Sunday, June 12, 2022

1895 -- 8th Grade Final Exam & Answers -- Subject U.S. History

A Completed 8th Grade Final Exam 
Salina, Kansas, 1895

Here is a completed 8th Grade Final Exam -- Subject: U.S. History 

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.

The History of the United States of America is divided into these several epochs:
  1. Period of Discovery and Settlement (1492 - 1690)
  2. Expansion of the Colonies (1690 - 1763) 
  3. Securing Independence (1763 - 1774) 
  4. The Critical Period (1774 - 1780) 
  5. Testing Self-Government and the Constitution (1780 - 1840) 
  6. Straining the Constitution (1840 - 1876) 
  7. The United States - A Greater Nation (to present) 

2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus. 

Although Leif the Lucky, known to history as Leif Ericson, a hardy Norseman from Greenland, discovered and established outposts along the northern coasts of America fully 500 years before Columbus, Christopher Columbus, a Genoese Italian mariner, is generally accredited with the modern discovery of America, although he never set foot on the mainland. 

In his boyhood, Columbus had studied drawing, geography, and astronomy. He had been a sailor on the Mediterranean. He made his way to Lisbon, Spain, where he became a mapmaker, under the tutelage of a mariner whose patron was Prince Henry the Navigator. Becoming convinced that the world was a sphere, he sought to prove that the shortest distance to the East Indies was by sailing westward. He had the map of Toscanelli, and believed it was correct. 

Probably about 1474 he began to seek the means to furnish a fleet, seeking aid from Genoa, Portugal, Venice, France, and England. The King of Portugal sent a secret expedition westward to test the idea of Columbus, but they returned without sighting land. For ten long years Columbus endured these rebuffs, and secretly left Portugal for Spain toward the end of 1484. 

Queen Isabella finally gave her approval and remained his best friend during the rest of her life. She furnished fully half the money needed for the voyage. The fleet consisted of three vessels, small caravels furnished by the town of Palos. The largest, the Santa Maria was only sixty-three feet long and twenty feet in breadth. She had a small cabin, while the other two, the Pinta and the Nina were open boats with high bows and sterns, the better to ride the waves. Columbus commanded the Santa Maria as well as the fleet. The captains of the other two boats were the brothers Pinzon. 

They sailed from Palos on August 3, 1492, and headed into unknown waters. It was not long before the crews wanted to turn back, threatening mutiny, as all kinds of fears and superstitions troubled them. The courage and determination of Columbus was equal to every occasion, holding the crews to their work. Early on the morning of October 12, 1492 they sighted one of the Bahama Islands. They had found a new world. Columbus thought he had found a part of India, and so he called the natives there Indians. They have been called indians ever since. But we know they are not, they are the native Americans. We celebrate October 12 as a school holiday, Columbus Day. 

3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War. 

The causes of the War for Independence from Great Britain were many. The colonies had by 1763 already shown independence by quarreling with the royal governors, insisting on ever greater measures of self-government. In 1763, after the Treaty of Paris, France created New France, the province of Quebec. A line was drawn along the mountain sources of the rivers flowing into the Atlantic, and the colonies were forbidden to plant settlements beyond that line. 

In 1760 George III had become king and his attempts at arbitrary rule made the Englishmen at home fear for their liberties and finally helped drive the colonials into a rebellion. 

George tried to enforce the Cromwell's old Navigation Act of 1651 to stop smuggling which was the life-blood of the colonials. To do this a mean measure was adopted. This was the issuing of Writs of Assistance. These were search warrants in blank. Any officer of the crown could write anybody's name in the blank line and proceed to search on the suspicion of there being smuggled goods in his home or store. Boston merchants resisted, engaging a lawyer James Otis to take the case to court. The case was lost, but Otis made the most eloquent speech that echoed through all the colonies. Among other things he claimed that "a man's home was his castle." When the case was lost, John Adams and the others left the crowded room ready to take up arms against the Writs of Assistance. "Then and there," wrote Adams, "the child, independence, was born." 

The wrangle over taxation culminated with the Stamp Act of 1765. The colonials did not object to taxes, they knew that government costs money, that it was the duty of every citizen to pay his just share of the tax. But they objected mightily to the method of levying and collecting taxes. In Great Britain, no tax could be levied without the consent of Parliament. In the colonies, no tax could be levied without the consent of the legislatures. The colonials shouted: "Taxation without representation is tyranny!" 

King George and his ministers paid no attention to the legal rights of the colonials. Seeing that the Navigation Acts were not defeating smuggling, they adopted a new tax scheme, the Stamp Act, whereby every legal document, every newspaper, every bill of merchandise, almost every form of paper had to bear an official stamp. Benjamin Franklin was in London as agent for Pennsylvania and tried to prevent the enactment of the law, but he said he might as well have tried to prevent the sun from setting. 

