AP World History : Political and Governmental Structures 1450 to 1750

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP World History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Political And Governmental Structures 1450 To 1750

The Russian Tsars’ power largely rested on the support of ___________.

Possible Answers:

the sans-culottes

indigenous, Central Asian nomads

merchants from the Middle East

the Church and the military

Islamic forces from Chechnya and Dagestan

Correct answer:

the Church and the military

Explanation:

The Tsars' power largely rested on the support of the Orthodox Church and the military.

The sans-culottes were a social group in revolutionary France.

Certain nomadic groups, such as the Cossacks, were oftentimes allied with the Tsar but they were not indigenous to Central Asia.

Although throughout history, certain Muslim fighters from Chechnya and Dagestan may have fought for the Russian Tsar, they were the exception rather than the rule.

Throughout history merchants from all over the world have traded in Russia, but they were never a main pillar of support for the Russian Tsars.

Example Question #73 : Political And Governmental Structures

The concept of Shari'a Law is an example of what type of governing structure?

Possible Answers:

Theocracy

Oligarchy

Democracy

Autocracy

Socialism

Correct answer:

Theocracy

Explanation:

The concept of Shari'a Law outlines a list of codes and laws drawn directly from the Qu'ran and the teachings of Mohammed. Because of their religious basis they are an example of a theocracy. Shari'a law still remains a governing force in most Islamic nations.

Example Question #2 : Political And Governmental Structures 1450 To 1750

During the Renaissance, most Italian city-states operated using system of government?

Possible Answers:

Hereditary monarchy 

Theocracy 

Despotism 

Parliamentary monarchy 

Republican 

Correct answer:

Despotism 

Explanation:

Due to the fragmented nature of the Italian region at the time of the Renaissance, every single city-state (with the exceptions of the papal state of Rome and Venice) was governed under despotism. According to this system, the most powerful (aka the richest and most socially-connected) men in each city-state selected a despot to act as the city’s governing figure. This despot was charged with upholding the principle known as “podesta:” the maintenance of strict law and order, by any and all means (judicial, economic, military, political) necessary. Each city-state’s elite circles relied upon the despot’s iron social control so that they could conduct their trade and economic business unimpeded, with as little societal and governmental obstruction as possible. This system of government ensured that while, the elites and despots themselves were quite happy with their lofty positions, the majority of the citizens were resentful, if not openly hostile, and so political conflict became the norm. Before too long, many city-states became hotbeds of political intrigue, as various individuals, powerful or otherwise, vied to influence or remove despots, often through underhanded, even violent, means.

Example Question #4 : Nation States

In what part of the world did the modern structure of nation-states first appear?

Possible Answers:

Western Europe

Eastern Asia

South America

Eastern Europe

Southern Asia

Correct answer:

Western Europe

Explanation:

When trying to answer this question, it is first useful to know what a nation-state is. A state is a political entity, whereas a nation is a cultural or ethnic identity. So, Basque might be a nation in Spain, but Spain is the state that Basque is within. In Europe throughout the late Medieval period, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment, nation-states began to emerge. Nation-states are political bodies unified with a cultural or ethnic identity. They primarily emerged in countries like England, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Sweden in the early Renaissance period, and this system of nation-states was then exported around the world as the Western European powers continued to expand their influence. It is now the dominant political entity in the world and its significance has not waned in the twentieth or twenty-first centuries.

Example Question #3 : Political And Governmental Structures 1450 To 1750

Select the Western European ruler who most successfully practiced the principles of “politique.”

Possible Answers:

Queen Elizabeth I of England

Catherine de Medici of France

King Philip II of Spain

William of Orange (the Netherlands)

Queen Mary I of England

Correct answer:

Queen Elizabeth I of England

Explanation:

