AP Early America Test

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This quiz will assess students' knowledge over events that occurred during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    Which of the following most accurately describes the Louisiana Purchase?

    • A.

      James Madison doubled the size of the United States by purchasing the Louisiana Territory from France.

    • B.

      Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States by purchasing the Louisiana Territory from France.

    • C.

      Napolean Bonaparte purchased the Louisiana Territory from Spain in order to expand his power.

    • D.

      Thomas Jefferson refused to purchase the Louisiana Territory due to his strict interpretation of the Constitution

    • E.

      The British gave Louisiana to the United States to upset Napolean

    Correct Answer
    B. Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States by purchasing the Louisiana Territory from France.
    Explanation
    Thomas Jefferson is credited with doubling the size of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase. This involved the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France.

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  • 2. 

    What did the Alien and Sedition Acts do?

    • A.

      Made it illegal to immigrate to America

    • B.

      It became illegal to vote for Republicans

    • C.

      Made it illegal to raise a militia

    • D.

      Made it illegal to criticize high government officials

    • E.

      Destroyed the Federalist party

    Correct Answer
    D. Made it illegal to criticize high government officials
    Explanation
    The Alien and Sedition Acts were a series of laws passed by the United States Congress in 1798. These acts made it illegal to criticize high government officials, particularly the President, Vice President, and members of Congress. The laws were primarily aimed at silencing opposition to the Federalist Party and suppressing dissenting voices during a time of political tension. The acts were highly controversial and were eventually repealed, but they represented a significant infringement on the freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

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  • 3. 

    What was a result of the XYZ affair?

    • A.

      The Supreme Court began to gain power

    • B.

      Americans wanted neutrality

    • C.

      Americans attacked England

    • D.

      The tax on whiskey was repealed

    • E.

      Americans became angry at France

    Correct Answer
    E. Americans became angry at France
    Explanation
    The correct answer is that Americans became angry at France. The XYZ affair refers to a diplomatic incident between the United States and France in the late 18th century. The French demanded bribes from American diplomats in order to negotiate a treaty, which angered the American public and led to anti-French sentiment. This event strained relations between the two countries and ultimately resulted in an undeclared naval war known as the Quasi-War.

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  • 4. 

    What was the result of Marbury v. Madison?

    • A.

      Congress became more powerful

    • B.

      Judges were no longer allowed to vote

    • C.

      The concept of judicial review was born

    • D.

      The President was removed from office

    • E.

      The national bank was preserved

    Correct Answer
    C. The concept of judicial review was born
    Explanation
    In the case of Marbury v. Madison, the result was the birth of the concept of judicial review. This landmark Supreme Court case established the power of the judiciary to review and interpret laws passed by Congress and determine their constitutionality. It was a significant development in the separation of powers and solidified the Court's role as the ultimate arbiter of the constitutionality of laws.

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  • 5. 

    Which best describes the War of 1812?

    • A.

      A military defeat for the United States

    • B.

      A military defeat for England

    • C.

      A strong victory for the United States

    • D.

      England was defeated only in naval battles

    • E.

      The United States improved their military tactics and defeated the British soundly

    Correct Answer
    A. A military defeat for the United States
    Explanation
    The War of 1812 was a military defeat for the United States. This conflict, which took place between the United States and Great Britain, resulted in several setbacks for the US. Despite some initial victories, such as the successful defense of Baltimore and the repelling of British invasions, the US ultimately failed to achieve its objectives. The British were able to capture and burn Washington, D.C., and the US struggled to maintain control over its territory. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which essentially restored pre-war conditions and did not address the key issues that had led to the conflict.

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  • 6. 

    How did John Marshall affect the Supreme Court?

    • A.

      He reduced its power to check other branches

    • B.

      He increased its power through his rulings

    • C.

      He reduced the court's role in power over the legislative branch

    • D.

      He had very little impact on the Supreme Court

    • E.

