Free STAAR Grade 8 Social Studies Practice Questions

1. Puritans fled Europe in order to:

  1. Become acquainted with potential native peoples
  2. Exercise freedom of the press
  3. Practice freedom of religion
  4. Reestablish the Holy Roman Empire

2. The Seven Years War, called the French and Indian War by the Colonists:

  1. Was the precursor to the American Revolution
  2. Was a conflict related to European colonization
  3. Primarily took place in Canada
  4. Ended European conquests

3. Before the Civil War, to which of the following did Southern states object?

  1. An increase in Southern tobacco production
  2. An increase in tariffs on Northern manufactured goods
  3. An increase in western mining for gold
  4. An increase in the voting rights of slaves

4. The 13 colonies did not include:

  1. Delaware
  2. Maine
  3. South Carolina
  4. Virginia

5. Marbury vs. Madison was a landmark Supreme Court decision that established the precedent of judicial review. Judicial review is congruous with which of the following aspects of U.S. government?

  1. Checks and balances
  2. Federalism
  3. Separation of church and state
  4. States rights

6. The French Revolution took inspiration from the American Revolution. How do the revolutions differ?

  1. The central government established by the revolution
  2. The violent overthrow of a monarchy
  3. The style of battle
  4. The populist political ideals

7. George Washington's farewell address and the Monroe Doctrine have which of the following in common

  1. Abolition
  2. Isolationism
  3. Presidential term limits
  4. Women's suffrage

8. Which entity in American government is the closest to true democracy?

  1. The Electoral College
  2. The House of Representatives
  3. Committees within the Senate
  4. The Supreme Court

9. Alexander Hamilton's legacy is reflected in what quality of American government?

  1. Democracy
  2. Federalism
  3. Loose constructionism
  4. State's rights

10. The first successful English colony in the Americas was named for the English monarch who ruled during the early 1600s. A group of 104 English colonists settled in the Chesapeake Bay of modern-day Virginia, and initially befriended the Algonquin Indians. This colony was called:

  1. New South Wales
  2. New London
  3. Jamestown
  4. Georgeville

Grade 8 Social Studies Answer Key

1. Answer: C
Puritan colonists had been persecuted in Europe and sought religious freedom.

2. Answer: B
The Seven Years War was a global military conflict. In the Americas, the conflict was largely between Western European countries, Great Britain and France, in particular.

3. Answer: B
Southern states provided raw materials that were manufactured into commodities in Northern states. Southerners resented paying taxes to Northern states for these products (textiles, furniture, etc).

4. Answer: B
The 13 colonies were: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

5. Answer: A
The concept of checks and balances is manifested in the three branches of federal government and by the overlap of certain decisions by more than one branch. The President appoints the Supreme Court justices and reviews legislation passed by Congress. Judicial review is sometimes seen as the judiciary being activist or "legislating from the bench." However, the Supreme Court around the turn of the 19th century established the precedent that the Court could rule as unconstitutional, legislation it viewed was incongruous with the Constitution.

6. Answer: B
French rebels executed the King and Queen of France. American rebels did stage a violent rebellion, but did not execute any of the British monarchy or civilian Brits.

7. Answer: B
George Washington warned against potential pit-falls he foresaw in the future of the U.S.: political factions, foreign allegiances that might compromise U.S. sovereignty of the, and too much state control, among others. Future Presidents adopted his warning against foreign allegiances which kept the U.S. largely out of international conflict until World War I.

8. Answer: B
Members of the House of Representatives are elected in proportion to the population of each state. Representation by senators is not based on population, and is therefore skewed in electoral weight. The Electoral College can and has contradicted the popular vote in the Presidential election.

9. Answer: B
Alexander Hamilton authored the Federalist Papers which later became the stance of the Union during the Civil War.

10. Answer: C
Jamestown was named for King James, and was the first colony of Great Britain to sustain itself.

STAAR Test Questions - Main

STAAR Grade 8 Social Studies Overview

Last Updated: 12/14/2017