GED Social Studies : Making Connections

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Social Studies

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Making Connections

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

Albania is a relatively small country in southeastern Europe; however, the people who live there believe their country should be much larger. They contend that the countries of Kosovo, Macedonia, and parts of Northern Greece all belong to the larger territory of Greater Albania. This suggests potentially destructive conflicts in the near future. After all, Serbia also claims Kosovo as part of it’s territory; Kosovo generally favors close relations with Albania, but believes itself to be an independent country; Macedonians think of themselves as closer to Greece than Albania, and Greeks certainly would resist any territorial incursions. Of course, this is not a part of the world unfamiliar with the convulsions of war. Perhaps the only saving grace is that the people of Albania consider themselves as averse to conquest. They generally believe they are a defensive nation, an opinion reinforced by history, concerned with protecting what they have and unwilling to take land from others.

The author of this passage is primarily concerned that __________

Possible Answers:

conflict might break out between Albania and it’s neighbors.

Albanian territorial claims are being ignored by the international community.

peace in Albania is untenable.

the people of Kosovo are threatened by Serbia and Albania.

Albania will have to fight once again to defend itself from it’s neighbors.

Correct answer:

conflict might break out between Albania and it’s neighbors.

Explanation:

The author of this passage is primarily worried about conflict breaking out between Albania and it’s neighbors over Albanian claims to the territory of other nations. The author notes that “they contend that the countries of Kosovo, Macedonia, and parts of Northern Greece all belong to the larger territory of Greater Albania. This suggests potentially destructive conflicts in the near future.” The author also seems concerned that the people of Kosovo might be threatened by Serbia and Albania, but this is not the author’s primary concern.

Example Question #1 : Inferences About The Author

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

On Christmas Day 1914, during the early stages of World War One, the British and German soldiers on either side of no man’s land apparently put down their weapons and walked over to greet one another. Gifts were exchanged, beer was drunk, and at one location a game of football was organized. The incident is now famous in British history and is often reflected on as a sign of our universal humanity. Yet at the time many of those involved were disciplined by their higher officers. Apparently, seeing the enemy as a human being was considered detrimental to the war effort.

The author’s attitude towards the “higher officers” is most likely one of __________

Possible Answers:

pride.

shame.

affection.

contempt.

understanding.

Correct answer:

contempt.

Explanation:

The author of this passage notes that those involved in the Christmas Day Truce were disciplined by their higher officers. The author then states that "apparently, seeing the enemy as a human being was considered detrimental to the war effort." Here you must use inference to try to determine the author’s attitude. He seems to be deriding the higher officers for disciplining soldiers for treating their enemies like human beings. The use of the word "apparently" also suggests a certain degree of anger or contempt.

Example Question #1 : Inferences About The Author

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

The religion of Christianity began as a religion of suffering, pity, and forgiveness. This was Christ’s dominant message: the majority of people live to suffer, and we must take pity on those who are suffering and forgive those who cause it. Thus Christianity, by its basic tenets, was not meant as a religion of power. It was a religion for the powerless, the common man. It was meant to provide meaning to suffering and to give a form of power (power over one's own emotions) to the powerless.

For the first few hundred years after Christ’s death, Christianity lived up to this message. It was widely embraced by the common people around the western world, in particular the Roman Empire, and by and large they were persecuted for it. This was the whole point: you will suffer for me and I will reward you when I return. As generations went by and Christ failed to return, the message was violently corrupted. Constantine the Great, a Roman Emperor in the fourth century, adopted Christianity as the official religion of his army and later of his empire. In doing so, he took Christianity from a fringe religion, with a growing flock of dedicated believers, to the official religion of the world’s largest empire. In so doing he also militarized the cross. He took the religion of Christianity away from suffering, pity, and forgiveness and imbued it with qualities that were never supposed to be there: dominance over your enemies; power; warfare; wealth. This would have untold consequences for the history of the western world and the history of the Christian faith. No longer did its believers have to cower in fear of their enemies, but also no longer were they truly adhering to the teachings of Christ.

