PRAXIS II World and U.S. History: Content Knowledge Exam (5941)

The PRAXIS II World and U.S. History: Content Knowledge Exam (5941) is designed for individuals who would like to teach world and American history at the secondary level. You will be given 2 hours to complete this 120 multiple-choice question exam. The exam can be broken down into the following sections:

World History to 1450 C.E. – 30 questions
World History: 1450 C.E. to the Present – 30 questions
United States History to 1877 – 30 questions
United States History: 1877 to the Present – 30 questions
Historical Thinking Skills – 30 questions

American History from 1877 to the present
This section of the exam will cover recent developments, the Second World War, the Progressive era and the start of the United States. The questions regarding recent developments will cover international issues for America with Russia and the rest of the world, social and cultural impacts on the American family, energy and environmental issues, the federal government, political and economic developments of this period. Questions regarding the Second World War will cover social, cultural and political life in the 1950’s, foreign and domestic developments, the atomic age and; the cause and impact of the Second World War. The Progressive Era questions will cover social, economic, and cultural life in the 1920’s, the impact of the First World War, Mexican and international immigration, along with social and political developments from 1877 to the present time. Questions regarding the start of the United States will cover political, cultural, and social movements, Jim Crow legislation of the South, urban development issues, international movements, immigration, imperialism, and the displacement of Native Americans.

American History to 1877
This section of the exam will cover establishment of America as a nation, European colonization and exploration, Native Americans, and the geography of North America. Questions regarding the establishment of America as a nation (1776 – 1791) will cover the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the American Revolution. The European colonization and exploration questions will cover the English colonies, slavery and the freedom of blacks, and European exploration of America. Questions regarding Native Americans will cover the cultural, economic, social, and political life of Native Americans prior to contact with Europeans. The geography of North America questions will cover climate patterns, physiographic regions, and the legs and continents of North America. This section of the exam will also cover the Civil War period and, the development of America from 1829 to 1850, and, 1791 to 1829. The Civil War questions will cover the abolitionist movement, the leaders, causes, and significant events of the Civil War and, the Civil War reconstruction period. Questions regarding the development of America from 1829 to 1850 will cover political issues and conflicts, geographic expansion and the displacement of Native Americans, industrialization, inventions, and the development of agriculture, the early labor movements, on and it and cultural and social issues. The questions regarding the development of America from 1791 to 1829 will cover economic development, foreign-policy issues, and social, cultural and political development.

World History: 1450 C.E. to the Present
This section of the exam will cover the Second World War, the First World War, interwar instability, the social and economic role of the state, and contemporary trends. Questions regarding the Second World War will cover causes and consequences of the war, the Holocaust, genocide and the 20th-century, neocolonialism, the global influence of the Cold War, and decolonization. The First World War questions will cover Russian revolutions and the causes and consequences of the First World War. Interwar instability questions will cover and anticolonialism, Germany, Japan, militarism and fascism in Italy, along with economic and political instability of China and Europe. Questions regarding the social and economic role of the state will cover the United Nations, the League of Nations, capitalism, socialism, communism, and movements to extend rights to minorities, social classes and women. The contemporary trend (1991 to present) questions will cover the new technologies, global culture, social and economic trends, environmental interdependence, the new Europe, the emergence of the Pacific Rim and worldwide geopolitical changes.
This section of the exam will also cover political and industrial revolutions from 1750 to 1914 and, global interactions from 1400 to 1800 C.E. The political and Industrial Revolution from 1750 to 1914 questions will cover imperialism, nationalism, socialism, Marxism, liberalism, urbanization, industrialization, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, Latin American independence movements, revolutionary movement and reformist movements. Questions regarding global interactions from 1400 to 1800 C.E. will cover global and cultural diffusion, and movement of goods and people, the scientific revolution, European Reformation and Renaissance, transition to a market economy, development of centralized states, the impact of slavery on Africa, and cultural contact between America, Africa, and Asia. There also be questions regarding China and Japan’s stance against the acceptance of European culture.

World History to 1450 C.E.
This section of the exam will cover the decline of classic civilizations (500 to 1400 C.E.), ancient empires and civilizations, the development of cities, and human society up the 3000 B.C.E. Questions regarding the decline of classic civilizations (500 to 1400 C.E.) will cover Ming, Tang, and Song China, the rise and fall of Islamic civilization, nomadic migrations of Mongols and Huns, Andean and Mesoamerican cultures, the emergence of Russia, Eastern Europe, and the Byzantine Empire, and feudalism in Japan and central Europe. The ancient empires and civilizations questions will cover the development of world religions, the Zhou and Han dynasties of China, Daoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Vedic age of India, Judaism in Persia and Israel, and Zoroastrianism. There also will be questions regarding the Nok, Axum, Kush and, Bantu migrations of Africa and; the Roman Republic, the Hellenistic World, early Greece and Christianity and a section of the exam. Questions regarding the development of cities (3000 to 1500 B.C.E.) will cover city development in Mesoamerica, the Indus River Valley, Africa, Mesopotamia, and the Huang He River Valley. The human society, up to 3000 B.C.E. questions will cover animal husbandry, the development of settled agriculture in the Neolithic age, and a hunting and gathering societies of the Paleolithic age.


