ACT Reading Practice Test 76: Social Science - Abraham Lincoln and the American Republic

DIRECTIONS: Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.

1. The function of the first paragraph in relation to the passage as a whole is to:

A. orient the reader to the subject of Stephen Douglas's policies toward slavery.
B. explain how slavery had become a national problem in the 1850s.
C. establish an outline of Lincoln's arguments during his debates with Stephen Douglas.
D. explain and introduce the different political parties that existed in the 1850s.

2. Which of the following best describes the way the second paragraph (lines 14–36) functions in the passage as a whole?

F. It presents Lincoln's arguments from an historical perspective and introduces Lincoln's arguments about slavery.
G. It proves that Lincoln won the presidential debates because he referenced the work of the Founding Fathers to demonstrate his point.
H. It sheds light on why the South supported slavery and why many Northerners wanted to abolish it.
J. It diminishes the importance of Lincoln's arguments against the Dred Scott decision, because it referenced the "House Divided" speech instead.

3. It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that, before the Dred Scott decision:

A. African Americans were considered citizens and slaves simultaneously.
B. both the Southern states and the Northern states had abolished slavery.
C. no slaves were brought into the North.
D. it was unclear whether Congress could exclude slavery in the states.

4. The reference to the fights between neighbors in Kansas (lines 74–77) is used to illustrate the point made in the passage that:

F. the people in Kansas supported Lincoln even though Kansas was considered a slave state.
G. slavery was becoming a more divisive institution that caused tension between abolitionists and supporters of slavery.
H. the actions of the Democrats caused pro-slavery feelings to spread into otherwise anti-slave states.
J. slavery was slowly becoming nationalized by spreading into the newly acquired territories.

5. Information in the fourth paragraph (lines 61–72) establishes that the Spirit of '76 was:

A. the desire of the Founding Fathers to eliminate slavery in America at the time the Declaration of Independence was written.
B. the desire of the Founding Fathers to encourage slavery in the original Southern states with the hope that slavery would die out on its own.
C. the desire of the Founding Fathers to allow each new state that entered the Union to decide whether to allow slavery within its borders.
D. the desire of the Founding Fathers to create a new nation built on the ideas of freedom, democracy, and liberty for all citizens.

6. Which of the following statements best describes how Lincoln felt the rest of the country was responding to the expansion of slavery?

F. Lincoln believed that most Southerners wanted to limit slavery to the original Southern states.
G. Lincoln believed that all of the new territories desired slavery and that the North was unwilling to allow it.
H. Lincoln believed that the South desired the expansion of slavery in the territories and the North was becoming too indifferent or frightened to challenge the South.
J. Lincoln believed that most Northerners wanted the territories to have slavery because they felt it would help strangle slavery in the original Southern states.

7. The passage suggests that the Democrats knew the Dred Scott decision was coming because:

A. the Dred Scott decision was postponed until after the 1856 presidential election.
B. Stephen Douglas and other Democrats used their influence to manipulate the United State Supreme Court and President Buchanan.
C. the Dred Scott decision was widely accepted only in the states where the Democratic Party was the majority.
D. the Dred Scott decision mimicked the platform of the Democratic Party.

8. According to the passage, all of the following were given as reasons by Lincoln as proof that the Founding Fathers endorsed the "Spirit of '76" EXCEPT:

F. the unanimous abolition of the slave trade.
G. the lack of the exact word slave in the Constitution.
H. the Northwest Ordinance.
J. the Declaration of Independence's promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

9. Lincoln's accusation that some Americans wanted to nationalize slavery can be supported by all of the following EXCEPT:

A. the Dred Scott decision, which supported the idea that Congress cannot exclude slavery in states because of constitutional constraints.
B. the desire by many in the South for slavery to be allowed to expand in the territories.
C. the increased popularity of the Spirit of Nebraska.
D. the popularity of the Missouri Compromise during the late 1850s.

10. The passage indicates that the late 1850s' Democrats:

F. were all Southern slaveholders who wanted to expand slavery into the territories.
G. used legislation in the early 1850s to support their agenda.
H. had a platform that would require all territories and new states to allow slavery.
J. supported the Spirit of '76.