SAT II US History : U.S. Political History from Pre-Columbian History to 1789

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. Political History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

This British government interdiction forbade American colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Possible Answers:

The Townshend Acts

The Stamp Act

The Proclamation of 1763

The Homestead Act

The Boston Port Act

Correct answer:

The Proclamation of 1763

Explanation:

The British government's Proclamation of 1763 forbade American colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Example Question #2 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Political History From Pre Columbian To 1789

What is considered the most important consequence of the Battle of Saratoga, in 1777?

Possible Answers:

It led to widespread desertion among the Continental Army and forced Washington to hire mercenaries.

It allowed the British to gain a stranglehold over New York and to push down towards the seat of the Continental Congress. 

It humiliated the British and forced their government to negotiate an unconditional peace.

It prevented the Continental Army from establishing a base for the winter.

It convinced the French that the Americans could win and fostered an alliance of convenience.

Correct answer:

It convinced the French that the Americans could win and fostered an alliance of convenience.

Explanation:

The Battle of Saratoga is considered by many historians to be a major turning point in the American War of Independence. During the battle the Continental Army surround their British counterparts and forced its timely surrender. Prior to the battle most European nations had doubted the ability of the colonists to resist the might of the British Empire and had therefore been reluctant to commit troops and naval forces to a lost cause; however, victory at Saratoga finally convinced the French government that the Americans could achieve independence, and they formally entered the war under a Franco-American alliance. The impact that the French armed forces, and its navy in particular, were to have on the war cannot be understated.

Example Question #1 : U.S. Political History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

What is the significance of the “Power of the Purse” in encouraging democratic principles in the early stages of colonial history?

Possible Answers:

It allowed the colonies to survive the early periods of poverty and starvation, which provided the base for a constitutional monarchy.

It allowed the colonists to expand rapidly and effectively across the region, thus spreading democratic ideals .

By ensuring the right of legislators to levy taxes and pay the salaries of governors, the colonial representatives could threaten to withhold payment if a governor refused to comply.

It mandated that a certain proportion of colonial resources be set aside to protect democratic institutions.

It did not encourage democratic principles in the colonies.

Correct answer:

By ensuring the right of legislators to levy taxes and pay the salaries of governors, the colonial representatives could threaten to withhold payment if a governor refused to comply.

Explanation:

The “Power of the Purse” is the name used to describe the power gained by the Houses and representative governments of the New World over the levying of taxes and control over the payment of the Governor. In the Early Colonial Period the Governor often acted as a supervisor, whose mandate came “directly from the crown”. This mandate often allowed the Governor to act unilaterally, and it was only by ensuring control over the finances that the Representative governments could pass laws that benefitted the colony, as opposed to those that benefitted the Governor. It was extremely important for fostering democracy in the New World. 

Example Question #2 : U.S. Political History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

Which of the following were results of Bacon's Rebellion (1676)?

Possible Answers:

Tobacco became the main cash crop of Virginia, and Britain took control of New York, Boston, and Charleston.

Voting rights were expanded to non-landowning men, and the first colonial militia was formed.

Catholicism became more widely tolerated in the colonies, and abolitionist groups started gaining influence.

Less women decided to move to the colonies, and the Native Americans gained land back from the colonists.

A shift from indentured servant labor in the southern colonies to slavery, and an increase in British control and influence in the colonies.

Correct answer:

A shift from indentured servant labor in the southern colonies to slavery, and an increase in British control and influence in the colonies.

Explanation:

In 1676 Nathanial Bacon and several other small farmers rose up against Virginia's governor William Berkley for a number of reasons. Bacon and his posse wanted to fight off the Natives and take their land (something that Berkley was keeping them from doing). Berkley also delegated most of Virginia's farming land to his cronies. Bacon burned Jamestown and ruled Virginia, looting Berkley's cronies' lands until British forces arrived and unseated the uprising. In the end, 23 of the rebels were hanged. Bacon himself died of dysentery shortly after taking over. 

Following the Rebellion, the colonial elite, not wanting to have to cede lands to anyone, began to rely more heavily upon slave labor and less so on indentured servants.

Berkley's failure to suppress the uprising showed the British that they would need to have tighter control over the colonies to keep similar rebellions from happening in the future.

Example Question #1 : Cause And Effect In U.S. Political History From Pre Columbian To 1789

Which English philosopher, whose theories of natural law, articulated in his work Two Treatises of Civil Government, heavily influenced the United States Declaration of Independence?

