SAT Subject US History Practice Question 982: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 982

63. In 1860, the Democratic Party split into two parts over

A. the admission of California as a free state.
B. the Missouri question, which decided fate of the Louisiana Territory.
C. national slave codes, which called for all states to have slavery.
D. internal improvements, which called for the building of the transcontinental railroad.
E. the Second Bank of the United States, leading many Democrats to join the Whig Party.

Correct Answer: C


In 1860, the Southern (Breckinridge) Democrats introduced a plank into the Democratic Party platform calling for a national slave code: Slavery would be legal everywhere. The Northern (Douglas) Democrats refused to pass it. One Ohio delegate said, "Gentlemen of the South, you mistake us. We will not do it!" Forty-seven Southerners walked out. The Democrats tried to reunite but failed. That was the origin of the two Democratic Parties in the 1860 election. Each of the other answer choices refers to earlier controversies. California was admitted as a free state (A) in 1850, and Missouri (B) in 1820. The issue of internal improvements (D) was a major controversy in the 1830s, and it was the Republicans who called for a transcontinental railroad in the 1860 election. The bank (E) was a key issue in the 1830s.

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