SAT II US History : U.S. Political History

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : U.S. Political History

The economic Panic of 1893 helped energize the political party known as __________.

Possible Answers:

the Populist Party

the Whig Party

the Temperance Party

the Socialist Party

the Know Nothing Party

Correct answer:

the Populist Party

Explanation:

The Panic of 1893 was a widespread economic depression, largely coming on the heels of railroad over speculation and general over investment by speculators. Due to the closing of banks and railroads, as well as problems with the currency, the Populist Party's constant attacks against big business, railroads, and the gold standard gained a great deal of traction.

Example Question #351 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

The major effect of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas Debates during the campaign for Senator from Illinois was __________.

Possible Answers:

a complete rejection of the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty

demonstrating strong support for Abolitionism

to raise Abraham Lincoln's national political profile

placing Abraham Lincoln in a prominent political office

the final political defeat of Stephen Douglas

Correct answer:

to raise Abraham Lincoln's national political profile

Explanation:

In their campaign for the Senate in 1858, the incumbent Democrat Stephen Douglas and Republican challenger Abraham Lincoln conducted seven extended debates in different Illinois towns. The topics were their differences over slavery, with Douglas having long championed Popular Sovereignty, the idea a new state could vote on whether to be allow slavery, and Lincoln arguing that slavery should be contained in the places where it existed. Douglas won the Senatorial election, but Lincoln's profile was raised so much nationally he was able to win the Republican Nomination and then the Presidency in 1860.

Example Question #12 : U.S. Political History

Why was the Whiskey Rebellion important in altering and/or forming political party allegiance?

Possible Answers:

The political situation remained roughly the same before and after the Whiskey Rebellion.

It solidified the support of the Democratic-Republican Party amongst merchants and bankers.

It turned frontiersman away from the Democratic-Republican Party and towards the centrally strong Federalist Party.

It turned frontiersman away from the Federalist Party and towards the Democratic-Republicans .

It caused support of the Federalists to decline throughout New England.

Correct answer:

It turned frontiersman away from the Federalist Party and towards the Democratic-Republicans .

Explanation:

In 1791 Congress passed an excise tax on whiskey at the encouragement of Alexander Hamilton. Many of the frontiersmen, who relied on the sale of whiskey, refused to pay the tax. Hamilton mobilized the militia, and the Whiskey Rebellion died a very quick death. One very important consequence of the Whiskey Rebellion, however, was the complete reversal of popular support in the Western States for the Federalist Party. Instead, they flocked to the Democratic-Republicans and remained largely loyal supporters for several electoral campaigns. 

Example Question #13 : U.S. Political History

The movement to place Native Americans on reservations resulted in all of the following except __________.

Possible Answers:

violent reprisals from Native Americans

increased involvement in the federal government by Native Americans

large scale reduction of Native American populations

increased rates of poverty amongst Native Americans

the separation of Native Americans from mainstream society

Correct answer:

increased involvement in the federal government by Native Americans

Explanation:

Beginning in the late nineteenth century, the federal government began initiating a policy of placing Native American tribes on reservations, a process accelerated by the passage of the Dawes Act in 1887. The Dawes Act had a stated goal of integrating Native American populations into American society, but largely it had the opposite effect. Thanks to reservations, Native Americans were separated from society, with Native populations being reduced and restricted to impoverished areas. Frequently, reservationism produced violent reprisals from Native Americans who were being forced into reservations.

Example Question #14 : U.S. Political History

The most significant outcome of the presidential election of 1876 was __________.

Possible Answers:

the inclusion of African-Americans into national politics

the outbreak of vigilante violence throughout the South

the end of Reconstruction

the realignment of the two political parties

the codification of Jim Crow Laws

Correct answer:

the end of Reconstruction

Explanation:

The 1876 was conducted in the shadow of Republican Ulysses S. Grant's disastrous second term and the serious economic troubles that accompanied it. The election pitted Republican Governor Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio against Democratic Governor Samuel J. Tilden of New York.  Tilden won the popular vote, but the Electoral College vote was contested. A deal was put in place to elect Hayes, but on the condition that Reconstruction end. This pulled troops out of the former Confederate states, rolling back African-American rights, enforcing a white supremacist order, and enacting Jim Crow Laws.

Example Question #15 : U.S. Political History

The election of Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 effectively ended ___________.

Possible Answers:

Reconstruction

None of these answers are correct.

