ISEE Middle Level Reading : Analyzing Passage Logic, Genre, and Organization in History Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ISEE Middle Level Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #151 : Content Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from Strength and Decency by Theodore Roosevelt (1903)

There is always a tendency among very young men and among boys who are not quite young men as yet to think that to be wicked is rather smart; to think it shows that they are men. Oh, how often you see some young fellow who boasts that he is going to "see life," meaning by that that he is going to see that part of life which it is a thousand fold better should remain unseen!

I ask that every man here constitute himself his brother's keeper by setting an example to that younger brother which will prevent him from getting such a false estimate of life. Example is the most potent of all things. If any one of you in the presence of younger boys, and especially the younger people of our own family, misbehave yourself, if you use coarse and blasphemous language before them, you can be sure that these younger people will follow your example and not your precept. Remember that the preaching does not count if it is not backed up by practice. There is no good in your preaching to your boys to be brave if you run away. There is no good in your preaching to them to tell the truth if you do not. There is no good in your preaching to them to be unselfish if they see you selfish with your wife, disregardful of others. You must feel that the most effective way in which you can preach is by your practice.

In this passage the author emphasizes which aspect of “young men”?

Possible Answers:

Immorality

Discretion 

Malleability

Apathy 

Laziness

Correct answer:

Malleability

Explanation:

In this passage the author emphasizes how susceptible young people are to the examples set by older people. The correct answer is therefore that this passage emphasizes the malleability of young people. To be malleable means to be impressionable or easily influenced by others. Apathy means not caring; discretion means judgment and prudence. The possible immorality of young people is mentioned in the first paragraph, but is not emphasized in the manner in which the malleable nature of young people is.

Example Question #1 : Determining Authorial Purpose In Narrative Social Science Passages

Adapted from "Crossing the Rubicon" in History of Julius Caesar by Jacob Abbott (1902)

There was a little stream in ancient times, in the north of Italy, which flowed eastward into the Adriatic Sea, called the Rubicon. This stream has been immortalized by the transactions which we are now about to describe.

The Rubicon was a very important boundary, and yet it was in itself so small and insignificant that it is now impossible to determine which of two or three little brooks here running into the sea is entitled to its name and renown. In history the Rubicon is a grand, permanent, and conspicuous stream, gazed upon with continued interest by all mankind for nearly twenty centuries; in nature it is an uncertain rivulet, for a long time doubtful and undetermined, and finally lost.

The Rubicon originally derived its importance from the fact that it was the boundary between all that part of the north of Italy which is formed by the valley of the Po, one of the richest and most magnificent countries of the world, and the more southern Roman territories. This country of the Po constituted what was in those days called the hither Gaul, and was a Roman province. It belonged now to Cæsar's jurisdiction, as the commander in Gaul. All south of the Rubicon was territory reserved for the immediate jurisdiction of the city. The Romans, in order to protect themselves from any danger which might threaten their own liberties from the immense armies which they raised for the conquest of foreign nations, had imposed on every side very strict limitations and restrictions in respect to the approach of these armies to the capital. The Rubicon was the limit on this northern side. Generals commanding in Gaul were never to pass it. To cross the Rubicon with an army on the way to Rome was rebellion and treason. Hence the Rubicon became, as it were, the visible sign and symbol of civil restriction to military power.

Why does the author discuss the geographical nature of the Rubicon at the beginning of the second paragraph? 

Possible Answers:

To illustrate how close the river was to the city of Rome

To demonstrate how simple it would have been for Caesar to cross the river

To contrast the smallness of its actual size with the massive effect it has had on history

To discuss the logistical problems faced by Caesar’s army

To defend against allegations that Caesar was an abhorrent tyrant

Correct answer:

To contrast the smallness of its actual size with the massive effect it has had on history

Explanation:

The author discusses the geographic smallness of the river to contrast the river's size with its historical significance. Immediately after remarking on the smallness of the river, the author states, “In history the Rubicon is a grand, permanent, and conspicuous stream, gazed upon with continued interest by all mankind for nearly twenty centuries; in nature it is an uncertain rivulet, for a long time doubtful and undetermined, and finally lost.” To provide further help, “conspicuous” means striking or easily noticed, and “rivulet” means small river.

