SSAT Upper Level Reading : Making Inferences in Argumentative Humanities Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SSAT Upper Level Reading

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Example Questions

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Example Question #143 : Argumentative Humanities Passages

Passage adapted from the "Man In The Arena" speech given by Theodore Roosevelt (1910)

Today I shall speak to you on the subject of individual citizenship, the one subject of vital importance to you, my hearers, and to me and my countrymen, because you and we a great citizens of great democratic republics. A democratic republic such as ours - an effort to realize its full sense government by, of, and for the people - represents the most gigantic of all possible social experiments, the one fraught with great responsibilities alike for good and evil. The success or republics like yours and like ours means the glory, and our failure of despair, of mankind; and for you and for us the question of the quality of the individual citizen is supreme. Under other forms of government, under the rule of one man or very few men, the quality of the leaders is all-important. If, under such governments, the quality of the rulers is high enough, then the nations for generations lead a brilliant career, and add substantially to the sum of world achievement, no matter how low the quality of average citizen; because the average citizen is an almost negligible quantity in working out the final results of that type of national greatness. But with you and us the case is different. With you here, and with us in my own home, in the long run, success or failure will be conditioned upon the way in which the average man, the average women, does his or her duty, first in the ordinary, every-day affairs of life, and next in those great occasional cries which call for heroic virtues. The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed. The stream will not permanently rise higher than the main source; and the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation. Therefore it behooves us to do our best to see that the standard of the average citizen is kept high; and the average cannot be kept high unless the standard of the leaders is very much higher.

It can be inferred from the passage that Roosevelt ________________.

Possible Answers:

was campaigning for the office of President of the United States

was responding to specific criticisms of his leadership style

was giving a Commencement address to a group of college graduates

was offering a specific plan to improve the lives of average Americans

was speaking to an audience of average American citizens

Correct answer:

was speaking to an audience of average American citizens


Roosevelt refers to his audience as "my countrymen" and focuses his speech on the role the "average citizen" plays in American democracy, so it seems pretty obvious that he assumes he is speaking to an audience of everyday, specifically American citizens. None of the other answers are specifically supported in the text.

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