Free FSOT US Culture Practice Test Questions
1. Which of the following best describes the goal of affirmative action programs?
A. Remedying past discrimination in employment and education
B. Improving participation of women in advanced science post-secondary programs
C. Giving priority status in employment to veterans of the armed forces
D. Supporting the growth of small business through government loans
2. Which of the following organizations states as its goal equality for women in all sectors of society?
3. Which African American runner won four gold medals in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany ?
A. Carl Lewis
B. Wilma Rudolph
C. Jesse Owens
D. Jackie Robinson
4. Which President proposed a domestic plan known as The Great Society, which included extensive legislation aimed at ending racial injustice and poverty in America?
A. Franklin D. Roosevelt
B. John F. Kennedy
C. Lyndon B. Johnson
D. Bill Clinton
5. The Justice Department investigation and ensuing political scandal commonly known as Whitewater centered on what allegation?
A. Pre-presidency involvement of Bill Clinton in illegal real estate transactions
B. Sexual involvement between President Bill Clinton and a White House intern
C. Sexual harassment claims against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas
D. Violations of campaign finance law by the Republican Party
6. Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North was the key figure in what event in the 1980's?
A. The illegal sale of arms to Iran to aid Nicaraguan contras
B. The attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan
C. CIA assistance to Afghani fighters against Soviet invasion
D. The failed rescue attempt of American hostages in Iran
7. What government institution was originally founded to combat widespread counterfeiting of U.S. currency following the Civil War?
A. The Federal Bureau of Investigation
B. The Secret Service
C. The Treasury Department
D. The Bureau of Printing and Engraving
8. What was one of the main themes of Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel, The Jungle?
A. The need for government regulation to protect consumers from corporate greed
B. The desperate plight of American farmers in the drought ridden southwest
C. America as a land of opportunity for immigrants
D. The triumph of democracy over totalitarian regimes around the world
9. Which period of time in American history is commonly referred to as the Progressive Era?
A. 1890 to 1920
B. 1920 to 1929
C. 1945 to 1960
D. 1960 to 1972
10. What was the significance of Harvard University 's June, 1947 commencement speech given by then Secretary of State, George Marshall?
A. It proposed greatly expanded involvement in international trade by the United States
B. It suggested a rapid military build up by the U.S. in western Europe
C. It suggested the division of influence in Europe into eastern and western blocks conceding some control to the Soviet Union
D. It proposed a European developed plan for post war reconstruction financially aided by the United
11. Which television program holds the distinction of being the longest running news or current event program in the history of T.V.?
A. 60 Minutes
B. Meet the Press
C. CBS Evening News
D. Today Show
12. Senator Joseph McCarthy's name has become historically linked to Congressional hearings investigating which of the following?
A. Suspected Japanese spies during World War II
B. Communists in the U.S. government
C. Misconduct by U.S. military serviceman overseas during World War II
D. Draft dodgers during the Vietnam Era
13. At the time of its conception, which of the following had the largest impact on the United States ' national economy in terms of encouraging mass production for a national market of consumers?
A. The railroad system
B. The Erie Canal
C. The Cumberland Road
D. The Oregon Trail
14. The Scopes trial in Tennessee that captured national and international media attention in 1925, centered on what controversial issue?
A. Organized prayer in public schools
B. Teaching the theory of evolution in public schools
C. Public school segregation
D. Mandatory school attendance
15. Black Tuesday is a reference to which significant event in American history?
A. The stock market crash preceding the Great Depression
B. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy
C. The bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan
D. The entrance of the United States into the Vietnam conflict
16. Which of these events resulted from United States Cold War strategy?
A. Defeat of Germany in World War I
B. U.S. involvement in the Korean War
C. The bombing of the U.S.S. Cole
D. U.S. occupation of the Philippines and Guam
17. The term manifest destiny refers to which philosophy from American history?
A. The attempt to establish the United States as the dominant influence in the global economy
B. The resolution of the United States to defend independence on behalf of people in North and South America against European colonization
C. The belief in the superiority of American government and values and our right to spread it across the continent
D. The belief that the United States should avoid entangling alliances with foreign nations
18. Which of the following organizations includes in its mission statement a primary goal of practicing and promoting the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources?
C. Knights of Columbus
D. Sierra Club
19. Which President promised prosperity by campaigning with the slogan, "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage"?
