SAT II US History : U.S. Social History

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. Social History

Eli Whitney’s 1793 invention of the cotton gin did all of the following EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

Play a major role in the American Industrial Revolution

Mold the economy of the South before the Civil War

Strengthen the institution of slavery in the United States

Decrease the number of slaves in the American South

Make upland short cotton a more reasonable cash crop

Correct answer:

Decrease the number of slaves in the American South

Explanation:

Whether intentional or not, Eli Whitney's cotton gin resulted in an increase of slave numbers throughout the American South, as the southern economy became more heavily dependent upon upland short cotton.

Example Question #1 : U.S. Social History

Which of these was not an impact of United States railroad expansion in the nineteenth century?

Possible Answers:

Improved American relations with Native Americans

Greater legislative action to preserve America’s National wonders

Growth of urban communities throughout America

Improved American trade with the Far East

Significant aid to westward expansion

Correct answer:

Improved American relations with Native Americans

Explanation:

In the era of America’s Founding Fathers, most prominent thinkers thought that it might take as much as a thousand years to settle the entirety of the continent under one national entity. Due largely to the invention and widespread construction of Railroads this was achieved in a mere few decades. Railroads helped promote trade across the continent and further afield – enabling goods from the Far East to be shipped back to the Eastern seaboard. It encouraged the growth of urban communities which could be much more easily sustained by railroad trade. And, not insignificantly, it provided for the first time a far easier means for tourists from the East to travel to places like Yosemite to witness the wonders of America’s, as of yet not established, National Parks—which in turn lead to much wider support for legislation to protect them. It did not, however, improve American relations with Native American communities—one might suspect that the removal of the massive boundary of space might have resulted in the reduction of the perception of Native Americans as an “other” group to be feared; on the contrary, it allowed Americans to move en masse to territories occupied by Native Americans, and made it much easier to keep supply lines reinforced. 

Example Question #1 : U.S. Social History From 1790 To 1898

Why did the Pony Express fail?

Possible Answers:

The service was too expensive and fell out of fashion.

The passage of the Stamp Act outlawed the service.

Increasing riots made the routes too dangerous to travel.

The high crime rate created too much instability.

The new telegraph lines became a faster and cheaper mode of communication.

Correct answer:

The new telegraph lines became a faster and cheaper mode of communication.

Explanation:

The Pony Express was known for it's speed and reliability, but the new telegraph lines, once complete, were much cheaper and more efficient. This development rendered the Pony Express obsolete in a mere 18 months.

Example Question #2 : U.S. Social History From 1790 To 1898

A key cause of widespread Irish immigration to America in the 1840s was __________.

Possible Answers:

opportunities to own plantations in the Southern states

devastation of Irish crops by the Potato Famine of 1845

Irish independence from Great Britain

lack of employment opportunities in Ireland because of serfdom

work as mercenary soliders in Indian wars

Correct answer:

devastation of Irish crops by the Potato Famine of 1845

Explanation:

Irish immigrants had come to America since the first Europeans arrived, but the first large migration occurred in the 1840s and 1850s. The biggest reason for this was the Irish Potato Famine that began in 1845. The famine was exacerbated when the British government refused to give any assistance. Estimates are that as many as 1 million Irish died during the famine, while another million emigrated elsewhere, chiefly to the Northern cities of the United States.

Example Question #2 : U.S. Social History From 1790 To 1898

The Alien and Sedition Acts resulted in which of the following?

Possible Answers:

All foreign-born residents in the U.S. were exiled until after the settlement of the XYZ Affair

Congress formally repealed the First Amendment guarantees to freedom of speech and to freedom of the press

President John Adams gained popularity and support for himself and his party

War was declared upon England

Many Americans started supporting the Democratic-Republicans because of the Federalists' abuse of power

Correct answer:

Many Americans started supporting the Democratic-Republicans because of the Federalists' abuse of power

Explanation:

In the aftermath of the XYZ Affair and straining relations with France, the Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which outlawed anti-government activity, lengthened the residency time required for naturalization of foreigners, and allowed the President to imprison or deport aliens who he deemed dangerous to American peace and safety. The laws were unpopular with many Americans due to their authoritative nature, leading to increased support for Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans at the expense of John Adams and the Federalists.

Example Question #1 : U.S. Social History

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which did ALL of the following EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

Declare free only those slaves in Confederate states

Maintain the institution of slavery in the Union

Allow black soldiers to fight for the Union

Tie the slavery issue directly with the Civil War

Free the slaves in the five Union states

Correct answer:

Free the slaves in the five Union states

Explanation:

The Emancipation Proclaimation did not abolish slavery in the Union; there were 5 slave states (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri and West Virginia) that fought for the preservation of the United States.

Example Question #1 : U.S. Social History

1.       Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst used this style of writing to increase newspaper readership which increased public sentiment to start a war with Spain.

Possible Answers:

Objective Journalism

Sensationalism

Investigative Journalism

Tabloid Journalism

Nationalism

Correct answer:

Sensationalism

Explanation:

Sensationalism. This exaggeration tactic was used to make everyday news more interesting and therefore increase readership for their respective newspapers.

Example Question #3 : U.S. Social History

1.       The belief that it was divinely intended that Americans should control the whole of the continental U.S. is known as?

Possible Answers:

Sectionalism

The Second Great Awakening

Manifest Destiny

Westward Expansion

Nationalism

Correct answer:

Manifest Destiny

Explanation:

Manifest Destiny. It had become a popular belief in the mid 1800’s that it was the nation’s destiny to expand West in the name of God, progress, and civilization.

Example Question #2 : U.S. Social History

Which technological military innovation did not occur during the American Civil War?

Possible Answers:
Nerve Gas
None of the other answers
Machine Guns
Ironclad Battleships
Deployment of troops by train
Correct answer: Nerve Gas
Explanation:

The American Civil War saw a large increase in technological innovations related to warfare.  In particular, train travel, ironclad ships, and machine guns were all first used in warfare during the American Civil War.  Nerve gas, however, was not even discovered until the 1930s.

Example Question #2 : Facts And Details In U.S. Social History From 1790 To 1898

The forced relocation of Native Americans from the southeastern United States as a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 has been named the Trail of Tears.  Which of the following indigenous nations was NOT forcibly removed from its ancestral homeland to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma?

Possible Answers:

The Inuit

The Cherokee

The Seminole

The Chickasaw

The Choctaw

Correct answer:

The Inuit

Explanation:

The Inuit are an indigenous people located in the Arctic.

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