75 United States History Regents Review Questions Use your review book and other sources to answers these questions. Knowing the answers will be an excellent start in preparing for the Regents examination.
1. Why was the Declaration of Independence written?
2. Why did the Articles of Confederation want a weak central government?
3.. List and briefly explain 3 compromises that were used by delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to settle important disputes.
4. Why is the U.S. Constitution referred to as a ‘living document”?
5. What is the main difference between the Articles and the Constitution?
6. Why were three branches of government created?
7. What is the purpose of the Bill of Rights?
8 How did Hamilton’s financial plan put the new nation on a sound financial footing?
9. Briefly explain the concept of judicial review as outlined in Marbury v. Madison.
10. What was the main difference between the Federalists and anti Federalists?
11. What did Washington advise for early American foreign policy?
12. What was the purpose of the Monroe Doctrine?
13. Why was Andrew Jackson criticized?
14. What did American Manifest Destiny mean for Native Americans?
15. What was the goal of the women's Seneca Falls Convention of 1848?
16. What was the Abolitionists goal in relation to slavery?
17. What was Lincoln's goal regarding the Civil War?
18. Why did the North win the Civil War?
19. What was the goal of Radical Republicans during Reconstruction ?
20. What did the 13th, 14th, and 15"Amendments accomplish?
21. What did African Americans face during the Reconstruction Era?
22. Why did the Federal Government encourage railroad expansion?
23. What resulted from industrialization (positive and negative) ?
24. What was the purpose of the Clayton and Sherman Antitrust Acts?
25. What happened to small businesses during the Age of Big Business?
26. What led to imperialism during the late 1800's?
27. Why did labor unions form?
28. What did the Wagner Act provide for workers?
29. What was the goal of Nativists?
30. What led to urbanization (growth of cities)?
31. Explain Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal and give an example of how it changed America.
32. Explain Woodrow Wilson’s “new Freedom and give an example of how it changed America.
33. What did the work of Riis and Sinclair show?
34. What was the purpose of the Dawes Act?
35. Why does the Federal Reserve regulate interest rates?
36. What was the purpose of the Open Door Policy?
37. What was the goal of the Progressive Movement?
38. Why was the progressive Populist Party considered successful?
39. What was the US policy in Latin America in the early 1900's?
40. Explain how a “progressive income tax works and also how it increased the power of the federal government.
41. Despite initial neutrality, what led to US entry into WWI?
42. Why did the US reject the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations?
43. What was the US foreign policy in the 1930's?
44. Why did the term "Roaring 20's" become coined?
45. What caused the Great Depression?
46. What do movies and novels created during the Great Depression show?
47. Why didn't Hoover create a widespread federal relief program?
48. What is the purpose of FDR's (Roosevelt's) New Deal?
49. What happens to the role of the Federal Government as a result of the New Deal?
50. What were two causes of World War II?
51. What was US foreign policy prior to entry in WWII?
52. What does the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII show?
53. Why was the United Nations created?
54. Why did the Cold War develop?
55. What was the US policy towards communism (Eisenhower/ Truman)?
56. What was the purpose of NATO?
57. What was McCarthyism?
58. What was the goal of Johnson's Great Society?
59. Why was Brown v. Bd. Of Ed. such an important decision for post WW2 America?
60. Explain (with an example) MLK’s concept of civil disobedience used during the Civil Rights movement?
61. Who was Ho Chi Minh and what role did he play in the Vietnam War?
62. How were women, young people and African-Americans affected by the social changes in the ‘60’s?
63. Why did protests begin during US involvement in Vietnam?
64. Compare MLK and Malcolm X and their views on racial equality.
65. What resulted from the Watergate scandal?
66. What was the policy of Detente?
67. What were the Camp David Accords?
68. What was the goal of Reagan's "Supply Side" economics?
69. Why did US troops enter the Persian Gulf area?
70. Why did Clinton maintain a high approval rating despite personal scandal?
71. What is the goal of NAFTA?
72. Describe the Iran-Contra scandal and how it affected the Reagan presidency.
73. What happened in the Iranian Hostage Crisis?
74. Why is Social Security threatened?
75. How has the Federal Government dealt with the disabled and handicapped population?
An Outline of American History Colonial Experience (1600's 1700's)
Town meetings were steps in the growth of representative democracy
Colonies provided G. Britain with raw materials and markets for British goods
In the 18th Century, America and Britain both had a common law legal system
Declaration of Independence (1776)
the Declaration of Independence presented a clear statement of the social contract theory of government
the primary function of government is to protect the natural rights of citizens
Articles of Confederation (1781)
Initial plan that created a weak federal government to maintain states' rights
A criticism of the Articles of Confederation is that too much power was given to individual states as opposed to the Federal Government
The Articles implied that a strong central gov't threatens the rights of people
The Articles established a government with a unicameral legislature but no Executive or Judicial branches
The Constitution (1787)
New contract replacing the Articles that strengthened the federal government
governments get their authority from the people
ideas of life, liberty, and happiness came from John Locke
the writers wanted to balance individual liberties with the needs of the nation
the Constitution solved a problem that existed under the Articles of Confederation by providing for Federal control of interstate commerce
14thAmendment allowed the Nat'l Gov't to place restrictions on state govt's
influenced by Locke and Montesquieu's desire for limits on power of gov't
the Preamble explains that people are the true source of political power
The Articles and Constitution both provide for a legislature to make laws
