AP European History : Diffusion of Knowledge among Social Groupings

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP European History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Diffusion Of Knowledge Among Social Groupings

Thomas Malthus wrote __________.

Possible Answers:

An Essay on the Principle of Population

The Inferno

The Canterbury Tales

The Wealth of Nations

The Leviathan

Correct answer:

An Essay on the Principle of Population

Explanation:

Thomas Malthus was an Enlightenment-Era British philosopher and economic writer. In his famous work, An Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus argued that, if the population continued to grow, it would outstrip the supply of food and lead to widespread famine and starvation. Together with Adam Smith and David Ricardo, he remains one of the most influential economic thinkers from this time period.  

Example Question #2 : Diffusion Of Knowledge Among Social Groupings

The impact of the invention of the internet, in the twentieth century, on the diffusion of knowledge might be compared to the invention of the __________ in the __________ century.

Possible Answers:

automobile . . . nineteenth

printing press . . . fifteenth

internal combustion engine . . . eighteenth

telegraph . . . seventeenth

steam engine . . . seventeenth

Correct answer:

printing press . . . fifteenth

Explanation:

The invention of the internet has dramatically changed the availability of information, education, and free communication for people around the world. Now everyone with access to the internet has the potential to acquire as much knowledge as they could possibly synthesize in a lifetime (or a million lifetimes). This has opened up human society by allowing greater opportunity and understanding. This sudden widespread dissemination of information may be compared with the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century. The introduction of the printing press to Europe allowed works of literature to be printed en masse and shared with a much wider audience than would previously have been possible. The telegraph might have been a reasonable answer, but it was invented in the nineteenth century.

Example Question #3 : Diffusion Of Knowledge Among Social Groupings

Vladimir Lenin helped to facilitate the diffusion of knowledge in the Soviet Union by __________.

Possible Answers:

allowing schools to teach students in their native languages instead of mandating Russian

None of these answers are correct; Lenin impeded the diffusion of knowledge in the Soviet Union.

establishing free public education for rural peasants

mandating that all education be undertaken exclusively in Russian

loosening restrictions on freedom of press and eliminating prohibitions on certain types of literature

Correct answer:

allowing schools to teach students in their native languages instead of mandating Russian

Explanation:

During the dying decades of the Russian Tsarist Empire, the government mandated that all education be carried out in Russian, regardless of the ability of the students in various parts of the multinational empire to understand the language. This, predictably, was unpopular throughout the empire and impeded the ability of non-Russian-speaking citizens to achieve in education and improve their lives. When Lenin came to power, he instituted his “nationalities reforms,” which allowed schools to teach students in their native languages.

Example Question #4 : Diffusion Of Knowledge Among Social Groupings

Which of these men was most responsible for making the Bible available to common (non-aristocratic) people?

Possible Answers:

Johannes Gutenberg

Pope Leo X

Lorenzo the Magnificent

Pope Urban II

Charles V

Correct answer:

Johannes Gutenberg

Explanation:

Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, is most responsible for making the Bible available to the common people. Indeed, all of these men, except perhaps Lorenzo the Magnificent, would have had a vested interest in not making the Bible available to the common people— some, like Leo X, even worked actively to prevent this from happening. The printing press allowed the Bible to be reproduced in large quantities and in a wide range of languages. This greatly advanced the capabilities and potential of the Protestant Reformation.

Example Question #5 : Diffusion Of Knowledge Among Social Groupings

The writings of Ancient Greece and Classical Rome, so important to the emergence of the Renaissance, survived because __________.

Possible Answers:

they were preserved and reposed by a series of Venetian rulers

thinkers like Petrarch and Dante worked tirelessly to collect them from across the known world

Justinian I constructed a large library in Byzantium to serve as a repository for an indefinite period of time

monks had made dedicated copies of important works by hand

of the invention of the printing press which allowed works to be recreated in large numbers

Correct answer:

monks had made dedicated copies of important works by hand

Explanation:

An interesting quirk of history is that the Renaissance movement arose from the dedicated copywork of thousands of unknown and unrecognized monks, who through the centuries had been making copies by hand of numerous important works of philosophy, theocracy, mathematics, science, and history (and many others). The secularization of learning that began with the Humanist movement owes a great debt to the work of these silent monks.

Example Question #6 : Diffusion Of Knowledge Among Social Groupings

The Royal Society of London was founded in the __________ century by __________.

Possible Answers:

seventeenth . . . James I

sixteenth . . . Elizabeth I

eighteenth . . . George III

nineteenth . . . Victoria I

seventeenth . . . Charles II

Correct answer:

seventeenth . . . Charles II

Explanation:

The Royal Society of London was founded in the 1660s by King Charles II. It was created to advance the collective understanding of the natural world by providing funding to scientists, by providing scientists with a place to meet and collate resources, and by giving British scientists a platform from which to disseminate information around Europe.

Example Question #7 : Diffusion Of Knowledge Among Social Groupings

The primary goal of Diderot’s Encyclopedie was to __________.

Possible Answers:

document the abuses of the early years of the industrial revolution so as to effect social and political change

lament the continued influence of the Catholic Church in the lives of scientists and philosophers

influence the Enlightened Despots of Europe to govern their realms with justice and wisdom

encourage the establishment of universities in urban centers across Europe

change the mindset of the general public by introducing them to new information

Correct answer:

change the mindset of the general public by introducing them to new information

Explanation:

Diderot wrote, collated, edited, and published the Encyclopedie in the middle of the eighteenth century. It was the first organized attempt to collect of “the sum of human knowledge” that had been undertaken. Diderot stated that his goal in writing it was to “change the way people think.” He believed that members of general public could be elevated simply by introducing them to new information and providing them with a resource to educate themselves. It is true that Diderot hoped also to influence the Enlightened Despots of Europe, but his primary goal was simply to spread knowledge around the continent.

Example Question #8 : Diffusion Of Knowledge Among Social Groupings

The first university in Europe was founded in __________.

Possible Answers:

Antwerp

Oxford

Krakow

Bologna

Paris

Correct answer:

Bologna

Explanation:

The first university in Europe was founded in the eleventh century in Bologna, a city in Italy. It is important to note that from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries, Italy dramatically led the way in university education. Apart from Oxford and Cambridge, in England, Paris, in France, and Salamanca, in Spain, almost all of the earliest universities were founded in Italy. Italy was the wealthiest region of Europe at this time and the center of European learning from the twelfth century on.

Example Question #9 : Diffusion Of Knowledge Among Social Groupings

During the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, how did most people access the ideas and theories of the great European thinkers?

Possible Answers:

Through public education or university attendance

Through widely published scientific journals

Through the church or their local monastic community

Through speaking tours given by academics and scientists

Through famous cartoons and widely circulated newspapers

Correct answer:

Through widely published scientific journals

Explanation:

After the creation of the Royal Society in London and the French Academy of Sciences in Paris, the two institutions began circulating scientific journals. This gave isolated academics and laypeople access to the newest scientific theories, research, experiments, and ideas, and was important for contributing to the spread of knowledge around Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Example Question #10 : Diffusion Of Knowledge Among Social Groupings

This classical-era Greek informed the Medieval understanding of medicine with his conception of the four humors.

Possible Answers:

Hippocrates

Thucydides

Aristotle

Cicero

Galen

Correct answer:

Galen

Explanation:

During the Medieval Era, medical understanding was extremely rudimentary by our modern standards. A second-century Greek physician named Galen believed that the humor body contained four humors: yellow bile, black bile, blood, and phlegm. He believed all diseases were caused by an imbalance in these humors, and his understanding spread around European society so that by the Medieval Era it was the dominant understanding of medical science.

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