Free STAAR US History Practice Test Questions
1. What grassroots political movement, started by southern and western farmers, arose in the 1890s U.S. to fight banks, railroads, large corporations and other "elites"?
a. Entrepreneurship Movement
b. Farmers United
c. Populist Movement
d. Social Gospel Movement
2. Which turning point event in the Spanish-American War occurred in 1898?
a. America gave financial support to Cuban nationalists' revolution against Spain.t
b. Americans blamed Spain for the sinking of the USS Maine.t
c. The Philippines declared independence from U.S. rule after Spain had transferred their rule of the Philippines to the U.S. t
d. The U.S. withdrew from Cuba.
3. What was one main purpose of a Victory Garden in the U.S. during World War II?
a. To ensure that the domestic food supply was not being poisoned by foreign spies or infiltrators
b. To decrease demand on commercial vegetable growers, making more food available to soldiers
c. To provide more nutritious food for poor immigrant populations
d. To sell grown foods at markets and raise money for war bonds
4. What was the primary purpose of the Chinese Exclusion Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1882?
a. To ban Chinese from immigrating to the U.S.
b. To exclude Chinese Americans from joining unions in the U.S.
c. To ban Chinese Americans from working on railroads in the U.S.
d. To exclude Chinese from claiming settlement lands in the western U.S.
5. The Great Seal of the United States that was first used in 1782 included the motto E Pluribus Unum. The same motto appeared on federal coins in 1795. What is the meaning of this motto?
a. In God We Trust
b. In Union We Trust
c. Out of Many, One
d. The Many are United
6. In 1997, President Clinton presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to Vernon J. Baker, a 78-year-old African American, for his courage and leadership in attacks on the enemy in Italy during a previous war. Racial prejudice during the time of this war had prevented Baker from receiving the award previously. In which war did Vernon Baker bravely fight?
a. World War I
b. World War II
c. Korean War
d. Vietnam War
7. In Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a recount in that year's presidential election must take place by midnight of December 12th, 2000. The ruling came hours before the deadline, making it too late for a recount to actually occur. What is the BEST way to describe the historical aspect of this Supreme Court case?
a. This case caused states to make drastic changes in the ways that they supervised recounts in federal elections.
b. This case made history as the first time that a U.S. President had his name and cause appear in a Supreme Court case.
c. This case showed for the first time that presidential candidates needed to hire lawyers even before their campaigns started.
d. This case marked the first time that the judicial branch of government involved itself in a federal election, and critics said that the Supreme Court rather than the electorate had determined the winner of a presidential election.
8. The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 required elected public officials to make public some of their financial information. What could be considered a source of public demand for increased ethics in government at that time period?
a. The Watergate Scandal of the early 1970s had eroded some public trust in government officials.
b. The Teapot Dome Scandal of the late 1960s had eroded some public trust in government officials.
c. Newspapers had been making up stories in the early 1970s about public officials misusing government money.
d. Gerald Ford was not considered an ethical president.
9. When the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) declared an oil embargo against the United States from 1973 to 1974, what was an effect on the U.S. free enterprise system?
a. Car owners stocked up on gasoline.
b. Auto manufacturers in the U.S. started selling cars to European customers instead of to U.S. customers.
c. The effect on the U.S. free enterprise system was minor; the U.S. had stockpiles of oil reserves and was actively drilling for oil in Texas and Alaska.
d. The U.S. experienced inflation, economic recession, and restrictions on gasoline purchases; auto manufacturers started making smaller and more fuel-efficient cars.
10. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said his New Deal programs would use the authority of the federal government to help all classes and groups of people in the country. Who was one opponent of the New Deal programs, and why?
a. The American public: they felt the programs were not helping enough, and a majority planned to not re-elect President Roosevelt.
b. Herbert Hoover: he felt the federal government should not assume so much responsibility or deficit spending.
c. 1933 Congress: they did not pass the New Deal programs proposed by the President.
d. 1935 Congress: they did not pass the "Second Hundred Days" New Deal programs proposed by the President.
