Extra Social Studies Questions
The following 43 practice questions in Social Studies are provided by HowtoPasstheGED.com
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The Problem of Citizenship in American History
– Annelise Orleck
1 Most textbook histories of the U.S. portray a vibrant participatory democracy with a long tradition of extending citizenship rights broadly across an unusually diverse population. Some of these texts acknowledge that—at the time when the Constitution was being written—only property-owning white men were considered full citizens and that they constituted a relatively small percentage of the total population of the new United States. From that time forward, however, most U.S. history textbooks trace a progressive arc over the next 200 years during which citizenship rights were extended to an ever broader cross-section of Americans. In the 1830s, the vote was extended to all white men, in 1868 to black men, in 1920 to women, in 1972 to eighteen year olds, and so on. In many texts, the progressive expansion of citizenship rights seems almost to have a life of its own, leading inexorably toward a fully egalitarian present day, when all who reside in the U.S. are entitled to the same rights and protections.
2 There is truth in these arguments. The U.S. has, at various points in its history, led the world in the breadth of its extension of full citizenship rights, and the past 220 years have seen dramatic expansion in the numbers and kinds of people who have access to those rights. But it is not true that expansions of citizenship rights came easily or naturally. There were stark inequities enshrined in U.S. law and custom from the earliest days of the republic that excluded large swaths of the population from enjoying the full rights and protections of citizenship. The Constitution granted enslaved African Americans the status of 3/5 of a person for the purposes of calculating representation in Congress but did not grant them the right to liberty, property or the vote. And the first legal regulations of who could become a U.S. citizen drew sharp restrictions based on race. The 1790 Alien Naturalization Act warned immigrants that non-whites could never be Americans. Only “a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof.”
3 These legal restrictions both drew on and reinforced popular beliefs and prejudices about just who was entitled to call himself an American citizen. (I use the male pronoun intentionally here.) As a result, every expansion of citizenship rights in American history has been the product of fierce and extended political struggle. It took 72 years of sustained political struggle for women to win the right to vote and a century of civil rights activism by African Americans after the end of slavery to overturn Jim Crow segregation laws in the South. Part of the reason these movements had to struggle for so long was that they were laboring on two fronts—first to change restrictive laws but also to overcome fierce opposition from many sectors of the American population.
1. Which of the following can you infer from this passage?
A. History textbooks cover all there is to know.
B. History textbooks are inexpensive.
C. History textbooks should be completely dismissed.
D. History textbooks can have limitations.
2. What is the main idea of this passage?
A. American citizenship rights have been uniform.
B. American citizenship rights have been uniformly agreed-upon.
C. American citizenship rights have been expanded through a long struggle.
D. American citizenship rights have always been present.
3. According to the passage, the Constitution granted enslaved African Americans:
A. the status of full citizens
B. the status of 3/5 of a person
C. the status of white people
D. the status of 1/5 of a person
4. According to the passage, in the 1830s, the vote was extended to:
A. all white men
B. all black men
5. Which of the following does this passage imply?
A. American citizenship rights historically have been immigration-dominated.
B. American citizenship rights historically have been Southern-dominated.
C. American citizenship rights historically have been child-dominated.
D. American citizenship rights historically have been male-dominated.
The Second Treatise of Civil Government
– John Locke
1 To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.
2 A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty.
3 But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of license: though man in that state has an uncontrollable liberty to dispose of his person or possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy himself, or so much as any creature in his possession, but where some nobler use than its bare preservation calls for it. The state of nature has a law of nature
to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker; all the servants of one sovereign master, sent into the world by his order, and about his business; they are his property, whose workmanship they are, made to last during his, not one another’s pleasure: and being furnished with like faculties, sharing all in one community of nature, there cannot be supposed any such subordination among us, that may authorize us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one another’s uses, as the inferior ranks of creatures are for our’s. Every one, as he is bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his station willfully, so by the
like reason, when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.
