GED Social Studies : Fact and Opinion

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Social Studies

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Example Questions

Example Question #12 : Text Analysis

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

The religion of Christianity began as a religion of suffering, pity, and forgiveness. This was Christ’s dominant message: the majority of people live to suffer, and we must take pity on those who are suffering and forgive those who cause it. Thus Christianity, by its basic tenets, was not meant as a religion of power. It was a religion for the powerless, the common man. It was meant to provide meaning to suffering and to give a form of power (power over one's own emotions) to the powerless.

For the first few hundred years after Christ’s death, Christianity lived up to this message. It was widely embraced by the common people around the western world, in particular the Roman Empire, and by and large they were persecuted for it. This was the whole point: you will suffer for me and I will reward you when I return. As generations went by and Christ failed to return, the message was violently corrupted. Constantine the Great, a Roman Emperor in the fourth century, adopted Christianity as the official religion of his army and later of his empire. In doing so, he took Christianity from a fringe religion, with a growing flock of dedicated believers, to the official religion of the world’s largest empire. In so doing he also militarized the cross. He took the religion of Christianity away from suffering, pity, and forgiveness and imbued it with qualities that were never supposed to be there: dominance over your enemies; power; warfare; wealth. This would have untold consequences for the history of the western world and the history of the Christian faith. No longer did its believers have to cower in fear of their enemies, but also no longer were they truly adhering to the teachings of Christ.

Constantine the Great was a __________

Possible Answers:

lifelong follower of Christ.

barbarian who attacked the Roman Empire.

Greek King.

Roman Emperor.

Christian missionary.

Correct answer:

Roman Emperor.

Explanation:

Answering this question is a simple matter of reading carefully and paying attention to details. The author says that "Constantine the Great, a Roman Emperor in the fourth century, adopted Christianity as the official religion of his army," so Constantine the Great was a Roman Emperor.

Example Question #13 : Text Analysis

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.

The author’s attitude and opinion about a possible solution is primarily __________.

Possible Answers:

passive

irate

pessimistic

optimistic

neither optimistic nor pessimistic

Correct answer:

neither optimistic nor pessimistic

Explanation:

The author expresses both optimism and pessimism about the possible solution to the problem he identifies. He says " 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." So, he identifies causes for optimism and pessimism and does not give greater emphasis to either option. It is not correct to say he is "irate," because that means angry, nor is he "passive," because that means not caring, not taking action.

Example Question #12 : Passage Content

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage. 

The city of Dubrovnik has a rich and complicated history. For centuries it served as a halfway point between the Ottoman Empire and the Christian nations of Europe. After the Ottoman Empire invaded and conquered much of the Balkans, trade between the Empire and Christian Europe was largely forbidden, except through the independent city-state of Dubrovnik (at the time called Ragusa). Considering the massive amount of trade that poured through Dubrovnik on the way from the East to the Italian city-states and the nations of Northern Europe, it is no surprise that the city grew immensely wealthy and developed an autonomous character.

Which of the following opinions is offered by the author of this passage?

Possible Answers:

Trade is the primary driving force of growth

Christian Europe despised the Ottoman Empire

The nations of Northern Europe relied on Dubrovnik to provide goods from the East

Dubrovnik has an interesting history

The Ottoman Empire conquered much of the Balkans

Correct answer:

Dubrovnik has an interesting history

Explanation:

Answering this question requires you, above all else, to determine an opinion as opposed to a factual statement or an inference. So it is not an opinion that the Ottoman Empire conquered much of the Balkans; this is a fact. That the author would consider trade a primary driving force of growth is an inference you might make from this passage, but it is not a clear opinion. The only opinion that is supported by this passage is that Dubrovnik has an interesting history. This is supported by the opening statement where the author says “The city of Dubrovnik has a rich and complicated history.”

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