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United States Declaration of Independence: Exam Questions

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    1. 1971 “Between 1607 and 1763, Americans gained control of their political and economic institutions.” To what extent and in what ways do you agree or disagree with this statement?

    2. 1972 What role did unfree labor play in colonial American society?

    3. 1973 From 1600 to 1763, several European nations vied for control of the North American continent. Why did England win the struggle?

    4. 1974 “Puritanism bore within itself the seeds of its own destruction.” Apply this generalization to colonial New England.

    5. 1975 “Although many Northerners and Southerners later came to think of themselves as having separate civilizations, the Northern and Southern colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were in fact more similar than different.” Asses the validity of this generalization.

    6. 1979 “During the seventeenth century and increasingly in the eighteenth century, British colonists in America charged Great Britain with violating the ideals of rule of law, self-government, and, ultimately, equality of rights. Yet the colonists themselves violated these ideals in their treatment of blacks, American Indians (Native Americans), and even poorer classes of white settlers.” Asses the validity of this view.

    7. 1981 To what extent and why did religious toleration increase in the American colonies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries? Answer with reference to THREE individuals, events, or movements in American religion during the seventeen and eighteenth centuries.

    8. 1984 In the seventeenth century, New England Puritans tried to create a model society. What were their aspirations, and to what extent were those aspirations fulfilled during the seventeenth century?

    9. 1995 For the period before 1750, analyze the ways in which Britain’s
    policy of salutary neglect influenced the development of American society as illustrated in the following. a. Legislative assembliesb. Commercec. Religion

    10. 1998 Analyze the extent to which religious freedom existed in the British North American colonies prior to 1700.

    11. 2000 Analyze the cultural and economic responses of TWO of the following groups to the Indians of North America before 1750. a. Britishb. Frenchc. Spanish

    12. 2001 How did economic, geographic, and social factors encourage the growth of slavery as an important part of the economy of the southern colonies between 1607 and 1775?

    13. 2005 Compare and contrast the ways in which economic development affected politics in Massachusetts and Virginia in the period 1607 to 1750.

    14. 2005b “Geography was the primary factor in shaping the development of the British colonies in North America.” Assess the validity of this statement for the 1600s.

    15. 2006 Analyze the differences between the Spanish settlements in the Southwest and the English colonies in New England in the seventeenth century in terms of TWO of the following: a. Politicsb. Religionc. Economic development

    16. 2007b The French and Indian War (1754–1763) altered the relationship between Britain and its North American colonies. Assess this change with regard to TWO of the following in the period between 1763 and 1775. a. Land acquisitionb. Politicsc. Economics

    17. 2008 Early encounters between American Indians and European colonists led to a variety of relationships among the different cultures. Analyze how the actions taken by BOTH American Indians and European colonists shaped those
    relationships in TWO of the following regions. Confine your answer to the 1600s. a. New Englandb. Chesapeake c. Spanish Southwestd. New York and New France

    18. 2009 Analyze the ways in which British imperial policies between 1763 and 1776 intensified colonials’ resistance to British rule and their commitment to republican values.

    19. 2010 Evaluate the influence of religion on the development of colonial society in TWO of the following regions. a. The Spanish Southwestb. New Englandc. New France

    20. 2011b Compare and contrast the British, French, and Spanish imperial goals in North America between 1580 and 1763.

    21. 2012 Analyze the effect of the French and Indian War and its aftermath on the relationship between Great Britain and the British colonies. Confine your response to the period from 1754 to 1776.

    American Revolution and Its Aftermath
    22. 1974 To what extent did economic issues provoke the American Revolution?

    23. 1975 “The Declaration of Independence has been variously interpreted as a bid for French support, an attempt to swing uncommitted Americans to the Revolutionary cause, a statement of universal principles, and an affirmation of the traditional rights of Englishmen.” To what extent , if any, are these interpretations in conflict?

    24. 1978 “Although the thirteen American colonies were founded at different times by people with different motives and with different forms of colonial charters and political organization, by the Revolution the thirteen colonies had become remarkably similar.” Assess the validity of this statement.

    25. 1982 “The American Revolution should really be called ‘The British Revolution,’ because marked changes in British colonial policy were more
    responsible for the final political division than were American actions.” Assess the validity of this statement for the period 1763-1776.