      He served on the court for more than thirty years

    Correct Answer
    B. He increased its power through his rulings
    Explanation
    John Marshall, as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835, had a significant impact on the Court. Through his rulings, Marshall expanded the power of the Supreme Court and established the principle of judicial review in the landmark case Marbury v. Madison. This decision gave the Court the authority to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional, thereby increasing its power and influence. Marshall's tenure also saw the Court assert its authority over the states in cases such as McCulloch v. Maryland and Gibbons v. Ogden, further solidifying its role as the final arbiter of the Constitution.

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  • 7. 

    Why did Thomas Jefferson believe that creating a national bank was unconstitutional?

    • A.

      The Constitution prohibited a national bank

    • B.

      Only states can create national banks

    • C.

      He knew that a national bank was a terrible idea

    • D.

      The Constitution did not specifically say that a national bank could be created

    • E.

      He had a loose construction view of the Constitution

    Correct Answer
    D. The Constitution did not specifically say that a national bank could be created
    Explanation
    Thomas Jefferson believed that creating a national bank was unconstitutional because the Constitution did not specifically grant the power to create a national bank to the federal government. He held a strict constructionist view of the Constitution, meaning he believed that the federal government should only have the powers explicitly stated in the Constitution. Since the creation of a national bank was not explicitly mentioned, Jefferson believed it was unconstitutional.

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  • 8. 

    What was the decision of the Supreme Court in McCullough v. Maryland?

    • A.

      Maryland had insufficient evidence to prove their case

    • B.

      The national bank was unconstitutional

    • C.

      Maryland had no right to sue the national bank

    • D.

      The national bank was constitutional and Maryland could not tax it

    • E.

      Maryland was permitted to tax the national bank and Alexander Hamilton

    Correct Answer
    D. The national bank was constitutional and Maryland could not tax it
    Explanation
    In McCullough v. Maryland, the Supreme Court decided that the national bank was constitutional and that Maryland could not tax it. This ruling established the principle of federal supremacy over state laws and confirmed the constitutionality of the national bank. It also limited the power of states to interfere with federal institutions through taxation.

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  • 9. 

    Which of the following did NOT contribute to the United States decision to declare war against Great Britain in 1812?

    • A.

      American military and economic preparedness for war

    • B.

      American concern for national honor

    • C.

      Impressment of American sailors

    • D.

      British interference with United States commerce

    • E.

      American fears of British aid to Native Americans on the frontier

    Correct Answer
    A. American military and economic preparedness for war
    Explanation
    American military and economic preparedness for war did not contribute to the United States decision to declare war against Great Britain in 1812. The main factors that led to the declaration of war were American concerns for national honor, impressment of American sailors, British interference with United States commerce, and American fears of British aid to Native Americans on the frontier. While military and economic preparedness may have been important in the actual conduct of the war, it was not a primary reason for the decision to go to war in the first place.

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  • 10. 

    Marbury v. Madison (1803) is famous for establishing the principle of:

    • A.

      The sanctity of contracts

    • B.

      The supremacy of the executive over the legislative branch

    • C.

      Judicial review

    • D.

      Due process of law

    • E.

      Equal access by any citizen to federal courts

    Correct Answer
    C. Judicial review
    Explanation
    Marbury v. Madison (1803) is famous for establishing the principle of judicial review. Judicial review is the power of the courts to review and potentially invalidate laws or actions that are deemed unconstitutional. In this case, the Supreme Court asserted its authority to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional, thereby establishing the principle of judicial review. This landmark decision solidified the Court's role as the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution and its power to check the actions of the other branches of government.

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  • 11. 

    An important reason for the proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine was to

    • A.

      End the United States alliance with France

    • B.

      Displace England as the chief creditor of the Latin American countries

    • C.

      Counter British objections that would arise in any future United States effort to annex the West Indies or Canada

    • D.

      Protect republican institutions of government in the Western Hemisphere

    • E.