6. The above passage was written by a British philosopher. Which of the following can you infer from this passage?
A. His words were irrelevant then.
B. His words are irrelevant now.
C. His words were not given much thought.
D. His words, in part, inspired the American Declaration of Independence.
7. What is the main idea of this passage?
A. There is no such thing as equality.
B. There is no such thing as nature.
C. All men are created equal.
D. There is no such thing as law.
8. According to the passage, we must consider:
A. what state all women are naturally in
B. what state all men are naturally in
C. what state Massachusetts is in
D. what state water is in
9. According to the passage, the state of liberty is not the same as the state of:
10. Which of the following does this passage imply?
A. There is a concept that should be known as naturally added.
B. There is a concept that should be known as natural selection.
C. There is a concept that should be known as natural law.
D. There is a concept that should be known as naturally flavored.
The Federalist Papers (No. 2)
1 When the people of America reflect that they are now called upon to decide a question, which, in its consequences, must prove one of the most important that ever engaged their attention, the propriety of their taking a very comprehensive, as well as a very serious, view of it, will be evident.
2 Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers. It is well worthy of consideration therefore, whether it would accrue more to the interest of the people of America that they should, to all general purposes, be one nation, under one federal government, or that they should divide themselves into separate confederacies, and give to the head of each the same kind of powers which they are advised to place in one national government.
3 It has until lately been a received and undisputed opinion that the prosperity of the people of America depended on their continuing firmly united, and the wishes, prayers, and efforts of our best and wisest citizens have been constantly directed to that object. But politicians now appear, who insist that this opinion is erroneous, and that instead of looking for safety and happiness in union, we ought to seek it in a division of the states into distinct confederacies or sovereignties. However extraordinary this new doctrine may appear, it nevertheless has its advocates; and certain characters who were much opposed to it formerly, are at present of the number. Whatever may be the arguments or inducements which have wrought this change in the sentiments and declarations of these gentlemen, it certainly would not be wise in the people at large to adopt these new political tenets without being fully convinced that they are founded in truth and sound policy.
11. Which of the following can you infer from this passage from the Federalist Papers?
A. Half of the states initially agreed the states should form the United States of America.
B. Only the author initially agreed the states should form the United States of America.
C. No one initially agreed the states should form the United States of America.
D. Almost everyone initially agreed the states should form the United States of America.
12. What is the main idea of this passage?
A. In 1787, there was no difference between federal and state government.
B. In 1787, people didn’t care.
C. In 1787, controversy emerged regarding the role of federal vs. state government.
D. In 1787, unanimity emerged regarding the role of federal vs. state government.
13. According to the passage, nothing is more certain than the:
A. indispensable necessity of money
B. indispensable necessity of government
C. indispensable necessity of states
D. indispensable necessity of the feds
14. According to the passage, the people must cede:
A. all of their natural rights
B. none of their natural rights
C. some of their natural rights
D. all of their frequent flyer miles
15. What does this passage imply?
A. America has long had a conflict between federalism and nationalism.
B. America has long had a conflict between federalism and states’ rights.
C. America has long had a conflict between federalism and communism.
D. America has long had a conflict between federalism and socialism.
Introduction to the History of the Bill of Rights
1 The original Constitution, as proposed in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and as ratified by the states, contained very few individual rights guarantees, as the framers were primarily focused on establishing the machinery for an effective federal government. A proposal by delegate Charles Pinckney to include several rights guarantees (including “liberty of the press” and a ban on quartering soldiers in private homes) was submitted to the Committee on Detail on August 20, 1787, but the Committee did not adopt any of Pinckney’s recommendations. The matter came up before the Convention on September 12, 1787 and, following a brief debate, proposals to include a Bill or Rights in the Constitution were rejected. As adopted, the Constitution included only a few specific rights guarantees: protection against states impairing the obligation of contracts (Art. I, Section 10), provisions that prohibit both the federal and state governments from enforcing ex post facto laws (laws that allow punishment for an action that was not criminal at the time it was undertaken) and provisions barring bills of attainder (legislative determinations of guilt and punishment) (Art. I, Sections 9 and 10). The framers, and notably James Madison, its principal architect, believed that the Constitution protected liberty primarily through its division of powers that made it difficult for an oppressive majorities to form and capture power to be used against minorities. Delegates also probably feared that a debate over liberty guarantees might prolong or even threaten the fiercely-debated compromises that had been made over the long hot summer of 1787.