    26. 1986 “Despite the view of some historians that the conflict between Great Britain and its thirteen North American colonies was economic in origin, in fact the American Revolution had its roots in politics and other areas of American life.” Assess the validity of this statement.

    27. 1987 “ Britain’s wars for empire, far more than its mercantilist policies, dictated the economic fortunes of Britain’s North American colonies in the eighteenth century.” Assess the validity of this statement.

    28. 1988 “This history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation, all having, in direct object, the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States.” Evaluate this accusation made against George III in the Declaration of Independence.

    29. 1989 “In the two decades before the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, a profound shift occurred in the way many Americans thought and felt about the British government and their colonial governments.” Assess the validity of this statement in view of the political and constitutional debates of these decades.

    30. 1992 Evaluate the relative importance of the following as factors prompting Americans to rebel in 1776: a. parliamentary taxation
    b. restriction of civil liberties
    c. British military measures
    d. the legacy of colonial religious and political ideas

    31. 1994 Evaluate the relative importance of domestic and foreign affairs in shaping the politics of the 1790s.

    32. 1997 Analyze the extent to which the American Revolution represented a radical alteration in American political ideas and institutions. Confine your answer to the period 1775 to 1800.

    33. 2004 Analyze the impact of the American Revolution on both slavery and the status of women in the from 1775-1800.

    34. 2010 Analyze the political, diplomatic, and military reasons for the United States victory in the Revolutionary War. Confine your answer to the period 1775–1783.

    Constitutional Issues
    35. 1970 “The Constitutional Convention of 1787 had no need to invent a new form of government. All it did was to codify the imperial and provincial systems under which America had been ruled, minus the formal subservience to Great Britain.” To what extent do you agree or disagree with the above statement?

    36. 1975 “The history of the United States shows that none of the three branches of the federal government is immune from the temptation to upset the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution.” Assess the validity of this generalization in regard to BOTH Congress verses the President, 1865-1868, and the President versus the Supreme Court, 1935-1937.

    37. 1981 “ At various times between 1789 and 1861, Americans changed their positions on the constitutional question of loose construction and strict construction as best suited their economic or political interests.” Discuss this statement with reference to any TWO individuals or groups who took positions on this constitutional question.

    38. 1983 What evidence is there for the assertion that the basic principles of the Constitution were firmly grounded in the political and religious experience of America’s colonial and revolutionary periods?

    39. 1991 “The Bill of Rights did not come from a desire to protect the liberties won in the American Revolution, but rather from a fear of powers of the new federal government.” Assess the validity of the statement.

    40. 1996 Analyze the degree to which the Articles of Confederation provided an effective form of government with respect to any TWO of the following. a. Foreign relations
    b. Economic conditions
    c. Western lands

    41. 2003 Evaluate the extent to which the Articles of Confederation were effective in solving the problems that confronted the new nation.

    42. 2004b To what extent was the election of 1800 aptly named the “Revolution of 1800?” Respond with reference to TWO of the following areas: a. Economics
    b. Foreign Policy
    c. Judiciary
    d. Politics

    43. 2005b To what extent was the American Constitution a radical departure from the Articles of Confederation?

    44. 2006b “The United States Constitution of 1787 represented an economic and ideological victory for the traditional American political elite.” Assess the validity of that statement for the period 1781 to 1789.

    45. 2007 Settlers in the eighteenth-century American backcountry sometimes resorted to violent protest to express their grievances. Analyze the causes and significance of TWO of the following: a. March of the Paxton Boysb. Regulator Movementc. Shays’ Rebellion d. Whiskey Rebellion

    46. 2008 Analyze the reasons for the Anti-Federalists’ opposition to ratifying the Constitution.

    47. 2009b Analyze how the ideas and experiences of the revolutionary era influenced the principles embodied in the Articles of Confederation.

    48. 2011b Analyze the ways in which the political, economic, and diplomatic crises of the 1780s shaped the provisions of the United States Constitution.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————- New Republic

    49. 1971 “Our prevailing passions are ambition and interest and it will be the duty of a wise government to avail itself of those passions, in order to make them subservient to the public good.” (Alexander Hamilton, 1787) How is this viewpoint manifested in Hamilton’s financial program as Secretary of the Treasury?

    50. 1971 “Andrew Jackson’s election in 1828 was the consequence of the rise of democracy rather than the start of a new democratic age.” Assess the validity of this statement.

