5.14 MC Answers and Review

9 min readdecember 17, 2021

AP US History 🇺🇸

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Answers and Review for Multiple Choice Practice on Toward the Civil War and Reconstruction

STOP ⛔ Before you look at the answers, make sure you gave this practice quiz a try so you can assess your understanding of the concepts covered in Unit 5. Click here for the practice questions: AP US History Unit 5 Multiple Choice Questions.

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Facts about the test: The AP US History exam has 55 multiple choice questions and you will be given 55 minutes to complete the section. That means it should take you around 1 minute per question. The following questions were not written by College Board and, although they cover information outlined in the AP US History Course and Exam Description, the formatting on the exam may be different.

1. Which of these did the Compromise of 1850 not include?
A. The establishment of popular sovereignty in the Mexican Cession area gained after the Mexican-American War  
B. The approval for Texas to join the United States
C. California's admission to the United States as a Free State
D. A strengthening of the Fugitive Slave law
Explanation: The Compromise of 1850 had a few major parts; (1) California was admitted to the US as a free state, (2) The areas gained from the Mexican-American War would be governed as the Utah and New Mexico Territories and popular sovereignty would decide their slave status, (3) The slave trade was banned in the District of Columbia (but not slavery itself)
📄 Study Unit 5.4: The Compromise of 1850

2. Which of these best summarizes the idea of Manifest Destiny?
A. God had chosen the United States to spread from the Atlantic Ocean west to the Pacific Ocean
B. The rights of all men, including slaves, should be preserved in the new Constitution
C. That Anglo-Americans are equal to other European colonizers, and thus war should be suspended
D. That Native lands are property of Native nations and should not be annexed without proper documentation
Explanation: The idea of Manifest Destiny was the driving force behind the United States' westward expansion across the continent to untie the coasts for the nation. The justification for taking so much land from the people who were already living there (see Mexicans and Natives and many others) was that God supported this action - it was their responsibility to fulfill God's mission for them and their superior culture.
📄 Study Unit 5.2: Manifest Destiny

3. Which of these best describes the Paternalist Ethos as a justification of slavery?
A. Slaves were more capable of running farms than most free whites, and thus they needed to be excluded from business ownership to prevent competition
B. The lineage of slaves and their offsprings ran through the male line, not the female line, and thus were more stable
C. Slaves produced many offspring and thus were more valuable than free laborers
D. Slave Owners had a responsibility to provide for their inferior slaves, much like a parent does for a child
Explanation: Many proponents of slavery justified the system through moral means. By framing the slave owner as a 'father' to the 'child-like' slaves, they could say they were using Christian morals to educate and provide for their slaves more than they ever could on their own.
📄 Study Unit 5.0: Period 5 Overview

4. Which of these did the Bleeding Kansas event most represent?
A. That violence could successfully be avoided regarding slavery as long as strong government control was adopted
B. The mistrust of and violence toward Catholics in the Protestant United States
C. The failure of Popular Sovereignty to decide issues of slavery
D. That the balance of Free and Slave states in the Senate must be maintained to avoid a Civil War
Explanation: Bleeding Kansas refers to the violence that occurred during Kansas' application for statehood. The Kansas-Nebraska Act established that when those territories applied for statehood they could vote on slave or free status by majority vote of its inhabitants. Violence broke out when the population realized you just need less of them and more of you to win the vote. Guess Popular Sovereignty wasn't such a great idea after all.
📄 Study Unit 5.6: Failure of Compromise

5. Which of these was an effect of the Dred Scott decision?
A. The federal Congress no longer could issue laws regarding slavery legality in the United States
B. The Civil War immediately began following the decision
C. Slavery immediately was banned across the entire United States
D. Slave revolts erupted across the entire South, leading to the Civil War
Explanation: The Dred Scott decision was a landmark decision that led to the Civil War. The decision outlined that slaves were not citizens, but property, and thus did not have the rights of citizens. It also established that the federal Congress had no ability to govern slavery across the whole nation - leaving those decisions to the states. Thus, the north no longer had any way to affect slavery spread through legislative means.
📄 Study Unit 5.6: Failure of Compromise

6. What did the Homestead Act lead to?
A. A national shortage of wheat due to overfarming
B. The decline of the influence of the Republican Party
C. A large migration west to start family farms
D. Slaves gaining immense amounts of land in the Great Plains
Explanation: The Homestead Act was a program established to encourage Americans to move west and start farmlands. All they had to do was 'improve' the land by building a home and farming on it, and in 5 years it was all theirs free of charge. Free land in the US? Hard to image these days.
📄 Study Unit 5.0: Period 5 Overview

7. The Free Soil platform most directly led to which of these?
A. A national sympathy for the conditions of slavery 
B. The election of Abraham Lincoln for the Republicans
C. The expansion of the newly consolidated Democratic Party
D. The expansion of slavery into Western Territories
Explanation: The Free Soil platform was adopted by the newly consolidated Republican Party - with Abraham Lincoln leading the charge against slavery spread. But make no mistake, it was not an anti-slavery party. It just didn't want to advocate for its spread because those jobs in future states could be occupied by white people, so they did not want slaves to have them instead.
📄 Study Unit 5.6: Failure of Compromise

