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 #788 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Who created the concept of Social Darwinism?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Gregor Mendel

Marie Curie

Herbert Spencer

Charles Darwin

Correct answer:

Herbert Spencer

Explanation:

Contrary to many peoples’ beliefs, Charles Darwin did not create Social Darwinism. Herbert Spencer is responsible for the creation of the idea of “Social Darwinism,” although he based a large part of his ideas on Darwin’s theory.

Social Darwinism employed some of the aspects of Darwinism to the socioeconomic sphere. In other, more concrete terms, Spencer’s theory held that the lower class(es) would either stay where they were and die out, or the more ‘worthy’ of them would make it out of the lower class and become a member of the upper class. Thus, Spencer, for example, would not approve of social engineering like welfare.

Example Question #789 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Who among the following led the American Federation of Labor?

Possible Answers:

Terrence Powderly

None of these

Samuel Gompers

Eugene Debbs

Kurt Vonnegut

Correct answer:

Samuel Gompers

Explanation:

Samuel Gompers was the leader of the American Federation of Labor—what ended up being the largest labor union (or federation of unions) in the late 19th/early 20th century. The AFL was more exclusive (and more realistic) than any of its contemporaries (like the “Wobblies”).

The AFL only allowed skilled workers within their ranks, and they struck (or agitated for) simple, everyday issues of their members—so-called “bread and butter” issues (like better hours and higher wages).

Example Question #790 : Sat Subject Test In United States History

Which of the following groups was NOT generally a member of the abolitionist movement?

Possible Answers:
Free Blacks
Runaway Slaves
Northern Evangelical Actiivists
Social Reformers
Irish Immigrants
Correct answer: Irish Immigrants
Explanation:

Abolitionism, the political movement to end slavery before the Civil War, gathered supporters from many different groups in the North.  Irish immigrants, who generally worked the lowest wage jobs and fought free blacks for them, feared that newly freed slaves would hurt their employment opportunities and housing options.  The other groups listed as answer choices all supported abolition.

Example Question #31 : U.S. Social History

What was the popular name given to Northerners who moved to the South and supported the Republican agenda?

Possible Answers:

Johnson's Boys

Lincolnites

Carpetbaggers

Sharecroppers

Scalawags

Correct answer:

Carpetbaggers

Explanation:

The term Carpetbagger was used derisively by many Southerners during the Reconstruction period to refer to those Northerners who begun moving south to take advantage of opportunities there, and to push through a political Republican agenda. Scalawags was the name given to white Republicans who already lived in the South. Sharecropping was a way for freedman to work on the land and be paid for it. It was a system where landowners granted a percentage of their land to tenants in return for a percentage of the crops produced. In practice in the Reconstruction Era South, it was a means to effectively enslave poor whites and blacks into perpetual debt. The other two terms, to our knowledge, are totally made up. 

Example Question #32 : U.S. Social History

All of the following were objectives of the Lewis and Clark Expedition EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

The establishment of trade with the indigenous nations

The exploration and mapping of the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase.

The quest for the Northwest Passage

The search for a reasonable passage through the West.

The establishment of an American presence in the West before the Europeans.

Correct answer:

The quest for the Northwest Passage

Explanation:

As the name implies, the Northwest Passage was a passage through the northwest of North America sought for centuries as a new, quicker route to the Asian nations.  It was not an objective of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who ventured farther south.

Example Question #33 : U.S. Social History

The Fugitive Slave Law, passed during the Compromise of 1850,                    .

Possible Answers:

was widely upheld in the North due to desire to maintain peace and respect the Compromise

caused many Southerners to join the anti-slavery movement

greatly reduced the number of slaves who were able to escape to the North

angered many Northerners and encouraged them to pass personal liberty laws 

dictated that any Northerner helping a fugitive slave escape was subject to lengthy imprisonment

Correct answer:

angered many Northerners and encouraged them to pass personal liberty laws 

Explanation:

The application of the Fugitive Slave Law caused a great deal of anger and resentment in the North. Many Northerners bulked at the violation of human rights and felt that Southerners coming into the North to capture fugitive slaves was a dangerous precedent. It encouraged many Northerners to join the anti-slavery movement and to pass personal liberty laws designed to limit the legality of the Fugitive Slave Law. The South responded that the North was plainly violating the Compromise of 1850, and tensions grew significantly worse, as each side became further entrenched in regional ideologies of personal and property rights.