2 In the ratification debate, Anti-Federalists opposed to the Constitution complained that the new system threatened liberties, and suggested that if the delegates had truly cared about protecting individual rights, they would have included provisions that accomplished that. With ratification in serious doubt, Federalists announced a willingness to take up the matter of a series of amendments, to be called the Bill of Rights, soon after ratification and the First Congress came into session. The concession was undoubtedly necessary to secure the Constitution’s hard-fought ratification. Thomas Jefferson, who did not attend the Constitutional Convention, in a December 1787 letter to Madison called the omission of a Bill of Rights a major mistake: “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth.”
16. Which of the following can you infer from this passage?
A. The U.S. Constitution was a done deal.
B. The U.S. Constitution was unnecessary.
C. The U.S. Constitution was a labor of love.
D. The U.S. Constitution was hardly a done deal.
17. What is the main idea of this passage?
A. The Bill of Rights preceded the Constitutional Convention.
B. The Bill of Rights had no advocates.
C. The Bill of Rights was not paramount at the Constitutional Convention.
D. The Bill of Rights came first at the Constitutional Convention.
18. According to the passage, James Madison believed that the Constitution protected liberty primarily:
A. through its division of labor
B. through its division of powers
C. through its division of money
D. through its division of roots
19. According to the passage, Anti-Federalists complained that the new system:
A. threatened liberties
B. protected liberties
C. protected freedoms
D. threatened species
20. What does this passage imply?
A. The Bill of Rights was a done deal.
B. The Bill of Rights was unnecessary.
C. The Bill of Rights was a labor of love.
D. The Bill of Rights was hardly a done deal.
The Establishment of the 19th Amendment
1 The beginning of the fight for women suffrage (right to vote) is usually traced to the “Declaration of Sentiments” produced at the first woman’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. Four years later, at the Woman’s Rights Convention in Syracuse in 1852, Susan B. Anthony joined the fight, arguing that “the right women needed above every other…was the right of suffrage.” During debates on the Reconstruction Amendments which extended the vote to ex-slaves (through the 15th Amendment), suffragists pushed hard for “universal suffrage,” but they never had a chance.
2 In 1872, suffragists brought a series of court challenges designed to test whether voting was a “privilege” of “U. S. citizenship” now belonging to women by virtue of the recently adopted 14th Amendment. One such challenge grew out of a criminal prosecution of Susan B. Anthony for illegally voting in the 1872 election. The first case to make its way to the Supreme Court, however, was Minor v Happersett (1875). In Minor, a unanimous Court rejected the argument that either the privileges and immunities clause or the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment extended the vote to women. Following Minor, suffragists turned their attention from the courts to the states and to Congress.
3 In 1878, a constitutional amendment was proposed that provided “the right of citizens to vote shall not be abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” This same amendment would be introduced in every session of Congress for the next 41 years.
4 In July 1890, the Territory of Wyoming, which allowed women to vote, was admitted as a state. Wyoming became the first state with women suffrage. By 1900, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho joined Wyoming in allowing women to vote.
5 In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive (Bull Moose) Party became the first national political party to have a plank supporting women suffrage. The tide was beginning to turn.
6 In May 1919, the necessary two-thirds vote in favor of the women suffrage amendment was finally mustered in Congress, and the proposed amendment was sent to the states for ratification. By July 1920, with a number of primarily southern states adamantly opposed to the amendment, it all came down to Tennessee. It appeared that the amendment might fail by one vote in the Tennessee house, but twenty-four-year-old Harry Burns surprised observers by casting the deciding vote for ratification. At the time of his vote, Burns had in his pocket a letter he had received from his mother urging him, “Don’t forget to be a good boy and vote for suffrage.” Women had finally won the vote.