8. Which of these was an advantage of the Confederate States in the Civil War?
A. Most of the war was fought in Southern Territory which they knew well
B. A much more extensive railroad network
C. A much larger army
D. A larger industrial apparatus producing weapons and food for soldiers
Explanation: During the Civil War the Union had the advantage in almost respect. They had a larger railroad network, more soldiers and more factories to produce weaponry. However, the South did have the advantage of fighting on their own turf - which allowed them to use the "home-field" advantage at times. They also had a more unified "cause" to fight for than the North did. It eventually didn't make much of difference.
📄 Study Unit 5.8: Military Conflict in the Civil War

9. Which of these describes the 14th amendment?
A. Defined citizenship in the United States to include freed slaves 
B. It outlawed slavery across the entire United States
C. It gave all males, regardless of race, the right to vote
D. It established the graduated income tax
Explanation: The 14th amendment was designed to correct some of the conclusions the Dred Scott decision - namely what a citizen was and who had access to the rights and privileges of citizens. The 14th amendment specifically included birthright citizenship (if you're born here, you're a citizen) which would have ripple effects to this day.
📄 Study Unit 5.10: Reconstruction

10. Which of these officially ended the Reconstruction Period?
A. The Compromise of 1820
B. The Compromise of 1850
C. The Compromise of 1877
D. The Virginia Resolution
Explanation: The Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction through unusual means. Neither candidate in the election of 1876 reached the number of electoral votes required to gain the presidency. So the House of Representatives agreed to give the Republican (Rutherford B. Hayes) the job, as long as he agreed to end the Reconstruction military occupation of the Southern States and some other small agreements.
📄 Study Unit 5.10: Reconstruction

11. Why was Lincoln's suspension of Habeas Corpus so controversial?
A. It was the first time the government had limited access to voting rights in US history  
B. It showed how Lincoln learned authoritarian even in peacetime
C. It led to the first conflicts of the Civil War
D. It violated the Constitutional right to a fair trial
Explanation: Lincoln's decision to suspend the Constitutional writ of Habeas Corpus was in direct conflict with the Constitution - but Lincoln argued it was necessary during wartime because of anti-Union sympathy growing in the Maryland press which could have led to the secession of more states. The debate of the rules changing during wartime still hangs around today.
📄 Study Unit 5.9: Government Policies during the Civil War

12. Farming the land of someone else in exchange for a small piece of the land's output emerged as the dominant post-Civil War employment opportunity for freed slaves. What was this system called?
A. Sharecropping  
B. Freedmen's Bureau
C. Minstrel Showing
D. Hydroponic Farming
Explanation: After the Civil War, many newly freed slaves found themselves in essentially the same position as before. Working on a farm they didn't own, and attaining a very small amount of income through a new system called sharecropping. With many freedmen lacking in job training for other industries, agricultural work was the only realistic option. So many were forced to continue to work for the same people that had previously enslaved them.
📄 Study Unit 5.11: Failures of Reconstruction

13. What made the "Radical Republicans" so radical?
A. They pushed for immediate equality for black men in the United States
B. They wanted to destroy the United States and found a new nation based on equal rights for all
C. They combined many wings of the Democratic Party to form a new left-leaning Republican party
D. They were the first party to win 2 presidential elections back-to-back
Explanation: The Radical Republicans were dedicated to the cause of ending slavery and bringing those newly freed slaves into full American society - including the right to vote. That was a very radical position at the time, and was not even supported by many of the Republicans themselves.
📄 Study Unit 5.10: Reconstruction

14. How did Commodore Matthew Perry affect the US' role in the world?
A. He forced the Japanese to open up trade with the United States against their will
B. He negotiated the treaty giving the United States access to Panama to build the canal there
C. He was the first mariner to sail to Argentina to establish diplomatic ties in Buenos Aires
D. He led the United States to war with Mexico during the era of Manifest Destiny
Explanation: Commodore Perry sailed to Japan to open up ties in Asia. What started as a peaceful request to trade amicably quickly turned into a threat to the Japanese. Perry showed the might of the US military, and wanted to Japanese to know that if they did not start treating the US as an ally, both militarily and economically, there would be consequences. Japan then opened its doors.
📄 Study Unit 5.2: Manifest Destiny

15. What important document did the Seneca Falls Convention produce?
A. The Declaration of Sentiments
B. The Preamble to the Constitution
C. Common Sense
D. The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo
Explanation: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott are the most recognized leaders of the Seneca Falls Convention - one of the first major conferences centered around women's rights. They used the meeting to draft a document, based in format on the Declaration of Independence, to outline the grievances they women felt about their position in the country - and demand a more equal society.
📄 Study Unit 4.11: The Age of Reform

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