SAT II US History : Representative Viewpoints 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 #141 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Which of the following politicians opposed the Compromise of 1850?

Possible Answers:

Henry Clay

Daniel Webster

Millard Fillmore 

Stephen A. Douglas

John C. Calhoun 

Correct answer:

John C. Calhoun 

Explanation:

The Compromise of 1850 was designed to prevent the threat of Southern secession and outbreak of Civil War. The Compromise included the admittance of California as a free state, and the admittance of New Mexico and Utah (with the caveat that they be able to determine the issue of slavery through popular sovereignty); it also included that the slave trade would be abolished in the District of Colombia, and that Congress would pass a new Fugitive Slave Act. The Compromise was proposed by Henry Clay, so we can assume he would have been in favor of it. Likewise, Daniel Webster and Stephen A. Douglas were ardent supporters of the Compromise, arguing convincingly to President Millard Fillmore about its necessity. Fillmore was initially reluctant, but was eventually swayed by their convictions. Of these five, only John C. Calhoun opposed the Compromise, which he feared would take away a great deal of power and control from the South. For Calhoun it was far from a compromise, and rather more an imposition of Northern will.

Example Question #481 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Which of the following statements best represents the Populist movement of the late nineteenth century?

Possible Answers:

The most important element of the United States economy is the retention of the gold standard.

The wealthiest individuals should hold the most political power.

Labor unions and labor activity are the chief harm to healthy businesses.

A new graduated income tax will send the American economy into a severe depression.

The banking and business interests of the East hold too much political power over Western farmers and ranchers.

Correct answer:

The banking and business interests of the East hold too much political power over Western farmers and ranchers.

Explanation:

The Populist movement of the 1890s grew out of the Grange movement, a coalition of farmers and labor activists in the Great Plains. The unifying feature of the Grange movement was the advocation of farmers' interests, most notably a change from the gold standard to bimetalism in currency, enforcement of new standards in banking and loans, and a focus on elections at all levels. These issues found sympathetic votes throughout the South and West, and in 1896 the Democratic Party nominated the Populist hero William Jennings Bryan, who garnered the nomination with his famous "Cross of Gold Speech."  Populist measures such as the direct election of Senators, banking restrictions, and agricultural reform eventually became law, but the Populist Party itself lost momentum by the end of the nineteenth century.

Example Question #491 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

The Dawes Severalty Act of 1887                      .

Possible Answers:

removed obstacles to unionization 

demanded that government positions be assigned on the basis of merit, not favor

rendered obsolete previous government instituted tariffs 

created a graduated income tax

called for the immediate Americanization of Native American people 

Correct answer:

called for the immediate Americanization of Native American people 

Explanation:

The Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 was seen at the time as the best possible way to deal with the “Indian Problem.” United States lawmakers perceived that white settlers and Native people could not peacefully coexist under the current situation where racial, cultural, and political differences were so great. The Dawes Severalty Act, named for its sponsor, Senator Henry Dawes, proposed to “Americanize” the native population. The first step was to discourage the Native population from collective ownership—individual property rights would naturally cause them to experience life much like an American citizen. To this end the American government began to divide Native land among individuals and force Native people to abandon their conventional economic practices, embracing widespread agriculture. Finally, the government envisioned that it could sell what land was not required by Native individuals to white settlers and thereby open up new sections of the continent to American expansion.

Example Question #492 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

The Compact Theory                         .

Possible Answers:

outlines that any powers not reserved for the Federal government are the sole property of the People

provides an outline for the containment of communism

states that the Constitution was created by the states; therefore the states have the right to dissolve it 

was opposed by Thomas Jefferson

was supported by Abraham Lincoln

Correct answer:

states that the Constitution was created by the states; therefore the states have the right to dissolve it 

Explanation:

The Compact Theory maintains that the United States Constitution was created by the agreement of the States; therefore, if the states disagree with the direction or interpretation of the Constitution, then they have the right to dissolve it. Thomas Jefferson was a notable proponent of this opinion, arguing passionately for it in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions.

Example Question #493 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Which Supreme Court ruling stated that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional?

Possible Answers:

Dred Scott v. Sandford

Lemmon v. New York 

Plessy v. Ferguson

Prigg v. Pennsylvania 

Ogden v. Saunders

Correct answer:

Dred Scott v. Sandford

Explanation:

In the case Dred Scott v. Sandford, the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Roger Taney, ruled that African Americans were not United States citizens and therefore had no right to bring a case before the Supreme Court, and that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional because it threatened the protected right to own property; furthermore, it stated that the Federal government had no right to regulate slavery in the territories. Taney and the other Justices had intended this ruling to be the end of the slavery expansion issue; however, it was not universally accepted: the Republican Party in particular treated it as an immoral legal precedent.