21. Which of the following can you infer from this passage?
A. The 19th Amendment is meaningless.
B. The 19th Amendment was an exercise in legalese.
C. The 19th Amendment was the last amendment.
D. For years, women lacked a basic right conferred to men.
22. What is the main idea of this passage?
A. The 19th Amendment was a joyride.
B. The 19th Amendment was a lark.
C. The 19th Amendment was hard-fought.
D. The 19th Amendment was easily won.
23. According to the passage, the fight for women suffrage is usually traced to the:
A. Declaration of Independence
B. Declaration of Secession
C. Declaration of Sentiments
D. Declaration of Condiments
24. According to the passage, the deciding vote for suffrage was cast in the state of:
C. Puerto Rico
D. New Amsterdam
25. Which of the following does this passage imply?
A. Amendments to the Constitution are impossible.
B. Amendments to the Constitution are irrelevant.
C. Amendments to the Constitution are ancient history.
D. Amendments to the Constitution can be arduous.
The Great Migration
1 The Great Migration was the mass movement of about five million southern blacks to the north and west between 1915 and 1960. During the initial wave, the majority of migrants moved to major northern cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and New York. By World War II, the migrants continued to move north but many of them headed west to Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle.
2 The first large movement of blacks occurred during World War I, when 454,000 black southerners moved north. In the 1920s, another 800,000 blacks left the South, followed by 398,000 blacks in the 1930s. Between 1940 and 1960 over 3,348,000 blacks left the South for northern and western cities.
3 The economic motivations for migration were a combination of the desire to escape oppressive economic conditions in the South and the promise of greater prosperity in the North. Since their emancipation from slavery, southern rural blacks had suffered in a plantation economy that offered little chance of advancement. While a few blacks were lucky enough to purchase land, most were sharecroppers, tenant farmers, or farm laborers, barely subsisting from year to year. When World War I created a huge demand for workers in northern factories, many southern blacks took this opportunity to leave the oppressive economic conditions in the South.
4 The northern demand for workers was a result of the loss of 5 million men who left to serve in the armed forces, as well as the restriction of foreign immigration. Some sectors of the economy were so desperate for workers at this time that they would pay for blacks to migrate north. The Pennsylvania Railroad needed workers so badly that it paid the travel expenses of 12,000 blacks. The Illinois Central Railroad, along with many steel mills, factories, and tanneries, similarly provided free railroad passes for blacks. World War I was the first time since emancipation that black labor was in demand outside of the agricultural south, and the economic promise was enough for many blacks to overcome substantial challenges to migrate.
5 In additional to migrating for job opportunities, blacks also moved north in order to escape the oppressive conditions of the South. Some of the main social factors for migration included lynching, an unfair legal system, inequality in education, and denial of suffrage.
6 The great migration, one of the largest internal migrations in the history of the United States, changed forever the urban North, the rural South, African America, and, in many respects, the entire United States of America.
26. Which of the following can you infer from this passage?
A. Blacks weren’t in demand for agricultural work in the South during World War I.
B. Blacks weren’t in demand for anything during World War I.
C. Blacks were in demand for military service during World War I.
D. Blacks weren’t in demand for military service during World War I.
27. What is the main idea of this passage?
A. The Great Migration was driven by legislative forces.
B. The Great Migration was driven by presidential forces.
C. The Great Migration was driven by economic forces.
D. The Great Migration was driven by judicial forces.
28. According to the passage, the first large movement of blacks occurred during:
A. World War II
B. World War I
C. World War III
D. World War IV
29. According to the passage, the Great Migration was the mass movement of about:
A. five million northern blacks
B. five million northern whites
C. five million southern blacks
D. five million southern whites
30. Which of the following is implied by the passage?
A. Justice prevails.
B. Crime doesn’t pay.
C. Laughter is the best medicine.
D. Money talks.
Trail of Tears
1 Migration from the original Cherokee Nation began in the early 1800s. Some Cherokees, wary of white encroachment, moved west on their own and settled in other areas of the country. A group known as the Old Settlers previously had voluntarily moved in 1817 to lands given them in Arkansas where they established a government and a peaceful way of life. Later, however, they were forced to migrate to Indian Territory.
2 White resentment of the Cherokee had been building and reached a pinnacle following the discovery of gold in northern Georgia. This discovery was made just after the the creation and passage of the original Cherokee Nation constitution and establishment of a Cherokee Supreme Court. Possessed by “gold fever” and a thirst for expansion, many white communities turned on their Cherokee neighbors. The U.S. government ultimately decided it was time for the Cherokees to be “removed,” leaving behind their farms, their land, and their homes.
