SAT II US History : Facts and Details in U.S. Political History from 1790 to 1898

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #91 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

President Lincoln signed the Wade-Davis Bill into law shortly after the radical Republican Congress passed the bill.

Possible Answers:

True

False, Lincoln actually vetoed the bill

False, Lincoln did pass the Wade-Davis Bill, but did so before Congress had approved it

None of these answers are accurate.

Correct answer:

False, Lincoln actually vetoed the bill

Explanation:

President Lincoln actually thought that the Wade-Davis Bill was far too draconian (meaning, went too far in its punishment) and thus pocket-vetoed the bill. Technically speaking, a pocket-veto is less confrontational than an actual veto (the President simply refuses to act—sign or veto—on a bill for ten days after Congress has adjourned), but Lincoln’s pocket veto infuriated the Radical Republicans in Congress, who viewed the bill as just desserts for the rebellious southerners.

Example Question #92 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Tecumseh Sherman is best known for which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln

The riots he incited in Jackson, MS, after publishing his book, The Help

The burning of Tara plantation in Gone with the Wind

 The burning of Atlanta in his famous “March to the Sea”

Correct answer:

 The burning of Atlanta in his famous “March to the Sea”

Explanation:

Sherman is best known for his famous “march to the sea” where he implemented the brutally effective “scorched earth” policy and quite literally burned Atlanta (GA) to the ground while marching to Savannah. This was, of course, depicted in both Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind (1936), and the movie based off of the novel. This answer (about Gone with the Wind) is not correct, however, because the actual event happened in real life, and it is for that real even that Sherman is known. The Help had nothing to do with Sherman’s march to the sea, and John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln. For these reasons all of the other answers are incorrect.

Example Question #93 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Andrew Jackson favored the National Bank so much that he actively campaigned for the renewal of its charter.

Possible Answers:

False, Jackson neither favored nor disliked the National Bank

False, the National Bank was abolished prior to Jackson's presidency

True

 False, Jackson hated the National Bank

Correct answer:

 False, Jackson hated the National Bank

Explanation:

This should have been a relatively easy question. Jackson absolutely hated the National Bank—he was convinced that it was an unconstitutional expenditure of Congress’ power (regardless of what the Supreme Court said). In fact, he hated the bank so much that he actually vetoed the bill that attempted to recharter the bank in 1832. Thus, clearly, he did not favor the bank in any sense. 

Example Question #94 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Which of the following accurately describes the Nullification Crisis?

Possible Answers:

Andrew Jackson, basing much of his reasoning off of the Declaration of Independence, agreed with Calhoun—that states have the power to nullify federal law.

John C. Calhoun, basing much of his reasoning off of the VA and KY resolutions, wrote an “Exposition and Protest” that purported to give state conventions the power to (essentially) veto federal laws.

None of these answers are correct.

Martin Van Buren, basing much of his reasoning off of the Constitution, agreed with Calhoun—that states have the power to nullify federal laws.

Correct answer:

John C. Calhoun, basing much of his reasoning off of the VA and KY resolutions, wrote an “Exposition and Protest” that purported to give state conventions the power to (essentially) veto federal laws.

Explanation:

This was a relatively straightforward question—so long as you remembered the names of the actors involved. The nullification crisis, weirdly enough, set up two states’ rights activists against each other: John C. Calhoun and Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson, as president, lined up behind the Tariff of 1828 (the South called this the “Tariff of Abominations” they hated it so much). John C. Calhoun, Jackson’s vice president, was infuriated by this exercise of federal power (which, in his and many southerners’ eyes, hurt the south disproportionately) and eventually resigned from his post as vice president to return to South Carolina and fight the Tariff. For this reason, all of the other answers are correct.

Example Question #95 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Which of the following, collectively, are called the “Civil War Amendments”?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

This should have been an easy question.  collectively are called the Civil War Amendments, as they were all passed directly in the wake of the civil war. If you remember what these amendments do, it actually makes a lot of sense: the  Amendment freed the slaves, the  Amendment granted citizenship to all born on American soil (with some other bells and whistles), and the  Amendment granted the right to vote to all men.

Example Question #96 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Which of the following parties ran under the slogan “Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, Free Men”?

Possible Answers:

The Liberty Party

The Democrats

The Whigs

The Free Soil Party

Correct answer:

The Free Soil Party

Explanation:

Sometimes the obvious answer is the correct one—in this question, that is the case. The Free Soil Party ran under this slogan. The Liberty Party may have been a tempting answer—and for good reason—as the Free Soil Party formed out of the former Liberty Party supporters. The same goes for the anti-slavery faction of the Whigs.

Example Question #97 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

It was possible to buy ones way out of mandatory military service (the draft, essentially) in the Civil War.

Possible Answers:

This statement is unambiguously true

True, but only in the North

None of these answers is accurate.

False, the draft was need blind

Correct answer:

This statement is unambiguously true

Explanation:

This is true, and it led to much grief in between classes. Both the north and the south allowed for a special dispensation for those who could afford it. In other words, so long as you (or your family) could pay X amount (it was set by the Confederacy or the US Government—depending on the side) you could buy your way out of service. This, of course, led to the complaint that the Civil War was a “rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight.” 

Example Question #98 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Which battle of the Civil War was the bloodiest, resulting in more than 23,000 casualties at the end of only one day? 

Possible Answers:

1st Battle of Bull Run 

Battle of Vicksburg

2nd Battle of Bull Run 

Battle of Antietam

Battle of Gettysburg

Correct answer:

Battle of Antietam

Explanation:

The Battle of Antietam, which took place in September 1862, was a one day war during which over 23,000 people died. This battle was fought in Maryland, and was therefore the first battle of the civil was that was fought in Union territory.

Example Question #121 : U.S. Political History

“You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold” is the most famous line from _______________’s speech?

Possible Answers:

Grover Cleveland

George H.W. Bush

William Jennings Bryan

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Herbert Hoover

Correct answer:

William Jennings Bryan

Explanation:

William Jennings Bryan delivered this incredible speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago (1896). The quoted portion is the very last line of the speech, and purportedly caused the crowd to go absolutely wild.

The speech, of course, was about the gold standard (or more accurately, the dilution of the gold standard). From the inception of the USA until relatively recently, the US adhered to a gold standard—that is, our currency (the dollar) was backed by gold. There are advantages and disadvantages to having a metallic standard (or any standard, for that matter), but, given that this is US History and not Economics, that discussion is beyond the scope of this question. 

Example Question #100 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

What was the “Crime of ’73”?

Possible Answers:

The Silver Act of 1873

The Coinage Act of 1873

None of these

The Gold Act of 1873

The Bimetallism act of 1873

Correct answer:

The Coinage Act of 1873

Explanation:

The “Crime of ‘73” refers to the Coinage Act of 1873. The Coinage Act of 1873 was (or at least, came to be) an extraordinarily controversial law (hence the moniker “Crime of ‘73”). Essentially, the law ended the free coinage of silver, and placed the US firmly on the gold standard. This, like most laws, infuriated some people while it greatly pleased others.

Those advocating deflation were happiest with the bill, because the gold standard is a deflationary measure for currency; those advocating inflation were incredibly displeased with the bill, because the gold standard is a deflationary measure.

Those agitating for inflation wanted the free coinage of silver, because injecting silver into the monetary supply created inflation (along with more currency in circulation).

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