American Cultural History take home test

American Cultural History

take home test


  1. Many nations populated North America in recorded history: Vikings, British, Dutch, French, Spanish—even Russians. In 1619 the Dutch were the first to import African slaves; the British and French followed.


  1. What factors do you think prompted the importation of slaves into (especially) the land now occupied by the United States?


  1. Why do you think chattel slavery took hold so tenaciously in the Southeastern United States, especially since only 12% of the Caucasian Southern population owned slaves?


  1. What do you think was/were the major factor/factors in the American revolt against English rule? Discuss any cultural, political and economic factors you feel are important. [Note: By the time of the Revolution, all the regressive taxes levied by the British Parliament had been repealed, except the tiny tea tax.  That wasn’t enough conciliation for the colonists—Why?  Especially when the Americans drank very little tea, preferring whiskey, which was plentiful}


  1. Compared to other, much older, nations what factor(s) distinguish the formation of United States?


  1. Though total taxes in other major Western industrialized nations are higher compared to those in the United States, objection to taxation is keen in America. Yet, overwhelmingly, the American masses pay their taxes and cheating/avoidance is lower than in many other countries.  What quality in the American character do you think accounts for this apparent paradox?  Other than compulsion of law.  


  1. What was the American reaction when the British demanded that their American colonists buy finished goods only from British manufactures?


  1. What cultural evolution do you think is behind the American insistence on gun ownership? From where does it derive?


  1. For over 200 years “Britannia Ruled The Waves.” Now, America rules the waves, the air and can pretty much dispatch troops and materiel throughout the world.  Why/how do you think this happened?


  1. It is often said that the American system is characterized by a stable political culture that ensures orderly transition of leadership and political power. Why do you think such political stability is central to American culture?  Put another way, why do Americans insist on such political stability?  What does that do for America?


  1. Whether you be an American national or an international student, do you find America to be generally hospitable to people of other countries? How or why?


  1. Women were not given the right to vote until 1920 and then by a “squeaker” ONE vote of the then 48 states. {Note: ¾ of the States had to ratify a new Constitutional Amendment}.  Why do you think women’s suffrage took so long in the United States?


  1. Name as many factors in or reasons for, as you can for The Great Depression of the 1930s.


  1. What measures undertaken by the Franklin Roosevelt administration to combat The Great Depression, if any, contributed to easing, if not immediately ending, the hardships of The Great Depression?


  1. What such measures (Question 12), if any, are still with us today?


  1. Name 3 advantages and disadvantages, as you can in the structure of the (U.S.) federal government and the state governments. (Three of each for maximum credit)


  1. Why did abolition of slavery in the Unites States take a bloody civil war whereas other western hemisphere countries managed to achieve emancipation of slaves peacefully? For example, chattel slavery in England was abolished in the 12th Century and ended throughout the British Empire in 1833 (28 years before the American Civil War), quietly and by law.


  1. What last-minute action or lack of action by Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the 1960 Presidential election cost him support among Black voters and, quite possibly, the election?


  1. What was the popular vote margin of victory for the victor in the 1960 Presidential election? Out of how many votes cast all together?




  1. What demographic factor (in the electorate) in the 1960 and 1964 elections contributed to victory of liberal and progressive candidates?