3 President Andrew Jackson’s military command and almost certainly his life were saved thanks to the aid of 500 Cherokee allies at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. Unbelievably, it was Jackson who authorized the Indian Removal Act of 1830 following the recommendation of President James Monroe in his final address to Congress in 1825. Jackson, as president, sanctioned an attitude that had persisted for many years among many white immigrants. Even Thomas Jefferson, who often cited the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Confederacy as the model for the U.S. Constitution, supported Indian Removal as early as 1802.
4 The U.S. government used the Treaty of New Echota in 1835 to justify the removal. The treaty, signed by about 100 Cherokees known as the Treaty Party, relinquished all lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for land in Indian Territory (mainly in Oklahoma) and the promise of money, livestock, various provisions, tools, and other benefits.
5 When these pro-removal Cherokee leaders signed the Treaty of New Echota, they also signed their own death warrants, since the Cherokee Nation Council had earlier passed a law calling for the death of anyone agreeing to give up tribal land. The signing and the removal led to bitter factionalism and ultimately to the deaths of most of the Treaty Party leaders once the Cherokee arrived in Indian Territory.
6 Opposition to the removal was led by Chief John Ross, a mixed-blood of Scottish and one-eighth Cherokee descent. The Ross party and most Cherokees opposed the New Echota Treaty, but Georgia and the U.S. government prevailed and used it as justification to force almost all of the 17,000 Cherokees from their southeastern homeland.
7 Under orders from President Jackson, the U.S. Army began enforcement of the Removal Act. The Cherokee were rounded up in the summer of 1838 and loaded onto boats that traveled the Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi, and Arkansas Rivers into Indian Territory. Many were held in prison camps awaiting their fate.
8 An estimated 4000 died from hunger, exposure, and disease. The journey became a cultural memory as the “trail where they cried” for the Cherokees and other removed tribes. Today it is widely remembered by the general public as the “Trail of Tears.” The Oklahoma chapter of the Trail of Tears Association has begun the task of marking the graves of Trail survivors with bronze memorials.
31. Which of the following can you infer from this passage?
A. Andrew Jackson was a priest.
B. Andrew Jackson was merciful.
C. Andrew Jackson was consistent.
D. Andrew Jackson was a hypocrite.
32. What is the main idea of this passage?
A. The Trail of Tears was the original name of Tears for Fears.
B. The Trail of Tears is another name for the Appalachian Trail.
C. The Trail of Tears was an unjust, forced relocation of Native Americans.
D. The Trail of Tears was a just, voluntary relocation of Native Americans.
33. According to the passage, white resentment of the Cherokee reached a pinnacle:
A. following the Battle of the Little Bighorn
B. following the discovery of gold in northern California
C. following the discovery of gold in northern Georgia
D. following the discovery of gold in southern California
34. According to the passage, Chief John Ross was:
A. a mixed-blood of Cherokee and one-eighth Scottish descent
B. a mixed-blood of Scottish and one-eighth Cherokee descent
C. a mixed-blood of African and one-eighth Cherokee descent
D. a mixture of Scotch and water
35. Which of the following is implied by the passage?
A. The founders of American democracy did not really believe all men are created equal.
B. The founders of American democracy really believed all men are created equal.
C. The founders of American democracy had no faults.
D. The founders of American democracy should never be faulted.
Capitalism vs. Communism
36. Which of the following characterizes capitalism?
A. communal property
B. income redistribution
C. state ownership
D. personal income
37. Which of the following characterizes capitalism?
A. government intervention
B. controlled market
38. Which of the following characterizes communism?
B. free market
C. communal property
D. profit motive
39. Which of the following characterizes communism?
A. state ownership
B. social classes
C. unequal social status
D. invisible hand
40. The above infographic defines “water footprint” as the volume of water needed for the production of goods and services consumed by a country’s inhabitants. Which country has the highest water footprint per capita?
D. United States
41. Which country has the second highest water footprint per capita?
D. United States
42. Which country has the highest dependence on water imports?
D. United States
43. Which country has the highest renewable water resources?
D. United States