Slavery

Puritanism

Correct answer:

Reconstruction

Explanation:

This, like the “Corrupt Bargain” of 1824, involves a very inflammatory election with backroom dealing. Unfortunately, this requires a foray into political science issues in order to fully understand the history issues at hand. To begin with, remember that we the people do not *technically* elect the President: the Electoral College does. And, in broad strokes, the Secretary of State of each state generally tells the Electoral College how their state voted (that is, for which candidate) by “certifying” the votes for the candidate of popular choice. In other words, if Candidate X won the highest number of votes in California, California’s Secretary of State would “certify” the votes from California for Candidate X, instructing the requisite electors to vote accordingly. In close elections, those certifications can become hot-button issues.

The election of 1876 was incredibly close, with Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican, facing off against Samuel Tilden, the Democrat. Towards the end of the race, three states had not yet certified their votes for either candidate—Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana—for a total of 20 “unclaimed” electoral votes. Without getting into needlessly complicated detail, both parties—that is, the Democrats and the Republicans—claimed that the votes were certified for their respective candidate. Thus, the Electoral College was confronted with a set of conflicting votes. In order to discover the winner, Congress decided to establish an “electoral commission” made up of 5 Senators, 5 Representatives, and 5 members of the Supreme Court. All members of the electoral commission voted along party lines, and thus Rutherford B. Hayes “won” the election (by winning the disputed votes). Historians suspect that Hayes engaged in some backroom dealing in order to mollify the Democrats (who were, by all accounts, absolutely livid). In any event, Hayes is elected in 1876 and Reconstructions ends the next year, when he takes office. 

Example Question #16 : U.S. Political History

Why was an electoral commission established in 1876?

Possible Answers:

Samuel Tilden rigged the election so that Rutherford B. Hayes would lose

Northern carpet baggers tried to elect Samuel Tilden

Rutherford B. Hayes rigged the election so that Samuel Tilden would lose

The votes of  states, worth  votes in the electoral college, had disputed election results

Correct answer:

The votes of  states, worth  votes in the electoral college, had disputed election results

Explanation:

This question is fairly difficult in the abstract, but given the answer choices, it is less difficult here. The election of 1876 involved the disputed votes of 3 states, which in total were worth 20 Electoral College votes. They were disputed because both the Democrats and Republicans claimed them—in other words, the Electoral College was confronted with 20 votes, all of which were claimed by BOTH parties. In order to resolve the discrepancy, the government decided to create an “electoral commission” in order to determine which candidate, Tilden or Hayes, actually won the 20 votes.

Example Question #17 : U.S. Political History

The Kansas-Nebraska Act led to _______________.

Possible Answers:

The Quebec Act

The Boston Tea Party

The Compromise of 1852

“Bleeding Kansas”

Correct answer:

“Bleeding Kansas”

Explanation:

The Kansas-Nebraska Act led directly to what we now call “Bleeding Kansas.” Basically, because the K-N Act opened up the two territories to popular sovereignty, it invited all of the radicals in from both sides to storm the two territories. Bleeding Kansas was small-scale guerilla warfare in between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces on the borders of (and within) Kansas, as each faction fought to control Kansas—or at least to have enough of their own within the borders to tip it pro- or anti-slavery.

Example Question #18 : U.S. Political History

The Emancipation Proclamation immediately freed the slaves when it was issued.

Possible Answers:

True, but only in the South

False

None of these answers are accurate.

False, contrary to popular belief the Proclamation had nothing to do with slavery

Correct answer:

False

Explanation:

This is a deceptive question. Although your first instinct is to think that the Emancipation Proclamation immediately freed the slaves, that would be incorrect. The immediate effect of the Proclamation was nothing—the Proclamation was only issued to effect rebellious territories (the Confederacy, essentially). Lincoln, of course, had no power over the Confederacy (it would be like your little cousin/sister/brother telling you to give them $5). That said, the Proclamation basically turned Lincoln’s armies into forces of liberation—wherever they marched and took power, the Proclamation took effect (because it could be enforced at that point). 

Example Question #19 : U.S. Political History

Which of the following was a significant long-term effect of the 1796 Presidential election on American politics?

Possible Answers:

The development of the First Party System

Coalescing of party identities around the issue of slavery

The destruction of the Federalist Party

The fracturing of a two party system

The end of the political career of John Adams

Correct answer:

The development of the First Party System

Explanation:

The 1796 Presidential election was the first one that was actually hotly contested, coming after George Washington's decision not to seek a second term. His Vice President John Adams and his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson stood as the two main candidates, with their supporters developing into two clear parties. Adams' supporters, who preferred stronger relations with Great Britain and appealed to the businesses community, became known as the Federalists; Jefferson's supporters, who sought closer ties to the French Republic and favored planters and farmers, were styled the Democratic-Republicans.

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