US History Answer Key
The Populist movement arose in the U.S. in the 1890s as a grassroots political movement started by southern and western farmers to fight banks, railroads, large corporations and other "elites." "Farmers United" sounds like it could be a correct choice, given the involvement of farmers, but it is incorrect. Choice A and D are also incorrect, although the "Social Gospel" movement was active around the same time period. Entrepreneurship was also on the rise during that time period.
The sinking of the USS Maine happened in 1898, and the fact that America blamed Spain was a major cause of the U.S. and Spain declaring war on each other in 1898. All the other events listed did not happen in 1898, so even though they are related to the Spanish-American War, they would not be the correct answer. Choice A happened in 1895, choice C occurred in 1899, and choice D happened in 1902.
3. Answer: B
A main purpose of Victory Gardens was to decrease demand on commercial vegetable growers, thereby making more food available to soldiers. There were other purposes, such as providing nutritious foods to all people (not just poor immigrants) on the home front and boosting morale at home, but those were secondary and are not listed as answer choices. The other three answer choices listed are all incorrect.
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was passed for the purpose of banning Chinese immigrants from the United States. Students with knowledge of social issues affecting immigrants during that time period will know this answer. Choices C and D (prohibiting Chinese Americans from working on railroads or settling in the west) were probably secondary purposes of the act, but were not written into the legislation as choice A was.
The correct translation of E Pluribus Unum is "Out of Many, One." "In God We Trust" was adopted as the official motto of the U.S. later in history. "In Union We Trust" might be a good guess because "Unum" sounds like it could be a Latin version of "Union." "The many are united" also sounds like a plausible translation for E Pluribus Unum, even though it is actually incorrect.
The fact that Baker fought in Italy is a clue that either WWI or WWII is the correct answer, and that both the Korean War and Vietnam War would be incorrect, even though there was still some racial prejudice during the times of those wars. The fact that President Clinton presented Baker with the award gives a clue that it must have been for fighting during WWII, as Baker would probably not have been old enough to fight in WWI and still be alive under President Clinton's years. In fact, a student could deduce that, if Baker was 78 years old in 1997 that would mean he was born in 1919, which was after WWI. Also, general social studies knowledge suggests that students know who Vernon J. Baker is for this grade level.
This case marked the first time that the judicial branch of government involved itself in a federal election, and critics said that the Supreme Court rather than the electorate had determined the winner of a presidential election. There may have been some changes in the way states did recounts, but that is not the BEST description of the historical importance of the case. Choice B is incorrect because there had been other Supreme Court cases with president's names in them, such as U.S. v. Nixon in 1974, and likely several others too. Also, presidential candidates had probably been hiring lawyers even before campaigns started, long before that year's election.
8. Answer: A
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 was enacted after the Watergate Scandal of the early 1970s had eroded some public trust in government officials. The Teapot Dome Scandal occurred much earlier in the century, not in the 1960s. Newspapers were also not making up stories about unethical government officials, but they were reporting on Watergate. It is true that Gerald Ford did not get re-elected, partly because he was unpopular for pardoning Nixon, but not because he was considered unethical. Ford was not the impetus for the Ethics Act.
The result of OPEC's oil embargo on the U.S. free enterprise system was inflation, economic recession, and restrictions on gasoline purchases; and auto manufacturers making smaller and more fuel-efficient cars. U.S. auto manufacturers may have sold cars to Europe also, but Europe was also targeted by OPEC's embargo. Choices A and C are also incorrect.
Herbert Hoover was a main opponent of the New Deal, for the reason listed in this answer choice. The New Deal programs were passed by the 1933 Congress and again in 1935 Congress for the "Second Hundred Days" of New Deal programs. The New Deal programs proved to be popular with the American public, who overwhelmingly re-elected FDR for his second term as President, so choice A is incorrect.
by Enoch Morrison
Last Updated: 03/01/2017