PRAXIS II World And American History: Content Knowledge Practice Questions

1. The development of societal structures is impacted by:

A. economics
B. geography
C. the arts
D. All of the above

2. Why was E Pluribus Unum, the motto of the United States, first used?

A. To unify the colonies during the American Revolution
B. To symbolize what the country is about
C. To show respect for different cultures
D. None of the above

3. Who called news-oriented journalism “the first rough draft of history”?

A. Socrates
B. Phil Graham
C. Horace Greeley
D. John F. Kennedy

4. Who believed the man on the street was more than capable of understanding complex issues?

A. Katherine Graham
B. Walter Lippmann
C. John Dewey
D. Ben Bradlee

5. What are some of the core issues that should be part of developing international business ethics?

A. Accepted universal values
B. Understanding of the impact of religious perspectives
C. Cultural imperialism
D. Varying standards


Answer Key For World And American History: Content Knowledge

1. Answer: D

The U.S. Department of Education states that “ey concepts of geography, such as location, place, and region are tied inseparably to major ideas of history such as time, period, and events. Geography and history in tandem enable learners to understand how events and places have affected each other across time.” This statement clearly explains the reasons history and geography should be studied together: one without the other merely offers isolated dates or individual facts but doesn’t allow students to understand how they are connected to one another and how each affected the other.

World history examines common patterns found in all cultures, as well as the reasons differences have evolved over time. To truly understand how man and his various societal structures developed, it is necessary to study all areas that impact the evolution: political science, anthropology, sociology, economics, geography, and the arts. In this age of globalization, understanding how individual nations define these areas is important to addressing shared health and welfare issues, developing a stable world economy, and working to prevent misunderstandings between countries.

2. Answer: A

E Pluribus Unum means “from many, one.” Found on coins and paper money and seen on public buildings, the phrase was first used to unify the original thirteen colonies during the American Revolution. As the country grew and opened its doors to welcome immigrants from hundreds of different nations, it came to symbolize what this country is about: a second chance that comes from hard work and respect for the differences that make up the American experience. These new citizens found ways to assimilate into a free and open society, while keeping the best of their native lands.

American culture is a combination of traditions, foods, the arts, and religious practices of many different nationalities. Never in history has another nation been created from so many different languages, histories, and cultures. What is the glue that holds all the various parts together? Alexis de Tocqueville decided it is the unique political participation system founded on the belief that government derives its power from the people, as defined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

3. Answer: B

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines journalism as “the collecting, writing, editing, and presentation of news or news articles; the style of writing characteristic of newspapers and magazines, marked by the direct presentation of facts.” The word itself comes from the Latin “diurnal” (daily) that became the French word “journal.” In ancient Rome, the first newspaper, the Acta Diurnal, a handwritten bulletin, was posted every day in the Forum.

Good journalism, as Rudyard Kipling stated, reports the what, when, where, how, and why. In order to qualify as a well-written piece of journalism, these elements must be present, preferably in the first paragraph of the story. Additional information is explanation and filler.

Journalism’s purpose is to report factual information about people and current events; explain business, economic, and health trends; and discuss the national and international issues of the day. Because journalists and their editors often work on tight deadlines and record important events, Phil Graham, Editor of the Washington Post, described news-oriented journalism as the “first rough draft of history.”

4. Answer: C

In the 1920s, when modern American journalism was in its infancy, writer Walter Lippmann and philosopher John Dewey began the debate over journalism’s role in a democratic society that is still going on. Lippmann believed journalism should be a translator between the general public and the “policymaking elites,” meaning politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, etc. He believed the man on the street was unable to understand and too distracted to care about complex issues, so the elites have a responsibility, indeed duty, to explain and interpret. He further believed the public could control the elites through the ballot box.

Dewey believed the man on the street was more than capable of understanding the issues and should be part of the decision-making process through public debate and discussion. He didn’t discount the experts, but he believed the best ideas would come to light when everyone was actively involved in the process. He believed journalism’s role was to study the information, weigh the possible consequences, and inform the public, so they could make up their own minds. Most Americans agree with Dewey’s approach.

5. Answer: D

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines ethics as “a set of principles of right conduct; a theory or system of moral values.” Business ethics is applying this definition to an organization’s or a country’s approach to conducting affairs in the commercial arena. From early on, business people did whatever was expedient to sell their goods and services and make a profit.

Because of many factors in the last few years, the international business community has been forced to take a look at some of its practices and find alternate ways of conducting commerce. This has resulted in new laws in many countries. The tricky issue is how to reconcile core values that may be very different in individual cultures. Issues being studied include:

  • A search for accepted universal values
  • Comparison of business traditions in different countries and cultures
  • How religious perspectives affect commerce
  • Globalization and cultural imperialism
  • Varying standards regarding child labor, living wages, etc.
  • Multinational groups outsourcing to take advantage of varying standards
  • Conducting business with rogue governments