GED Social Studies : Content Areas

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Social Studies

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Political Parties

On a traditional political spectrum, which of these groups would appear furthest to the left?

Possible Answers:

Reactionaries

Radicals

Liberals

Moderates

Conservatives

Correct answer:

Radicals

Explanation:

The traditional political spectrum (from left to right) goes like this: Radical; Liberal; Moderate; Conservative; Reactionary. So the furthest to the left would be a radical. A radical would support complete, dramatic, and immediate overhaul of existing social or political norms. Radicals might resort to violence in order to achieve their goals.

Example Question #1 : Content Areas

In the contemporary American political landscape, the number of independent voters is __________.

Possible Answers:

fairly consistent

falling rapidly

falling steadily

climbing rapidly

climbing steadily

Correct answer:

climbing steadily

Explanation:

For many Americans, party loyalty is the least pronounced it has ever been. Recent elections have seen a greater and greater number of voters who would declare themselves independent. This mirrors another contemporary trend in the American political landscape: more and more Americans are voting based on the candidate and his orher policies rather than simply voting along party lines; however, it is worth nothing that the majority of voters still vote very consistently for the same party.

Example Question #1 : Civics And Government

Which of these political parties has never existed in United States history?

Possible Answers:

Liberal-Democrats

Progressive

Federalists

Democratic-Republicans

Whigs

Correct answer:

Liberal-Democrats

Explanation:

Of these answer choices, only the Liberal-Democrats (a British political party) have never existed in United States political history.

Example Question #1 : Content Areas

Which American political party passed the Alien and Sedition Acts?

Possible Answers:

Federalists

Democrats

Whigs

Democratic-Republicans

Republicans

Correct answer:

Federalists

Explanation:

The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed by the Federalists in 1798 during the presidency of John Adams. The stated reason for passing the Alien and Sedition Acts was to provide greater security for the young nation in the wake of rising tensions with the French. The Alien Act made immigration more difficult for people from certain nations, and the Sedition Act made it illegal to speak out against the government or to incite rebellion against the government. The Acts were heavily criticized by Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans.

Example Question #1 : Civics And Government

On the traditional political spectrum, which of these groups would appear furthest to the right?

Possible Answers:

Radicals

Liberals

Moderates

Reactionaries

Conservatives

Correct answer:

Reactionaries

Explanation:

The traditional political spectrum (from left to right) goes like this:

Radical - Liberal - Moderate - Conservative - Reactionary

So, the furthest to the right would be a reactionary. Someone who holds reactionary ideas passionately (and sometimes violently) opposes some kind of political or social change. Reactionaries may even want to return to a previous social or political order.

Example Question #1 : Civics And Government

How many major parties are there in US politics?

Possible Answers:

4

2

1

3

Correct answer:

2

Explanation:

The correct answer is "2." Currently, those two parties are the Democrats and the Republicans (and have been since the Civil War). That's not to say that there are NO other parties in the US, simply that there are only two major parties. This is partially due to our electoral system (that is, the way that we vote).

Example Question #1 : Civics And Government

In return for providing financial assistance to the Senator during his congressional campaign a prominent business man is able to get his son a position within the Department of Education. This arrangement is known as __________.

Possible Answers:

None of these answers is correct.

meritocracy

political patronage

the Coattail Effect

the Reverse-Income Effect

Correct answer:

political patronage

Explanation:

Political patronage is the term used to describe the granting of favors, passing favorable legislation, or making government appointments in exchange for financial support during a campaign. Meritocracy is fairly close to being the opposite, as it is a system whereby only the most qualified and skilled person is able to get a job.

Example Question #2 : Civics And Government

Which of these is a consequences of the American two-party system?

Possible Answers:

Fundraising and campaign advertising plays a small role in determining the winner.

Politicians adopt narrow and specific opinions to ensure their policies stand out in an election cycle.

The media is generally unable to predict which of the two major parties will win an election.

Politicians adopt broad opinions to appeal to the largest number of people as possible.

The American voting public has many options to choose from.

Correct answer:

Politicians adopt broad opinions to appeal to the largest number of people as possible.

Explanation:

In the American two-party system politicians often adopt broad opinions on a wide variety of issues to appeal to the largest number of people as possible. This generally ensures that both political parties are quite moderate when compared to the liberal or conservative parties in countries with a multi-party system.

Example Question #2 : Civics And Government

An election in which many voters switch their political party allegiance is called a __________.

Possible Answers:

an irate election

a bemusing election

a tipping point election

a realignment election

a dealignment election

Correct answer:

a realignment election

Explanation:

A realignment election takes place when many votes switch their political-party allegiance. Often, a realignment election sees the rise of a third party or a previously unknown party into the two-party system. Other times it sees voters switching which of the two major parties they support. A realignment election often reflects widespread voter dissatisfaction with one or both of the two major parties.

Example Question #1 : Civics And Government

A presidential candidate must win a majority of __________________ in order to become the next president.

Possible Answers:

The Electoral College

The Affection of Different States

None of these

The Popular Vote

Correct answer:

The Electoral College

Explanation:

A presidential candidate must win a majority of the Electoral College in order to become the next President. This is a slightly tricky question. Many people are under the incorrect assumption that a candidate must win a majority of the popular vote in order to become President. In reality, becoming the President requires a majority of the Electoral College-- which does not necessarily require a majority of the popular vote (due to the way that we count votes).

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