"Consent of the Governed" concept is from the European Enlightenment
The Great Compromise settled the debate over representation in Congress
Branches of Government
The Constitution created a national government with three branches
The Constitution provided for checks and balances because its writers feared a concentration of political power
Separation of Powers was needed to prevent the same man or group from having executive, legislative, and judicial control
Checks and balances prevented one branch from becoming too powerful
The Federal form of government divided power between levels of government
Democratic commitment shown by election of the House of Representatives
The Supreme Court's judgements may determine the effect of the law
An argument vs. a presidential line item veto is lack of checks and balances
US troops in Bosnia help bring political stability to the area
The Medicare Act and Disabilities Act show that New Deal principles continue to have a significant influence on later legislation
The amount of materials recycled has increased over the years
Nuclear Proliferation (spread of weapons) threatens humankind
The aging of the "baby boom" generation will most likely result in an increase in Social Security spending
In order to deal with the aging population, the Federal Government will increase and expand the Medicare program
CONTENTS OF THE CONSTITUTION Original Articles of the Constitution PREAMBLE
We the Peopleof the United States, 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 ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Article 1 The Legislature
Article 2 The Executive Department
Article 3 The Judicial Department
Article 4 Relations among States
Article 5 Amending the Constitution
Article 6 Role of National Government
Article 7 Ratification
Amendments to the Constitution Amendment 1 Religious and Political Freedom
IMPORTANT SUPREME COURT CASES 1. Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Established the right of judicial review. It was the first time a law or portion of a law was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice was John Marshall.
2. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Established the right of the federal government to tax a bank incorporated within a state. It also established the fact that a state may not tax a branch of the United States bank that is located in that state. "The power to tax is the power to destroy." This statement was made in the majority decision in an effort to point out that if a state could tax a part of the federal government, it could severely weaken it.
3. Gibbons v. Ogden (l 857)
Established the supremacy of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce.
4. Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)
declared that slaves would remain slaves, whether or not they traveled to free states from slave states. The Supreme Court stated that slaves did not have rights of citizens, but were property of their owners.
5. Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
Supreme Court declared that separate public facilities for blacks were legal as long as they were equal. This in effect upheld legal segregation in society. Segregation that is allowed by the law is known as De Juris Segregation. (An example of de juris segregation was Apartheid in South Africa.)
6. Schenck v. United States (1919)
Schenck's right to freedom of press was restricted. He had sent pamphlets through the mail urging young men to resist the draft during World War I. The court ruled that unlimited freedom of the press or speech under these circumstances presented a "clear and present danger" to the nation. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated, "You can't yell fire in a crowded theater."
7. West Virginia v. Barnette (1943)
As Jehovah's Witnesses, Barnette claimed that it was a violation of the right to freedom of religion to be forced to salute the flag, which required in the public schools of West Virginia. The Supreme Court decided in their favor.
8. Korematsu v. United States (1944)
Supreme Court ruled that the removal of the Japanese Americans in California to internment camps away from the West Coast during World War II was unconstitutional.
NOTE: From 1953 1969, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was Earl Warren. The Court under his leadership was known for judicial activism. It ruled in many areas of controversy, including the rights of the accused and civil rights. Many of its decisions changed the social fabric of the nation. (Cases 9 15) 9. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954)
ended once and for all de juris segregation in the United States. The majority opinion stated that "separate but equal was inherently unequal." This decision reversed the decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).
10. Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
Supreme Court ruled that if police are to search a person's home, they must have a search warrant. The evidence presented in a court from an illegal search and seizure would be inadmissible. This was based upon the 4'h Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.
11. Engel v. Vitale (l962)
First in a series of several Supreme Court decisions declaring the use of prayers in public schools as unconstitutional. The Court decided that school prayers were a violation of the separation of church and state established by the First Amendment of the Constitution.
12. Baker v. Carr (1962)
Supreme Court decided that districts within the Unites States that were established for determining representation in legislative bodies must be established so that they area approximately equal. This became known as the "one man, one vote" principle.
13. Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
Supreme Court ruled that all people accused of crimes have the right to an attorney at the time of trial. If a person accused of a crime could not afford one (as in this case) it is the obligation of the court to provide one, free of charge. The 6thAmendment, which outlines the elements of a fair trial, was applied in this case. In addition, the 14th Amendment as it applied to states was used.
14. Escobedo v. Illinois (1964)
Supreme Court ruled that a person accused of a crime must have the right to an attorney at the time of questioning by the police. This is to protect an accused person's right against self incrimination as outlined by the 5th Amendment.
15. Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Supreme Court ruled that a person, when arrested for a crime, must be informed of their rights at the time of the arrest. The warnings by the police must include: (1) the right to remain silent; (2) the right to an attorney; (3) the right to know that anything you say will be used against them in court; (4) the right to have an attorney even if they cannot afford one, etc. These warnings became known as the Miranda Warnings.
16. Wade v. Roe (1973)
The ruling in this case established that a woman had the right to an abortion on demand within the first two trimesters of the pregnancy.
17. United States v. Nixon (1973)
As a result of the Watergate investigation, President Richard Nixon claimed executive privilege in the matter of turning over White House tape recordings to Congress. As a result the Supreme Court resolved the dispute between two branches of government.
18. University of California v. Bakke (1978)
The Supreme Court ruled that while the use of affirmative action programs are legal, they must apply them in such a way that the rights of others are not violated.
19. New Jersey v. TLO (1985)
Notable Presidents of the United States
Years in office: 1789 1797
No political party
Elected from: Virginia
Vice Pres: John Adams
Commanded the Continental army during the American Revolution
President of the Constitutional Convention
Set precedents that were followed by other
Presidents, such as forming a cabinet
Strengthened new government through support of Hamilton's financial policies and use of force against the Whiskey Rebellion
Kept peace through Proclamation of Neutrality and Jay Treaty
Set basis of U.S. foreign policy in his Farewell Address
Years in office: 1797 1801
Vice Pres: Thomas Jefferson
American Revolution leader who protested Stamp Act
Helped draft Declaration of Independence
President during times of war in Europe
Alien and Sedition Acts contributed to his unpopularity and the fall of his party
Years in office: 1801 1809
Elected from: Virginia
Vice Pres: Aaron Burr,
Major author of the Declaration of Independence
Favored limited, decentralized government
Opposed Hamilton's financial plan and Alien and Sedition Acts
Approved the Louisiana Purchase from France, which doubled the size of the nation
Years in office: 1809 1817
Elected from: Virginia
Vice Pres: George Clinton,
Called the Father of the Constitution
One author of the Virginia Plan; his journals provide a record of events at the Constitutional Convention
Made decision to drop two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945 to end World War II
Began the policy of containment of communism with the Truman Doctrine
Supported economic recovery in Europe through the Marshall Plan
Continued the New Deal philosophy with his Fair Deal
Entered into the Korean War during his presidency
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Years in office: 1953 1961
Elected from: New York
Vice Pres: Richard M. Nixon
Allied commander of forces in Europe during World War II
Issued Eisenhower Doctrine
Approved Saint Lawrence Seaway and 1956 Federal Highway Act
Sent troops to Little Rock to enforce school desegregation
In office when Alaska and Hawaii became 49thand 50thstates
John F. Kennedy
Years in office: 1961 1963
Elected from: Massachusetts
Promoted the New Frontier program (which centered on containment), the Peace Corps, and the Alliance for Progress
Successfully resolved the Cuban missile crisis
Began the Apollo program which landed Americans on the moon by 1969
Assassinated in 1963
Lyndon B. Johnson
Years in office: 1963 1969
Elected from: Texas
Vice Pres: Hubert Humphrey
Promoted anti-poverty programs and civil rights through his Great Society program
Used the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to expand the Vietnam War
Division over his war policy led to his decision not to seek reelection
President during a period of active civil rights movements for African-Americans and women
Richard M. Nixon
Years in office: 1969 1974
Elected from: New York
Vice Pres: Spiro Agnew,
Gerald R. Ford
Vietnamization" policy and increased bombing followed by a 1973 cease fire in Vietnam
Relaxed relations with USSR and the People's Republic of China
Resigned as President because of Watergate affair
Years in office: 1981 1989
Elected from: California
Vice Pres: George H.W. Bush
Conservative President whose New Federation took a conservative viewpoint on social issues, such as abortion and prayer in school
Based his supply side economic policy (or "Reaganomics") on the belief that government can destroy individual initiative
Presidency marked by huge trade and federal budget deficits
Arms control agreement signed with the USSR after summit meetings in 1985, 1986, and 1987. Credited with helping to bring an end to the Cold War.
Foreign policy aimed at keeping communism out of Latin America
Popularity damaged and foreign policy weakened by Iran Contra scandal
George H. W. Bush
Years in office: 1989 1993
Elected from: Texas
Vice Pres: J. Danforth Quayle
Inherited the budget deficits, savings and loan scandals, and legacy of Iran Contra Affair from the Regan administration
In office when cold war ended, and Communist governments in Eastern Europe and Soviet Union fell
Ordered troops into Panama against Noriega
Led the United States and an international force against Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf War
William (Bill) Clinton
Years in office: 1993 2000
Elected from: Arkansas
Vice Pres: Albert Gore, Jr.
First Democrat elected to two presidential terms since Franklin Roosevelt
Domestic policies centered on health care and social security reform, as well as economic issues, such as reduction of the national deficit
Secured approval of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
Participated in air war against Iraq and Serbia; twice ordered U.S. troops to the former Yugoslavia to enforce peace agreements
Administration troubled by a series of investigations into potential scandals, culminating in his impeachment in December 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. He was acquitted by the Senate.