AP US History Practice Questions

Test your readiness for the AP US History exam by taking this quiz!


Question 1
Refer to the following text:
“Our society will never be great until our cities are great…[where] we begin to build the Great Society is in our countryside. We have always prided ourselves on being…America the beautiful. Today that beauty is in danger. The water we drink, the food we eat, the very air that we breathe, are threatened…A third place to build the Great Society is in the classrooms of America…. Our society will not be great until every young mind is set free to scan the farthest reaches of thought and imagination. We are still far from that goal…”
President Lyndon B. Johnson, Great Society speech
(Commencement address to the University of Michigan), May 22, 1964
Which of the following movements most likely inspired the ideals set forth in President Johnson’s Great Society speech?
A: The New Frontier
B: The Fair Deal
C: The New Deal
D: The Progressive Era


C – Historians have identified Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society as the continuation or attempt at completion of ideas established during the New Deal by the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Thus, (C) is correct. Johnson reportedly found the New Frontier too timid in its proposals, and he instead harkened back to the wide-ranging reforms of the New Deal era. Thus, (A) is incorrect. The Fair Deal, a proposal by President Truman laid out in his 1949 State of the Union address, was a continuation of the New Deal. Most notably, it advocated for universal healthcare. Johnson and Truman were both inspired by the same source, the New Deal. Thus, (B) is incorrect. The Progressive Era, while sharing some ideas of the New Deal, was also greatly concerned with ideas like antitrust legislation, prohibition, eugenics, and weakening party bosses. Johnson’s Great Society did not concern itself with those issues. Thus, (D) is incorrect.


Question 2
In the immediate aftermath of the Boston Massacre, many of the citizens of the city of Boston:
A: decided to enlist in the British army in order to obtain weapons to defend themselves.
B: organized the Boston Tea Party.
C: circulated propaganda in the form of pamphlets and prints.
D: looked to George Washington to organize and lead a new colonial military force.


C – Days and weeks after the incident, a propaganda battle was waged between radicals seeking rebellion and loyalists trying to influence opinion back in England; (C) is correct. The engraving above was used to make prints that were circulated in the Boston Gazette. Few citizens of Boston, including loyalist Tories, decided to enlist in any military force in 1770, much less in the British army, which makes (A) incorrect. (B) is incorrect because the Boston Tea Party was a response to the Tea Act of May 1773, not the Boston Massacre of March 1770. (D) is incorrect because, while citizens would eventually know him as a great leader, George Washington’s appointment to lead a new colonial military force did not occur until June 1775.


Question 3
Refer to the following text:
“The northward migration of African-Americans accelerated after the war, thanks to the advent of the mechanical cotton picker—an invention whose impact rivaled that of Eli Whitney’s cotton gin. . . .Overnight, the Cotton South’s historic need for cheap labor disappeared. Their muscle no longer required in Dixie, some 5 million black tenant farmers and sharecroppers headed north in the three decades after the war. Theirs was one of the great migrations in American history. . .Within a single generation, a near majority of African-Americans gave up their historic homeland and their rural way of life. . . . The speed and scale of these changes jolted the migrants and sometimes convulsed the communities that received them.”
David M. Kennedy and Lizabeth Cohen, The American Pageant, 2013
Which of the following African American institutions rose to prominence during the time of the Great Migration?
A: The Tuskegee Institute
B: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
C: The Freedman’s Bureau
D: The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)


B – The Great Migration started around 1910. In 1905, Du Bois held a meeting in Niagara Falls to discuss possible forms of protest against racial discrimination and violence. This group, called the Niagara Movement, joined forces with other concerned African Americans and whites to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1908, which gained prominence in the 1910s and onward. (B) is correct. Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute was founded in the 1880s and gained popularity in the 1890s, before the Great Migration had occurred, making (A) incorrect. The Freedman’s Bureau, founded by the federal government in 1865, also pre-dated the Great Migration, making (C) incorrect. The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was an African-American civil rights organization that was founded in 1942, after the Great Migration; (D) is also incorrect.


Question 4
Refer to the chart below:
AP US History
Which of the following was a direct cause of the defense spending trend between 1980 and 1990 as shown in the chart?
A: The breakup of the Soviet Union
B: The Reagan administration’s military buildup
C: The savings and loan crisis
D: The Gulf War


B – Following the Vietnam War, the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Ronald Reagan proposed a large military buildup to restore America’s prestige and capabilities. This proposal resulted in a notable increase in defense spending during the 1980s up until the gradual breakup of the Soviet Union. (B) is correct. The breakup of the Soviet Union was partly the result, not the cause, of the budget trend illustrated on the above chart . Thus, (A) is incorrect. The savings and loan crisis did not significantly affect the increases in defense spending, as the U.S. national debt increased substantially during the Reagan administration to sup-port this military buildup while simultaneously cutting taxes. Therefore, (C) is incorrect. The Gulf War did not occur until 1990–1991, a decade after this trend began, making (D) incorrect.


Question 5
Refer to the text below:
“The general sanitary investigation of 1912 included 45 cities of the State, and covered 1,338 industrial establishments, . . . 125,961 wage-earners . . . employed . . . in the different industries of the State . . .
Laws Passed as a Result of the Commission’s Second Year’s Work [1913]
1.Reorganization of Labor Department . . .
5.Fire escapes and exits; limitation of number of occupants; . . .
7.Prohibition of employment of children under fourteen, in cannery sheds or tenement houses; . . .
8.Physical examination of children employed in factories . . .
11.Night work of women in factories.
12.Seats for women in factories . . .
The enactment of these laws marked a new era in labor legislation . . . It placed the State of New York in the lead in legislation for the protection of wage earners . . .”
Fourth Report of the Factory Investigation Commission, 1915
The actions in the excerpt most clearly reflect which of the following continuities in United States history?
A: Debates over the proper degree of government activism
B: Debates over gender inequality
C: Debates over the challenges of urbanization
D: Debates over increased consumerism


A – As American capitalism developed, debates occurred over the role of government in the economy and the proper amount of government intervention necessary to limit the worst abuses of capitalism; (A) is correct. While the majority of garment workers who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire were women, the resulting laws affected working conditions of both genders, making (B) incorrect. Though this fire was one of the deadliest industrial accidents in U.S. history, the government became increasingly responsible for protecting urban workers, eliminating (C). Instead of increasing the protection or interests of consumers, the fire led to increased protection of workers; (D) is incorrect.


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