SAT II US History : SAT Subject Test in United States History

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Which of the following was not a tenet of Henry Clay’s American System?

Possible Answers:

Support for high tariffs 

Maintenance of a Federal Bank

Development of internal infrastructure, like roads and canals

Less funding given to the Armed Forces 

Maintenance of high public land prices

Correct answer:

Less funding given to the Armed Forces 

Explanation:

The American System refers to a series of economic programs designed to improve the economy of the United States. It was heavily supported by Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, as well as many other Democratic-Republican American politicians in the first half of the nineteenth century.  Later the plan would be supported by the Whig Party and opposed by the Republican Party of Andrew Jackson. The plan called for the maintenance of a Federal Bank to provide sound currency and centralized control of banking. It also called for high tariffs to be introduced on foreign goods, which helped ensure the prosperity of American producers. Clay argued passionately for the maintenance of high public land prices to ensure the government continued to make enough money to support massive spending. Finally, the American System called for intensive focus on the development of internal infrastructure to foster a growing national economy. One thing the plan did not focus on was reducing money allocated to the Armed Forces; at the original conception of the plan in 1815 the Armed Forces were expanded. 

Example Question #1 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

“There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that, if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them. You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard; we reply that the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.”

The previous quote can most likely be attributed to                     .

Possible Answers:

Calvin Coolidge

Theodore Roosevelt

William McKinley 

Woodrow Wilson

William Jennings Bryan

Correct answer:

William Jennings Bryan

Explanation:

William Jennings Bryan spoke those words at the Democratic National Convention in 1896. The speech is generally referred to as the “Cross of Gold” speech due to Bryan’s conclusion that “mankind shall not be crucified on a Cross of Gold!” The speech supported the use of “free silver,” which Bryan and his supporters believed would help remedy the economic stagnation in the United States that had existed since the Panic of 1893, and which heavily affected the rural poor and even wealthy farmers. Bryan gained the Democratic nomination for the 1896 election, but ultimately lost to the Republican candidate William McKinley.

Example Question #1 : Representative Viewpoints In U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

“The man who dies rich . . . dies disgraced”

The above quote could be most likely attributed to __________.

Possible Answers:

Calvin Coolidge

Upton Sinclair 

Andrew Carnegie 

William Taft

Warren G. Harding

Correct answer:

Andrew Carnegie 

Explanation:

The above quote reflects the philanthropic principles of nineteenth-century industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie moved from Scotland to America and almost literally started from nothing. By the time he was an old man, Carnegie owned the largest Steel company in the United States, as well as a number of other businesses. Carnegie never forgot where he came from, and he believed that it was the duty of all wealthy men to invest their riches in the betterment of society. Carnegie was particularly interested in funding the arts and educational facilities. His views are most succinctly expressed in his book The Gospel of Wealth.

Example Question #21 : U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

Henry Clay's American System called for all of the following policies except ___________________.

Possible Answers:

subsidies to encourage the growth of plantations

a protective tariff

subsidies for the building of canals

subsidies for the building of roads

a national bank

Correct answer:

subsidies to encourage the growth of plantations

Explanation:

Henry Clay, who served in some capacity in the Federal government from 1811 to 1852, first proposed the "American System" when he was Speaker of the House in 1816. With a stated goal of promoting and developing American industry, business, and agriculture, the plan called for a higher tariff to protect American industry, a national bank to regulate commerce, and a series of internal improvements such as roads, bridges, and canals to encourage trade. The "American System" became the bulwark domestic policy platform of the Whig Party during the Second Party System.

Example Question #1 : Summary Of U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

The process of horizontal integration                    .

Possible Answers:

provided for racial and cultural communion in twentieth-century America

made it illegal to award government jobs on the basis of personal or political favor

joined together companies engaged in similar practices to create a monopoly

removed obstacles for Native Americans and other minorities to gain office

joined together companies that were each involved in either manufacturing or distribution

Correct answer:

joined together companies engaged in similar practices to create a monopoly

Explanation:

The process of horizontal integration refers to the joining together of similar companies in order to eliminate competition, drive up prices, and create an effective monopoly. It differs from vertical integration in the following way: vertical integration is the process of gaining control of every facet of the business of a product. It involves controlling the means of manufacturing and the process of distribution. 