Fortunately, not every Western European ruler believed in the necessity of religious conflict – some genuinely believed that every person should be free to practice their chosen religion, while other monarchs endorsed religious toleration out of more pragmatic means (civil unrest was always a threat to a ruler’s continued reign). Monarchs who enforced religious toleration and kept their country out of religiously motivated conflicts were known as “politiques.” The most successful “politique” was Queen Elizabeth I of England. Elizabeth took over the country after the death of her half-sister, Mary I, whose violent hatred of Protestantism had led her to institute a brutal repression of all English Protestants. Mary had hundreds of Protestants imprisoned, tortured, and executed, despite the increasingly horrified opposition of her Catholic subjects. These policies earned her the nickname “Bloody Mary.” When Elizabeth came to power, she immediately knew that she had to heal the social strife and wounds that her sister’s repression had caused throughout England, especially since there were grumblings of a potential dynasty change or even a revolt. So, Elizabeth adopted the principles of “politique,” endorsing religious toleration for all English citizens, ending government-sanctioned persecution of Protestants, and thereby strengthening social and political unity.

Example Question #4 : Political And Governmental Structures 1450 To 1750

Over the course of the 16th century, French royal power ____________________.

Possible Answers:

waned as longbows decreased longbows decreased the need for mounted knights in plate armor, the most loyal defenders of the French monarchy

became increasingly centralized

was destroyed by the French Revolution

waned as firearms decreased the need for mounted knights in plate armor, the most loyal defenders of the French monarchy

was destroyed by Viking invasions and their sack of Paris

Correct answer:

became increasingly centralized

Explanation:

Over the course of the 16th century, French royal power became increasingly centralized, with the French monarch becoming an absolute monarch.

Although both firearms and longbows decreased the need for mounted knights in full plate armor, the French monarch was adept at raising loyal armies composed of both musketeers and longbow men.

The French Revolution did not occur until the 18th century.

The Viking invasion and sack of Paris occurred in 845, centuries before the 16th century.

Example Question #77 : Political And Governmental Structures

Select the law or piece of legislation that established religious toleration in Queen Elizabeth I’s England.

Possible Answers:

The Act of Supremacy 

The Thirty-Nine Articles 

The Peace of Westphalia 

The Conventicle Act 

The Act of Uniformity 

Correct answer:

The Act of Supremacy 

Explanation:

When Elizabeth I became Queen of England in 1558, she assumed control over a country which, under her sister Mary I’s reign, had been torn apart by brutal anti-Protestant persecution. Elizabeth I knew that if she wanted to make her nation both politically and socially successful, she needed to devise some sort of compromise between England’s Catholic and Protestant citizens. In 1559, Elizabeth I and Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy, which established the Queen as the ultimate arbiter of religious (as well as all other) matters and discarded all of Mary I’s anti-Protestant laws. Using the Act of Supremacy as her first step, Elizabeth established a climate of religious tolerance. Using her father King Henry VIII’s creation of his own national church, Elizabeth turned the Anglican Church – aka England’s official religion – into a sort of modified Catholic and Protestant mashup. Anglicanism combined Catholic rituals (such as rich church decorations and solemn processions) with more Protestant doctrines, such as those contained in the Common Book of Prayer (the national prayer book). Catholics and Protestants were thus free to worship, publically or privately, as they chose, so long as they didn’t engage in any sort of extremist speech or activity which threatened the nation’s religious balance.

Example Question #5 : Political And Governmental Structures 1450 To 1750

Select the influential monarch who entered into a strategic royal marriage with the 16th century English Queen Elizabeth I.

Possible Answers:

King Francis II of France 

Prince William of Orange 

King Phillip II of Spain 

None of these 

King James VI of Scotland 

Correct answer:

None of these 

Explanation:

This is a tricky question– in reality, Queen Elizabeth I never married. This was extremely unusual for the time period; because women were seen as the inferior gender, every woman was placed under considerable familial and societal pressure to find a husband and make a good match. As Queen, Elizabeth was under near constant pressure from her advisors and allies to marry, many of whom doubted her intellectual ability – as a woman – to effectively govern. Several of England’s allies also hoped that Elizabeth would choose one of their noblemen as her husband; this move would bring prestige and shared wealth and power to both nations. Many of Elizabeth’s advisors felt the same way; they worried that as a lone Queen without a King beside her, Elizabeth – and by extension her country – would not be taken seriously by foreign powers. But Elizabeth, who was known for her remarkably strong will, insisted that she could govern England perfectly well without a husband, a fact which her prosperous forty-five-year reign definitively proved. Throughout her time as monarch, Elizabeth astutely used the possibility of her marriage as a bargaining tool in her negotiations with other countries. In a truly masterful strategy, she was able to persuade foreign leaders to make favorable alliances with England by holding out the tantalizing prospect of her hand in marriage – an offer which she graciously but swiftly revoked as soon as the ink on the treaties dried.