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Passage Logic, Genre, And Organization In History Passages

Adapted from The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Van Loon (1921)

During the first twenty years of his life, young Napoleon was a professional Corsican patriot—a Corsican Sinn Feiner, who hoped to deliver his beloved country from the yoke of the bitterly hated French enemy. But the French revolution had unexpectedly recognised the claims of the Corsicans and gradually Napoleon, who had received a good training at the military school of Brienne, drifted into the service of his adopted country. Although he never learned to spell French correctly or to speak it without a broad Italian accent, he became a Frenchman. In due time he came to stand as the highest expression of all French virtues. At present he is regarded as the symbol of the Gallic genius.

Napoleon was what is called a fast worker. His career does not cover more than twenty years. In that short span of time he fought more wars and gained more victories and marched more miles and conquered more square kilometers and killed more people and brought about more reforms and generally upset Europe to a greater extent than anybody (including Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan) had ever managed to do.

He was a little fellow and during the first years of his life his health was not very good. He never impressed anybody by his good looks and he remained to the end of his days very clumsy whenever he was obliged to appear at a social function. He did not enjoy a single advantage of breeding or birth or riches. For the greater part of his youth he was desperately poor and often he had to go without a meal or was obliged to make a few extra pennies in curious ways.

He gave little promise as a literary genius. When he competed for a prize offered by the Academy of Lyons, his essay was found to be next to the last and he was number 15 out of 16 candidates. But he overcame all these difficulties through his absolute and unshakable belief in his own destiny, and in his own glorious future. Ambition was the main-spring of his life. The thought of self, the worship of that capital letter "N" with which he signed all his letters, and which recurred forever in the ornaments of his hastily constructed palaces, the absolute will to make the name Napoleon the most important thing in the world next to the name of God, these desires carried Napoleon to a pinnacle of fame which no other man has ever reached.

The author’s purpose in the second paragraph is to __________.

Possible Answers:

showcase Napoleon’s virtues

explain how Napoleon was able to achieve so much

highlight the widespread and significant effects Napoleon had on Europe

illustrate how Napoleon came to represent the highest French virtues

demonstrate Napoleon’s varied talent

Correct answer:

highlight the widespread and significant effects Napoleon had on Europe

Explanation:

The second paragraph begins with the author saying, “Napoleon was what is called a fast worker.” This is the first and most useful hint for determining that in this paragraph the author’s purpose is to "highlight the widespread and significant effects Napoleon had on Europe." The fact that the author goes on to say that Napoleon impacted Europe with his work more than any man in human history supports this conclusion. You might have been tempted to answer that the author tries to “explain how Napoleon was able to achieve so much,” but he does not really focus on the “how,” more on the fact that he does achieve so much.

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Passage Logic, Genre, And Organization In History Passages

Adapted from Scientific American Supplement No. 1178 Vol. XLV (June 25th, 1898)

The United States “regular" is in many respects the least-equipped foot soldier of my acquaintance. This was my reflection as I overhauled the kit of a private this morning. There was not a single brush in his knapsack. I counted three in that of a Spanish foot soldier only a few weeks ago. The American’s knapsack is not intended to be carried on any extended marches, although the total weight he is ever called upon to carry is only 50 pounds, a good 12 pounds less than what is carried by German privates. The men of this regiment carry an overcoat with a cape, amongst other things; on this expedition overcoats are a superfluity, and it is absurd that troops should be sent to the tropics in summer wearing exactly the same uniform they would be using throughout the winter on the frontiers of Canada. This war will, no doubt, produce a change after English models.

Now, as to discipline in the American army I cannot speak at present, for the war is yet too young. It may, however, be worth noting that in this particular regiment, while most complete liberty was allowed the men all the twelve days of the rail journey from San Francisco to Tampa, not a single breach of discipline was reported. The firing discipline during the three times we have been under fire has been excellent; the obedience of soldiers to their officers has been as prompt and intelligent as anything I have seen in Europe; and as to coolness under fire and accuracy of aim, what I have seen is most satisfactory.

All this I note, because I have more than once heard European officers question the possibility of making an army out of elements different from those to which they were accustomed. I have heard Germans insist that unless the officer appears in uniform he cannot command the respect of his men. On this ship it would be frequently difficult to tell officers from men when the tunic is laid aside and shoulder straps are not seen. But we must go a little beneath the surface and see things, not on the parade ground, but in actual war. For the American parade uniform has been designed by a lot of unsoldierly politicians and tailors about Washington. They have made the patient United States army a victim of their vulgar designs. On the battlefield, however, there are no political tailors, and the Washington dress regulations are ruthlessly disregarded.

In the first paragraph, the author is focused on __________.

