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The following website lists some great multiple choice questions for the Federalist Era. There are many questions that require the analysis of primary sources or speakers, so I like to use some on my tests.
Before the section with these questions, I remind the students the need to really focus on using test taking skills.
Critical Thinking & Analysis: The following questions are taken from a state exam for New York students. We have stressed the importance or developing good test taking skills, such as eliminating obvious incorrect choices. Use those skills to answer the questions in the following section. (From the
1. The speakers below are discussing foreign policies that the United States has followed at various times. Base your answers on their statements and on your knowledge of social studies.
Speaker A: Steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.
Speaker B: The United States will give economic aid to needy countries anywhere in the world, but will not provide military aid.
Speaker C: The United States must prevent the growth of communism.
Speaker D: The United States can take over other countries to help them become more like us.
Which speaker states a policy most similar to the foreign policy advice given by President George Washington in his Farewell Address?
a. A
b. B
c. C
c. D
2. When John Marshall was Chief Justice, United States Supreme Court decisions tended to strengthen the power of
a. the National Government
b. state and local governments
c. labor unions
d. trusts and monopolies
3. Alexander Hamilton’s argument that the government has the power to create a National Bank is based on which part of the Constitution?
a. the Preamble
b. the elastic clause
c. guarantees to the States
d. the Bill of Rights
4. “All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well born, the other the mass of the people. . . . The people are turbulent and changing. . . . Give therefore to the first class a distinct permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second.”
-Alexander Hamilton
The author of this quotation suggests that
a. the will of the majority should guide public policy
b. wealthy people are too preoccupied to rule well
c. the common people cannot be trusted to run a stable government
d. poorer people must work harder to gain access to economic and political power
5. Actions and policies of the Government under President George Washington generally resulted in the
a. establishment of strong political ties with other nations
b. liberation of many enslaved persons
c. failure to create a sound financial program for the country
d. strengthening of the Federal Government
6. Speaker A:”We must take action even if we are not sure it will work. To do nothing to stop them would be a repeat of the Munich mistake.”
Speaker B:”We must recognize the increasing interdependence of nations and join the United Nations.”
Speaker C:”Stopping the spread of communism can and must take several forms. We must be willing to do whatever is necessary.”
Speaker D:”Involvement in European affairs would be a mistake. We should not jeopardize our peace and prosperity over issues that Europe’s ambitions and rivalries control.”

Which speaker best describes the basic foreign policy of the United States until the late 1800’s?
a. Speaker A
b. Speaker B
c. Speaker C
d. Speaker D
7. “Our true policy is to steer clear of permanent alliances . . . .”
-George Washington
President Washington made this statement to warn against United States involvement in
a. European military conflicts
b. international trade
c. the race for overseas colonies
d. westward expansion
8. The significance of the Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison is that the decision
a. advanced civil rights for minorities
b. upheld the constitutionality of a national bank
c. limited Presidential control of foreign policy
d. established the power of judicial review
9. Alexander Hamilton urged Congress to pass a protective tariff to encourage the growth of
a. labor unions
b. manufacturing
c. agriculture
d. slavery
10. What was the result of many of the Supreme Court decisions made under Chief Justice John Marshall between 1801 and 1835?
a. The system of slavery was weakened.
b. The federal government was strengthened.
c. The rights of workers were supported.
d. Antitrust laws were upheld.
11. “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. . . .” — Marbury v. Madison, 1803 This statement expresses the Supreme Court’s claim that
a. courts must abide by a strict interpretation of the Constitution
b. federal laws must be approved by the courts before they can take effect
c. the judicial branch must have a role in the amendment process
d. the power of judicial review belongs to the courts
12. Alexander Hamilton’s financial plan helped to establish the credit of the United States government by
a. providing for the payment of the nation’s debts
b. taxing only the people most able to pay
c. favoring agriculture over industry
d. encouraging spending for national defense
13. One factor that led to the formation of the first two political parties in the United States in the 1790s was the conflict over the
a. distribution of power between the federal and state governments
b. spread of slavery into the western territories
c. control of interstate commerce
d. acquisition of lands from France and Spain
14. One major reason that Alexander Hamilton proposed a national bank was to
a. improve the economic position of the United States government
b. help state governments collect taxes
c. make loans available to owners of small farms
d. reduce foreign investment in the United States
15. A major reason the Antifederalists opposed the ratification of the United States Constitution was because the Constitution
a. created a national bank
b. lacked a provision for a federal court system
c. failed to provide for the direct election of members of the House of Representatives
d. changed the balance of power between the state and national governments
16. President George Washington pursued a foreign policy of neutrality during his administration primarily because he believed that
a. the United States needed time to gain economic and military strength
b. treaties were prohibited by the Constitution
c. the United States should not expand by force
d. alliances should be established with both France and England