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 #11 : U.S. Social History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

The practice of primogeniture                          .

Possible Answers:

encourages the spread of democratic ideals

designates Africans as the lowest group in the racial hierarchy 

gives the right of inheritance solely to the firstborn son

awards government jobs on the basis of personal favor

encourages the confiscation of Native American lands

Correct answer:

gives the right of inheritance solely to the firstborn son

Explanation:

The term "primogeniture" refers to the practice of awarding all lands, titles, and finances that can be inherited solely to the firstborn son. It was practiced for hundreds of years in Europe and passed as an ideology into the nascent United States. In his important literary work, Democracy in America,Alexis de Tocqueville argues that the abolition of primogeniture would cause land to be spread much more evenly across society, encourage the overthrow of the established order, and spread democracy.

Example Question #12 : U.S. Social History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

What is the nickname given to the late-sixteenth-century English settlement on Roanoke Island, in present-day North Carolina, which disappeared during the Anglo-Spanish War?

Possible Answers:

The Dispersed

The Victims' Colony

The Vanishing Roanoke

The Lost Colony

The Missing Colony

Correct answer:

The Lost Colony

Explanation:

The nickname is "The Lost Colony." To this day, the colony's disappearance remains inexplicable.

Example Question #13 : U.S. Social History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

The only one of the following colonies that did not support a Protestant church was __________.

Possible Answers:

Pennsylvania

Connecticut

New York

Virginia

Massachusetts

Correct answer:

Pennsylvania

Explanation:

Almost all of the colonies were directly linked at a governmental level to a specific church.  The two exceptions to this were Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, which both intentionally separated the church from the governmental structure, and provided religious freedom to anyone who wanted to come to the colony. In Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine, the Congregational Church, the sucessor to the separatist groups that founded New England, was the official church. In New York, Virginia, both Carolinas, and Georgia, the offical Anglican Church, headed by the British Crown, dominated.  Maryland was set up by Catholics, but still run by Anglicans.

Example Question #14 : U.S. Social History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

The earliest permanent settlement by Europeans on the present day United States was achieved by __________.

Possible Answers:

the Spanish Empire

the United Kingdom of Great Britain

the Kingdom of Naples

the Kingdom of France

the Kingdom of Portugal

Correct answer:

the Spanish Empire

Explanation:

After Columbus' initial voyages in the 1490s, most European powers came to America in an age of exploration. The Spanish were still the leaders in settlement. While their initial efforts did focus on Central and South America, and the conquest and subjugation of the Aztec and Inca Empires, the Spanish also went into North America. The Spanish established a fort and mission at St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565.

Example Question #15 : U.S. Social History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

The colony of Maryland was initially established as a haven for __________

Possible Answers:

Anglicans.

Catholics.

Quakers.

Mennonites.

Puritans.

Correct answer:

Catholics.

Explanation:

The Colony of Maryland was first established by George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore, through a Royal Charter from Charles I in 1629. Calvert, a Catholic himself, felt a New World colony was the best place to establish a refuge for increasingly beleaguered English Catholics. The colony was not formally settled until 1634, and provided toleration for Catholics. Maryland remained a home for Catholics, but also was beset by unfriendly neighboring Anglicans in Virginia.

Example Question #16 : U.S. Social History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

Which of the following was NOT a characteristic of the Mississippian culture of pre-Columbian America?

Possible Answers:

Nomadic hunting of buffalo

Mound building

Trade around rivers and other waterways

Agriculture based around corn

None of the other answers

Correct answer:

Nomadic hunting of buffalo

Explanation:

The Mississippian culture flourished in the Mississippi Valley from roughly 800 CE to 1500 CE. The Mississippians were best known as mound builders: they developed small cities by building giant pyramids from soil around corn based agriculture. Trade between these cities occurred mostly around watersheds and rivers. None of the Mississippian cultures were nomadic in any way.

Example Question #17 : U.S. Social History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

Arthur Miller’s 1953 play, The Crucible, is based upon what series of prosecutions and hearings that occurred in Massachusetts Bay between 1692 and 1693?

Possible Answers:

The Witch Trials of Massachusetts

The New England Witch Trials

The Andover Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials

The Witches of Ipswich Trials

Correct answer:

The Salem Witch Trials

Explanation:

The Crucible is based on the Salem Witch Trials.

Example Question #18 : U.S. Social History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

Which of the following statements is true about the early settlers of the Jamestown colony?

Possible Answers:

The Jamestown colonists had civil and peaceful relations with the neighboring Native American tribes.

Jamestown's colonists sought to have significant ties with other English colonists.

Religion was a significant motivating factor for most of the Jamestown colonists.

The Jamestown colonists were mostly from wealthy families who were trying to increase their prestige.

Very few colonists survived for a significant length of time at Jamestown.

Correct answer:

Very few colonists survived for a significant length of time at Jamestown.

Explanation:

After its foundation in 1603, Jamestown was plagued with a number of issues, including frequent attacks from Native American groups, disease, and bad harvests. Jamestown was founded as a business venture, which did little to help the colony prosper. In its first few decades, Jamestown witnessed the death of most people who arrived from England and was significantly detached from English culture and other North American colonies.

Example Question #19 : U.S. Social History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

Which of the following groups was not a supporter of the Patriot cause in the American Revolution?

Possible Answers:

Lawyers

Merchants

Farmers

Middle-class professionals

Slaves

Correct answer:

Slaves

Explanation:

The Patriots were a vast majority of American colonists in 1775 and 1776, although it was not true that every colonist was a Patriot. The key groups that remained Loyalists were colonial officials, non-English colonists, and slaves, who were promised emancipation by British officials if they fought for the British government.

Example Question #20 : U.S. Social History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

Free blacks were rare in the Colonial period, which of these is not a way that enslaved blacks could legally gain or maintain freedom?

Possible Answers:

If their mothers were white

If they bought their freedom with savings earned from outside jobs

If they escaped from a territory that allowed slavery, to one that did not

If their owners freed them

If they were descendants of early indentured servants

Correct answer:

If they escaped from a territory that allowed slavery, to one that did not

Explanation:

Free slaves numbered only in the thousands in the Colonial period, but they were an important social factor, being both reminders of the humanity of blacks and as a symbol to those blacks still enslaved. A slave could gain freedom if their mother was white, if their owner freed them or if they were able to buy their freedom (almost impossible). Those who were descendants of indentured servants had been brought over at a time when slavery had not yet been embraced and maintained their freedom, legally, throughout their lives. However, those slaves that escaped from a slave owning territory to one in which slavery was illegal were still considered property of their masters and legally had to be returned.

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