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

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #52 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Which of the following Presidential candidates actually won the popular vote despite losing the electoral college?

Possible Answers:

Horace Greeley

Winfield Scott Hancock

Samuel B. Tilden

James G. Blaine

George B. McClellan

Correct answer:

Samuel B. Tilden

Explanation:

All of the Presidential Elections from 1876 to 1888 were extremely close, but  the 1876 election between Democrat Samuel B. Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes saw a candidate win the popular vote and not the electoral vote.  In a heated post-election battle, 20 electoral votes were contested.  The Democrats gave Hayes the 20 electoral votes, and the election, under the condition that Reconstruction ended in the South, a deal known as the Compromise of 1877.

Example Question #53 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

The purchase of Alaska, in 1867, was a result of the efforts of which United States Secretary of State?

Possible Answers:

Daniel Webster

Lewis Cass

Hamilton Fish

William Seward 

Henry Clay

Correct answer:

William Seward 

Explanation:

William Seward was a firm advocate for Manifest Destiny and pressed the United States government to purchase the Alaska territory from Russia. In his own time he was widely ridiculed for the decision: the arrangement was colloquially referred to as “Seward’s folly” in many parts of America; however, the vast natural resources in Alaska have proved significant throughout American history—most significantly with the discovery of oil and gold at the turn of the twentieth century.

Example Question #54 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Thomas Jefferson did all of the following EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

Become the 3rd President of the United States

Represent the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre

Write the Declaration of Independence

Approve the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Purchase the Louisiana Territory

Correct answer:

Represent the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre

Explanation:

It was John Adams, the 2nd President of the United States, who represented the British soldiers responsible for what Americans call the Boston Massacre.

Example Question #55 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

What was the 1803 Court decision that gave the Supreme Court the power to decide whether a law violates the U.S. Constitution?

Possible Answers:

West v. Barnes

Brown v. Board of Education

Marbury v. Madison

Dred Scott v. Sandford

Roe v. Wade

Correct answer:

Marbury v. Madison

Explanation:

In 1803, Marbury v. Madison established the principle of judicial review, giving the Supreme Court the power to determine the constitutionality of an act.

Example Question #56 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law restricting the freedom of all of the following EXCEPT:

 

Possible Answers:

Religion

Gun ownership

Press

Assembly

Speech

Correct answer:

Gun ownership

Explanation:

It is the 2nd Amendment that protects a citizen's right to bear arms.  Additionally, the 1st Amendment protects the freedom of petition.

Example Question #57 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Where were the first shots of the American Civil War fired?

Possible Answers:

Fort McHenry

Fort Sumter

Fort Delaware

Fort Livingston

Fort Randolph

Correct answer:

Fort Sumter

Explanation:

On April 12th, 1861, the first shots of the American Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

Example Question #58 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

In the election of 1796, John Adams                      .

Possible Answers:

won, running as a Democratic-Republican candidate

lost, running as a Democratic-Republican candidate

lost, running as a Federalist candidate

lost, running as an independent candidate

won, running as a Federalist candidate 

Correct answer:

won, running as a Federalist candidate 

Explanation:

The election of 1796 resulted in victory for John Adams. He represented the Federalist Party and received a slightly greater share of the popular vote than Thomas Jefferson, the Democratic-Republican candidate. The election campaign was a particularly acrimonious one. Federalists desired a loose interpretation of the Constitution and a strong Federal government. They attempted to associate the Democratic-Republicans with the chaos of the French Revolution. The Democratic-Republicans on the other hand desired an agricultural nation, with a strict interpretation of the Constitution and heavily limited Federal authority. They attempted to portray the Federalists as monarchists and autocrats. In the end, Adams was elected President and, in a quirk of the voting system in place at the time, Thomas Jefferson was elected Vice-President. 

Example Question #59 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

What was the principle issue in the election of 1844?

Possible Answers:

Manifest Destiny 

Slavery

The personal life of Whig candidate, Henry Clay

The economy

Henry Clay’s desire to avoid war with Mexico

Correct answer:

Manifest Destiny 

Explanation:

All of these were of relative importance in the Presidential election campaigns of 1844. However, James Polk’s support of Manifest Destiny ultimately turned the tide in his favor. Polk was able to merge the issues of the annexation of Texas and Oregon into one ideology, expressed as Manifest Destiny. This garnered the support both of Southern voters and North-Western voters and helped grant Polk a narrow victory over Henry Clay.

Example Question #61 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

In which year was the first Presidential election contested by a Whig Party candidate?

Possible Answers:

1848

1844

1852

1832

1836

Correct answer:

1836

Explanation:

The Whig Party was formed in 1833, in opposition the dominant Democratic Party and President Andrew Jackson. The Party was formed primarily on the ideology that Congress should always possess greater authority over the direction of the nation than the President. The first election contested by the Whigs was the election of 1936, but the party was insufficiently organized to run one candidate across the whole nation, so they opted for a series of regional challengers in the hope that they could deny a clear majority to Martin Van Buren, and therefore bring the election to the Senate. They narrowly missed out on this goal. In the election of 1840, however, the Whigs ran their first unified candidate, William Henry Harrison, who promptly died after thirty-one days in office. 

Example Question #62 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Which of these Presidents was not elected from the Whig Party?

Possible Answers:

John Tyler

Millard Fillmore

Zachary Taylor

William Henry Harrison

Martin Van Buren 

Correct answer:

Martin Van Buren 

Explanation:

Martin Van Buren was a staunch Democrat and Andrew Jackson’s chosen successor. The other four Presidents were all members of the Whig Party at the time of their inauguration. Although it is worth noting that President John Tyler blocked so much Whig legislation that he was expelled from the Whig Party during his presidency. 

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors