SAT II US History : U.S. Intellectual and Cultural History from 1790 to 1898

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is closest to which of the following, in terms of its portrayal of slavery?

Possible Answers:

The Liberator by William Lloyd Garrison

Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

 Slavery: In Defense of an Advantageous System, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Correct answer:

The Liberator by William Lloyd Garrison

Explanation:

This had the potential to be a very difficult question, but the answer choices should have pointed you in the right direction:

The Liberator (founded in 1831) is the correct answer—William Lloyd Garrison was a staunch abolitionist and even created a newspaper to that effect. His portrayal of slavery was not positive—similar to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was a massively-popular novel depicting the horrors of slavery.

Gone with the Wind  (1936) is incorrect. While the book doesn’t necessarily praise slavery, it paints it in a much more positive light than the Liberator, and is written (essentially) from the perspective of a southern woman. Thomas Paine's Common Sense (1776) in incorrect. This pamphlet was, of course, massively influential during the pre-Revolutionary War. Slavery . . .  is incorrect. It’s a great red herring, and it’s there simply to give you a tempting answer that is dead wrong. Moreover, and more importantly, while Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was a real person (he was a statesman from South Carolina) that book title is completely made up.

Example Question #22 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

In the three decades before the Civil War, the largest numbers of immigrants came to the US from which two countries?

Possible Answers:

Germany and Ireland

Germany and Italy

Germany and England

Italy and Russia

England and Ireland

Correct answer:

Germany and Ireland

Explanation:

The largest numbers of immigrants in this period came from Germany and Ireland. The Irish were fleeing extreme poverty and, from 1845 onward, a devastating famine in Ireland. The Germans were fleeing poverty as well as political disorder and oppression in Germany. English immigration to the US continued in this period, but was declining, surpassed by Irish and German immigration. Russian and Italian immigrants would not become major immigrant groups until the late 19th century.

Example Question #23 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

Cyrus Field was instrumental in ___________________.

Possible Answers:

None of these

the laying of the trans-Atlantic telegraph cable

the purchase of Louisiana

a very damaging exposé written about Taft

Correct answer:

the laying of the trans-Atlantic telegraph cable

Explanation:

Field is the “parent” in some sense of the Trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. Field was part of the venture (or, company) that laid the first cable (although it broke soon after). More importantly, Field was directly responsible for laying the cable that endured. With the trans-Atlantic cable in place, two worlds (well, really countries--the UK and the US) became closer together.

Example Question #24 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

“What a prodigious growth this English race, especially the American branch of it, is having! How soon will it subdue and occupy all the wild parts of this continent and of the islands adjacent. No prophecy, however seemingly extravagant, as to future achievements in this way [is] likely to equal the reality.”

Prophecy in this Rutherford B. Hayes quote very probably refers to what widely held nineteenth-century American belief?

Possible Answers:

The American Supremacy Doctrine

Western Frontier Ideology

The Annexation Principle

Liberalism

Manifest Destiny

Correct answer:

Manifest Destiny

Explanation:

In nineteenth-century America, manifest destiny was the popular belief that American settlers were meant to expand across the continent; it was their destiny.

Example Question #25 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

“American social development has been continually beginning over again on the frontier. This perennial rebirth, this fluidity of American life, this expansion westward with its new opportunities, its continuous touch with the simplicity of primitive society, furnish the forces dominating American character. The true point of view in the history of this nation is not the Atlantic Coast, it is the Great West.”

The author of this passage would most likely not have approved of             .

Possible Answers:

The California Gold Rush

The construction of the Pacific Railroad

The Mexican War

The establishment of Indian reservations

The Louisiana Purchase

Correct answer:

The establishment of Indian reservations

Explanation:

The author of this passage is Frederick Jackson Turner. Turner was a late-nineteenth-century historian who wrote extensively on the primacy of the Frontier in American culture. He would have agreed with any action that aided the spread of the American people west across the continent, so we can reliably say he would have supported the Mexican War, the construction of the railroads, the Louisiana Purchase, and the consequences of the California Gold Rush. He would not, however, have supported the establishment of specific protected territory for Native Americans—as this would have prevented the American domination of the continent. 

Example Question #26 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

The Cult of Domesticity suggested that              .

Possible Answers:

Women are naturally impure and inferior to men.

Women were taking their place in a new egalitarian world and were no longer bound in obedience to their husbands.

Women are naturally pure and superior to men.

Women were supposed to be virtuous mothers and subservient to their husbands.

In order for the United States government to be less corrupt, more women had to hold office.

Correct answer:

Women were supposed to be virtuous mothers and subservient to their husbands.

Explanation:

The Cult of Domesticity was the prevailing social attitude towards women in nineteenth-century America – particularly among white, Protestant society. The Cult of Domesticity states that it is the responsibility of women to be pure, pious, domestic and submissive. The woman’s proper place was said to be “in the home.” Generally, the Cult of Domesticity supported the supposed virtue of women as natural care givers to children. The impact of the Cult of Domesticity—which dictated that it was not feminine to accept paid labor—was often extremely negative. By the turn of the twentieth century, less than five-percent of married women were employed and, if a middle-class family lost the male bread-winner the consequences were often disastrous. 

Example Question #27 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

Who was the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women?

Possible Answers:

Elizabeth Cady Stanton 

Judith Butler

Susan B. Anthony

Mary Wollstonecraft 

Mary Shelley

Correct answer:

Mary Wollstonecraft 

Explanation:

A Vindication of the Rights of Women was written by British feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft, in 1792. Wollstonecraft argued against the educational and political theorists of her time who argued that women should be given solely a domestic education. She believed it was important, both for society at large (as women raised children and could be companions to their husbands) and for the dignity of women, that all women be treated as the equals of men. The book was an important contribution to early American feminist thought, as well as to the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. 

Example Question #28 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

“The people of Massachusetts have, in some degree, appreciated the truth, that the unexampled prosperity of the State—its comfort, its competence, its general intelligence and virtue—is attributable to the education, more or less perfect, which all its people have received . . . Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men.”

The above quote can most plausibly be attributed to               .

Possible Answers:

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Paine

Benjamin Franklin

Herman Melville 

Horace Mann

Correct answer:

Horace Mann

Explanation:

The quote is an excerpt from a piece written by the educational reformer Horace Mann in 1848. Mann argued that universal public education was the best way to ensure a virtuous, hard-working, and Republican population. His ideas won some acceptance throughout his time period, but it was a century later when the public school system began to receive widespread recognition for its role in altering the nature of the American population, and even, leading to victory in the Space Race and perhaps (more of a stretch) the Cold War. 

Example Question #29 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

Which of these was not a goal of the Hudson River School?

Possible Answers:

Showing human beings and nature in beneficial co-existence

Depicting American landscapes as pastoral 

Idolizing the wilderness 

Promoting the inherent divinity of landscapes

Promotion of Native American lifestyle 

Correct answer:

Promotion of Native American lifestyle 

Explanation:

The Hudson River School is a term applied to a form of art popular in the New York area in the mid-nineteenth century. It later spread throughout the country, as second generation artists took up the pursuit. Its proponents focused on a positive depiction of the American landscape as pastoral and beautiful. They believed that humans and nature could, and indeed should, co-exist peacefully; however, they were not known as promoters of Native American culture or lifestyle. 

Example Question #30 : U.S. Intellectual And Cultural History From 1790 To 1898

Which American author coined the term “Gilded Age”?

Possible Answers:

Nathaniel Hawthorne 

Jack London

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Mark Twain

John Steinbeck

Correct answer:

Mark Twain

Explanation:

The term “Gilded Age” was coined by Mark Twain in The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. It refers to the period following the end of the Civil War and leading up to the end of the nineteenth century. Twain used the term to highlight the perceived injustices of society at the time. He believed that the thin veneer of American prosperity and growth was covering up massive social and economic iniquity. Indeed, whilst it was a time of great economic growth for the United States, it was also a time when the economy was very top-heavy. Massive industrial conglomerates controlled a huge proportion of the wealth whereas the majority of families lived on or below the poverty line.

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