 1890 speech

Which of the following best explains the cause of some of the farmers' problems listed here?

Possible Answers:

Industrialization and mechanization

Racism and the sharecropping system

Union organization

Conservationism and protection of environmental resources

The Dust Bowl

Correct answer:

Industrialization and mechanization

Explanation:

Overproduction due to large numbers of new farmers in the West and the mechanization of agriculture lay at the heart of the farmers' problems and the rise of industrial powers blunted their political voice.

Example Question #1 : Work, Exchange, And Technology 1849–1900

The years following the Civil War were times of change in American society and economy. Factories that were built to help supply the Union Army, were converted to peacetime use. Industrialization soon surpassed agriculture as America’s economic core. New technology developed during this time and contributed to the doubling of America’s economy. Industry was controlled by a few individuals holding top level positions and earning vast fortunes. This time in America’s history is called the Gilded Age. The name comes from the title of a novel written by Mark Twain. It refers to the massive fortunes amassed by businessmen and the wealthy lifestyle it supported. The leaders of this new economy were labelled “Captains of Industry,” “Moguls,” and “Robber Barons” because there were few laws at the time to regulate industry and the manner in which these industrialists earned and used their capital. These nicknames accurately represented the harsh, unethical, and exploitative practices of these industrialists. The sky was the limit for these individuals who were ruthless in their business dealings.

What was the reason for the ruthless business tactics of the “Robber Barons”?

Possible Answers:

Competition was fierce to produce the best product inexpensively priced.

The belief that a healthy business community was the best path to an egalitarian society.

Labor unions were forming and there was a need to be a strong businessman to survive union demands.

To meet the demand of international trade, businessmen had to be strong.

 The retail businesses were demanding a share of the profits of the industrial goods they sold.

Correct answer:

Competition was fierce to produce the best product inexpensively priced.

Explanation:

Competition among industries was fierce. Industry and the county were growing rapidly. New inventions were developing that made it easier and faster to produce new goods for the public. The demand for these new goods and the growth of the railroad and oil industries meant that many of these individuals were competing within the same fields. In their minds, it was necessary to take risks and act ruthlessly to maintain their position in industry and society as well as to maintain their wealthy lifestyles. Aside from pure unadulterated greed, this competition inspired the unethical tactics of American Robber Barons, a tradition that continues to this day in the American business community.

Example Question #2 : 1849–1900

That any person who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years, and is a citizen of the United States ... shall, from and after the first January, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, be entitled to enter one quarter section or a less quantity of unappropriated public lands

-United States Senate, Homestead Act, 1862

One goal of the Homestead Act was to __________________.

Possible Answers:

relocate American Indian populations living west of the Rocky Mountains

create new free territories in the South

encourage new settlers to migrate westward

extend suffrage to poor whites

Correct answer:

encourage new settlers to migrate westward

Explanation:

The Homestead Act was meant to encourage westward expansion by offering 160 acres of land to any settler willing to remain there for five years.

Example Question #1 : Geography, Environment, And Peopling 1849–1900

“A long time ago this land belonged to our fathers; but when I go up to the river I see camps of soldiers here on its bank. These soldiers cut down my timber; they kill my buffalo; and when I see that, my heart feels like bursting; I feel sorry.”

- Santana, Chief of the Kiowas, 1867

What is the likely cause of the author's woes?

Possible Answers:

the forced relocation of the Kiowa at the behest of President Andrew Jackson

settlers pushing to expand the United States westward, disrupting the Native Americans' traditional way of life

war declared on the Kiowas by the US government after a spate of brutal attacks on settlers

soldiers passing through Indian territory on their way to aid the United States fight in the Spanish-American War

Correct answer:

settlers pushing to expand the United States westward, disrupting the Native Americans' traditional way of life

Explanation:

Santana fought against the westward expansion of the railroads because he knew they would disrupt the buffalo herds that were the basis of Kiowa survival; however, as with many Native American tribes, the Kiowas found the push of Manifest Destiny too strong. They, as with the others, suffered the loss of many traditional sources of food as well as the annexation of their lands and the slaughter of innocent members of their tribes.

Example Question #1 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

Passage adapted from William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold Speech" (1896)

I shall not slander the fair state of Massachusetts nor the state of New York by saying that when citizens are confronted with the proposition, “Is this nation able to attend to its own business?”—I will not slander either one by saying that the people of those states will declare our helpless impotency as a nation to attend to our own business. It is the issue of 1776 over again. Our ancestors, when but 3 million, had the courage to declare their political independence of every other nation upon earth. Shall we, their descendants, when we have grown to 70 million, declare that we are less independent than our forefathers? No, my friends, it will never be the judgment of this people. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good but we cannot have it till some nation helps us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we shall restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States have.

If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

Bryan's speech is an example of which of the following nineteenth-century political philosophies?

Possible Answers:

Nativism

Populism

Anarchism

Laissez-faire liberalism

Correct answer:

Populism

Explanation:

William Jennings Bryan was perhaps Populism's greatest voice, and his 1896 nomination for President by the Democratic Party sealed its place in national politics. The tenets of populism were support of farmers, election reform, and the removal of the gold standard. The gold standard referred to pegging the value of the American dollar to gold, which caused fluctuations in prices despite its consistent logic. Bryan argued for bimetallism, which made the dollar valued in comparison to gold and silver.

