GED Social Studies : Political Philosophies

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Social Studies

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Political Philosophies

The Supremacy Clause, which appears in Article Six of the Constitution, states that __________

Possible Answers:

The President has ultimate and supreme command over the United States armed forces.

the United States has claim to expand over the entirety of the North American continent.

maintaining the rights and freedoms of the people is the primary purpose of the United States government.

The United States Constitution is the supreme and ultimate law of the nation.

no branch of the United States government should have complete control over any of the other branches.

Correct answer:

The United States Constitution is the supreme and ultimate law of the nation.

Explanation:

The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution states that the Constitution should be considered as the supreme law of the land, and that everyone must respect the rules and laws contained within. This might seem obvious and unnecessary to us now, but it is important to remember that when the Constitution was written there was no guarantee as to how it would be received or whether the people would unquestionably follow it.

Example Question #1 : The Constitution

Which of these principles is not central to the Constitution and the American political experience?

Possible Answers:

These principles are all central to the American political experience.

Separation of powers

Federalism

Freedom of religion

Economic equality

Correct answer:

Economic equality

Explanation:

Separation of powers refers to the fact that in the United States government there are three branches—the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial—each of which controls certain functions of government. Freedom of religion is enshrined in the United States Constitution. Federalism refers to the sharing of powers between the state and the national government and is a key component of the American political system. Only economic equality is not central to the American political system. What we have in America, in theory, is equal economic opportunity, but in a capitalist system you cannot have economic equality, which is a core component of communism and socialism.

Example Question #3 : Political Philosophies

Concurrent powers are __________

Possible Answers:

Powers reserved for the Judicial Branch.

Powers shared by the State and Federal governments.

Powers reserved for the Federal government.

Powers reserved for the State government.

Powers shared by the Legislative and Executive Branches.

Correct answer:

Powers shared by the State and Federal governments.

Explanation:

In the United States Constitution there are certain powers reserved for either the State governments or the Federal government; however, there are also concurrent powers. These are powers shared by both the State and Federal governments: one example is the power to levy taxes.

Example Question #1 : Philosophies Impacting The Constitution

The English Bill of Rights was passed in which century?

Possible Answers:

The nineteenth century

The fourteenth century

The thirteenth century

The seventeenth century

The eighteenth century

Correct answer:

The seventeenth century

Explanation:

The English Bill of Rights was passed in 1689, following the accession of William and Mary after the Glorious Revolution, in which James II was ousted from power. For much of the seventeenth century, the English monarchy and parliament were at constant odds with one another, and after a Civil War resulted in parliamentary victory, the Kings of England would never have the same power again. The English Bill of Rights established limits on the powers of the monarchy and reserved powers for Parliament. It is considered a precursor to the American Bill of Rights and probably the most important document of the uncodified English Constitution.

Example Question #1 : Political Philosophies

Which of these Enlightenment philosophers could best be considered as the foil for John Locke’s optimism about humanity?

Possible Answers:

Voltaire

Dante

Immanuel Kant

Thomas Hobbes

Sir Thomas More

Correct answer:

Thomas Hobbes

Explanation:

John Locke believed in a social contract between rulers and ruled that heavily limits the power of the ruler and provides inalienable rights for the ruled. Although Locke, by modern standards was still somewhat conservative about human nature (he still favored monarchy over democracy) in his own time Locke was about as liberal as it was possible to be about human nature and political theory (without being considered dangerously insane). Hobbes, on the other hand, was a renowned pessimist about the human condition and an even more renowned royalist. Hobbes fled England during the Civil War, and upon his return published his most famous work, The Leviathan, which outlines Hobbes’ belief that life is nasty, brutish, and short, and that in a state of nature mankind would rip itself to shreds. A strong, absolute government was needed to enforce law and order. Together, their views helped shape generations of politicians’ viewpoints, but compared to one another they were chalk and cheese.

Example Question #21 : Civics And Government

John Locke’s preferred system of government was __________.

Possible Answers:

representative democracy

direct democracy

absolute monarchy

theocracy

constitutional monarchy

Correct answer:

constitutional monarchy

Explanation:

John Locke was an Enlightenment-Era philosopher. His writings were hugely influential to the Constitutional Framers of the United States. His liberal views on inalienable rights of all people to "life, liberty, and property" might make it seem like Locke would support direct democracy, or at least republicanism, but Locke was a man of his time as well. He believed that the best government was a constitutional monarchy, one where there is a king whose power is heavily limited by constitutional obligations to provide for the fair and just treatment of his citizens. Essentially, Locke believed that the king only held the power to rule if those ruled consented to it.

Example Question #7 : Political Philosophies

Two Treatises of Government was written by __________.

Possible Answers:

Thomas Hobbes

John Locke

Thomas Jefferson

Voltaire

Immanuel Kant

Correct answer:

John Locke

Explanation:

The Enlightenment philosopher John Locke was deeply influential to the founding fathers of the United States of America. His writings on the social contract and the responsibility of government to its citizens, found in the second of his two treatises, were impactful to the generation of Constitution Framers who established the government of the United States.

Example Question #1 : Voting And Majority Rule

The theory that political power is divided among many disparate and varied groups is called __________.

Possible Answers:

Oligarchy

Polytheism

Monotheism

Pluralism

Autocracy

Correct answer:

Pluralism

Explanation:

"Pluralism" is the name given to the theory or belief that political power is divided and shared by several disparate groups within a democratic society. In a society where pluralism is in effect, many different social, ethnic, and ideological groups are accepted and tolerated, and power is (in theory) shared equally among them.

Example Question #1 : Political Philosophies

The belief that the authority and legitimacy of the government is sustained only by the will of the people is called __________.

Possible Answers:

dual federalism

popular sovereignty

absolute monarchy

cooperative federalism

constitutional judiciary

Correct answer:

popular sovereignty

Explanation:

Popular sovereignty is a concept that emerged during the Enlightenment period; it is a core concept of the American political system. It states that the only legitimate authority comes from the consent of the people.

Example Question #1 : Political Philosophies

The political theory that states that the freedom and rights of the individual are more important than the power of the government is called __________.

Possible Answers:

individualism

democracy

socialism

republicanism

federalism

Correct answer:

individualism

Explanation:

For much of human history and even today in many systems of government and societies, the rights and freedoms of the individual have been suppressed in order to further the goals and/or security of the state. The political theory of individualism, an important tenet of the American political system, states that the freedom of the individual is more important than the power of the government.

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