    51. 1972 “There is no American history separate from the history of Europe.” Test this generalization by examining the impact of European events on the domestic politics of the United States from 1789 to 1815.

    52. 1975 “The Era of Good Feeling (1816-1824) marked the appearance of issues that transformed American politics in the next twenty years.” Assess the validity of this generalization.

    53. 1980 “Between 1783 and 1800 the new government of the United States faced the same political, economic and constitutional issues that troubles the British government’s relations with the colonies prior to the Revolution.” Assess the validity of this generalization.

    54. 1991 “Although historically represented as distinct political parties, the Federalists and the Whigs in fact shared a common political ideology, represented many of the same interest groups, and proposed similar programs and policies.” Assess the validity of the statement.

    55. 1996 Analyze the extent to which TWO of the following influenced the development of democracy between 1820 and 1840. a. Jacksonian economic policyb. Changes in electoral politics c. Second Great Awakeningd.
    Westward movement

    56. 1999 How did TWO of the following contribute to the reemergence of a two party system in the period 1820 to 1840? a. Major political personalitiesb. States’ rightsc. Economic issues

    57. 2001 The Jacksonian Period (1824-1848) has been celebrated as the era of the “common man.” To what extent did the period live up to its characterization? Consider TWO of the following in your response. a. Economic developmentb. Politicsc. Reform Movements

    58. 2011 To what extent did political parties contribute to the development of national unity in the United States between 1790 and 1840 ?

    Antebellum America
    59. 1972 “Supreme Court decisions reinforce state and federal legislation.” Assess the validity of this generalization for THREE decisions of the Supreme Court prior to the Civil War.

    60. 1973 “From the American Revolution to the Civil War, American writers (both fiction and non fiction) and artists sought to express a uniquely national culture.” Analyze this statement for any period of approximately thirty years between 1775 and 1860.

    61. 1973 Discuss the impact of the “Transportation Revolution,” 1820-1860, on the United States.

    62. 1974 Account for the emergence of Utopian communities from the mid-1820s through the 1840s, and evaluate their success or failure.

    63. 1979 “American social reform movements from 1820 to 1860 were characterized by unyielding perfectionism, impatience with compromise, and distrust of established social institutions. These qualities explain the degree of success or failure of these movements in achieving their objectives.” Discuss with reference to BOTH antislavery and ONE other reform
    movement of the period 1820-1860 (for example, temperance, women’s rights, communitariansim, prison reform, or educational reform).

    64. 1983 “Throughout our history, the Supreme Court has acted as a partisan political body rather than a neutral arbiter of constitutional principles.” Assess the validity of this generalization for the period 1800-1860.

    65. 1986 In the first half of the nineteenth century, the American cultural and intellectual community contributed to the development of a distinctive American national consciousness. Assess the validity of this statement.

    66. 1989 “Developments in transportation, rather than in manufacturing and agriculture, sparked American economic growth in the first half of the nineteenth century.” Assess the validity of this statement.

    67. 1993 In what ways did the early nineteenth century reform movements for abolition and women’s rights illustrate both the strengths and weaknesses of democracy in the early American republic?

    68. 1994 Analyze the way in which two of the following influenced the development of American society: a. Puritanism during the seventeenth century
    b. The Great Awakening during the eighteenth century
    c. The Second Great Awakening during the nineteenth century

    69. 2003 In what ways did developments in transportation bring about economic and social change in the U.S. from 1820-1860?

    70. 2004b To what extent and in what ways did the roles of women change in American society between 1790-1860? Respond with reference to TWO of the following areas: a. Domesticb. Economicc. Politicald. Social

    71. 2006b In what ways and to what extent was industrial development from 1800 to 1860 a factor in the relationship between northern and southern states?

    72. 2007 In what ways did the Second Great Awakening in the North influence TWO of the following? a. Abolitionismb. Temperancec. The cult of domesticityd. Utopian communities

    73. 2007b Compare the experiences of TWO of the following groups of immigrants during the period 1830 to 1860. a. Englishb. Irishc. German

    74. 2008 Analyze the impact of the market revolution (1815–1860) on the economies of TWO of the following regions. a. The Northeastb. The Midwestc. The South

    75. 2009b Analyze the political, economic, and religious tensions between immigrant Roman Catholics and native-born Protestants in the United States from the 1830s through the 1850s.