Example Question #2 : Summary Of U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

The establishment of the United States Federal bank was due to the work of which early American politician?

Possible Answers:

Thomas Jefferson

John Adams

Alexander Hamilton

James Madison 

John Jay

Correct answer:

Alexander Hamilton

Explanation:

Alexander Hamilton is the politician who is most associated with the construction of the Federal Bank of the United States. Hamilton had spent much of his early political career studying the banking institutions of Britain and felt that a national bank was necessary to the economic development of the United States. He was opposed by a large proportion of the representatives and it was only due to Hamilton gaining the support of President Washington that the bank was created. 

Example Question #2 : Summary Of U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

Who invented the first steamboat?

Possible Answers:

Robert Fulton

George Stephenson 

George Pullman

Alfred Nobel 

Samuel Colt

Correct answer:

Robert Fulton

Explanation:

The first steamboat was invented by the American engineer and inventor Robert Fulton. Fulton lived and worked in France, England and the United States and is also credited with inventing some of the earliest submersibles and torpedoes. The invention of the steamboat was crucial for the development of the United States economy in the middle of the nineteenth century. It dramatically reduced the time and costs involved in shipping goods, and it created new communities of wealth along the majority of America’s big rivers. The steamboat was particularly useful in the development of cities along the Mississippi River, like Natchez and Vicksburg, as well as opening up new areas of the South to trade and settlement. 

Example Question #2 : Summary Of U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

What did Cyrus McCormick invent in 1831?

Possible Answers:

Cotton gin

Printing press

Mechanical reaper

Steel plow

Steam engine

Correct answer:

Mechanical reaper

Explanation:

The mechanical reaper was first invented by Cyrus McCormick’s father in the late 1820s; however, Cyrus is generally credited by historians as having perfected the device. The invention of the mechanical reaper dramatically changed the nature of society in the United States. It allowed a far greater number of crops to be harvested by a much smaller number of individuals. This led to a surplus of food and, equally importantly, freed up a much larger percentage of the population to work in other industries. 

Example Question #1 : Summary Of U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

All of the following were features of the antebellum southern economy except __________.

Possible Answers:

chattel slavery

agriculturally dominant

large plantations

rapid industrialization on a large scale

cooton as the dominant crop

Correct answer:

rapid industrialization on a large scale

Explanation:

Slavery was the defining feature of life in the antebellum South. The first slaves arrived in the early-seventeenth century, and by the end of the eighteenth-century large plantations dominated the southern economy, principally growing non-food crops like cotton. Until Reconstruction, and even beyond, the South remained dominated by agriculture, and was extremely slow to become industrialized.

Example Question #1 : Summary Of U.S. Economic History From 1790 To 1898

How did the California Gold Rush affect the Panic of 1857?

Possible Answers:

The settlement of California caused Mexico to stop trading with the United States

Rapid influx of gold helped stabilize the value of the dollar

Rapid influx of gold led to inflation 

The settlement of California put too much strain on internal infrastructure

The California Gold Rush had no significant affect on the Panic of 1857

Correct answer:

Rapid influx of gold led to inflation 

Explanation:

The Panic of 1857 is considered by many historians to be the first world-wide economic crisis in human history, due to the interconnectedness of the global economy. The Panic began in Britain after the British government failed to back currency with gold and silver reserves. This caused a massive decline in the international economy at exactly the wrong time for the United States. American businesses had taken great risks and over-expanded during the prosperous years prior to the Panic and were unable to cope with the decline of the international market. The influx of Gold from California exacerbated matters as the rapid growth in gold supply led to immediate inflation. The economy would not recover until after the Civil War. 

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