LSAT Reading : Analyzing Humanities Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for LSAT Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #821 : Lsat Reading Comprehension

Passage adapted from John Stuart Mill's On Liberty (1859).

The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else.  The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

It is, perhaps hardly necessary to say that this doctrine is meant to apply only to human beings in the maturity of their faculties. We are not speaking of children, or of young persons below the age which the law may fix as that of manhood or womanhood. Those who are still in a state to require being taken care of by others, must be protected against their own actions as well as well as against external injury. For the same reason, we may leave out of consideration those backward states of society in which the race itself may be considered as in its nonage. The early difficulties in the way of spontaneous progress are so great, that there is seldom any choice of overcoming them; and a ruler full of the spirit of improvement is warranted in the use of any expedients that will attain an end, perhaps otherwise unattainable.  Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end. Liberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion. Until then, there is nothing for them but implicit obedience… But as soon as mankind have attained the capacity of being guided to their own improvement by conviction or persuasion (a period long since reached in all nations with whom we need here concern ourselves), compulsion, either in the direct form or in that of pains and penalties for non-compliance, is no longer admissible as a means to their own good, and justifiable only for the security of others.

What distinction does the author draws between a civilized community and an un-civilized community?

Possible Answers:

Individuals are sovereign in civilized societies, which is not the case in un-civilized societies.

Civilized societies justify any means to obtain liberty, while non-civilized societies are unconcerned with liberty.

Only a civilized society promotoes communal moral good.

Civilized societies use reasoning to promote liberty, while non-civilized societies use despotism to promote liberty.

Correct answer:

Individuals are sovereign in civilized societies, which is not the case in un-civilized societies.

Explanation:

The author notes that the distinction between civilized and un-civilized (barbarian) societies is that individuals are sovereign in civilized societies, which is not the case in un-civilized societies.  This is evidenced by his statement that liberty is the defining factor of a civilized society, in which "the individual is sovereign," but that a despotic government is acceptable in handling barbarians, who are not ready for liberty. Mill notes that promoting physical or moral good is not an acceptable reason to limit liberty, and makes no reference to civilized societies being the only societies to promote communal moral good. The author also notes that liberty in a civilized society should be obtained through persuasion rather than coercion. The final incorrect option indicates that non-civilized societies use despotism to promote liberty. This option is incorrect because Mill, while supporting despotic government for barbarians, does not indicate that despotism promotes liberty (the definition of despotism, which is absolute power, is also the antithesis of liberty). Causing harm in order to promote liberty is fundamentally problematic in a utilitarian moral perspective.

Example Question #301 : Analyzing Humanities Passages

Passage adapted from John Stuart Mill's On Liberty (1859).

The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else.  The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

It is, perhaps hardly necessary to say that this doctrine is meant to apply only to human beings in the maturity of their faculties. We are not speaking of children, or of young persons below the age which the law may fix as that of manhood or womanhood. Those who are still in a state to require being taken care of by others, must be protected against their own actions as well as well as against external injury. For the same reason, we may leave out of consideration those backward states of society in which the race itself may be considered as in its nonage. The early difficulties in the way of spontaneous progress are so great, that there is seldom any choice of overcoming them; and a ruler full of the spirit of improvement is warranted in the use of any expedients that will attain an end, perhaps otherwise unattainable.  Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end. Liberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion. Until then, there is nothing for them but implicit obedience… But as soon as mankind have attained the capacity of being guided to their own improvement by conviction or persuasion (a period long since reached in all nations with whom we need here concern ourselves), compulsion, either in the direct form or in that of pains and penalties for non-compliance, is no longer admissible as a means to their own good, and justifiable only for the security of others.

Which of the following does the author argue is an acceptable form of government for dealing with barbarians?

