U.S. History and Politics Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 1 (page 2)

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Updated on Sep 27, 2011


  1. a.   The fact that judicial review can override decisions made by the legislative and executive branches implies that it gives the court great authority.
  2. c.   To maintain the "life" of the Constitution, the court applies its broad provisions to complex new situations (line 11) that arise in current law.
  3. c.   To declare means to make known formally or officially. To proclaimis its synonym, with a slightly different connotation. It implies declaring clearly, forcefully, and authoritatively.
  4. e.   The last sentence offers a view in opposition to the points made earlier in the passage supporting the Supreme Court's power to interpret the Constitution.
  5. c.   According to the passage, the Second Confiscation Act passed by Congress in 1862 provided the desired signal (line 7), encouraging him to pursue his plan of a proclamation.
  6. b.   The speechless (line 14) reaction of Secretaries Seward and Welles implies that they were surprised by the plan and were concerned about its political and military consequences.
  7. e.   One meaning of qualified is fitted by training or experience for a given purpose ("he is qualified for the job"). Another meaning is having complied with specific requirements ("she qualified for the marathon"). In this context, qualified means limited or modified in some way.
  8. a.   The author calls the Emancipation Proclamation the crowning achievement (line 32) of Lincoln's administration.
  9. a.   Lines 14–15 state that political cartoons can serve as a vehicle for swaying public opinion and can contribute to reform.
  10. e.   The consonance in the string of verbs provoke, poke, and persuade in line 3, as well as the verb choice skewering in line 4 expresses a playfulness of tone. The author's description of the cartoon images of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (lines 9–12) also mirrors the playfulness of the art of caricature.
  11. e.   One meaning of vehicle is a way of carrying or transporting something. In this context, vehicle refers to a medium, or the means by which an idea is expressed.
  12. d.   The author cites Thomas Nast's symbols for Tammany Hall and the Democratic and Republican Parties as examples of images that have entered the public consciousness and are still in currency today (line 19).
  13. b.   The passage illustrates several protest strategies used in the civil rights movement. Choices c and e are true statements but are too specific to be the primary focus of the passage. Choices a and d are not described in detail in the passage.
  14. c.   The passage states that Rosa Park's actions and arrest set off a train of events that generated a momentum the civil rights movement had never before experienced (lines 10–12).
  15. e.   One meaning of to test is to apply a test as a means of analysis or diagnosis. In this context, test refers to putting something to a test or challenging something.
  16. d.   The protest at the Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter inspired others. Lines 25–27 state two weeks later similar demonstrations had spread to several cities, within a year similar peaceful demonstrations took place in over a hundred cities North and South.
  17. b.   The passage implies that the 1963 March on Washington was a very successful demonstration: it attracted more than twice the number (line 35) of people than organizers expected and riveted the nation's attention (lines 33–34), drawing attention to the issues that the march promoted.
  18. c.   One meaning of refrain is a regularly recurring verse in a song. In this context, refrain refers to the recurring phrase "I have a dream," that Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. used in his famous speech.
  19. d.   The term second-class citizen is not a legal state of citizenship, rather it is a descriptive term that refers to a condition in which citizens of a nation are denied the rights and privileges that other citizens enjoy.
  20. e.   The passage does not speculate about the future nor does it describe the racial discrimination that occurs today in the United States.

For more practice on U.S. history and politics critical reading questions, review:

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