SAT Subject US History Practice Question 1053: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 1053

4. Why did the Southern states secede after the election of 1860?

A. They were attacked.
B. The tariff was too high.
C. They wanted to preserve slavery.
D. Virginia encouraged them.
E. They had lost Missouri.

Correct Answer: C


To maintain slavery, slave states had to expand to the West or become a minority in both houses of the U.S. Congress. When Lincoln was elected, it was clear they could not expand enough to maintain parity with the North. Missouri was in dispute all through the Civil War, and Virginia was supposedly reluctant to secede. The tariff was an issue in the 1830s, not the 1860s.

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