Common Core: 9th Grade English Language Arts : Reading: Informational Text

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Common Core: 9th Grade English Language Arts

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

All Common Core: 9th Grade English Language Arts Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 19 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept

Example Questions

← Previous 1

Example Question #1 : Reading: Informational Text

Passage 2: Adapted from Woodrow Wilson’s “War Message to Congress” ("Address of The President of the United States Delivered at a Joint Session of The Two Houses of Congress") (April 2, 1917)

On the third of February last I officially laid before you the extraordinary announcement of the Imperial German Government that on and after the first day of February it was its purpose to put aside all restraints of law or of humanity and use its submarines to sink every vessel that sought to approach either the ports of Great Britain and Ireland or the western coasts of Europe or any of the ports controlled by the enemies of Germany within the Mediterranean. 

That had seemed to be the object of the German submarine warfare earlier in the war, but since April of last year, the Imperial Government had somewhat restrained the commanders of its undersea craft in conformity with its promise then given to us that passenger boats should not be sunk and that due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might seek to destroy when no resistance was offered or escape attempted, and care taken that their crews were given at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open boats. The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. 

The new policy has swept every restriction aside. Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom: without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe conduct through the proscribed areas by the German Government itself and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or of principle.

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to humane practices. [International maritime law] the German Government has swept aside under the plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no weapons which it could use at sea except these which it is impossible to employ as it is employing them without throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or of respect for the understandings that were supposed to underlie the intercourse of the world. I am not now thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of noncombatants, men, women, and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate. Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be. The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.

It is a war against all nations. American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation. We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.

Based on what is stated in the passage, which of the following is most likely the recommendation the author makes later in this speech?

Possible Answers:

That the U.S. should declare war against Germany

That the U.S. should join Germany's side in the war

That the U.S. should send food and supplies to Germany and other European countries 

That the U.S. should increase naval security around its own ports to fend off potential attacks

That the U.S. should not get involved in the war between Germany and other countries

Correct answer:

That the U.S. should declare war against Germany

Explanation:

Being asked to infer the recommendation the author makes later in the speech after the presented excerpt may initially seem like it requires a logical leap that is impossible to make from the given material; however, keep in mind that you only given four answer choices from which to choose, and one of them is the correct answer. If this were an open-ended question, it would be far too broad to be reasonable, but since it asks you to choose the most reasonable inference from presented options, answering the question correctly becomes a matter of taking stock of the passage and figuring out which answer choice is supported by the most textual evidence.

To infer what is most likely the recommendation the author makes later in the speech, let's first briefly summarize the main point of each paragraph. This can help us get a better idea of the general progression of topics in the passage, and such a bird's-eye view of the passage's content can aid in predicting how the speech continues after the passage's excerpt concludes.

Paragraph 1: Statement of Imperial German Government's new policy of sinking vessels around specific ports

Paragraph 2: Context provided about the old policy, which provided certain safety measures for vessels that would otherwise be attacked

Paragraph 3: Contrasting of new policy against old one; new one is much worse and does not provide any safety measures like the old one did

Paragraph 4: Reflection of the author on the new policy as terrible and inhumane; start of generalization of specific situation to greater problem 

Paragraph 5: Continued generalization of specific situation to general, worldwide problem, beginning of suggestion that the U.S. will respond to the problem by opposing Germany's actions

Most of the evidence about the recommendation the author makes after this particular excerpt concludes can (perhaps unsurprisingly) be found at the end of the passage. At this point, the author is moving from discussing a generalization of the problem presented by the Imperial German government's actions to discussion of how the U.S. will respond. Let's look at the passage's final lines:

The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation. We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.

Consider in particular how the author states, "Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but . . . " Even though the author is asserting that this is what the U.S. will not do, the mentioning of "the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation" as even a possible motive for the actions of the U.S. suggests that the author is about to suggest that the country go to war. This fits with the perspective of the entire passage, which denounces the actions of the Imperial German government, considers those actions as indicative of large-scale problems, and recommends that the U.S. respond to them directly. The best answer is thus that the most likely recommendation the author makes later in the passage is "that the U.S. should declare war against Germany." (Indeed, this is exactly what the author suggests at the end of the paragraph that follows the passage's last one.) None of the other answer choices are supported by the passage.