Possible Answers:

A despotic government 

Government that emphasizes collective security 

Government based on the principle of liberty 

Rule by popular consent 

Correct answer:

A despotic government 

Explanation:

John Stuart Mill notes that "Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end." Since a despotic government is one which emphasizes absolute power by a ruler, both "rule by popular consent" and "government based on the principle of liberty" are incorrect options. The final incorrect answer choice, government that emphasizes collective security, is not mentioned in the passage (the only reference to collective action was "...the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection"). Mill's assertion that despotism is a reasonable response to generalized barbarism is in line with the general utilitarian approach to ethics (that action is moral which produces the most happiness, or least harm, for the largest number of people) he advocated in all of his works, including this passage.

Example Question #823 : Lsat Reading Comprehension

Passage adapted from John Stuart Mill's On Liberty (1859).

The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else.  The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

It is, perhaps hardly necessary to say that this doctrine is meant to apply only to human beings in the maturity of their faculties. We are not speaking of children, or of young persons below the age which the law may fix as that of manhood or womanhood. Those who are still in a state to require being taken care of by others, must be protected against their own actions as well as well as against external injury. For the same reason, we may leave out of consideration those backward states of society in which the race itself may be considered as in its nonage. The early difficulties in the way of spontaneous progress are so great, that there is seldom any choice of overcoming them; and a ruler full of the spirit of improvement is warranted in the use of any expedients that will attain an end, perhaps otherwise unattainable.  Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end. Liberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion. Until then, there is nothing for them but implicit obedience… But as soon as mankind have attained the capacity of being guided to their own improvement by conviction or persuasion (a period long since reached in all nations with whom we need here concern ourselves), compulsion, either in the direct form or in that of pains and penalties for non-compliance, is no longer admissible as a means to their own good, and justifiable only for the security of others.

According to the author, which of the following is a situation in which individual or collective interference with liberty of action is justified? 

Possible Answers:

To prevent harm to others 

To ensure physical or moral good 

To ensure individual happiness 

To promote communal welfare 

Correct answer:

To prevent harm to others 

Explanation:

Mill notes that the only justifiable reason to interfere with liberty of action is to prevent harm to others. The author explicitly states that physical or moral good is not a sufficient reason ("the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number...is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant."). The author also notes that individual happiness is not a sufficient reason to interfere with liberty, and he makes no mention of communal welfare in relation to liberty of action.

Example Question #824 : Lsat Reading Comprehension

Passage adapted from Edgehill: The Battle and Battlefield (1904), by Edwin Walford.

The reign of King Charles I. showed a widening of the difference between the ecclesiastic and puritan elements of the English community—elements which were the centers of the subsequently enlarged sections, royalist and parliamentarian. In the later dissentions between the King and the Commons it was early apparent how widespread had been the alienation of the people from the King’s cause—an alienation heightened, as Green in his “Short History” tells us, by a fear that the spirit of Roman Catholicism, so victorious on the continent, should once more become dominant in England. How great was the tension may be known from the fact of the contemplated emigration to the American colonies of such leaders as Lord Saye and Sele, Lord Warwick, Lord Brooke, and Sir John Hampden and Oliver Cromwell. When the rupture at last came, the Parliament was found to have secured the larger arsenals, and also to have forces at its disposal in the trained bands of London and in the militia, which it was enabled rapidly to enroll. Though the unfurling of the Royal Standard near Nottingham failed to secure many adherents to the King’s cause, Essex hesitated to attack the royalists when they might have been easily dispersed, thinking no doubt to overawe the King by mere show of force. Yet when Charles began recruiting in the neighborhood of Shrewsbury, he was soon able to gather an army, and on October 12th, 1642, he commenced his march upon London. The astute and carefully moderate policy of the Commons was to rescue the King from his surroundings, and to destroy the enemies, especially the foreign enemies, of the State, about the King’s person. The sanctity of the King’s person was yet a prominent factor—the belief in divinity of Kingship, notwithstanding all the misrule there had been, was yet alive in the hearts of the people. Therefore when the King had gathered his forces together and began his Southward march, Lord Essex with his army was commissioned “to march against his Majesties Army and fight with them, and to rescue the persons of the King, Prince and Duke of York.” The Earl of Essex, with the Parliamentarian forces, was at that time in Worcestershire, endeavoring to prevent the recruiting of the King’s troops; and though the Earl moved two days later on by rapid marches into Warwickshire, it was only to find that he had been out-marched by the King, who, after resting at Southam, stood with the Royalist army at Edgcot across the way to the capital. That this had been accomplished, notwithstanding the opposition of the strongholds of Warwick and Coventry, speaks not unfavorably for the generalship of Earl Lindsay, the King’s Lieutenant-General, whom we find at Edgcot contemplating an attack upon Banbury Castle. The King’s was a good position: it commanded all the roads to London, held Banbury in its hand, covered the Cherwell bridge and fords, and had within touch the dominating escarpment of Edge Hill. If the purpose was the subjection of some prominent leaders of the Parliamentarians it succeeded only in the taking of Lord Saye and Sele’s house at Broughton, and of Banbury, and Banbury Castle; in the partial destruction of Lord Spencer’s house at Wormleighton, and in sending a summons to Warwick Castle to surrender.