Possible Answers:

mocking the American army for believing it can win a war when it is so poorly equipped

highlighting the deficiencies in the American soldier’s equipment and uniform

providing examples of the impressive discipline and order he has seen throughout the American army

establishing the American army’s inherent inferiority in comparison to the armies of Europe

trying to identify the reasons why the American army should be so poorly equipped

Correct answer:

highlighting the deficiencies in the American soldier’s equipment and uniform

Explanation:

In the first paragraph the author is primarily concerned with showing the various things that are lacking or deficient in the American soldier’s equipment and uniform. It is not true to say that he is establishing the American army’s inherent inferiority, rather he seems to be partially arguing against this prevailing mindset among Europeans. Similarly, he does not suggest American’s cannot win the war in which they are engaged, nor does he try to identify the reasons as to why the American army should be so poorly equipped. He merely highlights examples that illustrate his belief in the deficient equipping of the American private. That this is the primary focus is established in the opening sentence where the author says “The "regular" of the United States is in many respects the least equipped foot soldier of my acquaintance” and is continuously reinforced throughout the first paragraph.

Example Question #2 : Analyzing Passage Logic, Genre, And Organization In History Passages

Adapted from Scientific American Supplement No. 1178 Vol. XLV (June 25th, 1898)

The United States “regular" is in many respects the least-equipped foot soldier of my acquaintance. This was my reflection as I overhauled the kit of a private this morning. There was not a single brush in his knapsack. I counted three in that of a Spanish foot soldier only a few weeks ago. The American’s knapsack is not intended to be carried on any extended marches, although the total weight he is ever called upon to carry is only 50 pounds, a good 12 pounds less than what is carried by German privates. The men of this regiment carry an overcoat with a cape, amongst other things; on this expedition overcoats are a superfluity, and it is absurd that troops should be sent to the tropics in summer wearing exactly the same uniform they would be using throughout the winter on the frontiers of Canada. This war will, no doubt, produce a change after English models.

Now, as to discipline in the American army I cannot speak at present, for the war is yet too young. It may, however, be worth noting that in this particular regiment, while most complete liberty was allowed the men all the twelve days of the rail journey from San Francisco to Tampa, not a single breach of discipline was reported. The firing discipline during the three times we have been under fire has been excellent; the obedience of soldiers to their officers has been as prompt and intelligent as anything I have seen in Europe; and as to coolness under fire and accuracy of aim, what I have seen is most satisfactory.

All this I note, because I have more than once heard European officers question the possibility of making an army out of elements different from those to which they were accustomed. I have heard Germans insist that unless the officer appears in uniform he cannot command the respect of his men. On this ship it would be frequently difficult to tell officers from men when the tunic is laid aside and shoulder straps are not seen. But we must go a little beneath the surface and see things, not on the parade ground, but in actual war. For the American parade uniform has been designed by a lot of unsoldierly politicians and tailors about Washington. They have made the patient United States army a victim of their vulgar designs. On the battlefield, however, there are no political tailors, and the Washington dress regulations are ruthlessly disregarded.

In the second paragraph, the author is primarily focused on __________.

Possible Answers:

mocking the American army for believing it can win a war when it is so poorly equipped

highlighting the deficiencies in the American soldier’s equipment and uniform

establishing the American army’s inherent inferiority over the armies of Europe

trying to identify the reasons why the American army should be so poorly equipped

providing examples of the impressive discipline and order he has seen throughout the American army

Correct answer:

providing examples of the impressive discipline and order he has seen throughout the American army

Explanation:

The author primarily discusses the equipment and uniform of the American army in the first paragraph, so we can reasonably eliminate any answer choices that focus on this aspect of the author’s argument. In the second paragraph, the author is primarily focused on providing examples of his observation that the American army has an impressive degree of order and discipline. This can be seen in excerpts such as “The firing discipline during the three times we have been under fire has been excellent; the obedience of soldiers to their officers has been as prompt and intelligent as anything I have seen in Europe; and as to coolness under fire and accuracy of aim, what I have seen is most satisfactory.”

Example Question #61 : Critical Comprehension

Adapted from A Modern History from the Time of Luther to the Fall of Napoleon by John Lord (1874)

For more than ten centuries, great struggles have been going on in society between the dominant orders and sects. The victories gained by the oppressed millions over their different masters, constitute what is called the progress of society. When any great order defended the cause of the people against the tyranny and selfishness of another order, then the people have advanced a step in civil and social freedom.

