SAT Subject US History Practice Question 720: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 720

71. According to John Adams, "The Revolution was effected before the war commenced." By this he meant

A. taxation without representation was the real issue that led to the Revolutionary War in 1776.
B. the colonists in America had developed a unique character, independent of Great Britain, before the actual revolution took place.
C. the American colonists had reached a point in their development in which a separation from England was necessary.
D. the American Revolution was the result of the American policy of salutary neglect.
E. the Battle of Lexington and Concord had taken place before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Correct Answer: B


By 1776, the colonists had developed a perception of themselves and the world that was quite different from that of their British brethren. This famous quote of John Adams was written many years after the Revolutionary War and expresses his view that the development of a distinctly American identity was the real American Revolution and underlying reason for the war for independence from Britain. Although answer choices (A) and (C) state reasons for the colonists' rebellion, these do not express the basic idea of the John Adams quote. Salutary neglect (D) was a British-not an American-policy toward its North American colonies in the 1600s and 1700s. By this policy, the British passed laws supporting the system of mercantilism but did not enforce them strictly. John Adams understood that the years of geographical separation from England and the British policy of salutary neglect had allowed the colonies to develop independently of Britain and contributed to the development of an American identity, but the John Adams quote is not specifically about salutary neglect. Statement (E) is a correct statement about the war, but it does not reflect the idea expressed by John Adams in this quotation.

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