From then on, throughout the larger cities the colonists organized a secret society, "The Sons of Liberty." They opposed the Stamp Act in every possible way, and were by no means gentle in their methods. The Stamp Act was repealed in 1766, but replaced by the even more onerous Townshend Acts of 1767. Samuel Adams, the "Father of the Revolution" started a new and effective kind of resistance, drawing up a circular letter, which was adopted by the Massachusetts legislature and sent to the other colonies. This produced united action of protest against the new acts. 

General Gage arrived with four regiments as the new military governor of Massachusetts to enforce the acts. On June 17, 1774, Samuel Adams introduced a resolution to the legislature calling for a Colonial Congress to combat these oppressive measures and acts. Gage heard about the resolution and hurriedly sent a messenger to deliver a proclamation dissolving the assembly. The messenger found the door locked, and was not opened until the resolution was adopted. From then on the rest is history. 

The First Continental Congress met September 5, 1774. From that moment it was clear the colonies were ready to lay aside all their differences in the presence of threatened attacks upon their liberties. 

4. Show the territorial growth of the United States. 

After the War for Independence, the acknowledged boundaries of the United States in 1783 were: On the north the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, on the west the Mississippi River, and on the south, the northern border of the Floridas extending eastward from the mouth of the Mississippi, and of course, on the east the Atlantic Ocean. 

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson acquired the ownership of the French province of Louisiana, a vast tract extending from the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans west to the mountain sources of the Mississippi tributaries, more than doubling the size of the United States. He purchased the territory for $15,000,000 from Napoleon, then at war with Britain. He had rather see it in the hands of the Americans than see it captured by the ancient enemy of France. The invention of the steamboat quickly opened up settlement of the territory. 

In 1819 the Floridas were purchased from Spain, after a treaty framed by John Quincy Adams, for $5,000,000, securing the southern border and the whole of the Atlantic seaboard. General Andrew Jackson, sent to stop Indian troubles along the Florida border with Georgia had, for all intents and purposes, already militarily secured the area. 

By 1843 the northern border between Canada and the US west of the Great Lakes was fixed along the 49th parallel, and included all of the Oregon country below that line to the Pacific Ocean. 

In 1835 Texas seceded from Mexico, and at once asked for admission to the Union. President Van Buren refused his assent, fearing war with Mexico. Texas then became the "Lone Star Republic." Northern opposition to annexation weakened by 1845 and the Polk administration, and Texas was admitted as a slave state. 

Due to the dispute over the southern boundary of Texas, when Mexicans crossed the Rio Grande on April 23, 1846 and killed every man of a small army scouting party, war was declared with Mexico, May 13, 1846. General Zachary Taylor, immediately after the ambush of the scouting party, began to prosecute the war, and routed the Mexicans. Subsequently, much of Mexico was conquered including Mexico City, which practically ended the war. With the treaty of peace of 1848, in which we annexed all of California and New Mexico, we paid Mexico $15,000,000 "in consideration of the extension acquired by the boundaries of the United States," as the words of the treaty put it. 

It was thought that the boundary dispute was now settled, but another arose over the boundary of what are now Arizona and New Mexico. This was settled by acquiring more land in 1853, and paying an additional $10,000,000. Such now are the boundary extents of the United States of America. 

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas. 

Kansas has had a dramatic history, even before it became the 34th state in 1861. Historians have reported that Native Americans were living in Kansas as early as 12,000 B.C. They were followed for centuries by many different tribes making the history of Kansas entwined with the first Americans. 

Between 1541 and 1739 explorers from Spain and France came to the area in search of gold, knowledge, and trade with the Indians. In 1803, Kansas became a part of the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Fifty-one years later it was organized as a territory, which included the eastern half of Colorado. 

Conflict over slavery led to bloody battles between freestaters (anti-slavery) and pro-slavery forces. This led to the attack on Lawrence by pro-slavery forces and the widespread public outcry associated with "Bleeding Kansas." Kansas became part of the United States as a free state in 1861. 

After the War for Southern Independence, expansion of the rail system to Kansas and the increasing stream of immigrants lured to the state by offers of cheap land, Native Americans were forced into smaller and smaller reservations. Ultimately their removal to Indian Territory forced the final confrontation in the late 1870s that ended the independent life of the Native Americans. 

The establishment of military posts to protect the railroads and trails used by immigrants led to the establishment of small towns, which followed the posts. By 1870, the Kansas cow towns, following the westward expansion of the railroads, became well established. Such towns as Dodge City, Abilene, Caldwell, Newton, Wichita and Salina took their turns as the Queens of the Trail. To this day, the cattle industry remains an important part of the state's economy. The introduction of Turkey Red Winter Wheat by Mennonites from Russia in 1874 was a milestone in Kansas agriculture. The wheat was ideally suited to the Kansas climate and has made Kansas one of the leading wheat-producing states in the nation. 