When feudalism weighed heavily upon the people, the clergy sought justice on their behalf. By the aid of the church, royalty also rose above feudalism, and aided the popular cause. The church, having gained the ascendency, sought then to enslave the kings of the earth. But royalty, borrowing help from humiliated nobles and from the people, became the dominant power in Europe.

In these struggles, the people acquired political importance. They had obtained a knowledge of their rights and of their strength; and they were determined to maintain them. They liked not the tyranny of either nobles, priests, or kings; but they bent all their energies to suppress the power of the latter, since the two former had been already humiliated.

The struggle of the people against royalty is preeminently the genius of the English Revolution. It is to be doubted whether any king could have resisted the storm of popular fury which hurled Charles from his throne. But no king could have managed worse than he; no king could be more unfortunately and unpropitiously placed, and his own imprudence and folly hastened the catastrophe.

The House of Commons, which had acquired great strength, spirit, and popularity during the reign of James, fully perceived the difficulties and necessities of Charles, but made no adequate or generous effort to relieve him from them. Some of the more turbulent rejoiced in them. They knew that kings, like other men, were selfish, and that it was not natural for people to part with their privileges and power without a struggle, even though this power was injurious to the interests of society. In the Middle Ages, barons, bishops, and popes had fought desperately in the struggle of classes; and it was only from their necessities that either kings or people had obtained what they demanded. King Charles, no more than Pope Boniface VIII, would surrender, as a boon to man, without compulsion, his supposed omnipotence.

How does the first half of this essay primarily differ from the second half?

Possible Answers:

The first half of the essay discusses a general trend in society, whereas the second half applies that trend to a period of English history.

The first half of the essay discusses hypotheticals, whereas the second half of the essay makes a direct and literal argument.

The first half of the essay focuses on what was recent history to the author, whereas the second half of the essay is more concerned with ancient history.

The first half of the essay focuses on the effects of the clergy, whereas the second half focuses on the effects of royalty.

The first half of the essay characterizes the common man as powerless, whereas the second half declares the common man to be immensely powerful.

Correct answer:

The first half of the essay discusses a general trend in society, whereas the second half applies that trend to a period of English history.

Explanation:

Some of these answer choices are partly true, such as that the focus changes slightly from the clergy to the royalty. However, this is an inadequate and incomplete answer choice. It is much more reasonable to say that “The first half of the essay discusses a general trend in society, the second half applies that trend to a period of English history.” The first half discusses how the competing orders of clergy, nobility, and royalty have accidentally aided the advancement of the people in their battle to ensure ultimate control. This is the general trend of social history that the author identifies. The second half applies this trend to the period of English history when the House of Commons was gaining rights for the common man at the expense of King Charles.

Example Question #3 : Analyzing Passage Logic, Genre, And Organization In History Passages

Adapted from A Modern History from the Time of Luther to the Fall of Napoleon by John Lord (1874)

The history of Europe in the sixteenth century is peculiarly the history of the wars of kings and of their efforts to establish themselves and their families on absolute thrones. The monotonous and almost exclusive record of royal pleasures and pursuits shows in how little consideration the people were held. They struggled, and toiled, and murmured as they do now. They probably had the same joys and sorrows as in our times. But, in these times, they have considerable influence on the government, the religion, the literature, and the social life of nations. In the sixteenth century, this influence was not so apparent, but power of all kinds seemed to emanate from kings and nobles, at least from wealthy and cultivated classes. When this is the case, when kings give a law to society, history is not unphilosophical that recognizes chiefly their enterprises and ideas.

The rise of absolute monarchy on the ruins of feudal states is one of the chief features of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. There was everywhere a strong tendency to centralization. Provinces, before independent, were controlled by a central government. Standing armies took the place of feudal armies. Kings took away from nobles the right to coin money, administer justice, and impose taxes. The power of the crown became supreme and unlimited.

But some monarchs were more independent than others, in proportion as the power of nobles was suppressed, or as the cities sided with the central government, or as provinces were connected and bound together. The power of Charles V was somewhat limited in Spain by the free spirit of the fascinating Cortes, and in Germany by the independence of the princes of the empire. But in France and England, the king was more absolute, although he did not rule over so great extent of territory as did the emperor of Germany; this is one reason why Francis I proved so strong an antagonist to his more powerful rival.

The primary function of the first paragraph is __________.

