Essay Questions For American History

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The following questions are examples of the kinds of questions my students will be expected to answer on a test. The trees are supposedly in the way of some street lights the city wants to put in. Why many did small farmer's disagree with the Whiskey Tax passed by Congress in 1791? How did political parties play a major role in the 1796 election? What do you think is Alexander Hamilton's biggest influence on the U.

Virtually all of these questions have been taken directly from tests that I have actually given. Which Supreme Court decision gave the Court the power of judicial review? Which house of Congress has the power to impeach federal officials? Jim loves the trees and decides to organize a demonstration outside of city hall to try to convince the government not to cut down the trees. A few months ago Senator Bubba Mc Stinky proposed a law in the U. Senate that would require the federal government to provide grant money to college students seeking a degree in fashion design.

What do you think happened after death rates declines in the late-1600's? Compare and contrast the experiences of the Pilgrims and the first Jamestown settlers? Why might the Quaker faith have attracted colonial women? How was William Penn's relationship with American Indians different from most other colonies? How was Jamestown (and the Virginia colony) different agriculturally from the Plymouth Colony (and Massachusetts)? Why did the early colonies in North America establish settlements near rivers and the Atlantic Ocean? Why was slavery and indentured servitude more important to the economy of the Southern colonies than in New England? Thinking of all the English colonies that we have discussed, what are the two major reasons people came to the New World? Also, talk about how you would handle the issue of people with different religious views mixing together in your colony. Why was tobacco, a crop you can't eat, able to save Virginia economically? Your name is John Johnson Bigglesworth and it is the year 1628. Flambard Headstrong lives a quiet hobbit life with his family in the New Shire, a beautiful settlement in New England. What kinds of crops does Flambard most likely grow? You are the captain of a ship that sails the Atlantic Ocean using the trade routes known as the Triangular Trade. Be sure to give examples from both the colonial period and from the present day. English colonists did the same thing with British officials. You own a small farm and occasionally you and your family sell milk, homemade butter, and ale to your neighbors and the people in the nearby village for a little extra money. You own a coffee house which also sells tea - a lot of tea. You have just voted for the passage of the Coercive Acts.

You are a laborer in London working for an import house. You own a large tobacco plantation and several slaves. Describe what sorts of goods you carry as cargo on each leg of your circuit around the Atlantic. In the Southern colonies, most plantations were located in the Tidewater region. Why would these areas be desirable for plantation owners? Explain the effects of the Navigation Acts on the colonial economy. Explain the relationship between education and religion in the New England colonies. You are a member of the great Huron tribe of Indians in the Ohio Valley region. What was the primary cause of conflict between the British colonists and the native Americans in the Ohio Valley region? Why would the Proclamation of 1763 anger British colonists, particularly speculators? What were the causes of Pontiac's War and how did that war lead to the Proclamation of 1763? The starship Enterprise has traveled back in time to the year 1760 and arrived over North America. Spock to conduct a study of the economy of the middle colonies. Spock describe the economy of the middle colonies to Captain Kirk? Explain the positive and negative effects of mercantilism on the colonies. Explain the relationship between mercantilism, the Navigation Acts, and Triangular Trade. Why did the colonists need to smuggle goods in and out of the colonies? Why did the British have to leave troops in the colonies after the French and Indian War? What was the chief argument of the colonists against taxes such as the Sugar Act or the Stamp Act? What cultural trait made American colonists more likely to resist the taxes and laws passed by Parliament than their fellow British subjects across the ocean? How did the propaganda surrounding the "Boston Massacre" influence colonists? How are you affected by the Townshend Acts and what do you think of them? What are your concerns after you find out Parliament has passed the Tea Act? Why do you think it is so important for the British government to maintain control over the colonies? You are a merchant living in a town just outside of Philadelphia.

Bob "The Tough Guy" Timmons is walking down the street at a local fireworks display. Explain what a loose construction of the Constitution is. He reassured the remaining Federalists in the government by saying, "We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists....

