October 25, 2017

CLEP U.S. HISTORY I Exam Answer Key

1. The correct answer is (e). The Treaty of Tordesillas was between Spain and Portugal. It was executed in 1491, not in the 1500s (a). The treaty did not set up a “Line of Demarcation” (b); this line was previously established 100 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands by the Pope in response to demands by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to confirm their South American colonization. Since the line’s division gave more territory to Spain than Portugal, but Portugal had a more powerful navy at the time, Spain and Portugal agreed through the Treaty of Tordesillas to move the Line of Demarcation farther west, not east (c). The treaty was not initiated by the Pope (d); he established the original Line of Demarcation. The treaty moved this line west, and Spain and Portugal agreed to this treaty.

2. The correct answer is (c). Hernando Cortes conquered the Mexican Aztecs in 1519. He had several advantages over the Indians, including horses, armor for his soldiers, and guns. In addition, Cortes’ troops unknowingly transmitted smallpox to the Aztecs, which devastated their population as they had no immunity to this foreign illness. Vasco Nunez de Balboa (a) was the first European explorer to view the Pacific Ocean when he crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1513. Juan Ponce de Leon (b) also visited and claimed Florida in Spain’s name in 1513. Cabeza de Vaca (d) was one of only four men out of 400 to return from an expedition led by Panfilio de Narvaez in 1528, and was responsible for spreading the story of the Seven Cities of Cibola (the “cities of gold”). Hernando de Soto (e) led an expedition from 1539-1541 to the southeastern part of America.

3. The correct answer is (b). Hernando de Soto led an expedition of 600 men to southeastern America between 1539 and 1541, getting as far west as Oklahoma and discovering the Mississippi River in the process. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado (a) and his men made an expedition to southwestern America between 1540 and 1542, traveling from Mexico across the Rio Grande and going to New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. In the process, they became some of the first European explorers to see the Grand Canyon. Hernando Cortes (c) conquered the Aztecs of Mexico in 1519. Juan Ponce de Leon (d) explored Florida looking for the Fountain of Youth and for gold in 1513. At the time, he also claimed Florida for Spain. Panfilio de Narvaez (e) led an expedition to the Gulf Coast area of America in 1528. It failed, and only a few of the hundreds of men who participated in this expedition returned.

4. The correct answer is (d). The conquistadores had to deal with labor shortages during their colonization of America in the 16th century. This was attributable to the fact that Spain during this time did not suffer from overpopulation (e), so only about 200,000 Spaniards migrated to America, not 300,000 (e). To address the shortage of labor, the Spanish first used Indian slaves. Only after the Indians were decimated by diseases brought from Europe and from being overworked did the Spanish begin to import slaves from Africa (b). The first system used by the Spanish was the encomienda system of large estates or manors, which was only later succeeded by the hacienda system (c), which was similar but not as harsh. It is not true that New Spain’s society had no kind of class system (a). In fact, this society was rigidly divided into three strata. The highest class was Spanish natives (peninsulares), the middle class consisted of those born in America to Spanish parents (creoles), and the lowest class was made up of Mestizos, or Indians.

5. The correct answer is (e). All of these explorers were involved in the search for a Northwest Passage (i.e. a route over water from North America to Asia). Giovannia da Verrazzano (a) of Italy sailed under the French flag in 1524 and went up the coast of America from what is now North Carolina to what is now Maine. John Cabot (b) of Italy, also known as Giovanni Caboto, was commissioned by England to look for a Northwest Passage in 1497, and was the first European to come to North America since the Vikings claimed the land in England’s name. Jacques Cartier (c) made three expeditions to America beginning in 1534 on behalf of France. He explored and claimed the St. Lawrence River area, progressing as far as Montreal in Canada. Ferdinand Magellan (d) of Portugal discovered a water route around the southern tip of South America in 1519. When he set sail five years after Verrazzano, Magellan hoped to follow in the earlier explorer’s footsteps.

6. The correct answer is (a). It is not true that England’s defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 ended their war with Spain. It did establish England’s naval dominance and strengthened England’s future colonization of the New World, but the actual war between England and Spain did not end until 1604. It is true that Henry VIII’s desire to divorce Catherine of Aragon strengthened English expansionism (b). Catherine was Spanish, and Henry split from the Catholic Church because it prohibited divorce. Henry’s rejection of his Spanish wife and his subsequent support of the Protestant movement angered King Philip II of Spain and destroyed the formerly close ties between the two countries. When Elizabeth became Queen of England, she supported the Reformation as a Protestant, which also contributed to English colonization (c). Sir Francis Drake, one of the best known English sea captains during this time period, would attack and plunder Spanish ships that had plundered American Indians (d), adding to the enmity between Spain and England. Queen Elizabeth invested in Drake’s voyages and gave him her support in claiming territories for England (e).

7. The correct answer is (b). The Virginia Company of London was based in London, not Massachusetts. It had a charter to colonize American land between the Hudson and Cape Fear rivers (c). The other Virginia Company was the Virginia Company of Plymouth, which was based in the American colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts (a). It had a charter to colonize North America between the Potomac River and the northern boundary of Maine (d). Both Virginia Companies were joint-stock companies (e), which had often been used by England for trading with other countries.

8. The correct answer is (e). It is not true that John Smith’s governance helped Jamestown more than John Rolfe’s discovery that a certain type of East Indian tobacco could be grown in Virginia. Smith’s strong leadership from 1608-1609 gave great support to the struggling colony. However, when Smith’s return to England left Jamestown without this support, the future of the colony was again in question. In 1612, however, when John Rolfe found that an East Indian tobacco strain popular in Europe could be farmed in Virginia, the discovery gave Jamestown and Virginia a lucrative crop. Therefore, both Smith’s time in office and Rolfe’s discovery were beneficial to Jamestown. Jamestown was established by the Virginia Company of London in 1607 (a), and it became the first permanent settlement by the English in North America (b). It is also true that Jamestown survived in spite of the fact that most of its early settlers died from starvation, disease, and Indian attacks (c). It is also true that many of Jamestown’s settlers came from the English upper class and were unwilling to farm the land, while others came hoping to find gold or other treasures, and persisted in their search for these instead of working to make the land sustainable (d).

9. The correct answer is (c). The Pilgrims were not Puritans seeking to escape religious persecution in England. They were actually English Separatists (d) who believed there was no fixing the Church of England, and thus chose to separate from it. They did embark on the Mayflower in 1620, and storms drove the ship to land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts (a). Their leader was William Bradford, and they had been given a charter by the London Company to settle America (b) south of the Hudson River. The Pilgrims knew that going ashore would leave them without any existing government, so while still on board the ship they created the Mayflower Compact (e) so that their New World colony would have a basis for government from its inception.

10. The correct answer is (d). It is not true that Colonel Nicols granted very few civil or political rights to New York colonials. In fact, he gave them as many civil and political rights as possible to make up for the fact that James, Duke of York, who conquered New Amsterdam with his brother King Charles II’s authorization (b), was strongly against representation for colonists, and prohibited any representative assemblies in his renamed New York (c). Despite Nicols’ allowing colonial citizens many other rights, they still wanted to govern themselves, especially Long Island’s Puritans (e). James gave in to their demands in the 1680s, but upon his accession to the throne of England in 1685, he went back on his word. It is true that before the English conquered the New York territories, New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island was a trading settlement of the New Netherlands made by Dutch explorers to facilitate the Dutch West India Company’s fur trade with the Indians (a).