SAT Subject US History Practice Question 863: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 863

34. "We demand that all immigrants to the United States reside here at least 14 years before they may apply for citizenship."

Which party advocated the above idea as its main political position?

A. The Know-Nothing Party
B. The Whig Party
C. The Free Soil Party
D. The Democratic Party
E. The National Republican Party

Correct Answer: A


The American Party, also known as the Know-Nothings, was an anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant party. It called for the extension of the residence requirement for citizenship to discourage Irish and the German Catholics from becoming citizens. Such a group, including the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s, is called "nativist" because it favored the nonimmigrant "native" Americans. The American Party's members were called "Know-Nothings" because they refused to divulge what occurred in any of their meetings, which were originally held in secret. Instead of answering questions, they would say, "I know nothing." The Whig Party's (B) key proposals were a national bank and internal improvements. The Free Soil Party's (C) main positions were cheap land and opposition to the extension of slavery to the western territories. The Democratic Party (D) had an immigrant base, so it did not advocate extending the residence requirement for citizenship. The National Republican Party (E) was John Quincy Adams's party, and it advocated internal improvements and the national bank.

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