How would the author of this passage feel about the Crusades of the Medieval period?

Possible Answers:

The author would find them a violation of Christ’s teachings, but in-keeping with the manipulation of Christianity by those in power.

The author would offer his unconditional support for the Crusades.

It is impossible to say given the evidence at hand.

The author would feel ashamed of the Crusades and would believe it was a great mystery that such a thing could ever be sanctioned by a Christian ruler.

The author would support the intentions of the Crusades, but would likely decry the means as a corruption of Christ’s message.

Correct answer:

The author would find them a violation of Christ’s teachings, but in-keeping with the manipulation of Christianity by those in power.

Explanation:

The author of this passage is clearly focused on how the message of Christianity has been corrupted throughout history by those in power. You likely know that the Crusades were a series of religious wars waged by the Christian nations of Europe to try and retake the Holy Land (Jerusalem) from the Islamic Empires that held it at the time. The author would therefore see the Crusades as a violation of Christ’s teachings and something to be ashamed of, but he would not see them as a great mystery, as he goes to great lengths to explain the manipulation of Christianity by those in power.

Example Question #1 : Inferences About The Author

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

The Federal Reserve is the central banking system of the United States. The roles of the Federal Reserve include regulating the monetary policy and supply, preventing financial panics, and supervising banking institutions. The Federal Reserve was created early in the twentieth century primarily in response to the frequent financial panics that would cripple the U.S. economy, most prominent of which was the Panic of 1907. The powers of the Federal Reserve have expanded throughout the years, usually in response to other financial disasters like the Great Depression. Recent evidence suggests the Federal Reserve is essentially powerless to prevent the destabilizing force that is our boom and bust economy.

With which of these statements about the Federal Reserve would the author most likely agree?

Possible Answers:

The American economic system offers numerous benefits

The Federal Reserve has little power over preventing economic recessions

The Federal Reserve has been successful at preventing financial panic

The Federal Reserve should be reformed

The creation of the Federal Reserve was a mistake

Correct answer:

The Federal Reserve has little power over preventing economic recessions

Explanation:

The author of this passage notes towards the end of the passage that "recent evidence suggests the Federal Reserve is essentially powerless to prevent the destabilizing force that is our boom and bust economy." The author does not suggest that the creation of the Federal Reserve was necessarily a mistake or that it needs to be reformed. He simply feels that the Federal Reserve has little power to prevent economic recessions. From the author’s comment about the boom and bust nature of the economy, he would likely contend that the economy needs to be reformed, not the Federal Reserve.

Example Question #2 : Making Connections

Adapted from A Short History of the United States (1908) by Edward Channing.

Nearly five hundred years before the time of Columbus, Leif Ericson had discovered the New World. He was a Northman and the son of Eric the Red. Eric the Red had already founded a colony in Greenland, and Leif sailed from Norway to make him a visit. This was in the year 1000. Day after day Leif and his men were tossed about on the sea until they reached an unknown land where they found many grape-vines. They called it Vinland or Wineland. They then sailed northward and reached Greenland in safety. Precisely where Vinland was is not known. But it certainly was part of North America. Leif Ericson, the Northman, was therefore the real discoverer of America.

The author of this passage could be accused of having a(n) __________ bias. 

Possible Answers:

Anglo-Saxon

European

academic

Christian 

English

Correct answer:

European

Explanation:

The author of this passage focuses on convincing his audience that Columbus was not the real "discoverer" of the Americas. Instead, according to the author, that honor belongs to Lief Ericson. What the author ignores of course is that the Americas were already discovered and inhabited by native people. By focusing only on the European candidates for discovering America the author demonstrates a "European" bias. 

