SAT II US History : U.S. Political History

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

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Example Questions

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

The Proclamation of 1763                    .

Possible Answers:

mandated that colonists had to quarter British soldiers in their homes

made it illegal to speak against the Crown

forbade colonists from crossing west of the Appalachian Mountains 

issued a series of heavy taxes on the colonists

allowed the British the right to unlimited search and seizure of Colonists’ properties

Correct answer:

forbade colonists from crossing west of the Appalachian Mountains 

Explanation:

The Proclamation of 1763 was issued by Great Britain after the end of the French-Indian Wars, in which Britain gained a great deal of new territory in North America. It was passed to prevent colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains. The purpose of the Proclamation was to re-establish positive trading rights with Native Americans, who were upset with the constant westward expansion of European settlers. 

Example Question #4 : Summary Of U.S. Political History From Pre Columbian To 1789

Which amendment established that the people of the United States had rights outside of those specifically outlined in the Bill of Rights?

Possible Answers:

Eighteen Amendment

Nineteenth Amendment 

Ninth Amendment 

Tenth Amendment 

Twenty-First Amendment

Correct answer:

Ninth Amendment 

Explanation:

The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution, included in the Bill of Rights, states that the people of the United States have rights that are not included in the Constitution. The framers of the Bill of Rights understood that the interpretation and viability of the Constitution would change over time, so designed it to be specifically elastic in an attempt to prevent future abuses of rights. 

Example Question #413 : U.S. Political History

What was the main effect of the "Three-Fifths Compromise" in the Constitution of the United States?

Possible Answers:

To allow three-fifths of slaves held in southern states to be used in building the new capital of Washington, D.C.

To count all slaves as three-fifths of a person for apportionment of representation in the United States House of Representatives

To allow only three-fifths of all states to ever allow slavery

To require three-fifths of slaves to be freed in 20 years

To require three-fifths of all slaves in new slave states to be sold to owners in existing states

Correct answer:

To count all slaves as three-fifths of a person for apportionment of representation in the United States House of Representatives

Explanation:

The "three-fifths" compromise was a deal struck between Northern and Southern representatives to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Southerners believed the full population of their states, including slaves, should be counted to determine representation in the House of Representatives. Northerners argued that slaves would never vote and that fully counting them would disproportionately represent the South in Congress. A compromise was agreed to with the following language, in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons." This clause was not taken out of the Constitution until the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868.

Example Question #5 : Summary Of U.S. Political History From Pre Columbian To 1789

The Reserved Power clause is a counter to which Constitutional right of the Federal government?

Possible Answers:

Judicial Review 

The Commerce clause

Expressed Powers clause

Implied Powers clause

Elastic clause

Correct answer:

Elastic clause

Explanation:

The Elastic clause states that the Federal government has the right to make any laws, even those outside of the ones specifically mentioned in the Constitution, if Congress deems the passage of these laws to be “necessary and proper.” As a corollary and counter to the Elastic clause, the Reserved Powers clause was added into the Bill of Rights as the Tenth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment states that any powers not reserved for the Federal government are the sole property of the States and of the People.

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

What was the primary motivation of French exploration of the New World?

Possible Answers:

To discover a trade route to Asia 

To gain individual and national glory

To establish settlements for religious dissidents in France

To spread Christianity 

The search for gold and other valuable minerals

Correct answer:

To discover a trade route to Asia 

Explanation:

French exploration of the New World was motivated primarily by a desire to find a trade route to Asia. Much of the Eastern trade routes had been closed following the Ottoman Empire’s capture of Constantinople, and the French wanted to find a quicker route to Asia that did not involve passing through Ottoman territory or sailing around the horn of Africa. The French later founded colonies throughout the New World, particularly in Canada where they engaged in fur trading with the native population. 

Example Question #411 : U.S. Political History

Which of the following states was not visited by Hernando de Soto's expedition of 1539–1542?

Possible Answers:

Georgia

Alabama

Florida

New Mexico

Mississippi

Correct answer:

New Mexico

Explanation:

Hernando de Soto was a Spanish conquistador who attempted to follow in his countrymen's path by exploring uncharted areas of North America. Beginning in Spanish held Florida, De Soto's expedition ventured across the present day Southeast of the United States. De Soto died of disease in present-day Arkansas, in 1542. His expedition continued into Texas and down towards New Spain (present-day Mexico).

Example Question #412 : U.S. Political History

Which of the following was NOT a problem under the Articles of Confederation that led to the drafting and adoption of The United States Constitution in 1787–1789?

Possible Answers:

The inability to leave States to govern themselves

The inability to raise taxes for the Federal government

The inability to raise armies

The inability to have any central authority for the nation

The inability to promote interstate trade

Correct answer:

The inability to leave States to govern themselves

Explanation:

After overthrowing a government seen as tyrannical in the Revolutionary War, the nascent United States of America adopted a loose agreement called the Articles of Confederation to govern itself. The Articles sat a single body, known as the Congress of the Confederation, with equal representation and no real executive authority. This light structure soon proved a burden to the young country, as they had no way to collect taxes, establish interstate trade, or raise any kind of national army. In 1787, delegates from all the states began meeting about revising the Articles, which eventually led to the writing and the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

Example Question #413 : U.S. Political History

The Treaty of Tordesillas was an attempt by which two countries to divide the territory of the New World?

Possible Answers:

England and Portugal

Spain and France

Spain and Portugal 

England and France

England and Spain

Correct answer:

Spain and Portugal 

Explanation:

The Treaty of Tordesillas was an agreement between Spain and Portugal about how the newly discovered lands, ripe for conquest and empire-building, should be divided. Very little of the land had actually been seen by any Europeans yet, but essentially the Treaty gave almost all of the Americas to Spain, with a small section of South America (modern Brazil) reserved for Portugal, and almost all of Africa and Asia to the Portuguese. The Treaty was loosely respected for a time by both countries and is a massive determining factor in the culture, language and society of many modern nations around the world. 

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