 

Example Question #2 : Reading: Informational Text

Passage 2: Adapted from Woodrow Wilson’s “War Message to Congress” ("Address of The President of the United States Delivered at a Joint Session of The Two Houses of Congress") (April 2, 1917)

On the third of February last I officially laid before you the extraordinary announcement of the Imperial German Government that on and after the first day of February it was its purpose to put aside all restraints of law or of humanity and use its submarines to sink every vessel that sought to approach either the ports of Great Britain and Ireland or the western coasts of Europe or any of the ports controlled by the enemies of Germany within the Mediterranean. 

That had seemed to be the object of the German submarine warfare earlier in the war, but since April of last year, the Imperial Government had somewhat restrained the commanders of its undersea craft in conformity with its promise then given to us that passenger boats should not be sunk and that due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might seek to destroy when no resistance was offered or escape attempted, and care taken that their crews were given at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open boats. The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. 

The new policy has swept every restriction aside. Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom: without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe conduct through the proscribed areas by the German Government itself and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or of principle.

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to humane practices. [International maritime law] the German Government has swept aside under the plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no weapons which it could use at sea except these which it is impossible to employ as it is employing them without throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or of respect for the understandings that were supposed to underlie the intercourse of the world. I am not now thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of noncombatants, men, women, and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate. Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be. The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.

It is a war against all nations. American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation. We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.

In which of the following excerpts, underlined in the passage, does the author most directly universalize the conflict with the German navy in order to play up its significance?

Possible Answers:

"The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed."

"Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be."

"The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind."

"American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of . . ."

Correct answer:

"The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind."

Explanation:

This question asks you to identify which of the presented statements does not "universalize the conflict with the German navy in order to play up its significance." What exactly is meant by "universalize"? To "universalize" something is to make it seem more universal, or more general. The question specifies that the author does this at some point in the passage in order to make the conflict with the German navy look extremely significant. With that in mind, let's now consider the four answer choices.

"Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be." - This sentence is comparing the relative replaceability of things and people. It is criticizing Germany for attacking innocent people on ships, but it is sticking with describing what has actually happened, not generalizing that conflict to play up its significance.

"American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of . . ." - This sentence is stating the simple facts that German submarines have sunk American ships and killed United States citizens. This excerpt doesn't state anything about these events as being indicative of even larger problems, so it is not the correct answer.

"The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed." - This sentence is discussing the considerations Germany previously offered peaceful ships. It is relating events and criticizing the country for not adhering to the considerations it promised vessels, but it does not universalize the conflict.

"The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind." - This is the correct answer. This statement universalizes and plays up the significance of the conflict with the German navy. It directly states that the conflict ("The present German submarine warfare against commerce") is indicative of a larger, more general conflict ("is a warfare against mankind.")

Example Question #11 : Common Core: 9th Grade English Language Arts

Adapted from George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796)

[Before this point in the text, Washington has declined to run as a candidate in the next election for President of the United States.]

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.

. . .

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

The author warns his audience against three things, which are listed as answer choices here. Against which of the following does he NOT warn his audience?

Possible Answers:

Preferring one foreign country over another

Preferring the preservation of peace over the preservation of liberty

The biases created by regional political parties

The dangers of becoming embroiled in international politics

Correct answer:

Preferring the preservation of peace over the preservation of liberty

Explanation:

One way to approach this question is to briefly summarize each paragraph in the passage. Doing this helps clarify the main topics that Washington discusses, including the things against which he warns his audience.

Paragraph 1: Introduction to warnings and recommendations; emphasis on perspective and motivations

Paragraph 2: Love of liberty emphasized, but no warning given

Paragraph 3: Warning against party politics that could divide the states from one another

Paragraph 4: Warning against influence of other countries and liking or disliking particular countries

Paragraph 5: Discussion of negative aspects of getting involved in treaties

Paragraph 6: Discussion of positive results of remaining politically neutral

Paragraph 7: Rhetorical questions emphasizing positive results of remaining neutral

Paragraph 8: Conclusion, repetition of emphasis of perspective and motivations

Considering the general topics the passage covers, it becomes apparent that three things Washington warns his audience about are party politics potentially dividing the states, having preferences for or against one other country over another, and getting involved in international politics and treaties. These correspond with three of the answer choices. The only answer choice that does not relate to any of Washington's warnings in the passage is, "Preferring the preservation of peace over the preservation of liberty." This is the correct answer. While Washington discusses "love of liberty" in the third paragraph, he does not offer any warnings related to this topic. Instead, Washington suggests that since both he and his audience understand love of liberty, little needs to be said about it and no warning needs to be offered about it.