Possible Answers:

John Locke

Adam Smith

Thomas Paine

Isaac Newton

Adam Ferguson

Correct answer:

John Locke

Explanation:

John Locke's theories of natural law, articulated in his work Two Treatises of Civil Government (1689), influenced Thomas Jefferson, among others, and consequentially influenced the United States Declaration of Independence. The two treatises consist of a critique of patriarchal, aristocratic governments, and a separate outlining of Locke's own theories about an ideal society based on the principles of social contract theory.

Thomas Paine wrote The Rights of Man (1791), in which he defended the French Revolution. Isaac Newton wrote The Principia (1687), in which he outlined the three universal laws of motion. Adam Ferguson wrote An Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767), in which he laid out his theories on division of labor. Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations (1776), in which he laid out his basic theory of a free market economy. Ferguson and Smith were both Scottish, not English.

Example Question #1 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From Pre Columbian To 1789

1.       The delegation that  voted to cut off colonial trade with Great Britain unless Parliament abolished the Intolerable Acts, approved resolutions advising the colonies to begin training their citizens for war, and attempted to define America's rights was known as the

Possible Answers:

Committees of Correspondence

The Stamp Act Congress

First Continental Congress

Second Continental congress

Sons and Daughters of Liberty

Correct answer:

First Continental Congress

Explanation:

These measures were put into place by the First Continental Congress prior to the American Revolution in order to define America’s power with respect to the British government. By this time, aggression had grown between the colonies and Great Britain.

Example Question #2 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From Pre Columbian To 1789

1.       Shays’ rebellion came to symbolize

Possible Answers:

All of the answers

Government’s vulnerability to anarchy

The widespread discontent manifested throughout New England during the economic depression that followed the American Revolution.

Government’s unresponsiveness to the will of the people

Government’s lack of authority to regulate trade or to collect taxes

Correct answer:

The widespread discontent manifested throughout New England during the economic depression that followed the American Revolution.

Explanation:

Shay’s rebellion came about after the heavy taxes imposed on farmers and war veterans to pay for the Revolutionary war. The high taxes sparked a rebellion from farmers in eastern Massachusetts but more importantly brought to light the vulnerabilities of the Articles of the Confederation. Under the Articles, the government had little control over states and imposition of taxes and therefor struggled to pay the war debt.

Example Question #2 : U.S. Political History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

Which one of the following North American colonies was NOT first visited by Columbus during one of his voyages?

Possible Answers:

Virginia

Jamaica

Puerto Rico

Cuba

Hispaniola

Correct answer:

Virginia

Explanation:

Virginia, first discovered in the middle of the sixteenth century, is the only location Columbus never landed on.  An easy way to deduce the correct answer is simple geography.  Columbus only visited the Caribbean Islands, and never touched mainland North America.  With this in mind, it can be easy to figure out the correct answer by identifying the one non-Caribbean locale, Virginia.

Example Question #3 : U.S. Political History From Pre Columbian History To 1789

The Judiciary Act of 1789

Possible Answers:
Established the principle of Judicial Review
Re-affirmed the principles of the Bill of Rights
Provided for the creation of a National Bank
Declared slavery immoral and unconstitutional
Created and outlined the Federal Court system
Correct answer: Created and outlined the Federal Court system
Explanation:

The Judiciary Act of 1789 was designed to codify into law the sections of the United States Constitution that called for a supreme Judicial Branch. The principle of Judicial Review was not established until 1803, in the landmark Marbury vs. Madison case.

Example Question #5 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From Pre Columbian To 1789

What was the purpose of the 1786 Annapolis Conference?

Possible Answers:
To write the United States Constitution
To remove Native American people from territory West of the Mississippi
To discuss how best to deal with the Whiskey Rebellion
To protest British violations of the 1783 Peace of Paris
To amend the Articles of Confederation and to correct inherent weaknesses
Correct answer: To amend the Articles of Confederation and to correct inherent weaknesses
Explanation:

Very soon after its inception it became clear to many American politicians that the Articles of Confederation was too weak to serve as an effective guiding document for any efficient government. Amongst other weaknesses, it heavily de-centralized Federal power and placed it largely in the hands of states; it offered no mandates to enforce treaties; there was no chief executive who could serve as a proper head of state; it required nine of thirteen states to ratify any laws and states usually voted in blocks of smaller/larger and northern/southern leading to constant stalemate; no power to regulate commerce between states leading to constant economic chaos and confusion. By 1786 it had become clear that the Articles needed to be reformed, although the Representatives had yet to decide to abandon it all together, as they would a few years later. 

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