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 #51 : U.S. Political History

Who was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?

Possible Answers:

John Jay

John Marshall 

John Adams

Edmund Randolph

Alexander Hamilton

Correct answer:

John Jay

Explanation:

The first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by George Washington, was John Jay. John Adams and Alexander Hamilton were both lawyers, but neither ever served on the Supreme Court. John Marshall served as the fourth Chief Justice, but many consider him to be the most important of the early judges for establishing the powers of the Judiciary Branch. Edmund Randolph was the first Attorney General of the United States.

Example Question #52 : U.S. Political History

Which of the following Revolutionary War era leaders was NOT a member of George Washington's inaugural cabinet?

Possible Answers:

Edmund Randolph

Patrick Henry

Alexander Hamilton

Thomas Jefferson

Samuel Osgood

Correct answer:

Patrick Henry

Explanation:

Patrick Henry was fiercely opposed to the new Unites States Constitution of 1789, believing it put too much power in the hands of the Federal government and the office of the President, in particular.  Until the passage of the Bill of Rights in 1791, Henry was a prominent critic of the new government.

Example Question #53 : U.S. Political History

Which of the following Presidential candidates actually won the popular vote despite losing the electoral college?

Possible Answers:

Horace Greeley

Samuel B. Tilden

George B. McClellan

Winfield Scott Hancock

James G. Blaine

Correct answer:

Samuel B. Tilden

Explanation:

All of the Presidential Elections from 1876 to 1888 were extremely close, but  the 1876 election between Democrat Samuel B. Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes saw a candidate win the popular vote and not the electoral vote.  In a heated post-election battle, 20 electoral votes were contested.  The Democrats gave Hayes the 20 electoral votes, and the election, under the condition that Reconstruction ended in the South, a deal known as the Compromise of 1877.

Example Question #54 : U.S. Political History

The purchase of Alaska, in 1867, was a result of the efforts of which United States Secretary of State?

Possible Answers:

Hamilton Fish

William Seward 

Lewis Cass

Henry Clay

Daniel Webster

Correct answer:

William Seward 

Explanation:

William Seward was a firm advocate for Manifest Destiny and pressed the United States government to purchase the Alaska territory from Russia. In his own time he was widely ridiculed for the decision: the arrangement was colloquially referred to as “Seward’s folly” in many parts of America; however, the vast natural resources in Alaska have proved significant throughout American history—most significantly with the discovery of oil and gold at the turn of the twentieth century.

Example Question #55 : U.S. Political History

Thomas Jefferson did all of the following EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

Approve the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Write the Declaration of Independence

Purchase the Louisiana Territory

Represent the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre

Become the 3rd President of the United States

Correct answer:

Represent the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre

Explanation:

It was John Adams, the 2nd President of the United States, who represented the British soldiers responsible for what Americans call the Boston Massacre.

Example Question #56 : U.S. Political History

What was the 1803 Court decision that gave the Supreme Court the power to decide whether a law violates the U.S. Constitution?

Possible Answers:

Brown v. Board of Education

Roe v. Wade

Dred Scott v. Sandford

West v. Barnes

Marbury v. Madison

Correct answer:

Marbury v. Madison

Explanation:

In 1803, Marbury v. Madison established the principle of judicial review, giving the Supreme Court the power to determine the constitutionality of an act.

Example Question #57 : U.S. Political History

The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law restricting the freedom of all of the following EXCEPT:

 

Possible Answers:

Gun ownership

Religion

Assembly

Press

Speech

Correct answer:

Gun ownership

Explanation:

It is the 2nd Amendment that protects a citizen's right to bear arms.  Additionally, the 1st Amendment protects the freedom of petition.

Example Question #58 : U.S. Political History

Where were the first shots of the American Civil War fired?

Possible Answers:

Fort Randolph

Fort Delaware

Fort Livingston

Fort Sumter

Fort McHenry

Correct answer:

Fort Sumter

Explanation:

On April 12th, 1861, the first shots of the American Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

Example Question #51 : U.S. Political History From 1790 To 1898

In the election of 1796, John Adams                      .

Possible Answers:

won, running as a Federalist candidate 

lost, running as a Federalist candidate

lost, running as an independent candidate

won, running as a Democratic-Republican candidate

lost, running as a Democratic-Republican candidate

Correct answer:

won, running as a Federalist candidate 

Explanation:

The election of 1796 resulted in victory for John Adams. He represented the Federalist Party and received a slightly greater share of the popular vote than Thomas Jefferson, the Democratic-Republican candidate. The election campaign was a particularly acrimonious one. Federalists desired a loose interpretation of the Constitution and a strong Federal government. They attempted to associate the Democratic-Republicans with the chaos of the French Revolution. The Democratic-Republicans on the other hand desired an agricultural nation, with a strict interpretation of the Constitution and heavily limited Federal authority. They attempted to portray the Federalists as monarchists and autocrats. In the end, Adams was elected President and, in a quirk of the voting system in place at the time, Thomas Jefferson was elected Vice-President. 

Example Question #59 : U.S. Political History

What was the principle issue in the election of 1844?

Possible Answers:

The economy

The personal life of Whig candidate, Henry Clay

Manifest Destiny 

Henry Clay’s desire to avoid war with Mexico

Slavery

Correct answer:

Manifest Destiny 

Explanation:

All of these were of relative importance in the Presidential election campaigns of 1844. However, James Polk’s support of Manifest Destiny ultimately turned the tide in his favor. Polk was able to merge the issues of the annexation of Texas and Oregon into one ideology, expressed as Manifest Destiny. This garnered the support both of Southern voters and North-Western voters and helped grant Polk a narrow victory over Henry Clay.

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