SAT II World History : Nation States

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT II World History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Nation States

Machiavelli's The Prince was primarily concerned with which of the following?

Possible Answers:

How to acquire and maintain political power

How to prevent religion from entering into the arena of government

How to build a viable nation-state

How to win an election in a democracy

Comparing the benefits of communism and capitalism within the Italian nation-state

Correct answer:

How to acquire and maintain political power

Explanation:

The Prince was written in the sixteenth century by the Italian writer and political thinker Niccolo Machiavelli. The book was written as a sort of guiding manual for current and would-be princes. It deals, primarily, with how to acquire and keep power and is famous for the pragmatic and amoral approach that it advocates.

Example Question #2 : Nation States

Which of these nation-states was the last to be unified? 

Possible Answers:

Germany

Spain

Russia

France

Britain

Correct answer:

Germany

Explanation:

All of these nations were notable nation-states for at least several decades (in some cases several centuries) before the German nation finally achieved unification in 1871. Interestingly, 1871 is also the year many historians point to for Italian unification.

Example Question #3 : Nation States

In which year were German and Italian unification each achieved? 

Possible Answers:

1848

1815

1871

1648

1789

Correct answer:

1871

Explanation:

Italian and German unification were both protracted processes that involved the unification of disparate kingdoms, principalities, and republics united only by a shared language and a somewhat-common history. The process began, in both countries, earlier in the nineteenth century, and culminated in 1871. 

Example Question #4 : Nation States

Which of the following was most important to the development of a national identity during the rise of nationalism in Europe?

Possible Answers:

Shared musical culture

Being of the same economic class

Shared language

Shared religion

All of the other answers are equally important in determining national identity.

Correct answer:

Shared language

Explanation:

During the rise of nationalism in Europe—a process begun around the sixteenth century and culminating in the World Wars of the twentieth century—the most important factor for determining shared national identity was a shared language. This is how German nationality arose from the scatterings of Germanic people around Europe—they often spoke the same root language. The same is true in Italy, France, England, and so on.

Example Question #5 : Nation States

Which of the following individuals was the first Prime Minister of Italy and extremely influential in the movement towards an Italian nation-state?

Possible Answers:

Victor Emmanuel. 

Piedmont Savoy. 

Benito Mussolini. 

Giuseppe Garibaldi. 

Camillo di Cavour. 

Correct answer:

Camillo di Cavour. 

Explanation:

Camillo di Cavour was chosen as the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia (in Northern Italy) by the King Victor Emmanuel II in 1852. Cavour was a dedicated statesman who used his position to push for economic expansion and, subsequently, the political expansion of his kingdom. By 1871, Italian unification had been achieved.

Example Question #6 : Nation States

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

Possible Answers:

South America

Western Europe

Eastern Europe

Southern Asia

Eastern 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 #7 : Nation States

During the Renaissance and the rise of nation-states, among scholars and religious figures, Latin began to be replaced with __________ language.

Possible Answers:

dialectic

symbiotic

colloquial

sectarian

vernacular

Correct answer:

vernacular

Explanation:

Throughout most of Europe, from the fall of the Roman Empire until the Renaissance period, only a tiny fraction of people had access to education or any time to devote to scholarly pursuits. Those who did usually wrote in Latin, the language of classical writing, rather than in their local language. In the Renaissance period, the use of Latin was slowly phased out and replaced with the local language, or the “vernacular.” This was very significant because it allowed a great many more people than ever before to read, write, and understand works of literature and nonfiction.

Example Question #8 : Nation States

Nationalist revolutions flared up among the people of all of these nations in the nineteenth century EXCEPT __________.

Possible Answers:

Ireland

Italy

Switzerland

Hungary

Russia

Correct answer:

Russia

Explanation:

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, each of these nations was either a part of a larger empire or split into many different kingdoms and republics except for Russia, which already had a centralized government that reflected the people of the same nation.

Example Question #31 : The Renaissance

The commercial revolution took off in the Netherlands following its independence from __________ established by the __________.

Possible Answers:

Spain . . . Peace of Augsburg

Spain . . . Peace of Westphalia

France . . . Treaty of Utrecht

Britain . . . Treaty of Utrecht

France . . . Peace of Westphalia

Correct answer:

Spain . . . Peace of Westphalia

Explanation:

The commercial revolution began in Amsterdam, but it would never have been able to do so without the Thirty Years’ War and the Peace of Westphalia, which ended that war. The Netherlands, previously under Spanish dominion, became independent; the country was then free to follow its own path of Protestantism and vigorous free market capitalism.

Example Question #32 : The Renaissance

Theodor Herzl is most famous for his advocation of __________.

Possible Answers:

the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

the formation of the European Union

the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community

a unified German state

the creation of a Jewish homeland

Correct answer:

the creation of a Jewish homeland

Explanation:

Theodor Herzl is most famous for his advocation of a Jewish homeland in an essay called Der Judenstaat. In it, he argued that the only way to end European persecution of Jews was to give the Jewish people their own homeland. This was the beginning of the Zionist movement that was given greater emphasis by the Balfour Proclamation in 1917 and that resulted in the establishment of Israel in 1948.

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