Based on the information presented in the passage, it can be assumed that the "American colonies" were __________.

Possible Answers:

a producer of important leaders in the Parliamentary cause

a relatively neutral spot in the English Civil War

a Royalist stronghold in the English Civil War

an important location in the English Civil War

a possible safe haven for opponents of King Charles I

Correct answer:

a possible safe haven for opponents of King Charles I

Explanation:

The author only mentions the American colonies one time, suggesting it as a place a number of Parliamentary leaders had considered fleeing to when tension increased during the war. Very little else can be said about the American colonies based on the information provided in the passage.

Example Question #825 : Lsat Reading Comprehension

"Ed Sullivan and all the rest" by William Floyd (2015)

Modern television talk shows center on the host, with the guests as a side dish that still accentuates the main entrée of the funny person at the center of the spectacle. Their forerunners were on television as early as television was in American homes, scene stealers such as Steve Allen and Jack Parr making even the most famous celebrities play inside their world. At the same time, though, one man showed how a television show could highlight a variety of performers, from the remarkable to the mundane and the famous to the unknown. If more television shows operated like “The Ed Sullivan Show,” maybe television would be less ego centric.

Ed Sullivan began his career before World War II as an entertainment and sports reporter, gaining his first significant notoriety as a celebrity maker for his gossip column in the New York Daily News. This influential position led him to be chosen as the host of “The Toast of the Town,” a variety show on CBS, in 1948. He was awkward on camera and made no effort to be a schmoozer or comedian. Despite his awkwardness, Ed Sullivan became a household name, with his show first informally and then officially being known as “The Ed Sullivan Show.” No one cared about watching Sullivan himself, but rather what Sullivan presented to his audience each week. Sullivan was a force behind the scenes, putting together the show that everyone wanted to watch each week.

The genius of Sullivan’s show was that it was truly a variety show. Sullivan made sure to show his audience ballet and opera selections, yet also never shied away from presenting Rock n Roll acts on his prestigious time slot. He was also a key benefactor for a number of young comedians, who would present their usual stand-up routines free of comment in front of a national audience. Naturally, the Beatles were not actually big in America until they had gotten the Sullivan anointment, but many other acts could credit Sullivan with a breakthrough. Considering the time he was on the air, 1948 to 1971, Sullivan made twentieth century American popular culture. With the fragmentation of culture through cable, the internet, and streaming services, no one can ever hope to have the same impact as a man described as having the personality of an Easter Island statue.

As it is used in the final sentence of the passage, it can be inferred that "an Easter Island statue" is __________.

Possible Answers:

a common and unremarkable object

a serious and stern composed monument

a lively and significant piece of art

a modernist and revolutionary sculpture

a worshipped and revered talisman

Correct answer:

a serious and stern composed monument

Explanation:

"An Easter Island statue" is only mentioned at the very end of the passage with little explanation, but it is said that Sullivan, whose is previously described as boring and unappealing, had a similar personality to one. This indicates that they are both well known, making them a large monument, and come off as quite stern and serious to most people.

Example Question #131 : Content Of Humanities Passages

"Europe and the Black Death"

In a series of lectures published after his death, historian David Herlihy theorizes that the Black Death led to the transformation of Western Europe and shaped crucial aspects of modern thinking and behavior. Herlihy’s lectures, written in 1985, draw comparisons to social phenomena associated with more recent epidemics, such as the influenza outbreak of 1919 and the mysterious arrival of AIDS in his own time. However, Herlihy writes that what made the Black Death so historically significant, other than the shocking death toll it levied, was the transformative impact that the plague had on labor markets, agrarian practices, economic innovation, and medical theory.

Herlihy’s lectures take aim at Thomas Malthus’s Iron Law of Population as laid out in his 1798 book titled An Essay on the Principle of Population. The Iron Law states that that population growth is necessarily limited by the available means of subsistence and actual population will be ultimately kept equal to the means of subsistence through catastrophic events. The Black Death, which deprived erstwhile-overpopulated 14th Century Europe of more than 25 million of its residents, became a seminal historical example of a Malthusian population check.

However, Herlihy cautions against characterizing the Black Death as a response to overpopulation in medieval Europe. If that were the case, he asserts, the epidemic would have arrived at the beginning of the century when population growth slowed amidst escalating food prices. Herlihy writes, "The medieval experience shows us not a Malthusian crisis but a stalemate, in the sense that the community was maintaining at stable levels very large numbers over a lengthy period." He posits that the term population deadlock, rather than population crisis, should be used to describe Europe before the epidemics.

According to Herlihy, the arrival of the Black Death to Europe in 1347 broke this deadlock. As a result of crashing populations, trade guilds and landowners went from a labor glut to a labor shortage virtually overnight. The shortage led to innovations in both agriculture and the production of goods. For example, Herlihy theorizes that the invention of the printing press in 1440 occurred in part because the Black Death and successive plagues culled the ranks of scribes needed to transcribe manuscripts by hand. He also argues that the sudden public health crisis bridged the divide between medical theorists and those actually treating patients, resulting in more anatomical research and medical innovation.

Still more profound, Herlihy writes, was the effect the population crash had on longstanding medieval social structures. In addition to forcing agricultural innovation, the plague’s strengthening of the labor market reduced the peasant’s dependence on wealthy landowners. In fact, evidence shows that the labor ranks thinned even more during the outbreak from pessimistic workers who opted to spend their precious remaining time on earth in leisure. Those who continued to work enjoyed greater social mobility, which led to the passage of sumptuary laws by members of the elite desperate to maintain their caste superiority in a waning feudal economic system.

According to the passage, the Black Death led to advances in the field of medicine because ______________.

Possible Answers:

it created a scarcity of healers that drove up wages among those trained in medicine

it offered the medical community an abundance of medical test subjects

it brought the medical community together and turned medical study from a philosophical pursuit to a problem-solving one

it sparked greater public investment in medical research

it introduced a new career opportunity in medicine for upwardly-mobile peasants

Correct answer:

it brought the medical community together and turned medical study from a philosophical pursuit to a problem-solving one

Explanation:

Best answer: "It brought the medical community together and turned medical study from a philosophical pursuit to a problem-solving one" accurately paraphrases the point made at the end of Paragraph 4.

Wrong answers: The passage never draws a link between the wages of medical professionals and innovation; An answer involving upwardly mobile peasants sounds like something Herlihy might argue, but the passage never draws a link between economic diversity in the medical field and innovation; The passage suggests that something other than a lack of funding was stymieing medical innovation; The passage never suggests that a shortage of test subjects limited medical research.

Example Question #61 : Recognizing Details Of Humanities Passages

Passage adapted from James Seth's A Study of Ethical Principles (1898)

Is the true method of ethics the method of science or that of philosophy? Our answer to this question must determine our general view of the ethical problem, and cannot fail to affect the solution which we reach. The characteristic tendency of our time to reduce all thought to the scientific form, and to draw the line sharply between natural or positive science, on the one hand, and metaphysics or philosophical speculation, on the other, has made itself felt in ethics, which is now defined as 'moral science' rather than as 'moral philosophy,' its older designation.