Draw a chart the compares and contrasts the ideas of the Federalists with the ideas of the Democratic-Republicans. Do you believe Adams was right to sign the Alien and Sedition Acts into law? He said, "Though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail [win],..minority posses their rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate [these rights] would be oppression." What did President Jefferson mean by this? When Jefferson won the presidency in 1800, the Democratic-Republicans also won control of Congress. It is New Orleans, through which the produce of three-eighths of our territory must pass to market." What point is he making with these words? Even though he thought it was a great opportunity, President Jefferson was concerned about whether or not he was allowed to buy Louisiana from France. Jefferson described Lewis, a former army captain, as being, "brave, prudent [careful], habituated [used] to the woods, and familiar with Indian manners and character." Why would Jefferson want someone with these qualities leading the expedition west? At first white farmers brought over indentured servants to do the work instead of expensive slaves because of these high death rates. Why would plantation owners prefer indentured servants to slaves? You have been made the proprietor of a new English colony in America. Discuss how you would deal with the American Indians in your area. He and his sidekick Chewbacca use their ship, the Millennium Falcon, to sneak illegal goods past Imperial officials. How many times would Ron be allowed to get re-elected? President Granger receives a bill on her desk calling for a 20% decrease in the amount of fossil fuels that are burned in the U. They are arranged by chapter from our current text book. Briefly explain how the modern nation-state emerged in Europe in the 1400s. How did the growth of trade between Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe encourage Europeans to seek out new trade routes? How did the Renaissance contribute to European exploration? How did the rise of nation-states cause European exploration to flourish? Discuss some of the events and technological developments that paved the way for European exploration. How did the Portuguese take the lead in the race for Asian trade routes? How did Spain and Portugal divide their new territories? Why did both Spain and Portugal want to find a sea route to Asia? What was the effect of smallpox on the Mexican people, and how did it help Cortés and the other Conquistadors. For without doubt there is a very great amount of gold in these lands...." -Christopher Columbus in his report to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain."The ordinary means therefore to increase our wealth and treasure is by Forraign [foreign] Trade, wherein wee [we] must ever observe this rule; to sell more to strangers yearly than wee consume of theirs in value." Based on the above quote, what is the central principle of mercantilism according to Mun? Explain the headright system set up by the London Company in 1618. In the early years of the Virginia Colony, around 75% of the colonists were indentured servants. Because of high death rates in the Virginia Colony, there was a shortage of labor. Many members of Congress disagree with her, and believe this is an important piece of legislation. Supreme Court declares the law unconstitutional because it violates the 2nd Amendment. Give two reasons why someone would want to come to the colonies as an indentured servant. People just didn't live very long in the early days of the English colonies. What may Congress attempt to do to pass this bill anyway? Congress passes a law banning the private ownership of handguns in the U. What is Congress' only option if they wish to keep this law? Which clause, found in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, allows the Congress to have certain implied powers? Which clause, found in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, allows the Congress to regulate all sorts of things such as the airline industry and radio and television broadcasting? How many voting members does the House of Representatives have? Which of the presidential duties, or roles, gives the president ultimate authority over the armed forces? What are the three levels of the federal court system? They had the strongest, best trained navy in the world, and an experienced, professional army. They had the wealth of a vast global empire, and they also had a much larger population than the Americans. What affect did this law have on Jefferson's popularity and why? Which battle (and also happened to be the greatest American victory in the War of 1812) took place two weeks after the war was officially over? What treaty officially ended the War of 1812, and what problems did it solve? Describe the economic effects of the Industrial Revolution and advances in transportation in the U. What factors determined where people would settle as they moved westward? Why would sectionalism, as well as Southern support for states' rights over a strong federal government threaten the Union? How did the Missouri Compromise maintain the balance of power in the U. How did the Monroe Doctrine represent a major change in U.

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