HIST 2020
American History II
Midterm Study Guide
Spring 2006


The examination comprises:

(1) twenty-five multiple-choice questions (50%); and
(2) three essay questions of which students are required to answer two (50%).

Required Materials

Students should bring to the examination:

(1) two sharpened #2 pencils for recording answers to the multiple-choice section;
(2) a blue or black ballpoint pen; and
(3) at least one examination booklet (blue book) for writing the essays (available in the bookstores on both campuses).


(1) The total time allowed for the examination is one hour and fifteen minutes: twenty-five minutes for the multiple-choice section and fifty minutes for the essay.
(2) No books, notes, or other materials may be consulted during the examination.

Examination Dates

March 15-17

Classes meeting two days per week will complete the entire examination on Wednesday, March, 15 or Thursday, March 16.

Classes meeting three days per week will complete the multiple-choice section of the examination on Wednesday, March 15, and essay section on Friday, March 17.

Studying Guidelines

The examination is designed to test the learning outcomes stated in the syllabus for the course. The multiple-choice questions test students' familiarity with historical persons, institutions, and events (course learning outcome #1), and the essay questions assess the ability of students to use this knowledge in making connections, analyzing arguments, and presenting their own ideas (learning outcomes #2-5).

The terms listed below for each topic are provided to assist students in preparing for the multiple-choice questions on the examination. Multiple-choice questions on the test are based on these terms. For each term, students should know basic factual information (who, what, when, where) and recognize significance (why is the term important). Although it is important to be thoroughly familiar with the terms, the multiple-choice questions are not designed to confuse prepared students or test the memorization of trivial details. Students who can identify a term and explain its importance should be able to answer a related multiple-choice question correctly.

The three essay questions on the examination will be taken directly from the essay questions below. Students are required to answer two of the three selected questions. Because the selection is not published in advance, students should prepare for all questions. Essays should comprise five to eight full paragraphs (at least four or five sentences each), including an introduction and a conclusion. As indicated in the syllabus, responses to essay questions are graded on the basis of factual accuracy, relevance to the topic, clarity, presentation, and organization. Students should devote a significant portion of their test preparation to constructing thorough, organized, and reasoned responses to the essay questions.


1. Rural America: The West and the New South

Identification Terms:
Bonanza farms, cattle drives, Homestead Act, Battle of Little Big Horn, Dawes Act, Ghost Dance, Plessy v. Ferguson, Ida B. Wells, "Atlanta Compromise"

Essay Question:
Discuss the impact of westward expansion on Native Americans in the West after the Civil War. Also discuss the steps that stripped blacks of their political rights and the implementation of "Jim Crow" laws during the same time period.

2. Smokestack America

Identification Terms:
Bessemer process, Standard Oil, Andrew Carnegie, "Walking city," "New Immigration," Great Railroad Strike of 1877, Knights of Labor, American Federation of Labor, Chinese Exclusion Act

Essay Question:
Discuss the factors that contributed to industrial transformation in the
United States between 1865 and 1900. Also discuss urban expansion during the age of industrial development with particular reference to in-migration and foreign immigration.

3. Politics and Reform

Identification Terms:
Pendleton Act of 1883, temperance movement, "The Gospel of Wealth," Social Darwinism, settlement house movement, Tammany Hall, NAWSA, People’s Party

Essay Question:
Discuss national politics in
America during the "Gilded Age." What role did middle-class reformers play during this age? Also discuss the various reformist philosophies of this period.

4. Becoming a World Power

Identification Terms:
Queen Liliuokalani, Alfred Mahan, "de Lome’s letter," USS Maine, Panama Canal
, Platt Amendment, Roosevelt Corollary, Open Door notes

Essay Question:
Explain the major motivations for and opposition to American expansionism in the 1890s, and describe the role of the
United States in Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.

5. Progressivism and the Great War

Identification Terms:
Muckrakers, "city beautiful" movement, Pure Food and Drug Act, Niagara Movement, Selective Service Act, Creel Committee, League of Nations

Essay Question:
Define progressivism and analyze social issues, political policies, legislation, reforms, and race issues during the Progressive era. What happened to Progressivism during World War I and what impact did the war have on reform?

6. Affluence and Anxiety

Identification Terms:
Charles Lindbergh, Scopes Trial, the "Red Menace," Harlem Renaissance, Ku Klux Klan, Model T, Marcus Garvey, the stock market crash

Essay Question:
Discuss the 1920s in American history focusing on the major issues of conflict such as religious and racial intolerance. Also discuss issues of consensus paying attention to the impacts of literature and the arts, the role of leisure sports, and the issues of women and minorities.

7.  The Great Depression and the New Deal   


Identification Terms:

Bonus Army, Civilian Conservation Corps, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Social Security Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, “black cabinet,” Eleanor Roosevelt.


Essay Question:

Explain how the Great Depression affected the American economy. Describe the New Deal and discuss how Roosevelt’s efforts to address the Depression differ from those of his predecessor? What effects did these policies have on American society?