SAT II US History : U.S. Social History

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

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Example Questions

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

Lynchings were most prominent in the era __________.

Possible Answers:

1830–1860

1860–1890

1950–1980

1920–1950

1890–1920

Correct answer:

1890–1920

Explanation:

Lynching, or the extrajudicial assasination of an accused criminal, became a widespread practice in the post-Reconstruction era as a way to combat newly freed slaves emerging political power. As Jim Crow laws began to take hold, lynchings actually increased. Thousands of Americans, mostly blacks, were killed by lynching at its height from 1890–1920.  

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

Which society was founded by William Lloyd Garrison in 1833?

Possible Answers:

The Liberator 

The Quaker Anti-Slavery Organization

The Underground Railroad

The Harmony Society

American Anti-Slavery Society 

Correct answer:

American Anti-Slavery Society 

Explanation:

The American Anti-Slavery Society was founded by William Lloyd Garrison in 1833. The society was established in Philadelphia. Within five years, Garrison’s society had grown to hundreds of thousands of members, all of whom were campaigning for the illegality of slavery under all natural laws, and that the Constitution represents “a covenant with hell.” The Liberator is the name of an anti-slavery newspaper, also founded by William Lloyd Garrison. 

Example Question #18 : Facts And Details In U.S. Social History From 1790 To 1898

Unitarianism is characterized by __________.

Possible Answers:

atheism

the belief in the universal salvation of man

the belief in predestination 

the rejection of the Trinity 

the rejection of the divinity of Christ

Correct answer:

the rejection of the Trinity 

Explanation:

Unitarianism is a religious belief, a branch of Christianity that is known for its understanding of God as one person. As such, it is a direct rejection of the Holy Trinity. Unitarianism first took hold in America in the 1780s in New England. The American Unitarian Association was founded in Boston in 1825. 

Example Question #781 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

The state of Utah was first settled by the religious group known as __________

Possible Answers:

the Adventists.

the Puritans.

the Mormons.

the Pentecostals.

the Quakers.

Correct answer:

the Mormons.

Explanation:

The Mormons were formed in Upstate New York in the early 1830s by their Prophet Joseph Smith. Throughout the 1830s and 1840s, the Mormons moved first to Ohio and then to Missouri and Illinois, all while fighting various groups. In 1844, the Mormons, now living in Nauvoo, IL, fought the state militia and leaders, including Joseph Smith, were imprisoned. On June 27, Smith was killed by a mob in the jail in Carthage, IL. The regrouped Mormons, under the leadership of Smith's associate Brigham Young, moved to what is not the state of Utah, but was then part of Mexico. There, they built Salt Lake City and created a new community in the desert.

Example Question #782 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Who famously tried to incite a slave rebellion at Harper’s Ferry?

Possible Answers:

John Brown

Robert E. Lee

Daniel Shays

William Tecumseh Sherman

Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson

Correct answer:

John Brown

Explanation:

John Brown devised a plan to raid an arsenal and arm slaves. His attempt was ill-conceived, and he was arrested by Robert E. Lee, tried for treason, and sentenced to death.

Example Question #783 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

In the mid-1800s, an African-American slave petitioned a United States Circuit Court to grant him his freedom because he had lived for a time in the free states.  The Supreme Court ultimately ruled against him, stating that men and women of African descent were not citizens of the United States.  Who was this African-American slave?

Possible Answers:

Frederick Douglass

John Brown

Nathaniel Turner

George Washington Carver

Dred Scott

Correct answer:

Dred Scott

Explanation:

Dred Scott was the slave in question, and the resulting Supreme Court decision takes his name.

Example Question #784 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

In 1859, abolitionist John Brown led an armed slave revolt by seizing a federal armory in which modern day American town?

Possible Answers:

Charleston, South Carolina

Lake Placid, New York

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Lawrence, Kansas

Springfield, Massachusetts

Correct answer:

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Explanation:

Famed abolitionist John Brown led an armed slave revolt known as the Raid on Harpers Ferry, named after the town in which the raid occurred. Harpers Ferry, then in Virginia, is now located in modern day West Virginia.

Example Question #785 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Which of the following is the most accurate description of the Credit Mobilier scandal?

Possible Answers:

A clever con in which several members of the treasury department underreported the amount of whiskey sold in order to skim profits from the whiskey tax

None of the answers are correct.

A Grant-administration scandal which involved the indictment of Grant’s personal secretary, Orville Babcock

A scandal involving several Congressmen and one of the largest railroads in the country at the time, Union Pacific.

Correct answer:

A scandal involving several Congressmen and one of the largest railroads in the country at the time, Union Pacific.

Explanation:

Credit Mobilier is one of the more difficult questions covered in American History—the issues are relatively complex. That said, we’ll focus on the big picture rather than getting caught up in the granular details. Essentially, several members of the board of directors of Union Pacific (members of the board of directors of a corporation are, in a grossly oversimplified way, people who “run” a corporation) formed another corporation, called Credit Mobilier. After forming this new corporation, Credit Mobilier, they awarded themselves (really, the company, Credit Mobilier) lucrative construction contracts. In other words, Union Pacific contracted with Credit Mobilier to construct the railroad. Credit Mobilier ran up huge construction expenses and thus made enormous profits. Several Congressmen accepted either cash bribes or shares in Credit Mobilier (shares are ownership interests in a corporation, and often offer attractive returns such as dividends).

Example Question #786 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

What was sharecropping?

Possible Answers:

 A racially charged fight that broke out in Harper’s Ferry

A practice that was declared illegal by the Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson

All of the answers are correct.

The practice whereby a landowner would allow tenants to stay on his land/in servants quarters in exchange for a percentage, or share, of the crops they produced

Correct answer:

The practice whereby a landowner would allow tenants to stay on his land/in servants quarters in exchange for a percentage, or share, of the crops they produced

Explanation:

This is a relatively straightforward vocabulary question. Sharecropping took root (excuse the pun) after the end of the Civil War, and involved a landowner “renting” out extra space (generally old slave quarters) to “tenants” (generally ex-slaves) in exchange for a percentage of the crops that they produced.

Example Question #787 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

The Amistad case involved a slave revolt/mutiny on board a slave-transport ship, and an ensuing court case that got all the way up to the Supreme Court. What was the result?

Possible Answers:

The Supreme Court sided with the lower courts which held that the “slaves” were property and were not kidnapping victims; thus their use of force was inexcusable

The Supreme Court sided with the lower courts which held that the “slaves” were not [yet] property, and thus kidnapping victims who had every right to use force to resist

The Supreme Court reversed the lower courts, which held that the “slaves” were property and were not kidnapping victims; thus their use of force was inexcusable

None of the answers are correct.

Correct answer:

The Supreme Court sided with the lower courts which held that the “slaves” were not [yet] property, and thus kidnapping victims who had every right to use force to resist

Explanation:

The mutiny onboard the ship Amistad involved a slaver-ship’s attempt at bringing a group of men from Cuba (originally from Sierra Leone—Cuba was a stop along the way) to the US in order to sell them as slaves. The men revolted against their captors and attempted to force one of their captors to return them home to Sierra Leone. Unbeknownst to them, however, the remaining captor pointed the ship north toward the US, until it was eventually seized and brought to shore in NY. After a long, complicated case with international implications, the Supreme Court sided with the lower courts and held that the men were not property, and thus their revolt was a measure of self defence against their captors.

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