Example Question #1 : Reading: Informational Text

Adapted from George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796)

[Before this point in the text, Washington has declined to run as a candidate in the next election for President of the United States.]

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.

. . .

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

How does the content of the underlined paragraph relate to the content of the paragraph that precedes it?

Possible Answers:

It presents open-ended questions that demonstrate the author sees positives and negatives of isolationism and the making of many international treaties.

It suggests that the United States can avoid potential problems by modeling its trade practices on those of Europe.

It keeps the reader’s attention on the positive traits of isolationism presented in the previous paragraph.

It conveys to the audience that while most people know the answers to the questions the author is asking, the author himself does not.

Correct answer:

It keeps the reader’s attention on the positive traits of isolationism presented in the previous paragraph.

Explanation:

The underlined paragraph, paragraph 7, consists entirely of rhetorical questions:

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

These questions all pertain to the topic of international independence—that is, to Washington's recommendation that the United States not get involved in foreign treaties when it could benefit, in his opinion, from remaining relatively politically isolated on the international stage. The questions are rhetorical because their answers are clearly implied by the preceding two paragraphs' discussion of the negative aspects of getting involved in international politics and the benefits of remaining relatively isolated. According to Washington, there's no good reason to "forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation," etc. 

With that in mind, let's now turn our attention to the answer choices and figure out which one best describes how this paragraph relates to the one that precedes it.

"It conveys to the audience that while most people know the answers to the questions the author is asking, the author himself does not." - This answer choice is incorrect because the paragraph at hand consists of rhetorical questions. The author knows the answer to these questions; he's presented his opinion on the subject in the two preceding paragraphs, so it's not reasonable to assume that he's asking these questions literally, i.e. because he doesn't know the answer. 

"It suggests that the United States can avoid potential problems by modeling its trade practices on those of Europe." - This is the opposite conclusion to the one at which the paragraph arrives. In the preceding two paragraphs, Washington outlines the negative consequences of getting bogged down in international treaties and disputes and, conversely, the positive effects of remaining relatively isolated. He discusses Europe not in terms of its trade practices, but as a separate area of the world that it would be wise (in his opinion) to remain independent of:

Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Thus, it doesn't make sense to say that the rhetorical questions of the indicated paragraph suggest to the reader that the U.S. can avoid problems by modeling its trade practices on Europe's. Specific trade practices are not discussed, and Washington argues that the U.S. ought to remain independent of Europe in general.

"It presents open-ended questions that demonstrate the author sees positives and negatives of making many international treaties." - This answer initially might appear to be correct, as Washington does talk about positive and negative things in the paragraphs preceding the indicated one; however, it's important to keep in mind the subjects he is discussing in each of these paragraphs. He's not considering positive and negative views of one thing; he's considering the negative aspects of getting involved in international politics and the positive aspects of remaining isolated. By presenting a negative view of one thing and a positive view of the opposite thing, he's arguing a single point. This answer choice can't be correct, because it states that the questions are "open-ended" when they are not, and because it states that they demonstrate that "the author sees positives and negatives of making many international treaties," when the passage only presents a negative view of this action.

"It keeps the reader’s attention on the positive traits of isolationism presented in the previous paragraph." - This is the correct answer! The indicated paragraph consists of rhetorical questions that continue to discuss the topic introduced in the preceding paragraph: the positive traits of remaining relatively politically isolated in international politics.

Example Question #3 : Reading: Informational Text

Passage 2: Adapted from Woodrow Wilson’s “War Message to Congress” ("Address of The President of the United States Delivered at a Joint Session of The Two Houses of Congress") (April 2, 1917)

On the third of February last I officially laid before you the extraordinary announcement of the Imperial German Government that on and after the first day of February it was its purpose to put aside all restraints of law or of humanity and use its submarines to sink every vessel that sought to approach either the ports of Great Britain and Ireland or the western coasts of Europe or any of the ports controlled by the enemies of Germany within the Mediterranean. 