Yet, while we must recognise, in the view that the true method of ethics is scientific rather than philosophic, a return to the older and sounder tradition of ethical thought, it is necessary, in order to determine more precisely the place of ethics among the sciences, to distinguish carefully between two types or groups of sciences, both alike distinguishable from metaphysics or philosophy. The common task of all science is the rationalisation of our judgments, through their organisation into a system of thought: when thus systematised, our judgments are scientifically 'explained.'

But these judgments are of two kinds: judgments of fact and judgments of worth, or judgments of what is and judgments of what ought to be. There are, accordingly, two types of science: first, the type which seeks to organise into a rational system the chaotic mass of our Is-judgments; secondly, the type which seeks to organise into a rational system the no less chaotic mass of our Ought-judgments. The former type of science we may call natural or descriptive; the latter, normative or appreciative. The purpose of the natural or descriptive sciences is the discovery, by reason, of the actual or phenomenal order—the order that characterises 'matters of fact;' the purpose of the normative or appreciative sciences is the discovery, by the same reason, of the ideal order which always transcends and rebukes the actual order.

To the former class—that of the natural or descriptive sciences—belong all the sciences of nature and of man as a natural being. Ethics, on the other hand, is, like logic and aesthetics, a normative or appreciative science–a science of value. These three sciences deal with our critical judgments, as distinguished from our factual judgments; they endeavour to systematise these judgments by deducing them from a common standard of value, a final criterion of appreciation. Our several judgments, so far as they are consistent with one another, about the value of thoughts, of feelings, and of actions, are reducible to a common denominator of truth, of beauty, and of goodness. The discovery of this common denominator of intellectual, of aesthetic, and of moral judgment, and the construction of the system of principles which these judgments, when made coherent and self - consistent, constitute, is the task of the three normative sciences, — logic, aesthetics, and ethics.

So long as the distinction between a natural and a normative science is clearly realised, there is no reason why we should not recognise both a natural science and a normative science of ethics. What we may call the natural history of morality, the genetic study of the moral life (and the moral consciousness), is the presupposition of an intelligent interpretation of its significance, the indispensable preliminary to its reduction to ethical system. The business of such a preliminary investigation is simply to discover the causation of morality, the uniformities of sequence which characterise moral antecedents and consequents as they characterise all other phenomena. But such an investigation of the moral facts, though it is well entitled to the name of science, is only the handmaid of ethics as a normative science, as the effort to determine the meaning or content of the facts.

Which of the following best characterizes the author's views on the relationship between the normative and natural science of ethics?

Possible Answers:

While the natural science of ethics is important to understanding the nature of ethics, it is ancillary to the normative science.

Without a normative investigation, one cannot determine the meaning or end of ethics as a whole.

As ethics is primarily a scientific pursuit, and the natural sciences are prior to the normative ones, ethics is primarily a naturally scientific pursuit.

While perhaps a useful preliminary, normative ethics is at best a subaltern science, and not properly part of the study of ethics strictly considered.

As ethics is primarily a scientific pursuit, and the natural sciences are necessarily prior to the normative ones, the object of ethics is primarily natural with regard to its origin, normative with regard to its end.

Correct answer:

While the natural science of ethics is important to understanding the nature of ethics, it is ancillary to the normative science.

Explanation:

"An investigation of the moral facts, though it is well entitled to the name of science, is only the handmaid of ethics as a normative science, as the effort to determine the meaning or content of the facts." This concluding sentence best indicates the relationship the author views as proper between the natural science of ethics (which investigates moral facts) and the normative science (which determines the content of these facts). Other answers are either not supported by the passage, or do not fully capture the salient points of the author's view.

Example Question #2 : Other Author And Tone Questions

Adapted from Volume 1 of History of Woman Suffrage by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage (1887)

Change is a law of life, and the development of society a natural growth. Although to this law we owe the discoveries of unknown worlds, the inventions of machinery, swifter modes of travel, and clearer ideas as to the value of human life and thought, yet each successive change has met with the most determined opposition. Fortunately, progress is not the result of pre-arranged plans of individuals, but is born of a fortuitous combination of circumstances that compel certain results, overcoming the natural inertia of mankind. There is a certain enjoyment in habitual sluggishness; in rising each morning with the same ideas as the night before; in retiring each night with the thoughts of the morning. This inertia of mind and body has ever held the multitude in chains. Thousands have thus surrendered their most sacred rights of conscience. In all periods of human development, thinking has been punished as a crime, which is reason sufficient to account for the general passive resignation of the masses to their conditions and environments.