6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion. 

The Battle of Chancellorsville, May 2 - 3, 1863 marked the turning point for the Confederates, even though it was a victory. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was killed and as General Lee said, he had lost his "right arm". 

The Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863, was the greatest battle of the world to that time. The Confederates were elated with their victories at Fredricksburg and Chancellorsville and Lee was urged to carry the war into the North and compel the granting of a peace satisfactory to the South. With an army of 70,000 men, he crossed the Potomac, marched across Maryland and into Pennsylvania. There he was overtaken by the Army of the Potomac, 90,000 strong, under General Meade at the village of Gettysburg. On the first and second days the Confederates gained ground and control. On the third day the Union troops ceased firing to let the cannons cool. Lee thought that he had "silenced" the enemy's guns, and ordered Pickett's division of infantry to charge across the valley and pierce the Union lines. As 15,000 men marched out of the forest of oaks into the open valley, the Union cannons opened fire. Great holes were torn in the ranks. As they drew nearer the Union rifles mowed them down. They closed ranks, charged the ridge, and the advance had reached a hand-to-hand fight when "retreat" was sounded, leaving the valley strewn with dead. The point reached by that charge is marked by a monument in the form of a large bronze book on which is inscribed, "High-water Mark of the Rebellion." 

The Siege of Vicksburg, May 19 to July 4th, 1863, returned control of the entire Mississippi River and valley to the Union. Grant and Sherman had been repulsed in their first attempts to take that stronghold. Grant moved his army down the west bank of the river. He had his gunboats run past the forts, and marched his troops below Vicksburg, and re-crossed for an attack from the rear. He got between the Confederate armies of Generals Johnston and Pemberton, made Johnston retreat and drove Pemberton, after hard fighting, into Vicksburg. Grant then settled down (May 19) for a siege. Continually bombarding the city, he cut the city off from all supplies until the people were forced to eat the mules and rats. There was no relief and no escape. Pemberton surrendered with 32,000 prisoners (July 4), and the Union soldiers promptly shared their food with the starving men, women and children. 

7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe? 

Samuel F.B. Morse -- inventor of the telegraph in 1840. After waiting for four years for the needed help, the first telegraph line in the world was built from Washington, D.C to Baltimore, and on May 24th, 1844, Professor Morse tapped out the first message "What hath God wrought?" in the Supreme Court room and it was returned from Baltimore. Those four words from the Bible announced one of the greatest inventions in the world's history. 

Eli Whitney - Inventor of the cotton gin in 1793, which made raising cotton profitable in the South. Without the gin, slave holdings had been becoming unprofitable and were dying out. Before the gin, it took a day's work by a slave to pick the seeds from a pound of cotton. With the gin, a single slave could separate and clean a thousand pounds of cotton a day. This led to the expansion of cotton plantings all across the South into Texas, releasing slaves to do field work instead of picking cottonseed from the linters, greatly prolonging the institution of slavery in the South. 

Robert Fulton - the inventor of the first successful steam powered paddlewheel boat, the Clermont. It was powered by an engine brought from England. On March 11, 1807, it paddled up the Hudson River from New York to Albany, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, in thirty-two hours. That was an event far greater than a victory in war, for it increased the power and advanced the civilization of the whole human race. The era of the steamboat has opened up the west, the rivers the highways of commerce. There have been over 10,000 steamboats operating on our rivers. 

Alexander Graham Bell - inventor of the telephone, which made possible long-distance voice communication between people everywhere. The invention of the telephone grew out of improvements Bell had made to the telegraph. In 1875, along with his assistant Thomas A. Watson, Bell constructed instruments that transmitted recognizable voice-like sounds. Bell's first telephone patent was granted on March 7, 1876. The first telephone company, Bell Telephone Company, was founded on July 9, 1877. We have a telephone in our house in the hall. The line from our neighbor's to our house runs through the barbed wire on our fences. 