That had seemed to be the object of the German submarine warfare earlier in the war, but since April of last year, the Imperial Government had somewhat restrained the commanders of its undersea craft in conformity with its promise then given to us that passenger boats should not be sunk and that due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might seek to destroy when no resistance was offered or escape attempted, and care taken that their crews were given at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open boats. The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. 

The new policy has swept every restriction aside. Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom: without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe conduct through the proscribed areas by the German Government itself and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or of principle.

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to humane practices. [International maritime law] the German Government has swept aside under the plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no weapons which it could use at sea except these which it is impossible to employ as it is employing them without throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or of respect for the understandings that were supposed to underlie the intercourse of the world. I am not now thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of noncombatants, men, women, and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate. Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be. The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.

It is a war against all nations. American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation. We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.

Based on the way in which it is used in the passage, the bolded and underlined word "belligerents" is used to mean which of the following, specifically?

Possible Answers:

People or groups who pester other people or groups and do things to undermine them without outright attacking them

Pirate captains and crews who do not follow the rules of maritime law

Countries whose ports are assailed by ships from other countries

Countries that are formally at war with another country

Correct answer:

Countries that are formally at war with another country

Explanation:

In order to figure out what the passage specifically means by "belligerent," it's important to look at the word in the context in which it is used in the passage.

Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom: without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents

This word is being contrasted with "friendly neutrals." Specifically, the author is saying that the Imperial German navy has been sinking both the ships of "friendly neutrals" and the ships of "belligerents." This tells us that "belligerents" are the opposite of, or at least very different from, "friendly neutrals." Given that this passage is talking about military conflicts, "friendly neutrals" can reasonably be interpreted to mean countries that are neutral and friendly to the country being discussed. Given this, "belligerents" means the opposite—countries that are not friendly or neutral to the country being discussed, or in other words, countries at war with the country being discussed. The correct answer choice is the one that best matches this conclusion: "Countries that are formally at war with another country." 

(Note that this definition fits the etymology of "belligerent," which contains the Latinate root "bell-," from "bellum," Latin for war. This root appears in other words like "antebellum" (occurring before the American Civil War), "bellicose" (aggressive and ready to fight). You don't need to know this to answer this question correctly, though!)

Example Question #2 : Reading: Informational Text

Adapted from George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796)

[Before this point in the text, Washington has declined to run as a candidate in the next election for President of the United States.]

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.

. . .

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

When he uses the word “heartburnings,” bolded and underlined in paragraph three, the author is referring to emotions that are __________.

Possible Answers:

angry and negative

positive and convivial

a result of understanding the emotions of other people

calm and measured

Correct answer:

angry and negative

Explanation:

This question is asking you to tune in to the connotations of a nonliteral word that Washington uses, "heartburnings." The context in which this word is used is shown below.

One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.

First, let's consider the word by itself, out of context. "Heartburnings," if not used literally is likely related to emotions. These emotions are likely dramatic and impassioned, not subtle and relatively calm. This is suggested by the "burnings" part of the word; a "burning" emotion is likely one that is strongly felt.

Now let's look at the role this word is playing in the sentences surrounding it in the passage. In this part of the passage, Washington is warning the United States against the dangers of party politics dividing the states and weakening the Union. In the first sentence quoted above, he explains that political parties misrepresent other districts. It's a good idea to shield yourself against these misrepresentations, he says, because they can cause "jealousies and heartburnings" that tend to alienate different parts of the country's population. Based on this particular usage, we can tell that "heartburnings" has a negative connotation here. "Jealousies" is not a good thing in this context, and "heartburnings" is used in parallel with "jealousies." In addition, both are the results of political parties, which Washington argues have bad effects.