Again, "subjection to the powers that be" has been the lesson of both church and state, throttling science, checking invention, crushing free thought, persecuting and torturing those who have dared to speak or act outside of established authority. Anathemas and the stake have upheld the church, banishment and the scaffold the throne, and the freedom of mankind has ever been sacrificed to the idea of protection. So entirely has the human will been enslaved in all classes of society in the past, that monarchs have humbled themselves to popes, nations have knelt at the feet of monarchs, and individuals have sold themselves to others under the subtle promise of "protection"—a word that simply means release from all responsibility, all use of one's own faculties—a word that has ever blinded people to its true significance. Under authority and this false promise of "protection," certain beliefs have been inculcated, certain crimes invented, in order to intimidate the masses. Hence, the church made free thought the worst of sins, and the spirit of inquiry the worst of blasphemies; while the state proclaimed her temporal power of divine origin, and all rebellion high treason alike to God and the king, to be speedily and severely punished. In this union of church and state mankind touched the lowest depth of degradation.

All these influences fell with crushing weight on woman; more sensitive, helpless, and imaginative, she suffered a thousand fears and wrongs where man did one. Lecky, in his "History of Rationalism in Europe," shows that the vast majority of the victims of fanaticism and witchcraft, burned, drowned, and tortured, were women. Society, including our systems of jurisprudence, civil and political theories, trade, commerce, education, religion, friendships, and family life, have all been framed on the sole idea of man's rights. Hence, he takes upon himself the responsibility of directing and controlling the powers of woman, under that all-sufficient excuse of tyranny, "divine right."

The people who demand authority for every thought and action, who look to others for wisdom and protection, are those who perpetuate tyranny. The thinkers and actors who find their authority within, are those who inaugurate freedom. Obedience to outside authority to which woman has everywhere been trained, has not only dwarfed her capacity, but made her a retarding force in civilization, recognized at last by statesmen as a dangerous element to free institutions. Hence, in the scientific education of woman, in the training of her faculties to independent thought and logical reasoning, lies the hope of the future.

Which of these represents the author’s thoughts about the nature of “protection”?

Possible Answers:

It is a concept that has been used by the state, but not by the church. 

None of these

It requires a degree of personal responsibility when it comes to whom you should trust to protect you.

It involves surrendering all responsibility for oneself to someone else, at the expense of personal liberty.

It is a necessary evil for women who wish to make their way in a world that has been so dominated by men.

Correct answer:

It involves surrendering all responsibility for oneself to someone else, at the expense of personal liberty.

Explanation:

This question involves simply reading closely, as the answer is clearly stated. In the middle of the second paragraph, the author declares that protection is “a word that simply means release from all responsibility, all use of one's own faculties—a word that has ever blinded people to its true significance.”

Example Question #61 : Recognizing Details Of Humanities Passages

Passage adapted from Shakespearean Playhouses (1917) by Joseph Quincy Adams.

Before the building of regular playhouses, the itinerant troupes of actors were accustomed, except when received into private homes, to give their performances in any place that chance provided, such as open street-squares, barns, town-halls, moot-courts, schoolhouses, churches, and—most frequently of all, perhaps—the yards of inns. These yards, especially those of carriers' inns, were admirably suited to dramatic representations, consisting as they did of a large open court surrounded by two or more galleries. Many examples of such inn-yards are still to be seen in various parts of England... In the yard a temporary platform—a few boards, it may be, set on barrel-heads—could be erected for a stage; in the adjacent stables a dressing-room could be provided for the actors; the rabble—always the larger and more enthusiastic part of the audience—could be accommodated with standing-room about the stage; while the more aristocratic members of the audience could be comfortably seated in the galleries overhead. Thus a ready-made and very serviceable theatre was always at the command of the players; and it seems to have been frequently made use of from the very beginning of professionalism in acting.

