SAT II US History : U.S. Economic History

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

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #9 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Economic History From 1899 To The Present

Which of these factors did not contribute to the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression? 

Possible Answers:

A shortage of crops leading to rapid food price inflation

A weak banking system

Reduced trade with Europe due to crippling tariffs

Too much stock purchased on margin

Lack of diversity in the United States economy

Correct answer:

A shortage of crops leading to rapid food price inflation

Explanation:

Historians generally find it impossible to identify just one or two causes for the Stock Market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression. So a simple explanation is difficult, however the following factors were all relevant and need to be understood for the test: A weak banking system that did not garner consumer confidence caused many Americans to rush to the banks to withdraw their money the moment the crisis began causing rapid deterioration; A crippling tariff system that was closing the United States off to profitable trade with Europe; Far too much stock and property purchased on margin or credit (similar reasons to our modern recession); A complete lack of diversity in the American economy, as the industrial and car manufacturing industries were dwindling their was nothing rising to fill the gap, leading to widespread unemployment; Overproduction of crops causing prices to drop and farmers to be unable to make ends meet. Therefore we understand that there was no shortage of crops nor rapid food price inflation, quite the opposite. It is important to remember that there was no one single cause of the Great Depression, but rather it was a combination of several factors. 

Example Question #10 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Economic History From 1899 To The Present

During the so-called "Roaring 20s," what contributed to the most economic growth? 

Possible Answers:

Americans produced more consumer goods

The minimum wage increased

Prices of fruits and vegetables increased

The country expanded into the West

Trading with other countries increased

Correct answer:

Americans produced more consumer goods

Explanation:

During the 1920s, the country was prosperous mainly because of American goods that were being produced within the country. America did not have to do as much trading with other countries to get the products they needed because they were being created on American soil. People also wanted to buy American goods.

Example Question #41 : U.S. Economic History

What President was slow to respond to the unfolding of the Great Depression?

Possible Answers:

Franklin Roosevelt

Warren Harding

Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover

Correct answer:

Herbert Hoover

Explanation:

Herbert Hoover was President for the first three and a half years of the Depression. He was widely criticized for his slow reaction, then not reacting strongly enough as it became obvious that the nation was falling further and further into economic decline.

Example Question #42 : U.S. Economic History

Following the stock market crash in 1929 many banks would quickly run out of money. What caused them to run out of money?

Possible Answers:

The government closed many of them and took the money

They lost their money in the stock market

Most people who had loans defaulted on them

Account holders withdrew their money

Correct answer:

Account holders withdrew their money

Explanation:

In what became known as the run on banks, many people rushed to their banks to withdraw their money, only to find the bank had no money to give them. Banks do not keep anywhere near enough money to cover the value of all their accounts, so after the first wave of people the banks had no more money to hand out, and due to defaulting loans and the market crash, had no money coming in. This meant many banks went under and the account holders would not get back the money they had deposited.

Example Question #43 : U.S. Economic History

What change to the industrial base in America by the 1920's helped cause the Great Depression?

Possible Answers:

Rise of corporations

Exporting of industry 

Decaying industrial base

Greater regulation

Correct answer:

Decaying industrial base

Explanation:

Most of the industrial base in America had, at this point, been built at least 30 to 40 years earlier. This meant that most of the technology in the industrial space was very old and outdated. This coupled with the toll the years and constant ware that the equipment and the buildings themselves had been through, and it helped to cause a massive slowdown in industrial output as the system ground down.

Example Question #44 : U.S. Economic History

Economists concur generally that the __________ was one of the major causes of the Great Depression, contributing greatly to its severity and length.

Possible Answers:

the Whiskey Tax

income tax

the Tariff of Abominations

the Smoot-Hawley Tariff

Correct answer:

the Smoot-Hawley Tariff

Explanation:

Although the Smoot-Hawley Tariff was well-intentioned, it was a major contributing factor to the Great Depression. Without going into needlessly complicated detail, foreign trade is a major component of basically every developed economy—the U.S. in 1930 was no exception. The Tariff (because it artificially increased the prices of many imported goods) caused a major slump in foreign trade, leading (in part) to the Great Depression.

Example Question #45 : U.S. Economic History

The American inventor, Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931), was known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park" for his 1,093 US Patents.  Which of the following did Edison NOT invent?

Possible Answers:

A long-lasting electric light bulb

Mimeograph

Motion Picture Camera

The internal combustion engine

Phonograph

Correct answer:

The internal combustion engine

Explanation:

Belgian engineer, Étienne Lenoir, is generally credited with having invented the first commercially viable internal combustion engine.

Example Question #46 : U.S. Economic History

Convicted of a double-homocide during an armed robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts. in 1920,  these two anarchist Italian immigrants were executed.  In 1977, they had their reputations post-humously reformed by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis on the grounds that their trial was marred by anti-immigrant sentiment and prejudice toward the Italians' anarchism.  Who were these anarchists?

Possible Answers:

Sacco and Vanzetti

Leopold and Loeb

Bookchin and Meltzer

Galleani and Buda

Cafiero and Malatesta

Correct answer:

Sacco and Vanzetti

Explanation:

Ferdinando Nicola Sacco (b. April 22, 1891) and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (b. June 11, 1888) were convicted of murder and executed on August 23, 1927.

Example Question #47 : U.S. Economic History

Which of the following was NOT a key component of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal?

Possible Answers:
Increasing the income tax rate
Lowering taxes to increase business investment.
Sought protection for labor unions
Insuring bank accounts against failures and panics.
Creating employment opportunities through programs like the Works Progress Administration
Correct answer: Lowering taxes to increase business investment.
Explanation:

The New Deal was a widespread series of government programs undertaken by Roosevelt when he became President to boost the American economy during the depths of the Great Recession.  In general, the programs sought to expand government’s role in the economy, making the answer about lowering taxes the only answer choice that does not fit in as a New Deal program.

Example Question #48 : U.S. Economic History

In March of 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his first radio broadcast from the White House, later known as "fireside chats," to                .

Possible Answers:

deliver the State of the Union.

explain his reasoning for closing U.S. Banks for a few days.

ask the public to refrain from turning on the lights in case of an air raid.

explain the New Deal programs to the public.

gain moral support of the country for his new initiatives.

Correct answer:

explain his reasoning for closing U.S. Banks for a few days.

Explanation:

Although many of the New Deal actions were later pushed through the fireside chats for public appeal, the original intent of the broadcast was to disseminate the panic related to the closing of the banks as the unemployment skyrocketed, and the markets crashed dramatically.  This was later dubbed the Emergency Banking act.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors