Study Guide

Field 017: U.S. History/Oklahoma History/
Sample Selected-Response Questions

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General Test Directions

This test consists of two sections: 1) a section with selected-response questions and 2) a constructed-response section.

Each question in the first section is a selected-response question with four answer choices. Read each question and answer choice carefully and choose the  start uppercase ONE end uppercase  best answer.

Try to answer all questions. Even if you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than not to answer a question at all. You will  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  be penalized for guessing.

The second section of this test consists of one constructed-response assignment. You will be asked to provide a written response to the assignment. Directions for completing your written response to the constructed-response assignment appear immediately before the assignment.

You may  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  use any type of calculator or reference materials during the test session.

Sample Selected-Response Questions

Competency 0002 
Understand Native American societies before European contact, the course of European settlement in North America, and the institutions and structure of colonial societies.

1. Which of the following responses best describes a major difference between life of enslaved people in tobacco-growing areas of the Chesapeake and the rice-growing areas of South Carolina during the eighteenth century?

  1. Chesapeake slaves enjoyed greater autonomy in their work lives.
  2. Death rates were higher among South Carolina slaves.
  3. Chesapeake slaves performed a broader range of productive tasks.
  4. Family life was more stable among South Carolina slaves.

Correct Response: B. The death rates of slaves in the rice-growing areas of South Carolina were consistently higher than those of Chesapeake slaves because of exposure to disease-carrying mosquitos, snake bites, heatstroke, and the generally unhealthy work climate of the marshy coastal areas where they labored.

 start bold Read the passage below from an 1821 Supreme Court decision by John Marshall; then answer the two questions that follow.  end bold 

The American states, as well as the American people, have believed that a close and firm union is essential to their liberty and to their happiness. They have been taught by experience that this union cannot exist without a government for the entire nation. They have been taught by the same experience that this government would be useless, that it would disappoint all their hopes, unless it had the sovereignty that belongs to independent nations.

To this supreme government ample powers are given. The people of the United States have declared that they are given "in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty" to themselves and their posterity. With ample powers given to this supreme government for these purposes are connected many specific limitations on the sovereignty of the states.

The powers of the Union on the subjects of war, peace, and commerce, and on many others, are in themselves limitations of the sovereignty of the states. In addition to these, the sovereignty of the states is given up in many instances where it benefits the people. In such cases, no other power may be conferred on Congress than a power to maintain the principles established in the Constitution.

Competency 0003 
Understand the principal causes and key events of the Revolutionary War and the major political, economic, and social developments related to the establishment of U S society.

2. Marshall's assertion that the American people have learned from experience that a national government would be useless without the "sovereignty that belongs to independent nations" was most likely a reference to which of the following?

  1. the restrictions placed on George Washington by the Continental Congress
  2. the weaknesses of Congress under the Articles of Confederation
  3. the difficulties experienced by early presidents in establishing U S foreign policy
  4. the presidential actions that resulted in the War of 1812

Correct Response: B. The government established by the Articles of Confederation had numerous weaknesses. In addition to being without an executive or judicial branch, Congress lacked the authority to levy taxes, regulate commerce, create a uniform currency, settle conflicts between states, and compel states to obey its laws. The U S Constitution was adopted in 1789 to provide the nation with a strong central government that possessed sovereign powers.

Competency 0011 
Understand important political science concepts and apply that knowledge to analyze contemporary political issues.

3. The views expressed in the passage can best be characterized as a:

  1. liberal interpretation of the Bill of Rights.
  2. strict constructionist interpretation of the U S Constitution.
  3. nationalist interpretation of federalism.
  4. conservative interpretation of the principle of separation of powers.

Correct Response: C. The federalist system of government created by the Constitution provided for the sharing of power between the central government and state governments. At various places in the passage—particularly when speaking about the "many specific limitations" that the Constitution imposes "on the sovereignty of the states"—Marshall makes clear his belief that the national government is the senior partner in this relationship.

Competency 0004 
Understand westward expansion and the major political, economic, social, and cultural developments in the United States from 1815 to 1850.

4. Although by 1820 western states comprised about a third of all the states in the Union, the West did not constitute a unified political region. Which of the following geographical factors best explains why this was the case?

  1. the uneven distribution of population in the region
  2. differences in the topography of various parts of the region
  3. the east-west direction of major migration routes to the region
  4. differences in the mineral wealth of various parts of the region

Correct Response: C. Because of the lateral east-west direction of major migration routes to the West, settlers from northern and southern states relocating to the region had limited interaction with each other. The resulting transfer and re-creation of distinctive regional cultures in the West hindered its development as a unified political region.

