CLEP US History I Practice Test Questions

1. Which of the following was/were not dispatch rider(s) notifying Americans of British troop movements reported by American surveillance in 1775?

(a) Paul Revere
(b) William Dawes
(c) John Parker
(d) (a) and (b)
(e) (a), (b), and (c) were all dispatch riders.

2. Which of the following was/were British generals who came to Boston in May of 1775 to push General Thomas Gage to become more aggressive toward the American colonists?

(a) William Howe
(b) Henry Clinton
(c) John Burgoyne
(d) (a) and (c) only
(e) (a), (b), and (c)

3. When Americans captured Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain, who was/were leading them?

(a) Ethan Allen
(b) Benedict Arnold
(c) Richard Montgomery
(d) (a), (b), and (c)
(e) (a) and (b) only

4. Which of the following events happened earliest on the eve of the American Revolution?

(a) The Declaration of Independence, drafted mainly by Thomas Jefferson, was officially taken up by America’s Second Continental Congress.
(b) Thomas Paine published his famous pamphlet, Common Sense, influencing even more moderate Americans to agree upon independence.
(c) The Second Continental Congress issued the “Olive Branch Petition,” begging King George III to ask Parliament to make peace with them.
(d) King George III of England approved the Prohibitory Act, an official declaration that the colonists were in rebellion and no longer protected.
(e) Virginia’s Richard Henry Lee submitted several resolutions to Congress proposing American independence and a formal government.

5. Which of the following battles was/were won by George Washington against the British?

(a) Long Island and Washington Heights, New York
(b) Trenton and Princeton, New Jersey
(c) Both (a) and (b)
(d) Neither (a) nor (b); they were all losses.
(e) Neither (a) not (b); Washington led no battles at these places.

6. Which of the following battles persuaded France to enter America’s war against Britain?

(a) The Battle of Saratoga
(b) The Battle of Brandywine Creek
(c) The Battle of Oriskany
(d) The Battle of Bennington
(e) None of the above

7. Which of the following statements is accurate concerning the Battle of Yorktown?

(a) General Cornwallis won a victory in Yorktown, Virginia, overlooking Chesapeake Bay.
(b) Washington’s army defeated Cornwallis’s troops single handedly in Yorktown, Virginia.
(c) Cornwallis’s and Washington’s troops fought for three weeks to an indecisive conclusion.
(d) Washington defeated Cornwallis with the help of a French naval fleet and a French land army.
(e) None of the above

8. The 1783 Treaty of Paris included which of the following agreements?

(a) Boundaries were established for the United States, including the southern tip of Florida as the southernmost boundary.
(b) Britain was allowed to keep both Canada and Florida as imperial British territories under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.
(c) The treaty stipulated that all private creditors in Britain were prohibited from making future debt collections from Americans.
(d) Property of loyalists that was confiscated by American states was allowed by Congress to be kept by the states in this treaty.
(e) Britain and the other most powerful countries of Europe recognized the United States’ independence as a nation.

9. Which of the following is true concerning the formation of new state governments in the new United States of America following freedom from British rule?

(a) By the end of 1777, new constitutions had been created for twelve of the American states.
(b) The states of Connecticut and Massachusetts retained their colonial charters, minus the British parts.
(c) The state of Massachusetts required a special convention for its constitution, setting a good example.
(d) The state of Massachusetts did not formally begin to use its new constitution until 1778.
(e) Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia all started with viable constitutions with checks and balances.

10. Which of these statements is incorrect regarding the Northwest Ordinance?

(a) Congress officially passed this ordinance in 1785.
(b) This ordinance provided a bill of rights for settlers.
(c) This law stopped slavery north of the Ohio River.
(d) This law allowed some territories to become states.
(e) All of the above statements are correct.

