GED Social Studies : Bias

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Social Studies

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Example Questions

Example Question #5 : Making Connections

Adapted from A Short History of the United States (1908) by Edward Channing.

Nearly five hundred years before the time of Columbus, Leif Ericson had discovered the New World. He was a Northman and the son of Eric the Red. Eric the Red had already founded a colony in Greenland, and Leif sailed from Norway to make him a visit. This was in the year 1000. Day after day Leif and his men were tossed about on the sea until they reached an unknown land where they found many grape-vines. They called it Vinland or Wineland. They then sailed northward and reached Greenland in safety. Precisely where Vinland was is not known. But it certainly was part of North America. Leif Ericson, the Northman, was therefore the real discoverer of America.

The author of this passage could be accused of having a(n) __________ bias. 

Possible Answers:

Christian 

academic

Anglo-Saxon

English

European

Correct answer:

European

Explanation:

The author of this passage focuses on convincing his audience that Columbus was not the real "discoverer" of the Americas. Instead, according to the author, that honor belongs to Lief Ericson. What the author ignores of course is that the Americas were already discovered and inhabited by native people. By focusing only on the European candidates for discovering America the author demonstrates a "European" bias. 

Example Question #6 : Making Connections

The biggest threat to humanity in the twenty-first century is almost certainly the rising demand for and use of the Earth’s dwindling natural resources. Currently China, and to a slightly lesser extent India, are hurtling through their own Industrial and economic revolutions, powering this change with a greater and greater consumption of natural resources. This transition is already well under way in parts of South America and Africa as well, and will most likely accelerate in the next few decades. Put simply, the planet cannot sustain this growth.

The people of the Western world have lived a privileged life of abundance and materialism for over a hundred years now, and if the whole world wants to live like a middle-class American then the demand for resources will outstrip supply very quickly. What is needed then is a change, a global change, in what is considered an acceptable and sufficient standard living. We all need to downgrade our expectations and our desires, to accept less for the greater good. Human history suggests this is highly unlikely: competition and warfare has always driven our relationships with one another, and it is quite likely that we will fight endless wars over the rights to oil, water, gas, and so on; but, human history also shows a constant trend of human ingenuity prevailing over all manner of natural and man-made disasters, so there is cause for optimism too. We cannot say with certainty which way mankind will go, competition or cooperation; we can only try to do our part and hope for the best.

Who does the author identify as the greatest consumer of natural resources in this essay?

Possible Answers:

It is impossible to say.

India

China

Africa

South America

Correct answer:

China

Explanation:

Although the greatest consumer of natural resources in the world remains the United States, the author does not explicitly mention that in this text. Instead, in the opening paragraph, he says that "currently China, and to a slightly lesser extent India, are hurtling through their own Industrial and economic revolutions, powering this change with a greater and greater consumption of natural resources."

Example Question #37 : Question Types

Adapted from A Smaller History of Greece from the Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest (1897) by William Smith.

The physical features of the country exercised an important influence upon the political destinies of the people. Greece is one of the most mountainous countries of Europe. Its surface is occupied by a number of small plains, either entirely surrounded by limestone mountains or open only to the sea. Each of the principal Grecian cities was founded in one of these small plains; and, as the mountains which separated it from its neighbours were lofty and rugged, each city grew up in solitary independence. But at the same time it had ready and easy access to the sea, and Arcadia was almost the only political division that did not possess some territory upon the coast. Thus shut out from their neighbours by mountains, the Greeks were naturally attracted to the sea, and became a maritime people. Hence they possessed the love of freedom and the spirit of adventure, which have always characterised, more or less the inhabitants of maritime districts.

What does the author believe is true of nations that are surrounded by the sea? 

Possible Answers:

Philosophy and the arts will flourish. 

The people have a bold and independent nature. 

The people will be athletic and fit. 

The people will embrace democracy and religion. 

The nation will grow wealthy through trade. 

Correct answer:

The people have a bold and independent nature. 

Explanation:

The author seems to suggest that people who live near the sea are more likely to love freedom and to have an adventurous spirit. He says "Hence they possessed the love of freedom and the spirit of adventure, which have always characterised, more or less the inhabitants of maritime districts." So the correct answer is that the author believes nations that are surrounded by the sea will cause their people to be "bold and independent."

Example Question #7 : Making Connections

Adapted from A Smaller History of Greece from the Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest (1897) by William Smith.

Greece is the southern portion of a great peninsula of Europe, washed on three sides by the Mediterranean Sea. It is bounded on the north by the Cambunian mountains, which separate it from Macedonia. It extends from the fortieth degree of latitude to the thirty-sixth, its greatest length being not more than 250 English miles, and its greatest breadth only 180. Its surface is considerably less than that of Portugal. This small area was divided among a number of independent states, many of them containing a territory of only a few square miles, and none of them larger than an English county. But the heroism and genius of the Greeks have given an interest to the insignificant spot of earth bearing their name, which the vastest empires have never equalled.

The name of Greece was not used by the inhabitants of the country. They called their land Hellas, and themselves Hellenes. At first the word Hellas signified only a small district in Thessaly, from which the Hellenes gradually spread over the whole country. The names of Greece and Greeks come to us from the Romans, who gave the name of Graecia to the country and of Graeci to the inhabitants.

Which of these statements about authorial bias is most likely true? 

Possible Answers:

It is impossible to say. 

The author likes the Roman culture even more than the Greek culture. 

The author is writing this for an American audience. 

The author finds certain elements of Greek culture distasteful. 

The author is writing this for an English audience. 

Correct answer:

The author is writing this for an English audience. 

Explanation:

On two separate occasions the author makes a comparison between Greece and some aspect of England or "English." On the first occasion he talks about how the length of the country is "250 English miles." On the second occasion he says "This small area was divided among a number of independent states, many of them containing a territory of only a few square miles, and none of them larger than an English county." The comparisons between Greece and England suggest that the author is writing for an English audience and so wants to compare Greece to things his audience will find familiar. 

Example Question #8 : Making Connections

Adapted from A Smaller History of Greece from the Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest (1897) by William Smith.

The vast number of the Greek colonies, their widespread diffusion over all parts of the Mediterranean, which thus became a kind of Grecian lake, and their rapid growth in wealth, power, and intelligence, afford the most striking proofs of the greatness of this wonderful people. Civil dissensions and a redundant population were the chief causes of the origin of most of the Greek colonies. They were usually undertaken with the approbation of the cities from which they issued, and under the management of leaders appointed by them. But a Greek colony was always considered politically independent of the mother-city and emancipated from its control. The only connection between them was one of filial affection and of common religious ties. Almost every colonial Greek city was built upon the seacoast, and the site usually selected contained a hill sufficiently lofty to form an acropolis.

The author's attitude towards the Greeks could best be described as __________.

Possible Answers:

disgusted 

aggressive 

apathetic

somber 

reverential

Correct answer:

reverential

Explanation:

The author's attitude throughout the text is best described as "admiring" or "reverential." The author clearly respects and admires the Greek people very much. This is demonstrated most obviously by the author when he says "the most striking proofs of the greatness of this wonderful people."

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