    76. 1973 Why did the institution of slavery command the loyalty of the vast majority of antebellum Southern whites, despite the fact that only a small percentage of them owned slaves?

    77. 1980 “In the period 1815 to 1860, improvements in transportation and increased interregional trade should have united Americans, but instead produced sectional division and finally disunion.” Discuss with reference to the impact of improved transportation and interregional trade on the Northeast (New England and Middle Atlantic states) , the South, and the West.

    78. 1983 “Slavery was the dominating reality of all Southern life.” Assess the validity of this generalization for TWO of the following aspects of Southern life from about 1840 to 1860: political, social, economic, and intellectual life.

    79. 1988 “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races.” How can this 1858 statement of Abraham Lincoln be reconciled with his 1862 Emancipation Proclamation?

    80. 1995 Analyze the ways in which supporters of slavery in the nineteenth century used legal, religious, and economic arguments to defend the institution of slavery.

    81. 1997 Discuss the impact of territorial expansion on national unity between 1800 and 1850.

    82. 2000 Assess the moral arguments and political actions of those opposed to the spread of slavery in the context of TWO of the following. a. Missouri Compromiseb. Mexican War c. Compromise of 150d. Kansas-Nebraska Act

    83. 2008b Use TWO of the following categories to analyze the ways in which African Americans created a distinctive culture in slavery. a. Familyb. Musicc. Oral traditionsd. Religions

    84. 2010 Analyze the ways in which controversy over the extension of slavery into western territories contributed to the coming of the Civil War. Confine your answer to the period 1845–1861.

    85. 2010b Compare and contrast the experience of slaves on tobacco plantations in the early seventeenth-century Chesapeake region with that of slaves on nineteenth-century cotton plantations in the Deep South. What forces transformed the institution of slavery from the early seventeenth century to the nineteenth century?

    86. 2011 Analyze the origins and development of slavery in Britain’s North American colonies in the period 1607 to 1776.

    87. 1978 “The unpopular ideas and causes of one period often gain popularity and support in another, but the ultimate price of success is usually the alteration or subversion of the original ideas and programs.” For the period 1830-1877, discuss this statement with reference to BOTH a) the ideas and activities of the abolitionism and b) the policies of the Republican party.

    88. 1992 Compare the debates that took place over American expansionism in the late 1840s with those that took place in the 1890s, analyzing the similarities and differences in the debates of the two eras.

    89. 1993 Compare the expansionist foreign policies of Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James K. Polk. To what extent did their policies strengthen the United States?

    90. 2004 Analyze the effectiveness of political compromise in reducing sectional tensions in the period 1820-1861.

    91. 2005 To what extent did the debates about the Mexican War and its aftermath reflect the sectional interests of New Englanders, westerners, and southerners in the period of 1845 to 1855?

    92. 2009 Analyze the social, political, and economic forces of the 1840s and early 1850s that led to the emergence of the Republican Party.

    93. 2012 Analyze how western expansion contributed to growing sectional tensions between the North and the South. Confine your answer to the period from 1800 to 1850.

    Civil War & Reconstruction
    94. 1970 “When Lincoln’s personal beliefs, public statements, motivations, acts, and actual accomplishments as President are studied objectively, he cannot be called ‘The Great Emancipator.’” Discuss the validity of this statement.

    95. 1971 “The South never had a chance to win the Civil War.” To what extent and why do you agree or disagree with this statement?

    96. 1984 How do you account for the failure of Reconstruction (1865-1877) to bring social and economic equality of opportunity to the former slaves?

    97. 1992 Discuss the political, economic and social reforms introduced in the South between 1864 and 1877. To what extent did these reforms survive the Compromise of 1877?

    98. 1997 Analyze the consequences of the Civil War with respect to any TWO of the following in the United States between 1865 and 1880. a. Agricultureb. Laborc. Industrializationd. Transportation

    99. 2003 Evaluate the impact of the Civil War on political and economic development in TWO of the following regions. a. The Southb. The Northc. The West
    Focus your answer on the time period between 1865-1900.

    100. 2006 Explain why and how the role of the federal government changed as a result of the Civil War with respect to TWO of the following during the period 1861-1877: a. Race relationsb. Economic developmentc. Westward expansion

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