CLEP US History I Practice Question Answer Key

  1. The correct answer is (d). Paul Revere (a) and William Dawes (b) were both dispatch riders who set out on horseback from Massachusetts to spread news of British troop movements across the American countryside around the beginning of the War of Independence. John Parker (c) was the captain of the Minutemen militia, who were waiting for the British at Lexington, Massachusetts. Since (d) is correct, (e) is incorrect.
  2. The correct answer is (e). General William Howe (a), General Henry Clinton (b), and General John Burgoyne (c) were all British generals who came to Boston in May of 1775 to push General Gage to pursue further aggression against Americans. Since (e) is correct, (d), (a and c only) is incorrect.
  3. The correct answer is (e). Only (a) and (b) are correct. Ethan Allen (a) and Benedict Arnold (b) led the troops that captured Fort Ticonderoga in May of 1775. Following this victory, on December 31 of 1775, General Richard Montgomery (c) led an expedition to Montreal and Quebec to try to enlist the aid of Canada in America’s resistance to Britain. This expedition met with another expedition led by Benedict Arnold. Their assault on Quebec was not successful. Montgomery was killed and Arnold was wounded. Since answer (e) is correct, answer (d) (a, b, and c) is incorrect.
  4. The correct answer is (c). The earliest event was the Second Continental Congress issuing the “Declaration of the Causes and Necessity for Taking up Arms” and sending the “Olive Branch Petition” to King George III, begging him to make peace with the American colonies. This took place in May of 1775. Following this, the King ignored the request for peace and approved the Prohibitory Act, declaring America to be in rebellion and thus not protected by him (d). This also took place in 1775. The next event chronologically in this list was (b). Thomas Paine published Common Sense in January of 1776, which urged Americans to vie immediately for independence from England. On June 7, 1776, (e) Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented his resolutions for American independence and for a formal American government to Congress. On July 4, 1776, (a) America’s Second Continental Congress officially accepted the Declaration of Independence.
  5. The correct answer is (b). Washington defeated Hessian (German) troops who fought for the British at Trenton, New Jersey, on December 25, 1776. His troops also defeated British troops at Princeton, New Jersey, on January 3, 1777. Prior to these victories, Washington’s troops lost to the British at the Battle of Long Island, New York, on August 27, 1776, and at the Battle of Washington Heights, New York, on August 29 and August 30, 1776 (a). As Washington lost the New York battles and won the New Jersey battles, answer (c) is incorrect. Since the two victories in New Jersey (b) were not losses, answer (d) is incorrect. Since George Washington led battles at all four of these locations, answer (e) is incorrect.
  6. The correct answer is (a). At the Battle of Saratoga, aided greatly by Benedict Arnold’s leadership, the troops of American General Horatio Gates defeated British General John Burgoyne’s troops at Saratoga, New York, on October 17, 1777. After witnessing this victory by the Americans, France entered the war against Britain to support the Americans. Earlier, at Brandywine Creek (b), on September 1, 1777, George Washington was unable to stop British General William Howe from advancing to occupy Philadelphia. A bit earlier still, at the Battle of Oriskany (c) on August 6, 1777, British troops and Iroquois Indians led by Colonel Barry St. Leger defeated and killed America’s General Nicholas Herkimer, but then had to retreat to Canada. Following this, in the middle of August 1777, the New England militia, commanded by General John Stark, defeated one of British General Burgoyne’s detachments near Bennington, Vermont (d). (Note: the Battle of Saratoga was the last battle to take place out of the choices presented.) Since (a) is correct, answer (e) is incorrect.
  7. The correct answer is (d). Washington’s troops received support from a French naval fleet that took over Chesapeake Bay to stop Cornwallis from attacking Yorktown via water. Washington’s troops also received support from a French army that helped Washington’s men stop Cornwallis’s troops from advancing via land routes to Yorktown. Cornwallis surrendered to Washington on October 17, 1781. Answer (a) is incorrect because Cornwallis did not win this battle. Answer (b) is incorrect because Washington’s army did not win the battle single handedly, but rather with help from French allies. Answer (c) is incorrect because although Cornwallis and Washington did go through a three-week siege, the conclusion was not indecisive. It was decidedly in favor of the Americans. Because answer (d) is correct, answer (e) is incorrect.
  8. The correct answer is (e). The Treaty of Paris of 1783 did state that Britain and the other leading European countries now recognized the United States of America as an independent country. This treaty also set boundaries, but the southern tip of Florida was not the southern boundary (a). It was the northern boundary of Florida, which became a Spanish territory. Therefore, it is not true that Britain kept both Canada and Florida under this treaty (b). Canada did remain a British territory under its terms, but Britain had to cede Florida to Spain. The Treaty of Paris also gave private British creditors freedom to collect debts from Americans, not the reverse (c). The treaty also stipulated that property confiscated from loyalists during the war should be given back, not kept (d). Other terms of the Treaty of Paris included that the western boundary of the United States would be the Mississippi River.
  9. The correct answer is (c). Massachusetts did set a valuable example for other states by stipulating that its constitution should be created via a special convention rather than via the legislature. This way, the constitution would take precedence over the legislature, which would be subject to the rules of the constitution. It is not true that twelve states had new constitutions by the end of 1777 (a). By this time, ten of the states had new constitutions. It is not true that Connecticut and Massachusetts retained their colonial charters minus the British parts (b). Connecticut and Rhode Island were the states that preserved their colonial charters. They simply removed any parts referring to British rule. Massachusetts did not formalize its new constitution in 1778 (d). This state did not actually finish the process of adopting its new constitution until 1780. Finally, it is not true that Pennsylvania began with a viable constitution featuring checks and balances (e). It is true that Maryland and Virginia did initially provide such workable constitutions. Pennsylvania, however, began with such a hyper-democratic document with so little in the way of checks and balances that officials found it impossible to manage and quickly got rid of it, eventually coming up with a more reasonable constitution.
  10. The correct answer is (a). It is incorrect that the Northwest Ordinance was passed by Congress in 1785. The Northwest Ordinance was passed in 1787. (Note: The Land Ordinance of 1785 is sometimes called the “Northwest Ordinance of 1785,” which can be confusing. However, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 is more commonly known as the Northwest Ordinance.) Three land ordinances were passed between 1784 and 1787 to expedite the settlement of land north of the Ohio River after Daniel Boone opened the Wilderness Road to Kentucky and Tennessee. The three ordinances were The Land Ordinance of 1784, the Land Ordinance of 1785, and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. It is true that the Northwest Ordinance included a bill of rights for settlers (b). The Northwest Ordinance also prohibited slavery north of the Ohio River (c). In addition, the Northwest Ordinance had a provision that three to five territories could be created within its jurisdiction, and could gain admission to the union when their populations were large enough to become states (d). Because (a) is an incorrect statement, answer (e) is incorrect.


Last Updated: June 3, 2019