One of the earliest extant moralities, Mankind, acted by strollers in the latter half of the fifteenth century, gives us an interesting glimpse of an inn-yard performance. The opening speech makes distinct reference to the two classes of the audience described above as occupying the galleries and the yard:

"O ye sovereigns that sit, and ye brothers that stand right up."

The "brothers," indeed, seem to have stood up so closely about the stage that the actors had great difficulty in passing to and from their dressing-room. Thus, Nowadays leaves the stage with the request:

“Make space, sirs, let me go out!”

New Gyse enters with the threat:

“Out of my way, sirs, for dread of a beating!”

While Nought, with even less respect, shouts:

“Avaunt, knaves! Let me go by!”

Language such as this would hardly be appropriate if addressed to the "sovereigns" who sat in the galleries above; but, as addressed to the "brothers," it probably served to create a general feeling of good nature. And a feeling of good nature was desirable, for the actors were facing the difficult problem of inducing the audience to pay for its entertainment.

Based on the information in the passage, "moralities" were _______________.

Possible Answers:

actors who specialized in certain kinds of roles in fifteenth century performances

particular performance techniques that highlighted the interaction with the audience

stories that focus more specifically on a particular ethical lesson

performances which could only be held in inn yards

specific kinds of plays popular in the fifteenth century

Correct answer:

specific kinds of plays popular in the fifteenth century

Explanation:

The author mentions "moralities" exactly once, as a way of introducing the play he later quotes from, Mankind. While the author gives no plot summary and never explains directly what a "morality" entailed, it is clear from its use as a chief representative of the theater of the fifteenth century that "moralities" were a specific kind of play and that they had considerable popularity during that time period.

Example Question #1 : Main Idea Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Breckenridge Carnegie (1915)

Our English has changed with the years so that many words now connote more than they did originally. This is true of the word "monotonous." From having but one tone, it has come to mean more broadly, lack of variation.

The monotonous speaker not only drones along in the same volume and pitch of tone, but uses always the same emphasis, the same speed, the same thoughts—or dispenses with thought altogether.

Monotony, the cardinal and most common sin of the public speaker, is not a transgression—it is rather a sin of omission.

Emerson says, "The virtue of art lies in detachment, in sequestering one object from the embarrassing variety." That is just what the monotonous speaker fails to do—he does not detach one thought or phrase from another; they are all expressed in the same manner.

To tell you that your speech is monotonous may mean very little to you, so let us look at the nature—and the curse—of monotony in other spheres of life, then we shall appreciate more fully how it will blight an otherwise good speech.

If the Victrola in the adjoining apartment grinds out just three selections over and over again, it is pretty safe to assume that your neighbor has no other records. If a speaker uses only a few of his powers, it points very plainly to the fact that the rest of his powers are not developed. Monotony reveals our limitations.

In its effect on its victim, monotony is actually deadly—it will drive the bloom from the cheek and the luster from the eye as quickly as sin, and often leads to viciousness. The worst punishment that human ingenuity has ever been able to invent is extreme monotony—solitary confinement. Lay a marble on the table and do nothing eighteen hours of the day but change that marble from one point to another and back again, and you will go insane if you continue long enough.

Which one of the following best encapsulates the author's main point?

Possible Answers:

Anyone working toward becoming a public speaker should focus first on speech writing.

The most problematic issue for any public speaker is being uninteresting and unexciting.

Monotony is a tool that needs to be harnessed for a person to become a truly excellent public speaker.

Public speakers do not often understand what they need to do in order to be capable and effective.

Only people who are naturally gifted public speakers should seriously pursue public speaking.

Correct answer:

The most problematic issue for any public speaker is being uninteresting and unexciting.

Explanation:

The author continually rails against monotony, but comes at it from a variety of different perspectives to show how monotony can affect speaking in a number of ways. With many of these examples, the author comes back to the point that monotony essentially means lack of variation. This makes the author's point essentially that too many public speakers fall into the trap of being uninteresting and unexciting.

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