Example Question #1 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

Passage adapted from William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold Speech" (1896)

I shall not slander the fair state of Massachusetts nor the state of New York by saying that when citizens are confronted with the proposition, “Is this nation able to attend to its own business?”—I will not slander either one by saying that the people of those states will declare our helpless impotency as a nation to attend to our own business. It is the issue of 1776 over again. Our ancestors, when but 3 million, had the courage to declare their political independence of every other nation upon earth. Shall we, their descendants, when we have grown to 70 million, declare that we are less independent than our forefathers? No, my friends, it will never be the judgment of this people. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good but we cannot have it till some nation helps us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we shall restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States have.

If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

The reference to Britain following America's example reflects which of the following cultural shifts in the late nineteenth century?

Possible Answers:

The increasing failure of many Western agricultural holdings

America's increasing economic reliance on agriculture

America had become a world leader in business and industry

The lack of trust in banks and other financial institutions by most Americans

Correct answer:

America had become a world leader in business and industry

Explanation:

A large concern of Bryan's opponents who wished to keep the gold standard was that the rest of the world remained steadfast in their use of the gold standard, meaning America would lag behind more industrialized nations like Great Britain. Bryan's argument is that, echoing the Revolution, the rest of the world would have to take notice of America. This is an argument that can only be placed in the context of America's increasing dominance in business and industry throughout the late nineteenth century.

Example Question #1 : Domestic Politics 1849–1900

Passage adapted from William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold Speech" (1896)

I shall not slander the fair state of Massachusetts nor the state of New York by saying that when citizens are confronted with the proposition, “Is this nation able to attend to its own business?”—I will not slander either one by saying that the people of those states will declare our helpless impotency as a nation to attend to our own business. It is the issue of 1776 over again. Our ancestors, when but 3 million, had the courage to declare their political independence of every other nation upon earth. Shall we, their descendants, when we have grown to 70 million, declare that we are less independent than our forefathers? No, my friends, it will never be the judgment of this people. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good but we cannot have it till some nation helps us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we shall restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States have.

If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

What was the largest effect of this speech on domestic politics?

Possible Answers:

The success of the Democratic Party in the Plains states.

The electoral success of the Populist Party in the 1896 election.

William Jennings Bryan becoming President in the 1896 election.

The adoption of bimetallism by Congress in the 1890s.

Correct answer:

The success of the Democratic Party in the Plains states.

Explanation:

William Jennings Bryan rode the Cross of Gold speech to the Democratic Nomination for President in 1896; however, Bryan would lose to William McKinley, and the gold standard remained as U.S. law until the 1970s. What Bryan's nomination did was fully pull populism into the Democratic Party fold, which both ended the electoral ambitions of the Populist Party and made the Plains States solidly Democratic for the next few decades.

Example Question #1 : 1849–1900

A PROCLAMATION

Whereas, it has become necessary to call into service not only volunteers but also portions of the militia of the States by draft in order to suppress the insurrection existing in the United States, and disloyal persons are not adequately restrained by the ordinary processes of law from hindering this measure and from giving aid and comfort in various ways to the insurrection;

Now, therefore, be it ordered, first, that during the existing insurrection and as a necessary measure for suppressing the same, all Rebels and Insurgents, their aiders and abettors within the United States, and all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments, resisting militia drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practice, affording aid and comfort to Rebels against the authority of United States, shall be subject to martial law and liable to trial and punishment by Courts Martial or Military Commission:

Second. That the Writ of Habeas Corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter during the rebellion shall be, imprisoned in any fort, camp, arsenal, military prisons, or other place of confinement by any military authority of by the sentence of any Court Martial or Military Commission.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this twenty fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the 87th.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln's suspension of the Writ of Habeus Corpus during the Civil War was Constitutionally significant because __________.

Possible Answers:

None of these answers accurately reflect the constitutional significance of Lincoln's actions

it allowed the US government to indefinitely imprison any person it chose by imposing martial law

it denied citizen's First Amendment rights

it showed the US government's desperation to draft new soldiers

it was the instigation behind Congress' threat to impeach Abraham Lincoln

Correct answer:

it allowed the US government to indefinitely imprison any person it chose by imposing martial law

Explanation:

Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 of the US Constitution states, "The Privilege of the Write of Habeus Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." The Writ of Habeus Corpus ensures prisoners a speedy trial and the right to be told what crimes they are charged with. It is considered a basic building block of a democratic legal system. Due to the nature of the Civil War, spies were prevalent. Lincoln rightly believed that many US soldier's lives were lost due to the passing of important information to the Confederacy. His suspension of the Writ of Habeus Corpus, and proclaiming his ability to declare martial law wherever he felt the need, was a military necessity, but it's Constitutional legality is still debated.

(Passage adapted from Abraham Lincoln's Presidential Proclamation #94 (1862))

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