"Positive and convivial" can't be the answer because it has positive connotations, not negative connotations. "Calm and measured" can't be the answer because it clashes against the fervor of emotion conveyed by the term "heartburnings." We can't say that "heartburnings" refers to emotions that are "a result of understanding the emotions of other people," either, because in this part of the passage, Washington explains that "jealousies and heartburnings" caused by political parties divide people through misrepresentation instead of bringing them together. The best answer choice is that "heartburnings" refers to emotions that are "angry and negative." This makes the most sense in the context in which the word is used: emotions that are the result of misrepresentation and result in divisions between different parts of the population are likely to be angry and negative.

Example Question #1 : Analyze How Particular Sections Of The Text Develop The Author’s Ideas: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.9 10.5

Passage 2: Adapted from Woodrow Wilson’s “War Message to Congress” ("Address of The President of the United States Delivered at a Joint Session of The Two Houses of Congress") (April 2, 1917)

On the third of February last I officially laid before you the extraordinary announcement of the Imperial German Government that on and after the first day of February it was its purpose to put aside all restraints of law or of humanity and use its submarines to sink every vessel that sought to approach either the ports of Great Britain and Ireland or the western coasts of Europe or any of the ports controlled by the enemies of Germany within the Mediterranean. 

That had seemed to be the object of the German submarine warfare earlier in the war, but since April of last year, the Imperial Government had somewhat restrained the commanders of its undersea craft in conformity with its promise then given to us that passenger boats should not be sunk and that due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might seek to destroy when no resistance was offered or escape attempted, and care taken that their crews were given at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open boats. The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. 

The new policy has swept every restriction aside. Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom: without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe conduct through the proscribed areas by the German Government itself and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or of principle.

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to humane practices. [International maritime law] the German Government has swept aside under the plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no weapons which it could use at sea except these which it is impossible to employ as it is employing them without throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or of respect for the understandings that were supposed to underlie the intercourse of the world. I am not now thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of noncombatants, men, women, and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate. Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be. The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.

It is a war against all nations. American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation. We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.

The underlined sentence serves what function in the passage's overall argument?

Possible Answers:

It allows the author to interject his unsupported personal opinion before returning to a presentation of just the facts.

It makes a claim about Germany's actions the author spends the next paragraph supporting with evidence and examples.

It presents evidence that Germany did in fact attempt to adhere to neutral conditions, presenting the country's actions in a positive light.

It qualifies Germany's adherence to neutrality before introducing the point that they have abandoned their neutral position, creating a timeline of increasingly negative events.

It emphasizes that Germany initially attempted to defend itself peacefully, establishing a baseline against which the the author then contrasts the country's recent actions.

Correct answer:

It qualifies Germany's adherence to neutrality before introducing the point that they have abandoned their neutral position, creating a timeline of increasingly negative events.

Explanation:

Let's first take a look at the sentence to which the question is referring.

The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. 

This is the last sentence of paragraph two. Because part of its function is to transition between paragraph two and paragraph three, let's consider it in this particular context. In paragraph two, the author discusses the old policy of the Imperial German government to give allow certain actions on the parts of the ships it attacked—"passenger boats should not be sunk," "due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might sek to destroy when no resistance was offered or escape attempted," etc. These are the "precautions" to which the indicated sentence is referring. In the indicated sentence, the author calls these "meager and haphazard enough," and he mentions "distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business." This makes Germany look like they weren't doing a very good job of adhering to these precautions. The author concludes the sentence after the conjunction "but" by stating " a certain degree of restraint was observed." In the first sentence of the next paragraph, the author sharply contrasts the new policy against the old one: "The new policy has swept every restriction aside." So, in summary, the author discusses the old considerations Germany gave ships, claims that the country didn't do a good job of adhering to those considerations, admits that they were still somewhat enforced, and then claims that the new policy sweeps the considerations aside entirely.

Which answer choice best encapsulates this? The author doesn't present his personal opinion, but sticks to presenting an interpretation of the facts as a general interpretation, so "It allows the author to interject his unsupported personal opinion before returning to a presentation of just the facts" isn't the best answer. "It presents evidence that Germany did in fact attempt to adhere to neutral conditions, presenting the country's actions in a positive light" opposes what we learn in the indicated sentence, which does not present the country's actions in positive light, so this answer choice isn't correct either. "It makes a claim about Germany's actions the author spends the next paragraph supporting with evidence and examples" doesn't reflect the structure of the passage accurately, so it isn't the correct answer choice either. "It emphasizes that Germany initially attempted to defend itself peacefully, establishing a baseline against which the the author then contrasts the country's recent actions" is close to correct as it mentions that the author contrasts the country's recent actions against its previous ones; however, the sentence emphasizes that Germany did not very strictly adhere to the considerations it was said to offer other ships, so we can't accurately say that the sentence "emphasizes that Germany initially attempted to defend itself peacefully." 