Possible Answers:

to suggest that kings had much more power in the sixteenth century than they do now

to suggest that monarchy is the most evil form of government

to defend the author’s focus on the history of kings

to argue against the idea that the common man was emancipated in the sixteenth century

to accuse the audience of an offensive ignorance

Correct answer:

to defend the author’s focus on the history of kings

Explanation:

The author begins the first paragraph by saying that the history of the sixteenth century, as told by himself, is really the history of the kings of this time period. He goes on to explain how kings controlled a good deal more of society and law then than they do now. Finally, he concludes, “When this is the case, when kings give a law to society, history is not unphilosophical which recognizes chiefly their enterprises and ideas.” So, it can be seen that he is defending his own choice of focusing on the history of kings. He is essentially saying that when kings have so much control over every part of life, it is not bad history to focus predominantly on kings.

Example Question #2 : Analyzing Passage Logic, Genre, And Organization In History Passages

Adapted from A Modern History from the Time of Luther to the Fall of Napoleon by John Lord (1874)

The great hero of this Swiss movement was Ulric Zwingli, the most interesting of all the reformers. He was born in 1484 and educated amid the mountains of his picturesque country, and, like Erasmus, Reuchlin, Luther, and Melancthon, had no aristocratic claims, except to the nobility of nature. But, though poor, he was well educated, and was a master of the scholastic philosophy and of all the learning of his age. Like Luther, he was passionately fond of music, and played the lute, the harp, the violin, the flute, and the dulcimer. There was no more joyous spirit in all Switzerland than his. Every one loved his society, and honored his attainments, and admired his genius.

Like Luther and Erasmus, he was disgusted with scholasticism, and regretted the time he had devoted to its study. He was ordained in 1506, by the bishop of Constance, and was settled in Zurich in 1518. At first, his life did not differ from that which the clergy generally led, being one of dissipation and pleasure. But he was studious, and became well acquainted with the fathers and with the original Greek. Only gradually did light dawn upon him, and this in consequence of his study of the scriptures, not in consequence of Luther's preaching. He had no tempests to withstand, such as shook the soul of the Saxon monk. Nor had he ever devoted himself with the same ardor to the established church. Nor was he so much interested on doctrinal points of faith. But he saw with equal clearness the corruptions of the church, and preached with equal zeal against indulgences and the usurpations of the popes. The reformation of morals was the great aim of his life. His preaching was practical and simple, and his doctrine was, that "religion consisted in trust in God, loving God, and innocence of life." Moreover, he took a deep interest in the political relations of his country, and was an enthusiast in liberty as well as in religion. To him the town of Zurich was indebted for its emancipation from the episcopal government of Constance, and also for a reformation in all the externals of the church. He inspired the citizens with that spirit of Protestantism that afterwards characterized Calvin and the Puritans. He was too radical a reformer to suit Luther, although he sympathized with most of his theological opinions.

Zwingli’s character is primarily demonstrated through __________.

Possible Answers:

anecdotal evidence

his difficult childhood

comparisons to Luther

metaphors and similes

his religious apathy

Correct answer:

comparisons to Luther

Explanation:

Throughout this passage, Zwingli is primarily characterized through comparisons to Luther. Examples of this include, “Like Luther, he was passionately fond of music, and played the lute, the harp, the violin, the flute, and the dulcimer" and “Like Luther and Erasmus, he was disgusted with scholasticism, and regretted the time he had devoted to its study.” The author obviously expects his audience to be more familiar with Luther than with Zwingli, and so he constructs the latter through comparisons with the former.

Example Question #5 : Analyzing Passage Logic, Genre, And Organization In History Passages

Adapted from A Modern History from the Time of Luther to the Fall of Napoleon by John Lord (1874)

The great hero of this Swiss movement was Ulric Zwingli, the most interesting of all the reformers. He was born in 1484 and educated amid the mountains of his picturesque country, and, like Erasmus, Reuchlin, Luther, and Melancthon, had no aristocratic claims, except to the nobility of nature. But, though poor, he was well educated, and was a master of the scholastic philosophy and of all the learning of his age. Like Luther, he was passionately fond of music, and played the lute, the harp, the violin, the flute, and the dulcimer. There was no more joyous spirit in all Switzerland than his. Every one loved his society, and honored his attainments, and admired his genius.