A. Woodrow Wilson
B. Herbert Hoover
C. Franklin D. Roosevelt
D. Dwight Eisenhower
20. Which of the following locations is not home to a United States military base or establishment?
A. Puerto Rico
B. Saudi Arabia
21. Most people of which nationality or race were barred from immigration into the United States during a 60 year period started in 1882?
22. What was the original goal of the Congressional legislation commonly known as the G.I. Bill?
A. Increase government expenditures on defense during the Cold War build up
B. Assist veterans returning from World War II in assimilating back into society
C. Provide the President and Congress with legal authority to institute a draft
D. Make it a legal requirement for males 18 and older to register with the Selective Service
23. Cesar Chavez is considered a key figure in the movement to secure equal rights and better conditions for which group?
A. Criminals in prison
B. Inner-city and public housing residents
C. Migrant workers
24. Which label is commonly used to describe people born from the mid-1960's to the mid-1980's?
B. Generation Y
C. Baby Boomers
D. Greatest Generation
25. In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the Supreme Court reached what landmark ruling?
A. Separation of church and state is absolute
B. Capital punishment is cruel and unusual
C. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal
D. Separate is not equal in public schools
26. To Kill a Mockingbird, written in 1960, included which of the following themes?
A. Race relations in a small southern community
B. Political protests of anti-war groups
C. The decline of morals in society
D. Political corruption in Washington, DC
27. Historically, the term flapper is often associated with which trend in American history?
A. The movement to outlaw alcohol sale and consumption
B. The liberation of women from society's traditional constraints
C. The urbanization of the American population
D. The rise of evangelical Christianity in politics
28. Which event of the Vietnam Era highlights the consequences of the wide-spread domestic opposition to the war?
A. The Kent State shootings
B. The My Lei Massacre
C. Richard Nixon's resignation
D. The collapse of Soviet influence
29. Which government program or agency does not have its roots in Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal?
A. Social Security
C. Tennessee Valley Authority
30. The United States government sponsored Fulbright Program seeks to promote which of the following goals through scholarships, grants, and educational programs?
A. Increasing minority pursuit of advanced science and math degrees
B. Improving international understanding and relations
C. Increased enrollment of American students in our nation's universities and colleges
D. Balancing political outlooks on college campuses
31. Which of the following has been least impacted by the post-WWII phenomenon sometimes referred to as white flight?
A. Public education
D. Corporate jobs
32. Which of these songwriters is best known for using music to define America 's patriotism and holiday traditions?
A. Irving Berlin
B. Duke Ellington
C. Burt Bacharach
D. Cole Porter
33. Which artist's works are well known for their connection to American pop culture, including images such as a bottle of Coca-Cola, Campbell 's soup, and film icon Marilyn Monroe?
A. Andrew Wyeth
B. Pablo Picasso
C. Andy Warhol
D. Norman Rockwall
34. Which of the following best describes the current role of the federal government in public education in the United States ?
A. Regulation of curriculum in all public schools
B. Creation of achievement standards that carry no authority but are tied to federal funding
C. Development and publication of mandatory nationwide achievement testing for specific grades
D. Oversight of school districts with intervention authority in cases of low-performing schools
35. In American history, Revolutionary General Benedict Arnold's name is associated with which of the following?
36. What geographic region of the United States is referenced by the term Bible Belt?
C. West Coast
D. Atlantic Coast
37. Which term originating in the United States, refers to an approach to international relations that involves peaceful negotiations backup by the threat of military force if needed?
A. Big stick diplomacy
B. Multilateral diplomacy
C. First step diplomacy
D. Peace diplomacy
38. Which of the following refers to the secret project conducted by the United States during WWII that resulted in the creation of the first atomic bombs and the eventual bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ?
A. Einstein Project
B. Project Alamogordo
C. Manhattan Project
D. Project Reactions
39. Which group promotes itself as a watchdog for Second Amendment rights in the United States ?
40. Which group was a leader in the organized labor movement in its infancy in the nineteenth century?
FSOT U.S. Culture and Society - Answer Key
1. A. Affirmative action programs began with a Presidential Executive Order in 1961 establishing the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity in an attempt to end racial and gender discrimination in the work place and higher education. This practice has been upheld with limitations in a 2003 Supreme Court decision and continues to be a controversial topic.
2. B. NOW or the National Organization of Women, was founded in 1966 seeking equality for women in all sectors of society including the workplace, education, the justice system, and in reproductive rights.
