SAT Subject US History Practice Question 1026: Answer and Explanation
1. One of the challenges facing the delegates to the Constitution Convention in 1787 was
A. where the seat of government was to be located.
B. the role of the cabinet in the executive branch of government.
C. the fear of military rule to control the mobs.
D. the need to balance governmental powers and states' rights.
E. the need to crush Shays's Rebellion and other similar protests that had been occurring at the time.
Correct Answer: D
One of the greatest fears of the members at the Constitutional Convention was the usurping of the power of the states by the central government. This was the reason that the states adopted the Articles of Confederation in 1781. New York was chosen as the capital, but Washington, D.C., became the capital when Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson agreed to move the capital to the Potomac River if Jefferson accepted Hamilton's proposal for the new federal government to assume the northern states' Revolutionary War debts, part of Hamilton's financial program. (The southern states had mostly paid their debts already.) The cabinet was part of the unwritten Constitution as the country developed; Washington established this precedent. There was a fear of a growth of tyranny in the government. However, the fear of military rule because of a need to control mobs was nonexistent. Shays's Rebellion, which occurred in Massachusetts in 1787, was crushed by the local Massachusetts militia. It acted as a catalyst for the calling of the Constitutional Convention. However, it was a local rebellion, and there were few others at the time.