CLEP US History II Practice Test Questions

1. What was not a characteristic of the “city machines” that arose as a result of rapid urban growth in the late 1800s?
(a) A high degree of organization
(b) A high degree of corruption
(c) A high degree of efficiency
(d) A high degree of wealth
(e) A high degree of power
2. Which of the following was not one of the structural reforms to city governments that began in the 1890s?
(a) City manager jobs
(b) City commissions
(c) Citywide elections
(d) Nonpartisan elections
(e) These were all reforms.
3. Of the following, which was not a national political issue for 1880s America?
(a) Civil service reform
(b) The gold standard
(c) Protective tariffs
(d) Women’s suffrage
(e) Railroad regulation
4. Which is true about the US government between 1877 and 1901?
(a) Congress had more influence during this time than the presidents had.
(b) Most presidents had more control during this time than Congress had.
(c) Democrats mostly dominated the Senate, House, and presidency at this time.
(d) Republicans mostly had control of the presidency and Congress at this time.
(e) The presidents and Congress tended to have an equal balance of power.
5. Which answer correctly lists the following US presidents in chronological order?
(a) McKinley, Harrison, Arthur, Cleveland, Hayes, Garfield
(b) Hayes, Arthur, McKinley, Garfield, Harrison, Cleveland
(c) Garfield, Hayes, Cleveland, McKinley, Arthur, Harrison
(d) Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison, McKinley
(e) Cleveland, Garfield, Hayes, Harrison, McKinley, Arthur
6. Which of the following had the least influence on the formation of the national Populist Party between the 1860s and the 1890s?
(a) A very large drop in wheat prices
(b) The organization of the Granges
(c) The formation of the Farmers’ Alliances
(d) The 1890 Kansas state elections
(e) These all had an equal influence.
7. Which political party nominated William Jennings Bryan for president in the 1896 election?
(a) The Democrats
(b) The Republicans
(c) The Populists
(d) Both (b) and (c)
(e) Both (a) and (c)
8. Which of the following was not an influence on the development of the Progressive Era in the early 20th century?
(a) Alfred T. Mahan’s book, The Influence of Sea Power upon History
(b) Lincoln Steffens’ book, The Shame of the Cities
(c) Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle
(d) Author and reformer W.E.B. Du Bois’ founding of the NAACP
(e) Wisconsin Governor Robert M. LaFollette’s state policy changes
9. Which of the following laws was not passed by President Theodore Roosevelt?
(a) The Hepburn Act
(b) The Meat Inspection Act
(c) The Clayton Antitrust Act
(d) The Pure Food and Drug Act
(e) The National Reclamation Act
10. Which action by President William Howard Taft was not in the spirit of Progressive reform?
(a) His signing the Paine-Aldrich Tariff
(b) His support of the Mann-Elkins Act
(c) His enacting the Sixteenth Amendment
(d) His enacting the Seventeenth Amendment
(e) None of these actions supported reform.