Abraham Lincoln - a Representative from Illinois and 16th President of the United States; born in Hardin County, Ky., February 12, 1809. He moved with his parents to a tract on Little Pigeon Creek, Ind., in 1816 and attended a log-cabin school at short intervals and was mostly self-instructed in elementary branches. He moved with his father to Macon County, Ill. in 1830 and later to Coles County, Ill. He read the principles of law and works on surveying. During the Black Hawk War he volunteered in a company of Sangamon County Rifles organized April 21, 1832 and was elected its captain and served until May 27 following, when the company was mustered out of service. He reenlisted as a private and served until mustered out June 16, 1832, returning to New Salem, Ill. He was unsuccessful as a candidate for the State house of representatives. He entered business as a general merchant in New Salem and was postmaster of New Salem from 1833-1836. He became deputy county surveyor from 1834-1836. Elected a member of the State house of representatives in 1834, 1836, 1838, and 1840, he declined to be a candidate for renomination. He was admitted to the bar in 1836, moved to Springfield, Ill. in 1837 and engaged in the practice of law. He was elected as a Whig to the Thirtieth Congress (March 4, 1847-March 3, 1849) but did not seek a renomination in 1848. As an unsuccessful applicant for Commissioner of the General Land Office under President Taylor, he was tendered the Governorship of Oregon Territory, but declined. Again he was an unsuccessful Whig candidate for election to the United States Senate before the legislature of 1855 and again unsuccessful Republican candidate for the United States Senate in 1858. He was elected as a Republican President of the United States in 1860 and reelected in 1864, serving from March 4, 1861, until his death by assassination. He was shot in the head by the actor John Wilkes Boothe as he attended a play in Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., April 14, 1865. He died the following day, April 15, 1865. He was our president and Commander-in-Chief during the War Between the States, determined that the Union should not perish. 

William Penn - The founder of the colony of Pennsylvania in 1682, who had earlier bought the Jerseys as a refuge for Quakers. He was a prolific writer, and his greatest book was entitled "No Cross, No Crown", which gained him reputation even among those who hated his religion. The king of England owed Penn's estate a very large debt, fifteen thousand pounds, and by granting Penn's request for a tract of land, settled the debt. When the boundaries were finally set, the tract contained about 45,000 square miles. Penn was liberal to all white men and Indians, early deciding that in Pennsylvania there should be perfect freedom of conscience, and freedom of worship. Knowing that people loved freedom of government as well as freedom of conscience, he decided that the people themselves should rule. In 1683 he laid out the plan of a city, which he called Philadelphia, meaning "brotherly love." All treaties and agreements that were made with the Indians and others were faithfully kept. The government that Penn established for his colony was true to his promises of freedom. Each settler as he became a landholder or taxpayer had the right to vote, electing the members of the council and the assembly. The people, in that way, made their own laws. The first laws provided for the kind treatment of the Indians, that prisoners should be treated humanely, that each child should be schooled and taught a trade, that trial by jury should be extended to all, and that death should be the penalty for only two crimes, murder and treason. His beneficent understanding of the importance of freedom to prosperity of a people presaged much of the ideals of our Constitution. 

Elias Howe - Inventor of the sewing machine, was the son of a Massachusetts farmer, and worked in a factory for fifty cents a day. In his spare moments he worked on his invention, which appeared in 1845 as the first sewing machine. His patents earned for him more than two million dollars. 

8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865? 

1607 - Establishment of Jamestown colony, May 1607, in what is now Virginia. Captain John Smith had but one rule, "He that will not work shall not eat." 

1620 - On December 21, 1620, the landing of the Pilgrims in Plymouth harbor began the settlement of New England under William Bradford, loved and respected as a man of courage and gentleness from the time of his first election as governor in 1621 until his death in 1657. Myles Standish was the captain of the little army protecting the colony, a wise, courageous and helpful soldier, kind to the sick and needy. 

1800 - In the election of 1800, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr received an equal number of votes. As the Constitution provided that the person having the greatest number should be president, it became the duty of the House of Representatives, voting by states, to decide between the two. After thirty-five ballots the choice fell upon Thomas Jefferson, our third and greatest president, author of the Declaration of Independence, and the mentor of James Madison, "Father of the Constitution". It was on Jefferson's insistence that Madison championed the first 10 articles of amendment to the Constitution, "The Bill of Rights." 

1849 - The Gold Rush to California began after discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill on the "American Fork" of the Sacramento river February, 1848. The great discovery was made just as California became American territory. In the first year more than 80,000 men flocked to the "diggings", risking all to the dangers from Indians, starvation, accident, mountains, deserts and plains, tropical fevers and of the sea in the voyage around Cape Horn. The rapid growth of California in people and business greatly affected the nation as a whole. At that time 300,000 people every year were streaming in from Europe to escape the tyranny and wars there. 

1865 - The end of the War Between The States signified with the raising of the flag again at Fort Sumpter, April 14, 1865, the assassination of President Lincoln at Ford's Theater that day, and his death April 15, 1865. The war was over, a million troops of the Union armies marched through Washington in a last review, were mustered out, and returned to their homes to resume their work as citizens of a reunited nation.

--- end of 1895 8th Grade Final Exam and Answers in U.S. History

Time to take this exam: 45 Minutes

Editor's Note:

While I've tried to find out who took the time to answer the exam but haven't been able to, you should know that the answers are correct. Of course, as I've asked throughout this series, why were 8th Grade children in 1895 able to pass this test versus 8th Graders today? What has changed? Could it be because the federal government had no input in the education system in 1895 versus their control over what children are learning today? It is something to think about.

More to come!

Tom Correa


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