The best answer choice is that the indicated sentence "qualifies Germany's adherence to neutrality before introducing the point that they have abandoned their neutral position, creating a timeline of increasingly negative events." This accurately represents the progression in the passage from a discussion of Germany's policy of offering certain considerations to ships it might sink to discussion of how it barely offered those considerations to a claim that its more recent actions have swept aside such considerations entirely.

Example Question #2 : Analyze How Particular Sections Of The Text Develop The Author’s Ideas: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.9 10.5

Passage 2: Adapted from Woodrow Wilson’s “War Message to Congress” ("Address of The President of the United States Delivered at a Joint Session of The Two Houses of Congress") (April 2, 1917)

On the third of February last I officially laid before you the extraordinary announcement of the Imperial German Government that on and after the first day of February it was its purpose to put aside all restraints of law or of humanity and use its submarines to sink every vessel that sought to approach either the ports of Great Britain and Ireland or the western coasts of Europe or any of the ports controlled by the enemies of Germany within the Mediterranean. 

That had seemed to be the object of the German submarine warfare earlier in the war, but since April of last year, the Imperial Government had somewhat restrained the commanders of its undersea craft in conformity with its promise then given to us that passenger boats should not be sunk and that due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might seek to destroy when no resistance was offered or escape attempted, and care taken that their crews were given at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open boats. The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. 

The new policy has swept every restriction aside. Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom: without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe conduct through the proscribed areas by the German Government itself and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or of principle.

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to humane practices. [International maritime law] the German Government has swept aside under the plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no weapons which it could use at sea except these which it is impossible to employ as it is employing them without throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or of respect for the understandings that were supposed to underlie the intercourse of the world. I am not now thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of noncombatants, men, women, and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate. Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be. The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.

It is a war against all nations. American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation. We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.

Between __________, the passage switches from a narrative mode of relating events to an analytical mode, wherein the author reflects on those events.

Possible Answers:

Paragraphs 3 and 4

Paragraphs 4 and 5

Paragraphs 1 and 2

Paragraphs 2 and 3

Correct answer:

Paragraphs 3 and 4

Explanation:

In order to correctly answer this question, you have to understand what the question means by "narrative mode" and "analytical mode." In the narrative mode, it says, the passage is relating events. In the analytical mode, the passage consists of the author reflecting on the events that have been related. The question specifically asks you to pinpoint the location of the shift between these two modes.

In the first three paragraphs, the passage consists of the author relating events. The author describes a series of actions of the Imperial German government. At the start of the fourth paragraph, there is a notable shift:

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to humane practices.

This signals that from this point on in the passage, the author is presenting his own opinion on the events that he previous related. The correct answer is that the transition from a narrative mode to an analytical mode occurs between Paragraphs 3 and 4.

Example Question #5 : Reading: Informational Text

Passage 2: Adapted from Woodrow Wilson’s “War Message to Congress” ("Address of The President of the United States Delivered at a Joint Session of The Two Houses of Congress") (April 2, 1917)

On the third of February last I officially laid before you the extraordinary announcement of the Imperial German Government that on and after the first day of February it was its purpose to put aside all restraints of law or of humanity and use its submarines to sink every vessel that sought to approach either the ports of Great Britain and Ireland or the western coasts of Europe or any of the ports controlled by the enemies of Germany within the Mediterranean. 

That had seemed to be the object of the German submarine warfare earlier in the war, but since April of last year, the Imperial Government had somewhat restrained the commanders of its undersea craft in conformity with its promise then given to us that passenger boats should not be sunk and that due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might seek to destroy when no resistance was offered or escape attempted, and care taken that their crews were given at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open boats. The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. 

The new policy has swept every restriction aside. Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom: without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe conduct through the proscribed areas by the German Government itself and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or of principle.