CLEP US History II Practice Question Answer Key

  1. A high degree of efficiency, (c), was not a characteristic of the “city machines” of the late 1800s.. The city machines were political organizations that were highly organized (a) but also notoriously corrupt (b). The city machines’ “bosses” did attain substantial wealth (d) and power (e) through their corruption. These officials typically received bribes and kickbacks for public works agreements. They also traded jobs and legal services to citizens, mostly new immigrants, for votes to keep them in office. Despite their organized character, the city machines were not known for being efficient, since self-interest of the bosses and their cronies came before interest in the public good. Reformers spoke out against the city machines, resulting in the introduction of different forms of government and other changes in the 1890s.
  2. All the answers listed (e) were structural reforms introduced for city governance in the 1890s. As an alternative to overly powerful, corrupt “bosses,” the position of city manager (a) was introduced to help run city administrations. Another form of government introduced was the formation of commissions (b) to organize and manage the cities. Elections at the city level (c) were also instituted to give residents a vote instead of being stuck with whatever “boss” had garnered enough power by making deals to maintain control of the city. Citywide elections were also made nonpartisan (d) so that party politics could no longer keep the same administration in power, as corruption tools, such as bribery and graft had served to keep “bosses” in power.
  3. The gold standard (b) was not a national political issue in the 1880s as it had been restored by 1878. Silver, not gold, was a national political issue in the 1880s. After an 1873 law prohibited government purchase or coining of silver, farmers lobbied for monetizing silver in order to push inflation in their favor. Both the Bland-Allison Act (1878) and Sherman Silver Purchase Act (1890) attempted to address the concerns.. However, neither of these bills proved sufficient to make proponents of silver happy. Civil service reform (a) was also a national political issue in the 1880s due to the corruption of Grant’s administration and in response to the assassination of President Garfield in 1881.. The assassin was motivated by being denied a civil service job. Congress responded by passing the Pendleton Civil Service Act in 1882. This law established a set of tests by which applicants could compete for civil service jobs. Only about 10% of government jobs were covered by these tests, but the Pendleton act was a clear start to reform in instituting fair and objective criteria for employment in some civil service positions. Another national political issue at this time was tariffs (c). High protective tariffs on commodities resulted in a federal treasury surplus. Republicans were for these tariffs, but Democrats contended the tariffs unfairly gave advantages to manufacturers and disadvantages to farmers. The Democrats were unable to relieve these inequities, since the McKinley Tariff, passed in 1890, and the Dingley Tariff, passed in 1897, increased tax rates further. The issue of women’s suffrage (d) was also a national political concern at this time. The National Woman Suffrage Association joined with the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890, and the combined organization, National American Woman Suffrage Association, campaigned for women’s rights to vote and for legal reforms to benefit women. While full suffrage was note granted until 1920, women were granted the rights to vote in school elections in 19 states and to vote on tax and bond issues in three states by 1890. During this time, regulation of the railroads (e) was a national political issue as well. Railroads varied their shipping prices. As might be expected, larger shippers got better deals. Farmers and other small groups demanded that the government regulate railroads. The Interstate Commerce Act, passed in 1887, banned a number of discriminatory practices and formed the Interstate Commerce Commission for oversight of railroads. Unfortunately this act was significantly diluted by court rulings.
  4. The true answer is (a): Between 1877 and 1901, the six presidents who held office did not have much influence on American politics when compared to Congress. Therefore answer (b) is incorrect. Congress and the presidency were not controlled most of the time by either the Democratic (c) or Republican (d) parties. There were only three spans of two years each when one party controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency. Since (a) is correct, (e) is incorrect.
  5. The correct chronological order of the presidents who served between 1877-1901 is (d): Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison, and McKinley. Rutherford B. Hayes held office from 1877-1881. James Garfield was President in 1881; he was assassinated in the same year he was inaugurated. Chester Allan Arthur succeeded Garfield in 1881 and held office until 1885. In 1885, Grover Cleveland was elected and served until 1889. Benjamin Harrison was President from 1889-1893. In 1893, Grover Cleveland was elected to a second term and served from 1893-1897. William McKinley then held office from 1897-1901. After serving the four-year term, McKinley was reelected in 1900, but he was assassinated in 1901. Answers (a), (b), (c), and (e) are not in the correct chronological order.
  6. The farmers’ organization of the Granges (b) had the least influence, relatively, on the formation of the Populist (People’s) Party as a national party. Granges began as social organizations. Between 1860-1880, Granges formed sales cooperatives and lobbied for legislation to regulate storage and transport of grain. However, their efforts were largely unsuccessful. By the 1880s, the Granges returned to their original form as social organizations. Though they did not succeed politically, Granges were formed in reaction to a dramatic decline in wheat prices (a), and the Farmers’ Alliances (c) were formed for the same reason. However, the Farmers’ Alliances were more successful politically. They influenced the government to build “sub treasuries” or warehouses to store crops in return for credit. Moreover, members of a Farmers’ Alliance formed the Populist Party that won the Kansas state elections (d) in 1890, which bolstered to the party to a national position. 27. Answer (e) is correct: Both (a), the Democrats, and (c), the Populists, backed William Jennings Bryan as the presidential candidate. The Republicans (b) nominated Ohio Governor, William McKinley, as their candidate. Therefore answer (d), both (b) and (c), is incorrect as the Republicans did not nominate Bryan. Answers (a), (b), and (c) individually are incorrect as answer (e) [both (a) and (c)] is correct.
  7. William Jennings Bryan was nominated for President by the Democrats and the Populists (e) in 1896. In an election dominated by economic issues after three years of of deep depression, with low prices, high unemployments, failing businesses and violent labor strikes, Jennings was defeated by the Republican candidate, William McKinley.
  8. Alfred T. Mahan’s book, The Influence of Sea Power upon History (a), did not influence the development of the Progressive Era in the early 20th century. Mahan published this book in 1890 to promote the idea of a larger US navy toward the goal of expansionism. Lincoln Steffens’ book, The Shame of the Cities (b), published in 1904, was an exposé of the political “city machines” and helped to stimulate political reform. Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book, The Jungle (c), supported socialism and criticized capitalism while exposing food contamination in the meat packing industry as well as poor treatment and conditions for workers. The passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act in the same year that The Jungle was published were both strongly influenced by Sinclair’s work, so this book directly contributed to the Progressive Era’s reforms. W.E.B. Du Bois’ and others’ founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the NAACP (d), was an effort to reform policies of segregation and was a hallmark of the Progressive Era. The Progressive Era’s atmosphere of reform also enabled the leadership of progressive politicians at the state level. One such leader was Wisconsin Governor LaFollette (e), who passed legislation to affect tax reform, to regulate railroads, and to implement direct political primaries.
  9. The Clayton Anti-Trust Act (c) was passed by President Woodrow Wilson’s administration in 1914. Theodore Roosevelt was President from 1901-1909. Roosevelt passed the Hepburn Act (a) in 1906, giving the Interstate Commerce Commission more power to determine railroad charges. Also in 1906, he passed the Meat Inspection Act (b) to oversee the meat packing industry after Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, exposed its practices and caused public outrage. The same year, Roosevelt’s administration also passed the Pure Food and Drug Act (d) making drug labeling mandatory. In 1902, Roosevelt had passed the National Reclamation Act, or Newlands Reclamation Act (e), to fund irrigation of Western land and expand our national forests by almost 150,000 acres.
  10. President Taft’s signing of the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act (a) was not in the Progressive spirit of reform. Though Taft considered himself a Progressive, in 1909, he passed this tariff, which included compromises allowing protective tariffs that were favored by conservatives in the Republican Party and were too high for manufacturers, farmers, and reformers. He also allowed eliminated certain land protections, which alienated conservationists. Taft’s support of the Mann-Elkins Act (b), passed in1910, was more in the Progressive spirit of reform as it allowed him to bring eighty antitrust suits, gave the Interstate Commerce Commission more regulatory power, and protected more land against public use than even Roosevelt’s administration.. Taft’s administration also enacted the Sixteenth Amendment (c), which legalized income tax, and the Seventeenth Amendment (d), which established direct senatorial elections, both in 1913. Since some of these actions supported reform, (e) is incorrect.


Last Updated: June 18, 2021