AP World History : Political and Governmental Structures 600 BCE to 600 CE

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP World History

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Political And Governmental Structures

Which of these Roman emperors is not one of the so-called “Five Good Emperors”?

Possible Answers:

Antoninus Pius

Caligula

Trajan

Hadrian

Marcus Aurelius

Correct answer:

Caligula

Explanation:

The Five Good Emperors ruled the Roman Empire from 96 C.E. until 180 CE and presided over the greatest period of territorial growth, peace, and prosperity in the history of the Roman Empire. In order of their reign they were - Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. Caligula, on the other hand, who reigned for a few years in the first century CE, is known to popular history as a tyrant and a madman.

Example Question #22 : Political And Governmental Structures

Which of these reasons led to the decline of the Han Dynasty?

Possible Answers:

Epidemics of virulent diseases

Conflict between the ruling elites

Uneven land distribution

All of these contributed to the decline of the Han Dynasty

Economic depression

Correct answer:

All of these contributed to the decline of the Han Dynasty

Explanation:

The Han Dynasty was a contemporary of the Roman Empire and reigned from approximately 210 BCE until 220 CE Economic depression and uneven land distribution contributed to the decline of the empire as civil conflicts and peasant rebellions broke out, periodically weakening the authority of the centralized government; epidemics of virulent diseases led to widespread chaos and disorder; and conflict between the ruling elites further fractured the political infrastructure. The decline of the Han Dynasty, which had been weakening for several decades, was completed in the early third century with the conquests Dong Zhuo.

Example Question #23 : Political And Governmental Structures

Why was Nerva forced to adopt Tragan as his heir? 

Possible Answers:

To ensure a peaceful succession after his death

To quell unrest in the army headlined by a revolt of the Praetorian Guard

Tragan bribed Nerva for the adoption with his holdings in Spain

To make himself more popular with the Senate

As a favor to Tragan's mother, to whom he was married

Correct answer:

To quell unrest in the army headlined by a revolt of the Praetorian Guard

Explanation:

Nerva was very much a stopgap between Commodus and whomever the next emperor would be. A career politician, he was unpopular with the army, which led to an uprising of the Praetorian Guard. To quell this uprising, he adopted the popular general Tragan. Named as one of the "Five Good Emperors," the best thing Nerva ever did for Rome was adopt Tragan as his heir.  

Example Question #24 : Political And Governmental Structures

In what time range did the Roman Republic constitution begin to collapse?

Possible Answers:

1000 BCE - 500 BCE

499 BCE - 151 BCE

0 - 150 CE

151 CE - 499 CE

150 BCE - 0

Correct answer:

150 BCE - 0

Explanation:

The constitution of the Roman Republic began to collapse in 133 BCE when disputes over the redistribution of land lead to violence and the manipulation of political institutions. Eventually civil war broke out and the constitution was eventually dismantled.

Example Question #25 : Political And Governmental Structures

Which of these statements about the Zhou Dynasty is inaccurate?

Possible Answers:

They came to power following their betrayal of an alliance with the Shang Dynasty

Confucius and Laozi both lived during the Zhou Dynasty

None of these

They developed the Chinese theory of rule known as the Mandate of Heaven

The Zhou Dynasty is divided into two distinct phases - Eastern and Western

Correct answer:

None of these

Explanation:

All of these statements about the Zhou Dynasty are accurate. They came to power following their betrayal of an alliance with the Shang Dynasty. The rule of the Zhou is divided into two phases - first, the powerful Western Zhou and then, later, the less powerful Eastern Zhou. It was the Zhou who first developed the Chinese theory of rule known as the Mandate of Heaven. It was also during the rule of the Zhou Dynasty that China experienced its Hundred Schools of Thought period in which Confucianism, Legalism, and Taoism were all developed.

Example Question #26 : Political And Governmental Structures

Emperor Wudi was the most famous and influential ruler of the _____________.

Possible Answers:

Warring States Period

Qin Dynasty

Shang Dynasty

Zhou Dynasty

Han Dynasty

Correct answer:

Han Dynasty

Explanation:

Emperor Wudi was the most famous and influential ruler of the Han Dynasty. He ruled from approximately 131 BCE until 110 BCE It was during his reign that the Han Dynasty experienced its biggest territorial expansion. He is also renowned for reorganizing the Chinese government and centralizing political authority.

Example Question #27 : Political And Governmental Structures

The following is taken from a speech by Cicero to the Roman Senate:

The oration then made by Marcus Antonius was an admirable one; his disposition, too, appeared excellent; and lastly, by his means and by his sons’, peace was ratified with the most illustrious of the citizens and everything else was consistent with this beginning. He invited the chief men of the state to those deliberations which he held at his own house concerning the state of the republic; he referred all the most important matters to this order. Nothing was at that time found among the papers of Caius Cæsar except what was already well known to everybody; and he gave answers to every question that was asked of him with the greatest consistency. Were any exiles restored? He said that one was, and only one. Were any immunities granted? He answered, None. He wished us even to adopt the proposition of Servius Sulpicius, 3 that most illustrious man, that no tablet purporting to contain any decree or grant of Cæsar’s should be published after the Ides of March were expired. I pass over many other things, all excellent—for I am hastening to come to a very extraordinary act of virtue of Marcus Antonius. He utterly abolished from the constitution of the republic the dictatorship, which had by this time attained to the authority of regal power. And that measure was not even offered to us for discussion. He brought with him a decree of the senate, ready drawn up, ordering what he chose to have done; and when it had been read, we all submitted to his authority in the matter with the greatest eagerness; and, by another resolution of the senate, we returned him thanks in the most honorable and complimentary language.

