SAT Subject US History Practice Question 740: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 740

1. The British settled in North America in the 17th century for all of the following reasons EXCEPT

A. primogeniture laws prevented some young men from acquiring wealth in England.
B. there was an increase in the population of England, which caused severe economic hardship.
C. the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 created a spirit of nationalism in England and weakened Spanish influence in North America.
D. educated Englishmen wanted to create a democracy that would serve as an example for other nations.
E. a depression in the woolen industry left England with high unemployment.

Correct Answer: D


The British settlers who came to the New World did not intend to build a model democratic society. They came for the reasons stated in (A), (B), (C), and (E). Primogeniture (A) refers to the medieval law by which only firstborn sons are permitted to inherit the family estate. Therefore, many second sons came to the new world in search of wealth. The growth of the English population (B) and the failure of the woolen industry (E) led people, particularly debtors, to seek a new life in the New World. The defeat of the Spanish Armada by England (C), during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, developed a spirit of nationalism that contributed to England's decision to explore the New World.

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