Example Question #34 : U.S. Social History

The Seneca Falls Convention                    .

Possible Answers:

desired an end to segregation in the South

hoped to reform and improve women’s rights in the United States 

provided electoral support for James Buchanan 

called for the implementation of a graduated income tax

advocated for immediate abolition of all slaves

Correct answer:

hoped to reform and improve women’s rights in the United States 

Explanation:

The Seneca Falls Convention was convened in 1848 in Seneca, New York. The meeting was organized primarily by several influential female Quakers. The intention was to provide a series of meetings and lectures in which speakers could argue for the advancement of women’s rights in the United States. Many historians refer to the Seneca Falls Convention as the birth place of the female suffrage movement; others contend that it was simply a noteworthy example of a trend that had already received some support and would continue to gain momentum for the next century. Numerous prominent members of the female suffrage movement were in attendance, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. The Convention adopted the Declaration of Sentiments, which reads very much like the Declaration of Independence, but is inclusive of women. 

Example Question #35 : U.S. Social History

What affect did the Presidency of John Quincy Adams have on relations between the North and the South?

Possible Answers:

It assuaged Southern concerns of Northern over-representation in government.

It pushed the two regions further apart ideologically, but not economically.

It pushed the two regions further apart economically and ideologically.

It helped mend political tensions.

The internal infrastructure began to homogenize the economy.

Correct answer:

It pushed the two regions further apart economically and ideologically.

Explanation:

The Presidency of John Quincy Adams was a crucial administration for the solidification of Northern and Southern economic and ideological differences. Adams favored Northern merchants and bankers over Southern plantation owners, enacting policies to that effect. The so-called Tariff of Abominations was designed to favor Northern industry over European industry, but it had the opposite effect in the South where it led to economic stagnation and poverty for some. Adams lost a great deal of credibility in the South and helped encourage ideological notions of a separate Southern and Northern identity. 

Example Question #36 : U.S. Social History

“Why should the wealth of the country be stored in banks and elevators while the idle workman wanders homeless about the streets and the idle loafers who hoard the gold only to spend it on riotous living are rolling about in fine carriages from which they look out on peaceful meetings and call them riots?”

The above quote could most likely be attributed to __________.

Possible Answers:

Warren G. Harding

Calvin Coolidge

Marcus Garvey 

Andrew Carnegie 

Samuel Gompers

Correct answer:

Samuel Gompers

Explanation:

The above quote was spoken by trade unionist Samuel Gompers, in a speech to an assembly of some twenty thousand workers in 1893. In the early 1890s there was a severe economic recession and tensions between the wealthy and the working classes were growing. Samuel Gompers worked with this feeling—creating the American Federation of Labor and working tirelessly to improve the conditions of the working class. 

Example Question #37 : U.S. Social History

The term "bushwhacker" in American history generally refers to __________.

Possible Answers:

John Brown's raiding party at Harper's Ferry, Virginia

slave hunters in border states that enforced the Fugitive Slave Act

early settlers in the Great Plains that had to clear wilderness to plant farms

outlaws in the West that would hide in the wilderness to avoid capture

guerillas in the Civil War that carried out sporadic raids against targets

Correct answer:

guerillas in the Civil War that carried out sporadic raids against targets

Explanation:

"Bushwhacker" was a general term used during the Civil War to refer to any guerrilla groups that were not directly tied to the command structure of either army. While at first used for both sides, the term in particular began to be used to refer to the pro-Confederate guerillas in Missouri's Ozarks. These "bushwhackers" would commit many atrocities in the latter parts of the War, but also produced a number of outlaws that would gain fame in the late-nineteenth century, including Frank and Jesse James, and Cole Younger.

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