SAT Subject US History Practice Question 813: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 813

74. In the Dred Scott case of 1857, the Supreme Court included which idea as part of its decision?

A. Separate but equal facilities are constitutional.
B. An African American had no rights a white man was bound to respect.
C. The state of Georgia has no jurisdiction over the Cherokee, which is a separate nation.
D. Interstate commerce is not within the jurisdiction of the states but of the federal government.
E. Separate but equal facilities are inherently unconstitutional.

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

In the Dred Scott case (1857), Chief Justice Taney ruled that Scott had no standing to bring the case because "A Negro had no rights a white man was bound to respect" and it had been that way since before the Revolution. It was the Plessy v. Ferguson decision (1896) that stated that separate but equal facilities were constitutional (A). It was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (E) in 1954. Worcester v. Georgia (1832) was the Cherokee case (C), which John Marshall decided in their favor. The decision stated that the Cherokee treaties were legal documents that the state of Georgia could not countermand. Jackson denounced the decision and ignored it, aiding Georgia in forcing Indians onto the Trail of Tears. The Wabash v. Illinois (1886) decision struck down state laws regulating the railroads (D), paving the way for the federal Interstate Commerce Act (1887).

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