Common Core: 11th Grade English Language Arts : Textual evidence to support claims about implicit and explicit meaning: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.1

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Example Question #1 : Textual Evidence To Support Claims About Implicit And Explicit Meaning: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.11 12.1

Adapted from “Federalist No.19” in The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison (1788)

Among the confederacies of antiquity, the most considerable was that of the Grecian republics, associated under the Amphictyonic council. From the best accounts transmitted of this celebrated institution, it bore a very instructive analogy to the present Confederation of the American States. The members retained the character of independent and sovereign states, and had equal votes in the federal council. This council had a general authority to propose and resolve whatever it judged necessary for the common welfare of Greece; to declare and carry on war; to decide, in the last resort, all controversies between the members; to fine the aggressing party; to employ the whole force of the confederacy against the disobedient; and to admit new members.

The Amphictyons were the guardians of religion, and of the immense riches belonging to the temple of Delphos, where they had the right of jurisdiction in controversies between the inhabitants and those who came to consult the oracle. As a further provision for the efficacy of the federal powers, they took an oath mutually to defend and protect the united cities, to punish the violators of this oath, and to inflict vengeance on sacrilegious despoilers of the temple.

In theory, and upon paper, this apparatus of powers seems amply sufficient for all general purposes. In several material instances, they exceed the powers enumerated in the Articles of Confederation. The Amphictyons had in their hands the superstition of the times, one of the principal engines by which government was then maintained; they had a declared authority to use coercion against refractory cities, and were bound by oath to exert this authority on the necessary occasions.

Very different, nevertheless, was the experiment from the theory. The powers, like those of the present Congress, were administered by deputies appointed wholly by the cities in their political capacities, and exercised over them in the same capacities. Hence the weakness, the disorders, and finally the destruction of the confederacy. The more powerful members, instead of being kept in awe and subordination, tyrannized successively over all the rest. Athens, as we learn from Demosthenes, was the arbiter of Greece seventy-three years. The Lacedaemonians next governed it twenty-nine years; at a subsequent period, after the battle of Leuctra, the Thebans had their turn of domination. It happened but too often, according to Plutarch, that the deputies of the strongest cities awed and corrupted those of the weaker; and that judgment went in favor of the most powerful party. Even in the midst of defensive and dangerous wars with Persia and Macedon, the members never acted in concert, and were, more or fewer of them, eternally the dupes or the hirelings of the common enemy. The intervals of foreign war were filled up by domestic vicissitudes, convulsions, and carnage.

After the conclusion of the war with Xerxes, it appears that the Lacedaemonians required that a number of the cities should be turned out of the confederacy for the unfaithful part they had acted. The Athenians, finding that the Lacedaemonians would lose fewer partisans by such a measure than themselves, and would become masters of the public deliberations, vigorously opposed and defeated the attempt. This piece of history proves at once the inefficiency of the union, the ambition and jealousy of its most powerful members, and the dependent and degraded condition of the rest. The smaller members, though entitled by the theory of their system to revolve in equal pride and majesty around the common center, had become, in fact, satellites of the orbs of primary magnitude.

Had the Greeks, says the Abbe Milot, been as wise as they were courageous, they would have been admonished by experience of the necessity of a closer union, and would have availed themselves of the peace which followed their success against the Persian arms to establish such a reformation. Instead of this obvious policy, Athens and Sparta, inflated with the victories and the glory they had acquired, became first rivals and then enemies, and did each other infinitely more mischief than they had suffered from Xerxes. Their mutual jealousies, fears, hatreds, and injuries ended in the celebrated Peloponnesian war, which itself ended in the ruin and slavery of the Athenians who had begun it.

The author of this passage would have most likely considered the Civil War to be __________.

Possible Answers:

a viable solution to the massive economic and social differences between the North and the South

a wholly unacceptable division of the nation based on mutual jealousies and antipathy

an inevitable result of a confederacy in which power is equally balanced between multiple parties

an evil conflict conducted by a morally bankrupt nation

Correct answer:

a wholly unacceptable division of the nation based on mutual jealousies and antipathy

Explanation:

In order to make an accurate prediction based on the text, you, as the reader, must understand the fundamental principles and arguments made in the text. 

Based on the author’s considerations that conflict within a confederacy is an inevitable result of an imbalance of power between different member states of a union that was not centralized or strong enough and the author’s emphasis on maintaining peace and unity above all else, the reader can infer that the author would have considered the Civil War to be “a wholly unacceptable division of the nation based on mutual jealousies and antipathy.” This answer most clearly and accurately frames the fundamental political principle underpinning this work: the maintenance of peace and the development of strength through unity.

The most pertinent evidence that supports this answer in the text can be found in the conclusion, "Athens and Sparta, inflated with the victories and the glory they had acquired, became first rivals and then enemies; and did each other infinitely more mischief than they had suffered from Xerxes. Their mutual jealousies, fears, hatreds, and injuries ended in the celebrated Peloponnesian war, which itself ended in the ruin and slavery of the Athenians who had begun it.” The answer choice “an evil conflict conducted by a morally bankrupt nation” is incorrect because the words “evil” and “morally bankrupt” are too strong to represent the author’s attitude. The answer choice “an understandable, but regrettable, deviation from the conduct of a true confederacy” is incorrect for the opposite reason; it is too weak. The answer choice "an inevitable result of a confederacy in which power is equally balanced between multiple parties" does not align with the author's opinions; he provides evidence as to why confederacies in which power is balanced would work, but how in practice those with imbalances of power amongst their member states have failed.

Example Question #2 : Textual Evidence To Support Claims About Implicit And Explicit Meaning: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.11 12.1

Adapted from the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America by Thomas Jefferson (1776)

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

If this text were to continue what can most reasonably be inferred to follow the final paragraph?

Possible Answers:

A longer philosophical treatise on the rights of man

A list of demands to be met by England

A list of the acts committed by England against the colonies

An outline of the proposed format of the new government for the colonies

Correct answer:

A list of the acts committed by England against the colonies

Explanation:

The last two sentences of this selection form the key to unlocking this question. Consider the sentences directly: "The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world." The first of these sentences states that the current king of Great Britain had repeatedly and continually acted against the colonies. Then, the author states that "facts" are to be "submitted" to the world. That is, the facts proving the claim about the king will then be listed at length. Hence, we can suppose that there will be a list of acts committed against the colonies by England. (Indeed, this is what follows in the actual document.)

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