SAT II US History : U.S. Intellectual and Cultural History

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

How did Yellow Journalism most significantly contribute to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War?

Possible Answers:
Yellow Journalism did not actively contribute to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War
The widespread use of photos, for the first time in print media, created a visceral reaction among the American population
Sensationalized accounts of major news stories angered the population and directed a shift in public opinion that favored war
The treatment suffered by citizen journalists, at the hands of the Spanish, threatened American national rights
Newspaper editors actively chastised the American public for their lack of ambition and created a support for Imperialist action
Correct answer: Sensationalized accounts of major news stories angered the population and directed a shift in public opinion that favored war
Explanation:

One of the primary causes of the Spanish-American War, were sensationalized accounts of news events, for example the sinking of the USS Maine. These accounts provided by The New York Journal and New York World, owned respectively by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, focused on the implied responsibility of the Spanish government for the sinking of the ship, even though most of the evidence supported that it had been an accident. Whilst it is true that the editors championed Imperialistic responses and the use of photos engendered a strong visceral response among the United States’ population, the most significant contribution was the so called “Yellow Journalism” that sensationalized detail and often completely fabricated facts when evidence did not exist to support the claims being made. The American public, already angered by Spanish involvement in Cuba, became increasingly more supportive of war. 

Example Question #1 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

Yellow journalism stoked American passions over the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine, which created support for which war?

Possible Answers:

Spanish-American War

American Civil War

None of the other answers

French and Indian War

Mexican-American War

Correct answer:

Spanish-American War

Explanation:

Yellow journalism was a product of the rivalry between William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. Both papers printed exaggerations and false news reports to sell more papers.  The sinking of the battleship U.S.S. Maine near Cuba was portrayed by Hearst’s newspaper as an attack by Spanish forces fighting Cuban rebels.  This propaganda engendered support for American efforts to send armed forces to Cuba, leading to the Spanish-American War.

Example Question #1 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History

Which of the following is NOT true about Joseph Smith?

Possible Answers:

Smith published the Book of Mormon from the tablets he found, and hoped it would replace the Bible.

Smith practiced and preached polygamy.

Smith claimed to have found tablets written by a lost tribe of Israel.

Smith started Mormonism in New York.

Smith was killed in the Illinois Mormon War after being jailed.

Correct answer:

Smith published the Book of Mormon from the tablets he found, and hoped it would replace the Bible.

Explanation:

Smith said he had found tablets from a lost tribe of Israel. He wrote the tablets into a book called the Book of Mormon, which he believed should not replace the Bible.  All other answer choices are true.  After finding trouble in New York, Smith moved his followers to Ohio, Missouri, and then Illinois.  After Smith was killed in Illinois, Brigham Young moved the Mormons to Utah. 

Example Question #2 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

The principle of separate but equal was established by              .

Possible Answers:

Plessy v. Ferguson

Brown v. Board of Education

Gibbons v. Ogden

Wesbery v. Sanders

Freemen v. United States Government

Correct answer:

Plessy v. Ferguson

Explanation:

Plessy v. Ferguson was a case that appeared before the Supreme Court in 1896. It established the legality and constitutionality of state laws, mostly in the South, that had required segregation of public facilities under the guise of “separate but equal.” It remained protected by law until 1954, when the Brown v. Board of Education decision reversed it. 

Example Question #1 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

The American inventor, Samuel Finley Breese Morse (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872) is credited with the invention of what?

Possible Answers:

The combustible engine

Morse Code

The assembly line

The Breese-Morse interchangeable part

The pulley block

Correct answer:

Morse Code

Explanation:

Samuel Finley Breese Morse is credited as co-inventor of Morse Code: a way of sending text as a series of on-off tones, clicks, or lights that can be deciphered by a trained listener.

Example Question #241 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Who authored The Age of Reason?

Possible Answers:

Thomas Paine

Benjamin Franklin

James Madison

Thomas Jefferson

Samuel Adams

Correct answer:

Thomas Paine

Explanation:

The Age of Reason was written by Thomas Paine and published at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Paine was an American revolutionary who lived in France throughout the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon. In The Age of Reason Paine attacks organized religion and paints the Catholic Church as corrupt and morally bankrupt. It is a classic example of Enlightenment and deist literature. It was also a bestseller in the United States and led to a massive revival of Deism amongst the American middle and upper classes. 

Example Question #3 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History

A person who wanted to end slavery in the United States was known as what?

Possible Answers:

An advocate

A sectionalist

A teetotaler

An abolitionist

A prohibitionist

Correct answer:

An abolitionist

Explanation:

A person who wanted to abolish slavery in the United States (and elsewhere) was known as an abolitionist.

Example Question #1 : Facts And Details In U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

What did Francis Scott Key write as he watched the British attack Fort McHenry in Baltimore in 1814?

Possible Answers:

My Country, 'Tis of Thee

Hail, Columbia

America the Beautiful

The Pledge of Allegiance

The Star-Spangled Banner

Correct answer:

The Star-Spangled Banner

Explanation:

Held captive during the attack on Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key wrote his poem "Defence of Fort McHenry" from which the lyrics for the Star-Spangled Banner were taken.

Example Question #2 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History

What historical term is used to describe the period of United States history prior to the Civil War?

Possible Answers:

The Gilded Age

The Antebellum Era 

The Era of Good Feelings

The Reconstruction Era

The Era of Manifest Destiny

Correct answer:

The Antebellum Era 

Explanation:

The term used to describe the historical period between the American Revolution and the Civil War is the Antebellum Era. The term "antebellum" directly means before the war. In the context of the United States it is generally used to refer to the Southern United States prior to the Civil War. 

Example Question #2 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History

In 1831, William Lloyd Garrison began publishing his weekly newspaper, The Liberator, which advocated what?

Possible Answers:

The secession of the South from the Union

The abolition of slavery

The end of the British presence in Canada

The dissolution of the American Republic for a more direct democracy

The end of taxes

Correct answer:

The abolition of slavery

Explanation:

In 1831, William Lloyd Garrison began publishing his weekly newspaper, The Liberator, which advocated the abolition of slavery. Garrison, a white man from Massachusetts, was one of the abolition movement's most prominent figures.

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