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 #2 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Which of the following men was NOT a target of the assassination plot carried out in April of 1865?

Possible Answers:
James Garfield
William Seward
Abraham Lincoln
Ulysses S. Grant
Andrew Johnson
Correct answer: James Garfield
Explanation:

The plot to assassinate Lincoln was a broad plan by John Wilkes Booth to destabilize the Federal government and rally the fading Confederate cause after Lee's Surrender.  Booth himself planned to kill both Lincoln and Grant at the same time, while he sent co-conspirators to kill Secretary of State Seward and Vice President Johnson.  Lincoln ended up being the only person killed in the plot, while Seward was severely injured in a knife attack.

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

Who was the first, and only, President of the Confederate States of America?

Possible Answers:
Jefferson Davis
Robert E. Lee
Charles Sumner
Abraham Lincoln
Stephen Douglas
Correct answer: Jefferson Davis
Explanation:

Before the Civil War, Jefferson Davis served as a Congressman for the state of Mississippi, and, initially opposed secession from the Union. However, once the Confederate States were formed he was elected without opposition to the position of President. It was an office he would serve for the entirety of the existence of the Confederate States. Historians generally agree that Davis was an ineffectual war-time leader and credit his limited economic understanding with the rapid inflation and impoverishment experienced in the South during the Civil War. Immediately following the war Davis was widely disgraced and disparaged, however in the years since he has regained something of an iconic status among many Southerners, who revere his defiance and war-time spirit. 

Example Question #11 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Which of these potential Border States did not remain loyal to the Union in the Civil War?

Possible Answers:
Maryland
Kentucky
Virginia
Missouri
Delaware
Correct answer: Virginia
Explanation:

For the majority of the United States, by the time of Civil War, cultural and political identity was firmly established as either dominantly Northern, pro-Federal power and anti-slavery or Southern, pro-States’ rights and pro-slavery. However, in the border states of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland and Delaware, there were large cultural communities of both Northerners and Southerners. In Kentucky and Missouri, in particular, the majority of the population favored secession from the Union and it was only due to the decisions of those in power (in the State Legislature) that they remained part of the Union. Lincoln faced a near constant battle to keep all four states loyal. Virginia, on the other hand, was perhaps the political and ideological centre of the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis’ government was run out of Richmond and many of the battles took place on Virginian soil. In 1863 West Virginia split from Virginia to return to the Union – a division that has never been remedied to this day. 

Example Question #11 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

This sitting Vice President shot the former Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, in a duel on July 11th, 1804, at Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton died from his wounds the next day, at the Manhattan home of William Bayard.

Possible Answers:

John Adams

Aaron Burr

John Quincy Adams

John Jay

James Madison

Correct answer:

Aaron Burr

Explanation:

It was Vice President Aaron Burr who shot Alexander Hamilton.  The two men had had a contentious political and personal relationship that reached a breaking point when Hamilton defamed Aaron Burr during the latter's 1804 New York gubernatorial bid.

Example Question #12 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which officially ended the Mexican-American War, resulted in the forced Mexican Cession of the territory of Alta California.  Which of the following American States did NOT derive territory from Alta California?

Possible Answers:

Oregon

Arizona

Nevada

California

Utah

Correct answer:

Oregon

Explanation:

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo resulted in territory for the states of Caifornia, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Example Question #31 : U.S. Political History

This Kentucky-born statesman served as President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War.

Possible Answers:
Robert E. Lee
Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson
Ullyses S. Grant
Jefferson Davis
Henry Clay
Correct answer: Jefferson Davis
Explanation:

Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederate States of America throughout the U.S. Civil War.

Example Question #14 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

This 1814 incident has been the only time after the American Revolutionary War that another country has been able to seize and maintain control of the U.S. capital.  What was this incident's name?

Possible Answers:

The Bonfire of Washington

The Great Conflagration

The March on Washington

The Night of Dolley Madison

The Burning of Washington

Correct answer:

The Burning of Washington

Explanation:

At the Burning of Washington, during the War of 1812, the White House and U.S. Capitol were largely destroyed by British troops.

Example Question #32 : U.S. Political History

On May 28th, 1830, which American President signed into law the Indian Removal Act, which empowered him to negotiate with the leaders of the Native Americans in the southern United States, in order to secure their removal to the west of the Mississippi River?

Possible Answers:

President William Henry Harrison

President Zachary Taylor

President James K. Polk

President John Tyler

President Andrew Jackson

Correct answer:

President Andrew Jackson

Explanation:

It was President Andrew Jackson who signed into law the Indian Removal Act, which resulted in the removal of many southern indigenous nations to Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi River; this removal was known as the Trail of Tears.

Example Question #16 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

These seven debates, known as the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858, held between the two senatorial candidates for the state of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln and Senator Stephen Douglas, garned nationwide attention for the principal topic debated.  What was the principal topic of the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates?

Possible Answers:

Women's suffrage

Slavery

The right of a state to secede

The right of workers to unionize

Health care

Correct answer:

Slavery

Explanation:

Slavery was the main issue of all seven debates held in Illinois between Lincoln and Douglas in 1858.  Lincoln lost the election, but the national attention enabled him to become the Republican candidate for President of the United States.

Example Question #17 : Facts And Details In U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

Toward the end of this U.S. Civil War, General Robert E. Lee had assumed control of the remaining Rebel armies.  On April 9th, 1865, he surrendered to which Union General, signalling the end of the war.

Possible Answers:

William T. Sherman

Henry Halleck

Ulysses S. Grant

George H. Thomas

Benjamin Butler

Correct answer:

Ulysses S. Grant

Explanation:

General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, who would later become the 18th President of the United States, at Appomattox Court House.

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