CLEP Social Science Exam Answer Key

1. Answer (d) is not true. Ernest Hemingway published his first two novels during the 1920s: The Sun Also Rises in 1926 and A Farewell to Arms in 1929. He did win the Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea, but he published this novel in 1952. The African-American population in New York City did more than double during the 1920s (a), leading to the Harlem Renaissance. Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald did famously call this decade “The Jazz Age” (b) for the popularity of this musical form. The divorce rate in America did rise noticeably in the 1920s (c) due to a loosening of divorce laws and to women’s new sense of independence, fueled by their ability to vote for the first time in 1920 and by the changes in fashion and moral values characterized by the “flapper” movement. Although women’s work outside home was limited to a few fields and wages were low compared to men’s, it is true that more than eight million women were working by 1920 and more than ten million were working by 1930 (e).

2. Herbert Hoover (c) was president in 1929 when the stock market crash occurred (many factors contributed to the Great Depression, but the stock market crash was considered a precipitating event). Warren G. Harding (a) was elected in 1920 and served until his death in 1923. Harding’s vice president, Calvin Coolidge (b), succeeded to office in 1923 upon Harding’s death, ran for president in 1924, was elected, and was in office from 1925 to 1929. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (d) ran for president in 1932 and was elected, taking office in 1933.

3. Answer (e) is correct: These were all programs of Roosevelt’s New Deal. Prohibition was repealed in 1933 (a). The SEC was established in 1934 (b) to regulate trading policies in the stock market and enforce fair trade after insider trading had swindled many investors. Roosevelt also started the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) (c) in 1934 to create homeowners’ loans. The Social Security Act (d) was passed in 1935, mandating the government to give insurance to retired workers, unemployed workers, dependent children, and people with disabilities.

4. Frank Capra (a), a major in the U.S. Army and a director of many films, including the classic It’s a Wonderful Life and a number of “screwball comedies,” produced Why We Fight for the U.S. government. The films were narrated by John Huston (b), who was an actor and also a film director and screenwriter and directed many films starring Humphrey Bogart. Leni Riefenstahl (c) was a German filmmaker who made the film The Triumph of the Will, a Nazi propaganda film, from which Capra used clips in the Why We Fight series. Jimmy Stewart (d), the famous American actor who starred in It’s a Wonderful Life, among many other films, was also a pilot in the Army Air Corps and flew bombers in Europe during World War II. Director William Wyler (e) directed the film The Memphis Belle, a patriotic movie about the heroism of American soldiers in World War II, which came out in 1944 and was a typical example of popular wartime movies in America.

5. Only answer (b) is true: McCarthy’s speech claiming that the secretary of state knew of a list of 205 names of people in the State Department who were members of the Communist Party brought him a great deal of attention in Congress, though that attention was more likely notoriety than positive fame. It is not true that President Eisenhower agreed with McCarthy (a). Publicly he showed support for McCarthy, but privately he felt McCarthy was a hindrance to his effective leadership as president, and he tried to control McCarthy’s outrageous attacks. McCarthy never exposed any Communists or spies in America during his entire “Red Hunt” (c); in fact, he never produced any evidence to substantiate any of his claims. Although McCarthy died in 1957, it is not true that the House Committee on Un-American Activities ceased operation (d) at that time; this committee continued to investigate possible cases of Communism into the 1960s. Since only one of these statements is correct, answer (e) is incorrect.

6. The collapse of the USSR in 1991 (c) is generally regarded as the official end of the Cold War. While the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990 (a) was the beginning of German reunification and took place with Gorbachev’s consent, this event also signified the beginning of the realization of Gorbachev’s concept of the “Common European Home.” President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 improved relations between the United States and China, but the Great Wall of China (b) never fell: it still exists and is over 5,500 miles long. Since one of these events, the official dissolution of the Soviet Union (c) is considered the end of the Cold War, answers (d) and (e) are incorrect.

7. Answer (c) is true. While the Civil Rights Bill was created by John F. Kennedy, he was assassinated before he could get the bill passed, so answer (a) is not true. After Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded Kennedy to the presidency, he got this bill passed in 1964, but he did not create the bill, so answer (b) is not true. It is not true that no group was formed to enforce the Civil Rights Act (d); the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was formed to enforce the act. The Civil Rights Act itself did not enable many more blacks to vote (e). Because of the very small numbers of registered black voters in Selma, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr. initiated a protest march in an effort to enroll black voters. While King advocated peaceful protest, the Selma march was subject to much violence by state troopers. Protestors took their case to federal court and won, and President Johnson sent the National Guard and Military Police to protect them in their march. Because of the violence in Selma, President Johnson got Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act in 1965, and this was the act that enabled many more blacks to register to vote.

8. Only answer (e) did not take place during the 1960s. Hippies had formed communes in the country to “drop out” of society during the 1960s, but because they were not well organized and the farmland was not tended properly, the members could not support themselves by farming, and most communes were abandoned by the 1970s, with their “dropout” members re-entering society after their dreams failed. Due to postwar prosperity in the 1950s, the 1960s saw a larger number of students enrolling in college in the United States than ever before (a). The “British Invasion” of rock groups from England, such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, did have a tremendous influence on American rock and roll music (b). In 1964, Mario Savio, a student at UC Berkeley, formed the Free Speech Movement with the purpose of presenting an organized front in student protests against political actions by university administration (c). During the 1960s, professor Timothy Leary of Harvard University advocated the use of hallucinogenic drugs (d) such as LSD and popularized the saying “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

9. The Graduate (a), directed by Mike Nichols and starring a young Dustin Hoffman, was released in 1967. Patton (b), a biographical drama about World War II general George S. Patton, directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, co-written by Francis Ford Coppola and starring George C. Scott, was released in 1970. M*A*S*H* (c), Robert Altman’s film set during the Korean War but used as a thinly veiled commentary on the Vietnam War, was also released in 1970. It starred Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Robert Duvall, and Sally Kellerman. Love Story (d), directed by Arthur Hiller and adapted by Erich Segal from his novel, starred Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal and was also released in 1970. Summer of ’42 (e), directed by Robert Mulligan and adapted by Herman Raucher from his memoirs, starred Jennifer O’Neill and Gary Grimes, and was released in 1971.

10. Answer (b) is not true. In the 1990s, the poorest 20 percent of the American population earned less than four percent of the country’s total income, not ten. It is true that during this decade, the richest 20 percent of the population earned half of the country’s total income (a). According to estimates by the U.S. Census, slightly more than ten percent of white and Asian Americans were living in poverty, while more than 25 percent of black and Latino Americans were poor (c). It is also true that by the year 2000, Latinos made up one-third of the populations of Texas, California, and Arizona, and half of the population of New Mexico (d). There was a great influx of Hispanic immigration in the 1990s. The Hispanic population in America went from 22 million in 1990 to 32.8 million by 2000, or 12 percent of the population, which makes Hispanics the largest single minority group in the United States (e).