SAT Subject US History Practice Question 777: Answer and Explanation
38. Which of the following statements is true of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964?
A. It passed both the Senate and the House without any dissenting votes.
B. It contributed to President Johnson's slim margin of victory in the 1964 election.
C. It was a declaration of war that Congress passed after much debate.
D. In retrospect, it is clear that the resolution was justified by clear evidence of North Vietnamese aggression.
E. It gave President Johnson a "blank check" to retaliate against the North Vietnamese.
Correct Answer: E
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave Lyndon Johnson permission to strike at will to protect American interests in Vietnam. However, it was not a declaration of war (C). Two senators (A) voted against it. Contrary to what Congress and the American public had been led to believe, there was no clear evidence of North Vietnamese aggression to justify the resolution (D). This lack of clear evidence emerged during Senate hearings in 1966. Johnson won in a landslide (B) against Barry Goldwater in 1964, and Vietnam was not a big issue in the United States until 1965.