SAT Subject US History Practice Question 993: Answer and Explanation
74. When Lincoln said "Four score and seven years ago…," he was reminding his audience of the
A. inauguration of George Washington.
B. convening of the Constitutional Convention.
C. writing of the Mayflower Compact.
D. signing of the Declaration of Independence.
E. landing at Jamestown.
Correct Answer: D
The Gettysburg Address was delivered by President Lincoln in November 1863, five months after the Battle of Gettysburg. A score is 20 years, so 87 years before 1863 was 1776. He was rededicating the nation to a more modern meaning of the Declaration of Independence: that African Americans and whites were created equal. Many abolitionists had been using the Declaration that way since the days of the American Revolution. It was significant that the president adopted this meaning of the Declaration and called for a "new birth of freedom." The inauguration of Washington (A) occurred in 1789, 74 years before the Gettysburg Address. The Constitutional Convention (B) was in 1787, and the Constitution does not make allusions to men being "created equal." The writing of the Mayflower Compact (C) occurred in 1620, over 200 years before the Civil War. Although it had been interpreted as having a democratic content, it was not a statement of equality. The landing at Jamestown (E) in 1607, also occurring over 200 years before the Civil War, was an important event in American history, but the resulting society in Virginia was not based on ideas of equality.