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to humane practices. [International maritime law] the German Government has swept aside under the plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no weapons which it could use at sea except these which it is impossible to employ as it is employing them without throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or of respect for the understandings that were supposed to underlie the intercourse of the world. I am not now thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of noncombatants, men, women, and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate. Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be. The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.

It is a war against all nations. American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation. We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.

The repetitive structure the author uses in the underlined section of the passage has what rhetorical effect?

Possible Answers:

The repetition is emphatic; it emphasizes the wide variety of ships that Germany has attacked.

The repetition is providing details about the last ship that was sunk by Germany in order to present a vivid image to the audience.

The repetition is belittling; it makes the reader feel as if the author does not think he or she understands what the author is saying, and therefore the author has to repeat himself.

The repetition is listing specific different kinds of ships Germany has attacked to provide the readers with specific examples of particular ships that Germany has sunk.

The repetition is listing the different ways in which the United States has tried to protect its citizens while also maintaining peace with Germany.

Correct answer:

The repetition is emphatic; it emphasizes the wide variety of ships that Germany has attacked.

Explanation:

Let's consider the section of the passage being discussed.

Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom: without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. 

The question is specifically asking about the repetition found in the underlined section, where the author repeats the word "their" and specifies different ways in which the attacked ships might have differed. Note that this repetition is introduced by "Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character . . . " The author states that "every kind" of vessel have been "ruthlessly sent to the bottom." The repetition appears after the word "whatever," so this phrase is modifying the phrase "Vessels of every kind," emphasizing the diversity of ships that have been attacked.

The underlined selection has to do with ships, not with "different ways in which the United States has tried to protect its citizens while also maintaining peace with Germany," so that answer choice is incorrect. Furthermore, while the selection has to do with ships, it does not concern details about one particular ship Germany sunk, so "The repetition is providing details about the last ship that was sunk by Germany in order to present a vivid image to the audience" is not correct either. The selection is also not providing any specific examples of ships Germany has sunk, so "The repetition is listing specific different kinds of ships Germany has attacked to provide the readers with specific examples of particular ships that Germany has sunk" cannot be correct either. There is no evidence that the repetition is in any way belittling, so "The repetition is belittling; it makes the reader feel as if the author does not think he or she understands what the author is saying, and therefore the author has to repeat himself" isn't correct either.

The correct answer is "The repetition is emphatic; it emphasizes the wide variety of ships that Germany has attacked." In suggesting that Germany has sunk ships with different flags, characters, cargos, destinations, and errands, the author is emphasizing the panoply of ships that Germany has sunk to suggest that the country is attacking and sinking any ship that approaches its ports.

Example Question #6 : Reading: Informational Text

Adapted from George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796)

[Before this point in the text, Washington has declined to run as a candidate in the next election for President of the United States.]

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.

. . .

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

In the passage, the author characterizes the point of view from which he offers advice as being __________.

Possible Answers:

prudent and defensive

unbiased and well-meaning

the result of years of reading and research

reliable due to extensive political experience

Correct answer:

unbiased and well-meaning

Explanation:

In the passage, Washington characterizes the perspective from which he offers advice to the United States and the motivations behind his offering said advice. He bookends his advice with discussion of this perspective and these motivations, mentioning it in the passage's first and last paragraphs.

In the first paragraph, after Washington states that out of concern for the U.S. he will offer some pieces of advice, he adds, "These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel." Let's paraphrase this: he's offering this advice freely because as he's not running as a candidate in the coming presidential election, he has no reason to bias his statements for political gain; instead, he says he is speaking as an unbiased friend of the nation.

Washington returns to this point of offering advice as an unbiased friend in the first sentence of the passage's last paragraph, where he states, "In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish." 

Based on this evidence, the best answer is the one that most closely describes the perspective of "the disinterested warnings of a parting friend." In other words, he characterizes the point of view from which he offers advice as being "unbiased and well-meaning." Note that while it may be argued that Washington's perspective would be "reliable due to extensive political experience" and/or "the result of years of reading and research," or perhaps even "prudent and defensive," the question specifically asks about how the author characterizes his point of view "in the passage." The correct answer is the only answer choice supported by evidence in the text.

← Previous 1

All Common Core: 9th Grade English Language Arts Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 19 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors