CLEP U.S. History I: Early Colonization To 1877 Exam

The CLEP: U.S. History I examination was developed by the College Board as a way for individuals to demonstrate undergraduate-level knowledge and skills in this subject. Almost three thousand American colleges give credit to students who pass a CLEP exam; for this reason, many college-bound students take a CLEP exam in order to skip over introductory courses.

To succeed on the U.S. History I exam, students will need to master the following topics: Colonial society; American expansionism; relationship between Britain and the American colonies; early political parties; the Constitution, its amendments, and their interpretation by the Supreme Court; the changing role of government in American life; intellectual and political nationalism; agrarianism and abolitionism; long-term demographic trends; economic growth and development; slavery in America; immigration and the history of racial and ethnic minorities; the major wars in early American history; early American arts and letters; and the history of women and the family in early America. By topic, the content of the exam is broken down as follows: political institutions and behavior and public policy (35% of the exam); social developments (25%); economic developments (10%); cultural and intellectual developments (15%); and diplomacy and international relations (15%). By chronology, the content of the exam is broken down as follows: 1500 to 1789 (30% of the exam); and 1790 to 1877 (70% of the exam). The U.S. History I exam consists of 120 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within 90 minutes.


After the exam is complete, an unofficial score report will be made available. This score report will include the total score on a scale of 20 to 80; the American Council on Education recommends that students get credit if they score 50 or above. The total score is the raw score (number of correct answers) adjusted according to the difficulty of the exam version. The College Board does not distinguish between unanswered questions and questions answered incorrectly, so test-takers are encouraged to respond to every question. Some of the questions on the exam are pre-test questions, which are used to develop future versions of the exam and do not contribute to the raw score. It is impossible for test-takers to determine which questions are pre-test questions. The CLEP exams are administered in both computer and paper formats at over a thousand locations throughout the world. To register for an exam, visit the College Board website.

CLEP U.S. History I Practice Questions

1. Who published the Liberator and was considered the leader of the Northern abolitionists?

A: William Lloyd Garrison
B: John Greenleaf Whittier
C: Harriet Beecher Stowe
D: Frederic Douglass
E: John Brown

2. What did the United States gain as a result of Pinckney’s Treaty?

A: the Louisiana territory
B: the cooperation of the French navy
C: access to the Mississippi River
D: Alaska
E: a massive loan from the British

3. Which early first lady has earned a reputation as a masterful letter-writer and chronicler of her age?

A: Martha Washington
B: Abigail Adams
C: Mary Lincoln
D: Rachel Jackson
E: Martha Jefferson

4. What was the intent of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787?

A: To determine which states would allow slavery
B: To delegate voting rights to non-landholders
C: To separate settlers from Native Americans
D: To restrict areas of settlement
E: To outline how territories were to become states

5. What was the name of the Thomas Paine pamphlet that gave reasons for the American split with Great Britain?

A: Plain Talk
B: Declaration of War
C: Uncle Tom’s Cabin
D: Common Sense
E: Birth of a Nation

6. Who was the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court?

A: Thurgood Marshall
B: John Jay
C: John Marshall
D: Roger B. Taney
E: Earl Warren

7. Which president oversaw the Louisiana Purchase?

A: George Washington
B: John Adams
C: John Quincy Adams
D: Thomas Jefferson
E: James Madison

8. What was the greatest problem of the Washington administration?

A: skirmishes with Native Americans
B: economic turmoil
C: massive wildfires
D: political infighting
E: insufficient natural resources

9. Who was the architect of the Albany Plan?

A: Thomas Jefferson
B: Alexander Hamilton
C: Benjamin Franklin
D: George Washington
E: Aaron Burr

10. What did George Washington warn the country about during his Farewell Address?

A: Native Americans
B: a Jefferson presidency
C: women’s suffrage
D: abolition of slavery
E: foreign entanglements

CLEP U.S. History I Answer Key

1. A. Garrison supported nonviolent means of ending the slave trade.
2. C. Pinckney’s Treaty also declared that the 31st parallel would be the boundary between Spanish West Florida and the United States.
3. B. Abigail Adams’ letters to her husband John and other leaders are some of the most impressive documents of the age.
4. E. Territories would be allowed to draft a state constitution once they had 60,000 citizens.
5. D. Paine’s pamphlet was hugely influential in uniting the disparate American colonies.
6. B. Jay (1745-1829) was also the president of the Continental Congress.
7. D. Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana territory in 1803 was one of the high points of his presidency.
8. B. After the Revolutionary War, the United States struggled to build a healthy economy.
9. C. The Albany Plan was designed to organize relations between the colonies and the Iroquois nation.
10. E. Washington was concerned that the United States would err if it became involved in the domestic affairs of other nations.

CLEP US History 1 Practice Questions

CLEP U.S. History I: Early Colonization To 1877 Test Breakdown