GED Social Studies : United States History

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Social Studies

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Constitution

Which two clauses of the American Constitution are related to the freedom of religion?

Possible Answers:

The Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause

The Necessary and Proper Clause and the Free Exercise Clause

The Reserved Powers Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause

The Establishment Clause and the Reserved Powers Clause

The Reserved Powers Clause and the Free Exercise Clause

Correct answer:

The Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause

Explanation:

The Establishment Clause of the Constitution states that the government can make no law establishing a state religion, and the Free Exercise Clause says that the government cannot stop any American group or individual from freely practicing their religious beliefs.

Example Question #1 : Notable Court Cases

In Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court established which controversial legal doctrine that stood for over 50 years until overturned by the court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Possible Answers:

Judicial Review

One person, one vote

Clear and present danger

Equal protection under the law

Separate but equal

Correct answer:

Separate but equal

Explanation:

Plessy v. Ferguson was a case that focused on the matter of racial segregation policy in the city of New Orleans, Louisianna. Homer Plessy, a man of Creole descent, and his allies on the New Orleans Committee of Citizens staged an act of civil disobedience when Plessy attempted to ride on a white's only railroad car within the city. At the time, New Orleans had implemented a number of policies aimed at keeping whites separate from people of color in public. In Plessy, the court ruled against Homer Plessy and held that racial segregation was legal as long as people of color were provided with equal accomodations while being held separate in public. Over 50 years later, in Brown v. Board of Education, the court reversed precedent and ruled that separate facilities were inherently unequal, especially in the case of schools.

Example Question #11 : Historic Documents And Court Decisions

In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court found that segregation violated __________.

Possible Answers:

the Free Exercise Clause

the Second Amendment

the Fourteenth Amendment

the Necessary and Proper Clause

the Tenth Amendment

Correct answer:

the Fourteenth Amendment

Explanation:

Brown v. Board of Education (1954) is one of the most famous Supreme Court cases in American history. Certainly it is the most famous case of the civil rights era. It overturned the 1896 decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, which had originally ruled that segregation was legal under the "separate, but equal" idea. The Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that "separate but equal" segregation was inherently not equal and violated the Equal Protection Clause established in the Fourteenth Amendment.

Example Question #1 : Notable Court Cases

The case of the Scottsboro boys demonstrated __________.

Possible Answers:

the abusive treatment of rape victims in the American legal system

the ease and frequency with which the death penalty was employed

the lack of equality and rights available to women in the American legal system

the negative impact of the media on the outcome of highly publicized trials

the prevalence of racial injustice in the American legal system of the 1930s

Correct answer:

the prevalence of racial injustice in the American legal system of the 1930s

Explanation:

The case of the Scottsboro boys centered around a group of African-Americans who were found guilty of raping two white teenage girls on a train in 1931 and were sentenced to the death penalty. The case was appealed on numerous occasions on the grounds that the boys had been denied a fair and equal trial process. It has come to represent the extent of institutionalized racism in the American legal system during the first half of the twentieth century.

Example Question #1 : Other Historic Documents

Who wrote the pamphlet, Common Sense?

Possible Answers:

Benjamin Franklin

James Madison

John Jay

Thomas Paine

Thomas Jefferson

Correct answer:

Thomas Paine

Explanation:

The revolutionary pamphlet, Common Sense, was written by Thomas Paine in 1776. It is considered to be the most important document for galvanizing public support for the cause of the Revolutionary War that was published in the early years of the American War for Independence.

Example Question #1 : Other Historic Documents

The pamphlet, Common Sense, primarily argued __________

Possible Answers:

in favor of American involvement in the Spanish-American War.

against the revolutionary war and in support of the British Empire.

that America needed to protect democratic and capitalist interest by intervening in World War Two on the side of the Allies.

that America should remain out of the Vietnam War.

in favor of American independence from the British Empire.

Correct answer:

in favor of American independence from the British Empire.

Explanation:

Common Sense was written by Thomas Paine during the early stages of the Revolutionary War with Britain. The pamphlet argued that America had both the right to seek independence from Britain and the means to achieve this goal. It was important for swaying countless individuals to side with the revolutionaries and for convincing common Americans that their goal could be achieved.

Example Question #1 : Other Historic Documents

The Gettysburg Address was delivered by __________

Possible Answers:

Abraham Lincoln.

Andrew Jackson.

Alexander Hamilton.

Robert E. Lee.

George Washington.

Correct answer:

Abraham Lincoln.

Explanation:

The Gettysburg Address was a speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, during the height of the Civil War conflict. It is generally considered one of the greatest speeches in American history.

Example Question #2 : Other Historic Documents

The Gettysburg Address speech primarily focused on __________

Possible Answers:

outlining the benefits for increased American imperial action in the years immediately before the Spanish-American War.

arguing in favor of abolition, but also trying to avoid direct conflict and separation from the American states in the South.

arguing in favor of American independence from Britain and convincing skeptics that victory could be achieved.

improving American morale in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack during World War Two.

reaffirming the American principles of universal equality and framing the Civil War as a conflict to preserve the unity of the American republic.

Correct answer:

reaffirming the American principles of universal equality and framing the Civil War as a conflict to preserve the unity of the American republic.

Explanation:

The Gettysburg Address was a speech given in the middle of the Civil War by President Abraham Lincoln. It is a very short speech, but one that focuses on reaffirming the ideas of universal equality that are espoused in the American Constitution, while also framing the Civil War as a conflict to protect these rights and to preserve the unity of the young American republic.

Example Question #1 : Other Historic Documents

The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions primarily asserted that __________

Possible Answers:

the states have the right to nullify Federal laws they deem unconstitutional.

factionalism was the most dangerous threat to the maintenance of American democracy.

slavery should not be allowed to spread into newly acquired territories.

the United States government can make no law establishing an official state religion.

America should remain out of any European conflict.

Correct answer:

the states have the right to nullify Federal laws they deem unconstitutional.

Explanation:

The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were written, in secret, by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, in response to the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798 and 1799. What they essentially stated was that the states have the right to nullify Federal laws they deem unconstitutional. Many American politicians at the time, including George Washington, considered this to be a very dangerous precedent, and although the nullification issue continued to be problematic in the early years of the American republic, it is now considered not to be right reserved for the states.

Example Question #6 : Other Historic Documents

The Federalist Papers were written to __________

Possible Answers:

demand an inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the United States’ Constitution.

advocate the ratification of the United States’ Constitution.

undermine the Articles of Confederation.

encourage a declaration of war against Britain prior to the War of 1812.

argue that states have the right to nullify Federal laws they deem unconstitutional.

Correct answer:

advocate the ratification of the United States’ Constitution.

Explanation:

The Federalist Papers is the name given to a collection of essays, written in 1787 and 1788, advocating the ratification of the United States’ Constitution. Many of the essays are considered of great historical importance, including Federalist No. 10 and Federalist No. 51.

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