      Prevent French interference in the internal affairs of Mexico

    Correct Answer
    D. Protect republican institutions of government in the Western Hemisphere
    Explanation
    The Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed by President James Monroe in 1823. It aimed to protect the republican institutions of government in the Western Hemisphere. The doctrine stated that any attempt by European powers to colonize or interfere in the affairs of the newly independent Latin American countries would be seen as a threat to the United States. This was significant because it established the United States as the dominant power in the region and asserted its commitment to keeping foreign powers out of the Americas. It also served as a warning to European nations to stay out of American affairs.

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  • 12. 

    Which of the following is correct about the tariffs passed between the years 1816-1828?

    • A.

      They reduced barriers to free trade

    • B.

      They were supported by all sections of the nation

    • C.

      Their constitutionality was tested in the courts

    • D.

      They were primarily intended as revenue-raising efforts

    • E.

      They were the first tariffs whose major purpose was protection

    Correct Answer
    E. They were the first tariffs whose major purpose was protection
    Explanation
    During the years 1816-1828, the tariffs that were passed had the primary goal of providing protection to domestic industries. This means that their main purpose was to shield American businesses from foreign competition and promote the growth of domestic manufacturing. These tariffs aimed to impose higher taxes on imported goods, making them more expensive and less competitive compared to domestically produced goods. This approach was different from previous tariffs, which were primarily focused on generating revenue for the government. The fact that these tariffs were specifically designed for protection makes them distinct and sets them apart from earlier tariff policies.

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  • 13. 

    Henry Clay's "American System" called for all of the following EXCEPT:

    • A.

      A tariff for the protection of industry

    • B.

      Internal improvements at national government expense

    • C.

      Sale of federal lands to finance higher education

    • D.

      Greater reliance on domestic financial resources

    • E.

      Increased trade among the sections of the nation

    Correct Answer
    C. Sale of federal lands to finance higher education
    Explanation
    Henry Clay's "American System" advocated for a tariff for the protection of industry, internal improvements at national government expense, greater reliance on domestic financial resources, and increased trade among the sections of the nation. However, it did not call for the sale of federal lands to finance higher education. This means that the correct answer is the option that mentions the sale of federal lands to finance higher education.

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  • 14. 

    A major reason why Thomas Jefferson was interested in purchasing Louisiana from France is that he

    • A.

      Wanted to establish a precedent for the expansion of presidential authority

    • B.

      Wanted an area beyond the Mississippi River to which east Native Americans could be moved

    • C.

      Had learned from Lewis and Clark of the untapped mineral resources in western areas

    • D.

      Hoped to cement a Franco-American alliance against the British

    • E.

      Hoped to preserve an agricultural society by making abundant lands available to future generations

    Correct Answer
    E. Hoped to preserve an agricultural society by making abundant lands available to future generations
    Explanation
    Thomas Jefferson was interested in purchasing Louisiana from France because he hoped to preserve an agricultural society by making abundant lands available to future generations. By acquiring the vast territory, Jefferson believed that he could ensure the availability of fertile lands for agriculture, which was crucial for sustaining the agrarian economy that he envisioned for the United States. This would allow future generations to continue relying on agriculture as a way of life and maintain the values associated with it.

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  • 15. 

    The election of 1800 has been referred to as "another revolution" because 

    • A.

      The House of Representatives decided the election

    • B.

      A Supreme Court decision was required to dislodge the Federalists

    • C.

      Voter turnout increased dramatically

    • D.

      The party in power stepped down after losing the election

    • E.

      Force was required to get John Adams to leave the White House

    Correct Answer
    D. The party in power stepped down after losing the election
    Explanation
    In the election of 1800, the party in power, the Federalists, willingly stepped down after losing the election. This was a significant departure from the norm at the time, as peaceful transfers of power were not common. The Federalists' decision to peacefully concede power to the Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson, was seen as a revolutionary act, as it demonstrated a commitment to democratic principles and the peaceful transition of power. This event marked a significant moment in American history and solidified the country's commitment to democracy.