Example Question #1 : Bias

The biggest threat to humanity in the twenty-first century is almost certainly the rising demand for and use of the Earth’s dwindling natural resources. Currently China, and to a slightly lesser extent India, are hurtling through their own Industrial and economic revolutions, powering this change with a greater and greater consumption of natural resources. This transition is already well under way in parts of South America and Africa as well, and will most likely accelerate in the next few decades. Put simply, the planet cannot sustain this growth.

The people of the Western world have lived a privileged life of abundance and materialism for over a hundred years now, and if the whole world wants to live like a middle-class American then the demand for resources will outstrip supply very quickly. What is needed then is a change, a global change, in what is considered an acceptable and sufficient standard living. We all need to downgrade our expectations and our desires, to accept less for the greater good. Human history suggests this is highly unlikely: competition and warfare has always driven our relationships with one another, and it is quite likely that we will fight endless wars over the rights to oil, water, gas, and so on; but, human history also shows a constant trend of human ingenuity prevailing over all manner of natural and man-made disasters, so there is cause for optimism too. We cannot say with certainty which way mankind will go, competition or cooperation; we can only try to do our part and hope for the best.

Who does the author identify as the greatest consumer of natural resources in this essay?

Possible Answers:

South America

China

It is impossible to say.

Africa

India

Correct answer:

China

Explanation:

Although the greatest consumer of natural resources in the world remains the United States, the author does not explicitly mention that in this text. Instead, in the opening paragraph, he says that "currently China, and to a slightly lesser extent India, are hurtling through their own Industrial and economic revolutions, powering this change with a greater and greater consumption of natural resources."

Example Question #1 : Bias

Adapted from A Smaller History of Greece from the Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest (1897) by William Smith.

The physical features of the country exercised an important influence upon the political destinies of the people. Greece is one of the most mountainous countries of Europe. Its surface is occupied by a number of small plains, either entirely surrounded by limestone mountains or open only to the sea. Each of the principal Grecian cities was founded in one of these small plains; and, as the mountains which separated it from its neighbours were lofty and rugged, each city grew up in solitary independence. But at the same time it had ready and easy access to the sea, and Arcadia was almost the only political division that did not possess some territory upon the coast. Thus shut out from their neighbours by mountains, the Greeks were naturally attracted to the sea, and became a maritime people. Hence they possessed the love of freedom and the spirit of adventure, which have always characterised, more or less the inhabitants of maritime districts.

What does the author believe is true of nations that are surrounded by the sea? 

Possible Answers:

Philosophy and the arts will flourish. 

The people will embrace democracy and religion. 

The nation will grow wealthy through trade. 

The people have a bold and independent nature. 

The people will be athletic and fit. 

Correct answer:

The people have a bold and independent nature. 

Explanation:

The author seems to suggest that people who live near the sea are more likely to love freedom and to have an adventurous spirit. He says "Hence they possessed the love of freedom and the spirit of adventure, which have always characterised, more or less the inhabitants of maritime districts." So the correct answer is that the author believes nations that are surrounded by the sea will cause their people to be "bold and independent."

Example Question #1 : Making Connections

Adapted from A Smaller History of Greece from the Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest (1897) by William Smith.

Greece is the southern portion of a great peninsula of Europe, washed on three sides by the Mediterranean Sea. It is bounded on the north by the Cambunian mountains, which separate it from Macedonia. It extends from the fortieth degree of latitude to the thirty-sixth, its greatest length being not more than 250 English miles, and its greatest breadth only 180. Its surface is considerably less than that of Portugal. This small area was divided among a number of independent states, many of them containing a territory of only a few square miles, and none of them larger than an English county. But the heroism and genius of the Greeks have given an interest to the insignificant spot of earth bearing their name, which the vastest empires have never equalled.

The name of Greece was not used by the inhabitants of the country. They called their land Hellas, and themselves Hellenes. At first the word Hellas signified only a small district in Thessaly, from which the Hellenes gradually spread over the whole country. The names of Greece and Greeks come to us from the Romans, who gave the name of Graecia to the country and of Graeci to the inhabitants.

Which of these statements about authorial bias is most likely true? 

