U.S. History I Mid-Term Exam Study Guide

This major two-hour exam consists of two (2) sections.  Students must complete FOUR (4) of the short answer questions (out of a choice of 6) in Section One. Students must also complete ALL five questions in Section Two.  It is worth 10 percent of your overall grade.

Section I (60 minutes) - FOUR short answer responses from a choice of 6 questions (5 marks each for a total of 20 marks)

Section II (55 minutes) – There will be TWO comprehension questions (2 and 3 marks); TWO origin and purpose questions (2 marks each); and ONE compare and contrast question (6 marks).   (Total = 15 marks)

Scoring:  Scoring will be based on 35 TOTAL MARKS using the sum of marks in Sections I & II.  The scoring using this system is listed below.

A+ = 30+     (30 = 97; 31 = 98; 32 = 99; 33+ = 100)
A = 26-29 marks    (26 = 90; 27 = 92; 28 = 94; 29 = 96)
B = 19-25 marks     (19 = 80; 20 = 82; 21 = 85; 22 = 86; 23 = 87; 24 = 88; 25 = 88)
C = 16-18 marks     (16 = 70; 17 = 75; 18 = 78)
D = 12-15 marks     (12 = 60; 13 = 65; 14 = 67; 15 = 69)
F = 0-11 marks        (<10 = 50; 10-11 = 55)
Section I
Short Answer Questions

Below are 10 possible short answer questions based on material that we have studied during the first semester. You will be given a choice of six of these questions on the exam and will have to choose FOUR to answer. Please see below for helpful information on how to answer these questions.

1. What role did the English colonies play in the Mercantilism system and in the Triangular Trade and how did it lead to an early desire for independence?

2. Discuss the main differences between the northern and southern colonies in the early 1700s.

3. How did British policies of the Navigation Acts and Salutary Neglect create tension between the colonies and Great Britain between 1650 and 1750?

4. How did the British victory over France in the French and Indian War lead to new conflicts with the British colonists during the 1760s?

5. Choose TWO of the following acts or events and explain  how it helped created conditions for the American Revolution: Stamp Act, Townsend Act, Boston Massacre, Tea Act, Intolerable Acts.

6. In what ways did the Declaration of Independence of 1776 justify the United States separation from Britain?

7. Why did the Articles of Confederation prove inadequate for governing the new nation?

8. Choose ONE of the following major features of the Constitution and explain why it is an important part of our system of government: (1) the system of checks and balances; or (2) the division of powers between the state and federal governments; or (3) the provision for adding amendments.

9. Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson brilliantly and aggressively argued over very different visions of what America should be. Do you think their conflict between their two parties helped or hurt the developing nation? Explain your answer.

10. Were the Alien and Sedition Acts true to American ideals? Explain your answer.


Structuring your Short Answer Paragraph

A well-developed paragraph in academic work will consist of the following FOUR elements:

1. The main point of your paragraph will appear in a topic sentence. Make sure this sentence points back toward the question or prompt.

2 Explain the main point. Give more information for your reader to understand the main idea.

3. Add a supporting detail, quote, or example to illustrate your main point.

4. Explanation or analysis of how the supporting detail, quote, or example relates to your main idea.

Material to Review

Chapter 3: The Colonies Come of Age

Section 1: Mercantilism, Navigation Acts, Dominion of New England, Glorious Revolution, Salutary Neglect

Section 2: Cash crops, key features of the Southern colonies, rise of slavery, triangular trade, middle passage, slave revolts

Section 3: Key features of the Northern colonies, immigration, slavery in the north, Enlightenment, Great Awakening

Section 4: Causes & effects of French and Indian War, Proclamation of 1763, Sugar Act

Chapter 4: The War for Independence

Section 1: Stamp Act, Samuel Adams and Sons of Liberty, Townshend Acts, Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts, Battles of Lexington & Concord

Chapter 4: The War for Independence

Section 2: Second Continental Congress, Battle of Bunker Hill, Olive Branch Petition, Common Sense, Declaration of Independence, Loyalists & Patriots

Section 3: George Washington

Section 4: Treaty of Paris

Terms, People & Concepts to Know

George Washington, John Adams, John Hancock, Sam Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Ben Franklin, King George III, Thomas Paine, Proclamation of 1763, Stamp Act, Declaratory Act, Townshend Acts, Boston Massacre, Tea Act, Boston Tea Party, Coercive (Intolerable) Acts, First Continental Congress, Lexington and Concord, Second Continental Congress, Common Sense, Declaration of Independence, Inalienable Rights, French Involvement, British Surrender at Yorktown, and the Treaty of Paris.

Chapter 5: Shaping a New Nation

Section 1: Republic, Role of Federal Government, Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, Land Ordinance of 1785, Northwest Ordinance of 1787

Section 2: Shay’s Rebellion, 1787 Constitutional Convention, Great Compromise, Federalism, Three Branches of Government, Separation of Powers, Electoral College

Section 3: Beliefs of Federalists and Anti-Federalists, The Federalist, and the Bill of Rights.

Chapter 5a: The Living Constitution

Purposes of the Constitution, Structure of the Constitution, Length of terms of Senators, Representatives and president, Bill of Rights, Major Amendments, Constitution as the “Supreme Law of the Land”

Chapter 6: Launching a New Nation

Section 1: George Washington's Cabinet, Judiciary Act of 1789, Hamilton v. Jefferson, Federalists v. Democratic-Republicans.
Section 2: Alien and Sedition Acts.
Section II
Document-Based Question Topics
Below are topics where the primary source material will be drawn from for your five document-based questions. While you cannot specifically study for these questions, it is important that you remember the ideal way to answer each of the type of questions. 

- 2 Comprehension Questions: You can explain two or three (depending on the number of marks the question is worth) messages from each source in your own words AND provide evidence from the source demonstrating/proving your understanding (ie. Quotes).

- 2 Origin and Purpose Questions: Author, location, date, type of document included in Origin. (Who, What, When, Where). Reason document was created/given specifically mentioned for purpose (Why).

- 1 Compare and Contrast Question: You will have made several comparisons and contrasts between two documents and an argument is made throughout your answer; arguments are based on specific evidence in the sources. You have also effectively used quotes from the sources to make direct links between the documents.

  • Chapter 3: The Colonies Come of Age
  • Chapter 4: The War for Independence / Declaration of Independence
  • Chapter 5: Shaping a New Nation
  • Chapter 5a: The U.S. Constitution
  • Chapter 6: Launching the New Nation
Examples of Document-Based Questions
These questions are from the 2015-16 Mid-Term Exam


1. (a) According to Source C, which freedoms are “necessary to the

                  security of a Free State”?                                                                      [2 marks]

(b)  Why, according to Source D, were the taxes on the colonies justified?    [3 marks]


2. (a) What is the origin and purpose of Source D.                                                    [2 marks]

(b) What is the origin and purpose of Source E.                                                    [2 marks]


3.        Compare & contrast the messages of Sources A and B with regards to

          Colonists’ complaints toward the British.                                                        [6 marks]