SAT Subject US History Practice Question 844: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 844

15. In the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, the Supreme Court

A. declared that poll taxes and literacy tests were unconstitutional.
B. declared that segregation of the races was acceptable.
C. struck down many aspects of Congressional Reconstruction.
D. ended segregation in public schools on the grounds that it was inherently unfair.
E. ruled that slaves were still considered property, even if they resided in a free state or territory.

Correct Answer: B


The expression "separate but equal" originated from this decision by the Supreme Court, which gave the court's seal of approval to segregation. This decision was overturned by the court in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) (D). Poll taxes (A) were abolished as a result of the passage of the 24th Amendment (1964) to the Constitution. Congressional Reconstruction (C) had ended by 1877, well before the Plessy decision of 1896. The issue of slaves as property (E) was addressed in 1857 in the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision.

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