Based on the passage, what can be inferred about Anthony's oration?

Possible Answers:

Servius Sulpicius will be the next emperor

Antony should go into exile

Circero will support Antony's bid to be the next emperor

He is trying to use Caesar's last will to subvert policy in his favor

Antony has acted honestly throughout the process of Caesar's death

Correct answer:

He is trying to use Caesar's last will to subvert policy in his favor

Explanation:

Cicero was very much against Antony. Antony's flagrant disregard for traditional Roman political policy rubbed Cicero, as well as much of the Roman Senate, the wrong way. This would show in their thorough support of Octavian in the coming civil war.   

Example Question #28 : Political And Governmental Structures

The following is taken from a speech by Cicero to the Roman Senate:

The oration then made by Marcus Antonius was an admirable one; his disposition, too, appeared excellent; and lastly, by his means and by his sons’, peace was ratified with the most illustrious of the citizens and everything else was consistent with this beginning. He invited the chief men of the state to those deliberations which he held at his own house concerning the state of the republic; he referred all the most important matters to this order. Nothing was at that time found among the papers of Caius Cæsar except what was already well known to everybody; and he gave answers to every question that was asked of him with the greatest consistency. Were any exiles restored? He said that one was, and only one. Were any immunities granted? He answered, None. He wished us even to adopt the proposition of Servius Sulpicius, 3 that most illustrious man, that no tablet purporting to contain any decree or grant of Cæsar’s should be published after the Ides of March were expired. I pass over many other things, all excellent—for I am hastening to come to a very extraordinary act of virtue of Marcus Antonius. He utterly abolished from the constitution of the republic the dictatorship, which had by this time attained to the authority of regal power. And that measure was not even offered to us for discussion. He brought with him a decree of the senate, ready drawn up, ordering what he chose to have done; and when it had been read, we all submitted to his authority in the matter with the greatest eagerness; and, by another resolution of the senate, we returned him thanks in the most honorable and complimentary language.

Why would Antony abolish the dictatorship from the constitution? 

Possible Answers:

To make sure Caesar's will is executed properly

To win Cicero over to his side

To distract from Antony's interests in Spain

To guarantee the restoration of the Republic

In order to gather goodwill from the Senate

Correct answer:

In order to gather goodwill from the Senate

Explanation:

Antony's desire to establish goodwill among the Senate by abolishing dictatorship was meant to convince the Senate that he had their best interests at heart. While part of the second triumvirate with Octavian and Lepidus, it was politically savvy for him to try to win over the Senate, who might have had ultimate control over who would be the next emperor. Unfortunately for Antony, most of the Senate (minus Cicero, a staunch Republican) chose to side with Octavian, with partially led to Antony's fall.  

Example Question #29 : Political And Governmental Structures

The following is taken from a speech given by Cicero to the Roman Senate:

What, then, are we to do? In the name of the immortal gods, can you interpret these facts, and see what is their purport? What do you think that those men think of your lives, to whom the lives of those men who they hope will consult the welfare of the republic are so dear? I have reaped, O conscript fathers, the reward of my return, since I have said enough to bear testimony of my consistency whatever event may befall me, and since I have been kindly and attentively listened to by you. And if I have such opportunities frequently without exposing both myself and you to danger, I shall avail myself of them. If not, as far as I can I shall reserve myself not for myself, but rather for the republic. I have lived long enough for the course of human life, or for my own glory. If any additional life is granted to me, it shall be bestowed not so much on myself as on you and on the republic.

Based on this passage, what is the theme of Cicero's speech?

Possible Answers:

The safety and continued existence of the Republic

Cicero's offerings to the gods

Octavian's bid for Emperor of Rome

Cicero's bid for dictator of the Republic

Cicero's belief that he deserves reward for his service to Rome

Correct answer:

The safety and continued existence of the Republic

Explanation:

Cicero was a devout Republican; after the death of Julius Caesar, functioned as the voice of the senate. He heartily opposed the actions of Marc Antony, and eventually Octavian, in their bids for power. He would eventually be named an enemy of state and killed by agents of the Second Triumvirate. 

Example Question #30 : Political And Governmental Structures

Who was the first Roman Emperor not to be born within the territory of modern-day Italy?

Possible Answers:

Hadrian

Vespasian

Galba

Otho

Tragan

Correct answer:

Tragan

Explanation:

Rome was the center of the Roman world, and as such the early days of the empire were ruled by men who were born not far from her walls. Tragan, after being adopted by Nerva, was born in Spain. This ushered in an era of Roman rule where one did not have to be Italian to be the emperor, only the best man for the job whenever it was open. 

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