3. C. Jesse Owens' four gold medals in Berlin were a major accomplishment for any athlete, made all the more significant given the political and racially charged atmosphere of Berlin and Hitler's growing influence. He still holds several world records and track and field.
4. C. The Great Society was the pet project of Lyndon B. Johnson who modeled it after FDR's New Deal and a plan known as The New Frontier proposed by John F. Kennedy. In addition to the civil rights legislation included, this plan was significant in greatly increasing the role of the federal government in education through spending and landmark programs such as Head Start.
5. A. The Whitewater investigation by Justice Department special counsel, Kenneth Starr, focused on allegations that President and Hillary Clinton had been involved in illegal actions contributing to a failed land deal in the 1980's. The investigation was conducted during Clinton 's presidency and concluded in 2000, noting that insufficient evidence existed to present the case to a jury. The investigation is estimated to have cost the American taxpayers about $80 million.
6. A. During the Reagan administration, members of the NSC and Defense Department engaged in arms sales to Iran against U.S. embargoes. Funds were used to assist guerilla fighters battling the Communist government in Nicaragua . These actions violated Congressional mandate and prompted a large scale investigation that resulted in the indictment and conviction of North and the other key player, National Security Advisor John Poindexter. The charges were later overturned on appeal.
7. B. The Secret Service, founded in 1865, was started with the initial goal of reducing counterfeiting of U.S. currency. At that time, some estimates place the percentage of circulating currency that was counterfeit at as high as 40%. The Secret Service's duties were later expanded to include Presidential and foreign dignitary protection.
8. A. Sinclair's novel was a vivid and horrific portrayal of immigrant struggles set amid the early 1900's meat packing industry. The novel's graphic descriptions of the industry are credited by some with prompting Congressional legislation creating the Food and Drug Administration.
9. A. The Progressive Era is usually marked from the late 1800's until the beginning of World War I. It was characterized by numerous reform movements including improving efficiency and honesty in government, equality (although with contradictions), social justice, and social welfare. Significant events included the passage of Prohibition and the Nineteenth Amendment guaranteeing women's suffrage.
10. D. The Marshall Plan as it was commonly known became the blueprint for rebuilding post war Europe while at the same time stabilizing international markets and encouraging the spread of capitalism, free markets, and democracy. It was also a first step in limited the spread and influence of communism.
11. B. Meet the Press has been shown weekly since its first episode in 1947.
12. B. McCarthy was the chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and launched numerous investigations in the 1950's into alleged communist infiltration the U.S. military and government agencies. His committee conducted countless interviews and public and private hearings. McCarthy himself was outspoken and made specific accusations even without evidence to back it up. Although, he enjoyed tremendous support for a short time, he would fall from public grace after vilifying a war hero and losing the support of his party.
13. A. The United States railroad system revolutionized transportation of goods and people in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries allowing finished products to reach many more consumers.
14. B. The Scopes or so-called "monkey" trial was an orchestrated attempt to force a court opinion on state statutes outlawing the teaching of evolution in public schools. The case garnered extensive media coverage featured numerous prominent lawyers as well as the ACLU. Although the courts upheld the state law outlawing evolution instruction, that precedent would be overturned in later court decisions.
15. A. Black Tuesday is a reference to the October 29, 1929 stock market crash in which a record number of stocks were traded and stock values plummeted. This event is considered to mark the beginning of the Great Depression. It took several decades for the stock market to recover in value.
16. B. A major U.S. objective during the Cold War period (apprx. 1947 - 1991) was to halt the spread of Communism and Soviet influence. The U.S. entered the Korean Civil War in support of the South when it became apparent that the North was being aided by Soviet advisors and military supplies.
17. C. Manifest destiny was a phrase first coined by newspaper reporter, John O'Sullivan to describe the growing belief among Americans in the 1800's that our nation's government and values were superior and it was our right to spread it across the continent, controlling all land. It led to the Mexican War and the ensuing land acquisition.
18. D. Sierra Club is one of the oldest environmental organizations in existence, founded in 1892. The group has achieved many successes in improving environmental awareness. Although they state their mission is to accomplish objectives through lawful means, some incidents of violence and illegal action have been connected to members.
19. B. Hoover's campaign slogan was a promise of prosperity under his leadership. Ironically, the Great Depression began a year later.