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  • 16. 

    When Thomas Jefferson said in 1801, "We are all republicans - we are all Federalists," he meant that

    • A.

      Americans would never ally themselves with monarchical governments

    • B.

      Federalists would be appointed to his cabinet

    • C.

      The two parties' platforms were identical

    • D.

      The principles of American government were above party politics

    • E.

      He admired Hamilton's policies

    Correct Answer
    D. The principles of American government were above party politics
    Explanation
    Thomas Jefferson's statement in 1801, "We are all republicans - we are all Federalists," suggests that the principles of American government were above party politics. Jefferson aimed to emphasize the importance of unity and collaboration among the American people, regardless of their political affiliations. He believed that the principles and values of the American government were more significant than the differences between political parties. This statement reflects Jefferson's commitment to creating a strong and unified nation that prioritized the common good over partisan interests.

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  • 17. 

    The Hartford Convention was a manifestation of

    • A.

      New England federalist opposition to the War of 1812

    • B.

      New England's desire to end trade with great Britain

    • C.

      Northern gratitude to General Jackson for his victory at New Orleans

    • D.

      The War Hawks' impatience with President Madison's conduct of foreign policy

    • E.

      Western resentment against British-backed American Indian attacks

    Correct Answer
    A. New England federalist opposition to the War of 1812
    Explanation
    The correct answer is New England federalist opposition to the War of 1812. The Hartford Convention was a meeting held by New England Federalists in 1814 to discuss their grievances against the War of 1812 and the policies of President Madison. They were opposed to the war and believed it was harming their economic interests. The convention resulted in a series of resolutions that called for changes to the Constitution and even discussed the possibility of secession. While the war ended shortly after the convention, it marked a significant moment in the growing divide between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.

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  • 18. 

    The financial programs of Alexander Hamilton included all of the following EXCEPT:

    • A.

      Funding of the national debt

    • B.

      Nullification of all private debts to the state

    • C.

      Imposition of a tax on distilled liquor

    • D.

      Establishment of the Bank of the United States

    • E.

      Assumption of all state debts

    Correct Answer
    B. Nullification of all private debts to the state
    Explanation
    Alexander Hamilton's financial programs included funding the national debt, imposing a tax on distilled liquor, establishing the Bank of the United States, and assuming all state debts. However, nullification of all private debts to the state was not a part of his financial programs.

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  • 19. 

    For which one issue did Thomas Jefferson reverse his position on a strict construction of the Constitution?

    • A.

      The "midnight judges"

    • B.

      The purchase of the Louisiana territory

    • C.

      Moving the capital to Washington DC

    • D.

      The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

    • E.

      The election of 1800

    Correct Answer
    B. The purchase of the Louisiana territory
    Explanation
    Thomas Jefferson initially believed in a strict construction of the Constitution, meaning that he believed the federal government should only have powers explicitly granted to it in the Constitution. However, he reversed his position on this issue when it came to the purchase of the Louisiana territory. Despite the fact that the Constitution did not explicitly grant the federal government the power to acquire new territory, Jefferson saw the purchase as an opportunity to secure land for future generations and expand the United States. This decision was seen as a departure from his strict interpretation of the Constitution.

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  • 20. 

    President Monroe articulated the Monroe Doctrine in his 1823 address to Congress primarily in order to:

    • A.

      Respond positively to the recent Latin American revolutions

    • B.

      Rule out United States involvement in South America

    • C.

      Provide a rationale for United States intervention in the Isthmus of Panama

    • D.

      Warn European nations against further colonial ventures in the Western Hemisphere

    • E.

      Encourage Britain to help the fledgling Latin American states

    Correct Answer
    D. Warn European nations against further colonial ventures in the Western Hemisphere
    Explanation
    In his 1823 address to Congress, President Monroe articulated the Monroe Doctrine primarily to warn European nations against further colonial ventures in the Western Hemisphere. This was done in order to assert the United States' opposition to any future colonization efforts by European powers in the Americas. The doctrine aimed to establish the Western Hemisphere as a sphere of influence for the United States and to prevent any potential threats to its interests in the region. By issuing this warning, Monroe sought to protect the newly independent Latin American nations from European intervention and maintain the balance of power in the Western Hemisphere.

