American History II final Exam Review Questions



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American History II Final Exam Review Questions

Unit 1 – The Gilded Age

  1. Why is the period referred to as the Gilded Age? Support with examples from the New South, Great West, and the Cities.

  2. How did white Southerners ultimately reassert their economic and political power in the New South?

  3. Compare and contrast the ideas and leadership of W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. Who do you agree with most and why?

  4. Why did settlers move westward and how did the government encourage them?

  5. Explain how Americans' settlement of the Great Plains led to the destruction of the Plains Indians.

  6. How could the U.S. government have acted in a more humanitarian, democratic, and effective way towards Native Americans?

  7. Identify the grievances farmers had toward industries like mining, railroads, and banks. What steps did they take to gain more rights?

  8. Evaluate the rise and fall of the Populist Party. Analyze how reforms of the Populist translated into eastern Progressive reforms.

  9. How did new inventions and technologies influence American life at the turn of the century?

  10. Explain how the industrial boom of the late 19th century led to changes in the relationship between business, worker, and consumer.

  11. What were the causes and effects of new immigration during the Gilded Age? Why did it result in a surge in nativism?

  12. Explain how the Gilded Age fostered the consolidation of business, the government, and disadvantaged economic and social classes.

  13. What strategies enabled big business to eliminate competition and limit the power of labor unions?

  14. Give examples of how the Progressive movement partially succeeded in improving life for average Americans by curbing big business, making the government more responsive to the will of the people, and enacting social welfare legislation.

  15. Rank the Presidents/Parties in order from Most to Least Progressive. Explain each of your rankings with specific evidence.

  16. What were the most successful Progressive reforms? What were the limitations of the Progressive movement?



Unit 2 – Imperialism and Isolationism


  1. Trace how the United States became increasingly active and aggressive in world affairs from 1890 to 1918.

  2. What three factors spurred the new American Imperialism? Which was the strongest?

  3. How were the foreign policy philosophies of McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson different?

  4. Explain the causes and effects of the Spanish-American War.

  5. In which situations was the U.S. most/least justified in the desire for acquisition or intervention? In which situations did the U.S. use methods that would be considered acceptable/unacceptable by today’s standards?

  6. Identify the long-term and immediate causes of WWI.

  7. Why did the U.S. get involved in a world war? Should we have gotten involved sooner?

  8. How did the United States prepare for and “sell” the war at home? How did the war impact citizens on the homefront?

  9. Explain the debate over the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations.

  10. What were the major international consequences of WWI?

  11. Analyze nativism, racism, and the fear of communism after World War I.

  12. Explain how WWI resulted in isolationist foreign policy and conservative domestic policy in the 1920s. Give specific examples of each.



Unit 3 – Speakeasies and Hoovervilles


  1. Explain the lasting impact of traditional vs. modern clashes during the 1920s, like the role of women, the Scopes Trial, prohibition, etc.

  2. Why did disillusionment with the idealism of World War I lead Americans to fear change and difference and to retreat into a superficial shell of self-satisfaction in the 1920s?

  3. What were some of the important African American achievements during the Twenties?

  4. What evidence suggests that the prosperity of the 1920s was not built on a firm foundation? What lessons did Americans learn from the economic mistakes of the Twenties?

  5. What factors caused or contributed to the Great Depression?

  6. Compare and contrast Hoover and FDR in terms of their philosophies, actions, and public relations.

  7. How did Roosevelt change the role of the federal government during his first Hundred Days in office?

  8. Explain how the Great Depression and New Deal led to the expectation of government intervention to maintain the economic stability of the nation.