Example Question #494 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

The Freeport Doctrine                            .

Possible Answers:

None of the answers given explain The Freeport Doctrine.

supported the Supreme Court’s ruling that slavery could not legally be excluded from new territories

tried to amend the Fugitive Slave laws that were damaging Northern and Southern relations

stated that popular sovereignty should settle the issue of slavery in newly acquired states and territories

argued for the complete emancipation of all Blacks living in the United States

Correct answer:

stated that popular sovereignty should settle the issue of slavery in newly acquired states and territories

Explanation:

The Freeport Doctrine was first proposed by Stephen Douglas in one of his debates with future President, Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln-Douglas debates are an important historical argument. In 1858 Lincoln and Douglas were both campaigning to represent the state of Illinois in the Senate. Lincoln represented the Republican Party, and Douglas the Democratic. The central issue of the seven debates was slavery—primarily whether it should be expanded into the territories or not. Douglas articulated that the issue of slavery in newly acquired states and territories should ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case and instead allow the people of the territory to vote and choose for themselves. This opinion is known as The Freeport Doctrine. The issues of the 1858 Congressional debates would mirror the debates Lincoln would deal with during his Presidential campaign, and again, once he was in office. 

Example Question #495 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Which of these nineteenth-century Politicians is correctly matched with his region?

Possible Answers:

Andrew Jackson: South

Daniel Webster: South 

John Quincy Adams: North 

John C. Calhoun: West

Henry Clay: North 

Correct answer:

John Quincy Adams: North 

Explanation:

The politics of the United States after the end of the Era of Good Feelings, and before the outbreak of Civil War, was characterized by regional identities. The North was strongly in favor of tariffs to protect Northern business interests. The West desired the improvement of internal infrastructure to open up greater areas of the West to settlement and economic expansion. The South wanted to ensure the continuation of the institution of slavery and heavily opposed the North's desire for greater tariffs, as this generally hurt Southern interests.

The correct pairings are as follows:

Daniel Webster: North

John Quincy Adams: North

Henry Clay: West

Andrew Jackson: West

John C. Calhoun: South

Example Question #496 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

The political group known as "Copperheads" during the Civil War Era were united around what issue?

Possible Answers:

To build up Northern war supplies and forces to seek a quicker victory over the Confederacy

To get the North to end all hostilities and sign a peace treaty with the Confederacy

To seek the secession of border states during the War in order to aid the Confederate cause

To emancipate all slaves throughout the Union and the Confederacy

To emancipate all the slaves throughout the Confederacy

Correct answer:

To get the North to end all hostilities and sign a peace treaty with the Confederacy

Explanation:

The Copperheads were groups of anti-War Democrats that sprang up in late 1862. As the War began stalling out for the Union, many opponents of Lincoln's Republican party began calling for an end to all hostilities. Initially operating as underground societies, Republicans called them Copperheads after the venomous snake. The Copperheads themselves adopted the name, and wore with pride the head of liberty from a copper penny. The main Copperhead leader, Representative Clement Vallandingham of Ohio, was arrested for treason in 1863, and had to flee to Canada. War successes throughout 1863 led to a cratering of public support for the Copperhead cause.

Example Question #497 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

“The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government."

The above quote is taken from which President’s farewell address?

Possible Answers:

John Quincy Adams

Andrew Jackson 

James Madison

George Washington 

Abraham Lincoln

Correct answer:

George Washington 

Explanation:

George Washington’s farewell address is perhaps the most famous in the history of the United States Presidency. In his speech, Washington warned against the subservience of the people to political parties. He also praised American political system and provided the above quote as a constant reminder to the American people of the power that democracy gives them. 

Example Question #498 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

The statement above was made by __________.

Possible Answers:

John C. Calhoun in the midst of the Nullification crisis

Ulysses S. Grant in accepting surrender terms from the Army of Northern Virginia

George McClellan in a Presidential campaign speech

Abraham Lincoln at the commemoration of the Gettysburg battlefield

Stephen A. Douglas in a debate for the Senate

Correct answer:

Abraham Lincoln at the commemoration of the Gettysburg battlefield

Explanation:

If the Gettysburg Address is not instantly familiar, the references to "Civil War" and a "great battlefield" are great indicators that this statement occurred during the time the Civil War was ongoing. Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address in November of 1863, four and a half months after the Battle of Gettysburg, but in the middle of continuous fighting. Lincoln's speech helped dedicate the Soldiers' National Cemetery at the Gettysburg battlefield.

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