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  • 21. 

    The Jefferson administration advocated which of the following changes as a means of restoring republican ideals?

    • A.

      Abolishing the Bank of the United States

    • B.

      Reducing the scope of activities of the federal government

    • C.

      Discontinuing the funding of state debts

    • D.

      Increasing the size of the United States military

    • E.

      Adopting the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions at the national level

    Correct Answer
    B. Reducing the scope of activities of the federal government
    Explanation
    The Jefferson administration advocated reducing the scope of activities of the federal government as a means of restoring republican ideals. This aligns with Jefferson's belief in limited government and a strict interpretation of the Constitution. By reducing the federal government's involvement in various areas, such as economic regulation and internal improvements, Jefferson aimed to promote individual liberty and states' rights. This approach reflected the principles of republicanism, which emphasized a decentralized government and the protection of individual freedoms.

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  • 22. 

    The Missouri Compromise did which of the following?

    • A.

      Prohibited slavery in all the territory of the Louisiana Purchase

    • B.

      Provided for admission to the Union of all future states in pairs of one free, one slave

    • C.

      Allowed Maine to enter the Union as a free state

    • D.

      Finally settled the question of congressional power over slavery in the territories

    • E.

      Provided for the annexation of Texas

    Correct Answer
    C. Allowed Maine to enter the Union as a free state
    Explanation
    The Missouri Compromise allowed Maine to enter the Union as a free state. The Compromise was an agreement between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress in 1820. It aimed to maintain the balance of power between free and slave states by admitting Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. This compromise also established a line, known as the 36°30' parallel, which prohibited slavery in the northern portion of the Louisiana Purchase territory while allowing it in the southern portion. Therefore, the correct answer is that the Missouri Compromise allowed Maine to enter the Union as a free state.

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  • 23. 

    Alexander Hamilton's financial program was most favorable to:

    • A.

      Western farmers

    • B.

      War veterans

    • C.

      Southern planters

    • D.

      Eastern merchants

    • E.

      State bankers

    Correct Answer
    D. Eastern merchants
    Explanation
    Alexander Hamilton's financial program was most favorable to eastern merchants because it aimed to strengthen the economic power of the United States through the promotion of industrialization and commerce. Hamilton's program included measures such as the establishment of a national bank, the assumption of state debts, and the implementation of protective tariffs. These policies directly benefited eastern merchants who were engaged in trade and manufacturing activities, as they provided a stable financial system, protected domestic industries, and ensured a favorable business environment.

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  • 24. 

    The most unpopular and least successful of President Thomas Jefferson's policies was his

    • A.

      Advocacy of territorial expansion

    • B.

      Handling of the Barbary Coast pirates

    • C.

      Reduction of the size of the military

    • D.

      Reduction of the national debt

    • E.

      Adherence to neutrality in dealing with England and France

    Correct Answer
    E. Adherence to neutrality in dealing with England and France
    Explanation
    President Thomas Jefferson's adherence to neutrality in dealing with England and France was the least successful of his policies because it led to economic hardships and conflicts with both countries. By remaining neutral, Jefferson hoped to avoid getting involved in the ongoing conflicts between England and France, but this approach resulted in trade restrictions and embargoes that hurt American merchants. Additionally, it failed to prevent incidents like the Chesapeake-Leopard affair, where a British ship attacked an American vessel, further straining relations. Ultimately, Jefferson's policy of neutrality did not achieve its intended goals and was widely criticized.

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  • 25. 

    Analyze the impact of John Marshall on the Supreme Court from 1800-1820 using at least TWO of the following court cases:Marbury v. MadisonMcCulloch v. MarylandFletcher v. Peck

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