SAT Subject US History Practice Question 892: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 892

63. "We are opposed to the extension of slavery because it diminishes the productive powers of its population…. It is an obstacle to compact settlements and to every general system of public institution. [If slavery goes into the territories] the free labor of all the states will not…. [I]f the free labor of all the states goes there, the slave labor of the southern states will not, and in a few years the country will teem with an active and energetic population."

-Editorial, New York Evening Post, 1847

Why will free labor not go where there is slavery, according to the above excerpt?

A. African Americans are inferior.
B. Free laborers are morally opposed to slavery.
C. Slaves work too hard and would force out free laborers.
D. Slaves prevent the growth of productive communities.
E. Free laborers do not want to work next to slaves.

Correct Answer: D


This editorial is an example of the Free Soil position, which was a form of antislavery sentiment. The free (not slave) laboring men favored economic growth, which created good jobs. Slaves prevented the rapid growth of free enterprise. The Free Soil position was a compromise between abolitionists, who wanted to eliminate all slavery, and the people who wanted only a slavery-free West. The quote does not say that blacks are inferior (A) or make a moral criticism (B) of slavery. The quote does not say that slaves work too hard (C). In fact, it implies they do not work hard enough. The quote does not explicitly say that free laborers did not want to work next to slaves (E), although that was the case.

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