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Online TAKS Practice

The American Nation, Grade 8

Unit 1: Roots of American History

Benchmark Test

Click on the button next to the response that best answers the question. For best results, review The American Nation: Beginnings Through 1877, chapters 1–4.

You may take the test as many times as you like. When you are happy with your results, you may e-mail your results to your teacher. Please obtain your teacher's permission before e-mailing.


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1. During which era did Europeans begin to settle the Americas?
time line
A Pre-Columbian Era (before 1492)
B Era of Exploration
C Colonial Era
D Revolutionary Era


2. Which of the following events happened first?
A Spanish conquistadors came to the Americas.
B English colonists established a colony at Jamestown, Virginia.
C Christopher Columbus reached the West Indies.
D French explorers searched for a northwest passage.


3. What is the significance of the year 1607?
A The English established Jamestown, which became their first successful colony in North America.
B The Spanish constructed the presidio at St. Augustine.
C The French built the trading post of Quebec.
D The Dutch settled the colony of New Netherland.


4. Which geographic factor led the Pilgrims to settle in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts?
A Massachusetts had a better climate than Virginia.
B Land in Massachusetts was good for farming.
C The Pilgrims' ship was headed for Virginia, but it was blown off course.
D Gold was discovered in Massachusetts.


5. Use the primary source and your knowledge of social studies to answer the following question.

"Being thus passed the vast ocean . . . they had now no friends to welcome them nor inns to entertain or refresh their weatherbeaten bodies; no houses or much less towns to repair to . . . And for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of that country know them to be sharp and violent."
—William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation


According to Bradford, the Pilgrims reached a place that
A held great promise.
B provided many challenges to overcome.
C reminded them of their homeland.
D had already been settled.


6. The significance of the Mayflower Compact was that it
A guaranteed passage to North America to the Puritans.
B elected a governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
C set up a framework of self-government for the Pilgrims.
D ensured the equality of the women on the ship.


7. From this map, which of the following is an accurate generalization about patterns of colonial settlement?
Settlement Map
A Colonists built most settlements at least 100 miles inland.
B Colonists settled near the coast and along rivers that had access to the ocean.
C Colonists built towns that were too far apart to permit contact.
D Colonists settled along major roads that connected towns.


8. What contributed to the economic success of the Jamestown colony?
A Settlers were interested in searching for gold.
B Settlers made enemies of local Native Americans.
C Settlers learned to grow tobacco.
D Settlers learned to manufacture goods.


9. Which of the following statements best describes the contributions of women to the Jamestown colony?
A They worked and raised families.
B They established a representative government.
C They taught Native Americans how to grow crops.
D They established trade with England.


10. In the New England colonies, the growth of democracy was encouraged by
A forcing non-Puritans out of the New England colonies.
B settlers' participation in town meetings.
C increasing the size of the colony.
D the passage of the Act of Toleration.


11. The House of Burgesses made Virginia attractive to settlers because it provided
A a charter for settlement.
B representative government to decide matters affecting the colony.
C a fortress for protection against Native Americans.
D a guarantee of free land.


12. Colonists gained greater representation in government because members of the lower houses of colonial legislatures were
A appointed by governors.
B determined by the upper houses.
C selected by the king.
D elected by voters.


13. Which principle of representative government in the colonies was based on the Magna Carta?
A Voters elect representatives.
B The power of the monarchy is limited.
C Written laws protect the rights of the people.
D All citizens have the right to vote.


14. Compared with people in New England, people in the Middle Colonies were
A from more diverse backgrounds.
B less tolerant of religious freedom.
C less successful in farming.
D not interested in representative government.


15. Which of the following groups made the most significant contribution to the economy of the Southern Colonies?
A slaves from Africa who taught planters how to grow rice
B Native Americans who taught backcountry farmers the best ways to hunt
C recent settlers from England who set up craftsmen's workshops
D travelers from the Middle Colonies who came to trade


16. Which of the following contributed to the spread of slavery in the Southern Colonies?
A Africans came to the colonies seeking jobs.
B Most southern colonists kept enslaved people to work in their homes.
C Slave codes protected the rights of enslaved workers.
D Landowners needed large numbers of workers to raise crops.


17. The economy of the Middle Colonies was based on
A raising cash crops and livestock and manufacturing goods.
B growing tobacco, rice, and indigo on large plantations.
C tending small farms and hunting.
D growing small crops, fishing, and hunting whales.


18. What did the Southern Colony of Maryland have in common with the New England Colony of Rhode Island and the Middle Colony of Pennsylvania?
A All three were established by William Penn.
B All three were established to increase the slave trade.
C All three were established to allow people to worship freely.
D All three were established as royal colonies.


19. The economic development of the English colonies was limited by the
A Magna Carta.
B Navigation Acts.
C Columbian Exchange.
D Act of Toleration.


20. One effect of the Great Awakening was the
A development of plantations in the Americas.
B spread of the Enlightenment in Europe.
C creation of many new churches in the colonies.
D advancements in agriculture in the Middle Colonies.