Competency 0005 
Understand the origins; key events; and major social, economic, and political consequences of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

5. Which of the following responses best explains why, at the outset of the Civil War, most Southern leaders believed they would have little trouble securing British and French recognition of the Confederacy?

  1. the aristocratic ethos of Southern social and political elites
  2. the increased sale of Northern manufactures in European markets
  3. the important role of cotton in European industrialization
  4. the troubled history of U S relations with major European states

Correct Response: C. On the eve of the Civil War, more than 75 percent of the cotton consumed by British textile manufacturers and 90 percent of the cotton used in French mills came from the American South. Southern leaders believed this gave them more than sufficient leverage to secure British and French recognition of the recently formed Confederacy.

Competency 0008 
Understand U S foreign policy and the role it has played in domestic and global developments since World War II.

6. Which of the following best describes an important relationship between the Cold War and the civil rights movement?

  1. Ideological competition with the Soviet Union focused attention on racial injustice in the United States.
  2. The need for African Americans to help fulfill military commitments in Korea and Vietnam made integration of the armed forces an urgent necessity.
  3. Southern opposition to Cold War foreign policy initiatives reduced the region's power in Congress.
  4. Economic competition with the Soviet Union prompted the U S government to support efforts to ban employment discrimination.

Correct Response: A. Throughout the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union engaged in an ideological contest about the merits of their respective social and economic systems. Because a major object of this competition was to win support from peoples in the culturally diverse countries of Latin America, Africa, and Asia, U S leaders could not afford to ignore Soviet attacks that focused attention on the inequities of racial segregation in the United States.

Competency 0012 
Understand the principles of democratic government in the United States and compare the political and economic systems of the United States with those of other nations.

7.  start bold Use the excerpt below from the Federalist Papers to answer the question that follows. end bold 

If it be said that the legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers and that the construction they put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments it may be answered that this cannot be the natural presumption where it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution. . . . It is far more rational to suppose that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority.

Information presented in the excerpt can best be used to illustrate the development of ideas concerning the:

  1. role of the judiciary in promoting the general welfare.
  2. constitutional guarantee of due process.
  3. links between popular sovereignty and the rule of law.
  4. place of judicial review in the separation of powers.

Correct Response: D. It is through the exercise of judicial review— the power of the courts to decide on the constitutionality of executive and legislative actions— that the federal judiciary most clearly asserts its independence within the separation of powers established by the U S Constitution. When the Supreme Court rules that a congressional measure violates the Constitution, it is in effect functioning as an "intermediate body between the people and the legislature."

Competency 0013 
Understand the structure, organization, and operation of different levels of government in the United States.

8. Which of the following responses best describes a major reason why the nation's founders made federalism an integral feature of the government established by the U S Constitution?

  1. to ensure that national injustices are speedily redressed by forming a system of decentralized government
  2. to prevent political gridlock by creating a multiplicity of governmental units
  3. to ensure that the costs and benefits of government are spread evenly across the nation by granting concurrent powers to the states
  4. to protect liberty by creating competition within and among governmental units

Correct Response: D. Federalism is a system of government in which power is divided between national and subnational governmental units. This dispersal of power creates a basis for intergovernmental competition that makes it extremely difficult for any single governmental unit to operate in a tyrannical manner.

Competency 0015 
Understand important economic concepts, problems, goals, and theories and apply that knowledge to analyze various economic institutions and public policies.

9. Economic transactions that required a double coincidence of wants were a major barrier to early economic development. One can best understand how people overcame this obstacle by examining the emergence of:

  1. land as a factor of production.
  2. money as a medium of exchange.
  3. labor as a factor of production.
  4. money as a store of value.

Correct Response: B. In transactions that require a double coincidence of wants, both parties involved must have a good or service that the other wants. If that mutual need is absent, no exchange can take place. This problem does not occur in economic systems in which money is used as a medium of exchange. In monetary exchanges, buyers can purchase whatever they want, whenever they want, so long as they are able to meet the price demanded by sellers.

Competency 0017 
Understand the international economy and the relationships between contemporary national economies, and analyze the interdependence of industrial and developing economies.

10. Which of the following best explains why a country would shift from unrestricted international trade to a policy that imposes high tariffs on selected imports?

  1. to protect an infant industry from foreign competition
  2. to enable domestic producers to reap the benefits of comparative advantage
  3. to increase the amount of exports sold in foreign markets
  4. to lower the prices domestic consumers have to pay for certain goods

Correct Response: A. Nations often impose high tariffs on selected imports to protect infant industries from more cheaper foreign competitors. Without such protection, these fledgling industries would be undersold in home markets and driven out of business.