  9. Examine the impact of the Great Depression on various groups of Americans.

  10. Identify examples of the Three Rs of the New Deal: Relief, Recovery, and Reform.

  11. What federal agencies were created to help farmers? Businesses? The unemployed?

  12. What were the strengths and weaknesses of the New Deal? Who were the biggest supporters and critics of the New Deal?

  13. Explain the long-term effects of the New Deal on the power and scope of the federal government.



Unit 4 – From D-Day to Doomsday

  1. How did the Versailles Treaty and the Great Depression contribute to the rise of dictators in Europe?

  2. What factors led to German expansion in Europe and Japanese expansion in the Pacific?

  3. Trace the progression of the Holocaust and the international response to help the victims.

  4. Why did the U.S. stay neutral in the war for so long? Trace how the U.S. became increasingly involved in the war.

  5. How did the U. S. mobilize for war after Pearl Harbor?

  6. Describe the basic strategy of the U. S. during WWII in both the European and Pacific fronts.

  7. Analyze how the war impacted various groups of people on the home front – women, minorities, workers.

  8. Examine why the US ended the war using the atomic bomb.

  9. Explain the factors at the end of WWII that led to the Cold War and the U.S.’s goal of containment.

  10. Assess the early years of the Cold War in terms of American victories, setback, and failures.

  11. What caused the second Red Scare and how did it affect the civil liberties of Americans?

  12. What events brought the U.S. and the Soviet Union to the “brink” of nuclear war? When did they use diplomacy to decrease tensions?

  13. What were the positives and negatives of 1950s American culture?



Unit 5 – Crisis of Authority

  1. Identify the social, economic, and political inequality that existed for African Americans in the United States.

  2. Explain why the philosophy that the government was a legitimate agent of social welfare and change became firmly embedded in the American mind between World War II and 1968.

  3. Compare MLK and Malcolm X’s philosophies. Which strategies were most successful in achieving the goals of the Civil Rights movement?

  4. Describe the major organizations, leaders, and events of the Civil Rights movement.

  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of civil rights legislation and Supreme Court decisions.

  6. What were the goals of LBJ’s Great Society? What government actions were taken to meet those goals?

  7. How did civil rights evolve for other minority groups in the U.S. – women, Native Americans, Latinos?

  8. Why did the Cold War lead the United States to pursue an ambivalent policy of confrontation, negotiation, and preventive maintenance between 1945 and 1970? Give specific examples of each.

  9. Which events increased tensions with the Soviet Union, and which event decreased tensions?

  10. Contrast Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon's foreign policies. Give specific examples of each.

  11. Trace the escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam as a result of Cold War policy in Asia.

  12. Why was the mission in Vietnam both unpopular and unsuccessful?

  13. How did the conflict affect American government and society?

  14. What were Nixon’s strengths and weaknesses as president? Include examples from domestic and foreign policy.

  15. Explain the events and outcome of the Watergate scandal.

  16. Describe the long-term effect of Nixon’s resignation on American politics.


Unit 6 – New Hopes, New Fears

  1. Compare Reagan and Clinton – What are the similarities and differences between Conservative Republicans and New Democrats?

  2. Explain the public’s disillusionment over social issues and democratic ideals coupled with its recognition of the limitations of the federal government’s abilities to solve social problems in the 1960s and early 1970s. Why did this lead to a resurgence of conservative ideology in the 1980s?

  3. What were the policies and events that brought about an end to the Cold War?

  4. What U. S. actions and world events reflected the identity of America as “The superpower” of the world during this time period? What events and trends challenged that notion of U. S. superiority and power?

  5. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, why has the US struggled to find a cohesive foreign policy that both minimizes our intervention and protects our global and national interests?

  6. Trace the War on Terrorism from September 11th through the War in Afghanistan.

  7. Explain how U.S. interests in Israel and oil have resulted in increasing involvement in the Middle East. How has the U.S. approached this problem over time?

  8. Compare and contrast the Gulf War with the Iraq War. Include both causes and effects.

  9. How did technological developments between 1950 and 2000 radically alter the economic, social, and moral fiber of the nation?

  10. What led to the prosperity of the 1990s and the recession in the new 21st century?

  11. How are energy consumption and sources of energy at odds with environmental concerns?

  12. How did population trends, including the “graying” of the baby boomers and the growth of minority populations in the U. S., affect U. S. culture and policies during the era?


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