20. D. The U.S. has numerous bases in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, but not India .
21. A. The Chinese Exclusion Act banned most Chinese immigration into the United States from 1882 until 1943. It was the first immigration law to create a ban based on race or nationality and was passed in large part due to public prejudice and reaction to mass immigration following economic and political upheaval in China .
22. B. The G.I. Bill or Service Members Readjustment Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt in 1944 to assist returning WWII veterans. It included components such as education loans and grants, employment preference, medical benefits, and unemployment payments.
23. C. Cesar Chavez was a labor leader who spear-headed a movement on behalf of migrant farm workers for several decades starting the 1960's. His efforts led to the organization of the United Farm Workers and better treatment of migrant workers.
24. A. Gen X
25. D. This case overturned previous precedent that held schools could be separated by race if they were equal. In Brown v. Board in 1954, the court found that separate cannot be equal and outlawed segregation in public schools based on race. This decision brought federally enforced desegregation and bussing whose impact is still seen today. Some school systems are still under federal court supervision for compliance.
26. A. Harper Lee's first novel describes the racial turmoil in a small town centered on the trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman. The book graphically details racism while at the same time modeling tolerance and compassion. The novel won her a Pulitzer Prize and has become required public school reading for every generation since.
27. B. Flapper was a term used in the 1920's to refer to women who wore more skimpy clothing and cosmetics, smoke, drank, and had more casual attitudes towards sex. These women illustrated the changing attitude in America toward the role of women in society.
28. A. On May 4, 1970, National Guardsmen opened fire on unruly student anti-war demonstrators at Kent State in Ohio, killing four and wounding nine more. The incident shocked Americans and the world and was a tragic low point of the domestic opposition to the war.
29. D. Medicare, providing health coverage for seniors, was enacted in 1965, thirty years after Roosevelt 's New Deal, a plan for addressing the effects of economic depression on Americans.
30. B. The Fulbright Program was established in 1946, and in 2005, the U.S. appropriated $144 million dollars to its funding. The program encourages improved international understanding through exchange programs, scholarships and grants for American students to study abroad, and fellowships for American professional to lecture and teach overseas.
31. D. White flight refers to the movement of predominantly white, middle and upper class Americans out of urban, inner city areas into suburbs. This resulted in deteriorating neighborhoods, lack of services and retails, and poor quality public schools for the predominantly poor, minority residents left behind. This trend has reversed itself on a small scale in recent years with a movement of young professionals and even some families back into urban areas.
32. A. Irving Berlin was a popular songwriter and entertainer during the first half of the 20th century with many hits including his "God Bless America " and "White Christmas".
33. C. Andy Warhol is considered one of the founders of the pop art movement, using American pop culture as his inspiration and even using his skills in commercial art. His career spanned four decades in the 20th century.
34. B. According to the United States Constitution, authority over education is a power reserved to the states. The federal government has found ways to involve itself in public education by establishing expectations, requirements, and standards that schools must meet in order to receive federal funding such as President Bush's plan No Child Left Behind.
35. B. Although Arnold was instrumental in winning a battle for Americans in our revolution that convinced France to enter the conflict as our ally, his later treason and abandonment of the American cause has made his name historically synonymous with traitor or treason.
36. B. The American South and parts of the central Mid-West have commonly been referred to as the Bible Belt for the heavy influence of Christian churches, especially those of a fundamental or evangelical nature.
37. A. The term was made popular by American President Theodore Roosevelt who quoted an old proverb, "Speak softly, but carry a big stick", as an explanation of America 's approach to enforcing the Monroe Doctrine in the Western Hemisphere .
38. C. The Manhattan Project research and experiments actually took place at several different sites including the first bomb test site in Alamogordo, New Mexico, producing the first nuclear reaction in 1942. This process was used to develop a fully functional atomic bomb by 1945.
39. D. The National Rifle Association is the most outspoken special interest group in the United States in the protection of gun ownership rights. The organization was originally founded after the Civil War to promote marksmanship and did not become politically active in lobbying until the 1970's. The organization currently has over 4 million members.
40. B. All choices are labor organizations, but were formed in the twentieth century. The American Federation of Labor was founded in 1886 and was a key player in increasing the influence of organized labor. They later combined with the Committee (later Congress) for Industrial Organization in the 1950's to form the powerful AFL-CIO.