Possible Answers:

The author is writing this for an English audience. 

The author finds certain elements of Greek culture distasteful. 

The author likes the Roman culture even more than the Greek culture. 

It is impossible to say. 

The author is writing this for an American audience. 

Correct answer:

The author is writing this for an English audience. 

Explanation:

On two separate occasions the author makes a comparison between Greece and some aspect of England or "English." On the first occasion he talks about how the length of the country is "250 English miles." On the second occasion he says "This small area was divided among a number of independent states, many of them containing a territory of only a few square miles, and none of them larger than an English county." The comparisons between Greece and England suggest that the author is writing for an English audience and so wants to compare Greece to things his audience will find familiar. 

Example Question #1 : Bias

Adapted from A Smaller History of Greece from the Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest (1897) by William Smith.

The vast number of the Greek colonies, their widespread diffusion over all parts of the Mediterranean, which thus became a kind of Grecian lake, and their rapid growth in wealth, power, and intelligence, afford the most striking proofs of the greatness of this wonderful people. Civil dissensions and a redundant population were the chief causes of the origin of most of the Greek colonies. They were usually undertaken with the approbation of the cities from which they issued, and under the management of leaders appointed by them. But a Greek colony was always considered politically independent of the mother-city and emancipated from its control. The only connection between them was one of filial affection and of common religious ties. Almost every colonial Greek city was built upon the seacoast, and the site usually selected contained a hill sufficiently lofty to form an acropolis.

The author's attitude towards the Greeks could best be described as __________.

Possible Answers:

disgusted 

somber 

apathetic

reverential

aggressive 

Correct answer:

reverential

Explanation:

The author's attitude throughout the text is best described as "admiring" or "reverential." The author clearly respects and admires the Greek people very much. This is demonstrated most obviously by the author when he says "the most striking proofs of the greatness of this wonderful people."

Example Question #1 : Historical Context

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

Shays’ Rebellion was an armed uprising in Massachusetts, which many historians have claimed dramatically altered the direction of American political history. Shays’ Rebellion took place in the dying months of the Articles of Confederation and ended right as the Constitutional Convention was beginning. It was already clear to many of America’s leading political figures that the Articles of Confederation were too limited and too ineffective to be the primary governing document of a strong modern nation. Shays’ Rebellion only served to further highlight the need to place more power in the hands of the Federal government.

The national government was incapable of raising funds or militia forces to meet the threat of the uprising and was reliant on the good will of the various states. This situation troubled many of the Founding Fathers, George Washington in particular, who demanded that this situation be remedied in the United States Constitution to prevent such an uprising from happening again. Only Thomas Jefferson felt unthreatened by the events of Shays’ Rebellion—which might have been because he was in France on diplomatic work at the time. Jefferson argued that a little rebellion from time to time is healthy for a republic, famously commenting that the tree of liberty occasionally needs to be watered with the blood of tyrants.

Why was Thomas Jefferson primarily more comfortable with Shays’ Rebellion than the other Constitutional Framers?

Possible Answers:

Because he believed that small rebellions were an important part of a young Republic.

Because his economic interests were served by the Rebellion.

Because he was out of the country.

Because Jefferson hated the Articles of Confederation and wanted to see them discarded.

Because he lived in Virginia, not Massachusetts.

Correct answer:

Because he believed that small rebellions were an important part of a young Republic.

Explanation:

There are two possible answer choices here based on the essay, you are asked to choose which one of them is more important. You might answer that Jefferson was comfortable with Shays’ Rebellion because he was out of the country. After all, the author does say that "only Thomas Jefferson felt unthreatened by the events of Shays’ Rebellion—which might have been because he was in France on diplomatic work at the time," but this seems more of an offhand humorous comment rather than an explanation of his primary argument. Immediately afterwards the author summarizes Jefferson’s opinions far more seriously when he says that "Jefferson argued that a little rebellion from time to time is healthy for a republic."

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