Example Question #6 : Political And Governmental Structures 1450 To 1750

In 17th and 18th century Europe, two methods of government reigned supreme: parliamentary monarchies and political absolutism. Which factor MOST crucially facilitated the rise of these two systems?

Possible Answers:

Heightened religious hatred/fervor

Growing political unrest from the lower classes

A widespread economic crisis due to rapid inflation

Changes in the evolution of warfare

Correct answer:

Changes in the evolution of warfare

Explanation:

In seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe, two methods of government emerged as the most popular amongst leaders: parliamentary monarchies and political absolutism (aka absolute rule). Both of these structures emerged as a consequence of the same factor – namely, changes in the evolution of warfare. During the late sixteenth and all through the seventeenth centuries, new innovations in weapons rapidly developed, which in term inspired the creation of new training and fighting tactics so that soldiers could make the best use of their new weaponry. Such expansive changes always carry a monetary cost and the price of many of these particular elements (especially new weapons) was very high indeed. Rulers knew that if they wanted to rise to international power – and then hold on to that power – they would need to obtain these new weapons, re-train their troops, and re-organize their armies. This required gaining new wealth, mainly through increased taxation and confiscation – which are never popular among any nation’s citizens. Consequently, those monarchs who were able to rule with an iron fist, by putting down their people’s resistance, turning a deaf ear to popular protests, and enforcing their will upon their population were able to amass enough money to properly equip their armies to meet the new challenges of warfare. In essence, more money made more wars possible, which in turn increased a country’s power. Countries which operated along parliamentary monarchial systems, like England, in which the ruler could make no big decisions without the consent of a Parliament, mostly failed in this task. It was the absolute monarchs, such as King Louis XIV of France, who succeeded most dramatically in this quest. These developments, successes, and failures would substantially impact the course of European history over the coming decades.

Example Question #7 : Political And Governmental Structures 1450 To 1750

Which of the following was NOT one of the main reasons behind King James I of England’s unpopularity with Parliament and his own subjects?

Possible Answers:

His toleration of corruption within his court

His positive treatment and toleration of religious dissenters

His practice of enforcing “impositions”

His peace deal with Spain

Correct answer:

His positive treatment and toleration of religious dissenters

Explanation:

King James I of England (who came to the throne after the death of Elizabeth I) was immensely unpopular amongst both Parliament and the general mass of his own subjects. The King’s unpopularity was due to many factors, several of which stemmed from his overall attitude. As a monarch, James was a firm believer in the notion of divine right and so he had an intense dislike for any consultation or cooperation in his decision making process. This disdain extended directly to Parliament – as per English law, Parliament was only permitted to assemble if the monarch instructed it to, which James had absolutely no intention of doing. So, instead of obtaining money from Parliament, James chose to raise the necessary funds through “impositions,” which were customs taxes placed on trade items. Naturally, the members of Parliament did not at all appreciate being cut out of the nation’s legislative and economic processes. James also turned a blind eye to corruption within his tight circle of court friends, many of whom engaged in scandalous behavior that horrified the English citizenry. These problems were further compounded by the King’s harsh treatment of the Puritans, whom he firmly shunned from the Anglican Church (this led to religious dissenters leaving the country in droves). Throughout this whole process, James seemed either entirely ignorant or completely unconcerned by his people’s growing suspicion and dislike of him, which didn’t exactly endear him to them any further. Perhaps the final straw came in 1604, when James made a peace deal with the Spanish government. This agreement was followed by the arranged marriage of James’s son, Charles, to a prominent Spanish princess. These alliances with Catholic Spain, which had traditionally been England’s arch enemy, caused outrage amongst a great deal of the English population, many of whom began to doubt their King’s loyalty to both the Anglican faith and to the English crown.

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