Like Luther and Erasmus, he was disgusted with scholasticism, and regretted the time he had devoted to its study. He was ordained in 1506, by the bishop of Constance, and was settled in Zurich in 1518. At first, his life did not differ from that which the clergy generally led, being one of dissipation and pleasure. But he was studious, and became well acquainted with the fathers and with the original Greek. Only gradually did light dawn upon him, and this in consequence of his study of the scriptures, not in consequence of Luther's preaching. He had no tempests to withstand, such as shook the soul of the Saxon monk. Nor had he ever devoted himself with the same ardor to the established church. Nor was he so much interested on doctrinal points of faith. But he saw with equal clearness the corruptions of the church, and preached with equal zeal against indulgences and the usurpations of the popes. The reformation of morals was the great aim of his life. His preaching was practical and simple, and his doctrine was, that "religion consisted in trust in God, loving God, and innocence of life." Moreover, he took a deep interest in the political relations of his country, and was an enthusiast in liberty as well as in religion. To him the town of Zurich was indebted for its emancipation from the episcopal government of Constance, and also for a reformation in all the externals of the church. He inspired the citizens with that spirit of Protestantism that afterwards characterized Calvin and the Puritans. He was too radical a reformer to suit Luther, although he sympathized with most of his theological opinions.

How does the first half of the passage differ from the second half of the passage?

Possible Answers:

The first half focuses on Zwingli’s early religious apathy; the second half demonstrates how Zwingli was inspired.

The first half is based on anecdotal evidence; the second half is based purely on fact.

The first half is concerned with establishing Zwingli’s character; the second half is focused on his religious reforms.

The first half focuses on Zwingli’s relationship with Luther; the second half focuses on his religious reforms.

The first half establishes where Zwingli comes from; the second half is concerned with where he ends his life.

Correct answer:

The first half is concerned with establishing Zwingli’s character; the second half is focused on his religious reforms.

Explanation:

The first half of this passage is primarily concerned with establishing Zwingli’s character for the reader, as can be seen in excerpts such as “Like Luther, he was passionately fond of music, and played the lute, the harp, the violin, the flute and the dulcimer. There was no more joyous spirit in all Switzerland than his.” However, the author then transitions in the second half of the passage to a focus on Zwingli’s religious reforms, as seen by excerpts such as “But he saw with equal clearness the corruptions of the church, and preached with equal zeal against indulgences and the usurpations of the popes. The reformation of morals was the great aim of his life. His preaching was practical and simple, and his doctrine was, that 'religion consisted in trust in God, loving God, and innocence of life.'"

Example Question #2 : Recognizing The Main Idea In Narrative Social Science Passages

Adapted from A Child’s History of England by Charles Darwin (1905)

Henry Plantagenet, when he was but twenty-one years old, quietly succeeded to the throne of England, according to his agreement made with the late king at Winchester. Six weeks after Stephen’s death, he and his queen, Eleanor, were crowned in that city, into which they rode on horseback in great state, side by side, amidst much shouting and rejoicing, and clashing of music, and strewing of flowers.

The reign of King Henry the Second began well. The king had great possessions, and (with his own property, and with that of his wife) was lord of one-third part of France. He was a young man of strength, ability, and determination, and immediately applied himself to remove some of the evils which had arisen in the last unhappy reign. He took away all the grants of land that had been hastily made, on either side, during the recent struggles; he forced numbers of disorderly soldiers to depart from England; he reclaimed all the castles belonging to the crown; and he forced the wicked nobles to pull down their own castles, to the number of eleven hundred, in which such dismal cruelties had been inflicted on the people.  

The king’s brother, Geoffrey, rose against him in France and forced Henry to wage a war in France. After he had subdued and made a friendly arrangement with his brother (who did not live long), his ambition to increase his possessions involved him in a war with the French king, Louis. He had been on such friendly terms with the French king just before, that to his infant daughter, then a baby in the cradle, he had promised one of his little sons in marriage, who was a child of five years old. However, the war came to nothing at last, and the Pope made the two kings friends again.

The theme of the second paragraph is that __________.

Possible Answers:

Stephen had left Henry a great deal of wealth to spend.

Henry had many difficulties to confront upon becoming king and was able to meet them due to his strong and talented nature.

War with France was inevitable once Henry became King.

The reign of the previous king had been much more successful than Henry’s was.

Henry was facing an impossible task in trying to keep England under control.

Correct answer:

Henry had many difficulties to confront upon becoming king and was able to meet them due to his strong and talented nature.

Explanation:

In the second paragraph, the author says, “[King Henry] was a young man of strength, ability, and determination, and immediately applied himself to remove some of the evils which had arisen in the last unhappy reign.” The author then goes on to list the many difficult tasks that Henry had to accomplish once he became king and suggests that he was able to do so because of his “strength, ability, and determination.” This tells you that theme of the second paragraph is that “Henry had many difficulties to confront upon becoming king and was able to meet them due to his strong and talented nature.”

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