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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 267, Date : 14-Aug-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Historians have long thought that America was, from the beginning, profoundly influenced by the Lockean notion of liberty, with its strong emphasis on individual rights and self-interest. Yet in his recent book, historian J. G. A. Pocock argues that early American culture was actually rooted in the writings of Machiavelli, not Locke. The implications of this substitution are important: if Pocock’s argument is right, then Americans may not be as deeply individualistic and capitalistic as many believe. Pocock argues that out of the writings of antiquity Machiavelli created a body of political thinking called “classical republicanism.” This body of thought revived the ancient belief that a human being was by nature a citizen who achieved moral fulfillment by participating in a self-governing republic. Liberty was interpreted as a condition that is realized when people are virtuous and are willing to sacrifice their individual interests for the sake of the community. To be completely virtuous, people had to be independent and free of the petty interests of the marketplace. The greatest enemy of virtue was commerce. This classical republican tradition is said by Pocock to have shaped the ideology of America during the eighteenth century. Many events in early American history can be reinterpreted in light of Pocock’s analysis. Jefferson is no longer seen as a progressive reader of Locke leading America into its individualistic future; instead Jefferson is understood as a figure obsessed with virtue and corruption and fearful of new commercial developments. Influenced by Pocock, some historians have even argued that a communitarian and precapitalist mentality was pervasive among the eighteenth-century farmers of America.

Yet Pocock’s thesis and the reinterpretation of the history of eighteenth-century America engendered by it are of dubious validity. If Americans did believe in the ideals of classical virtue that stressed civic duty and made the whole community greater than its discrete parts, then why did the colonists lack a sense of obligation to support the greater good of the British Empire? If indeed America has not always been the society of individual rights and self-interest that it is today, how and when did it be come so? Classical republicanism is elitist, and it certainly had little to offer the important new social groups of artisans and shopkeepers that emerged in America during the eighteenth century. These middle-class radicals, for whom John Wilkes and Thomas Paine were spokesmen, had none of the independence from the market that the landed gentry had. They were less concerned with virtue and community than they were with equality and private rights. They hated political privilege and wanted freedom from an elite-dominated state. In short, the United States was created not in a mood of classical anxiety over virtue and corruption, but in a mood of liberal optimism over individual profits and prosperity.


1. Which of the following best states the author’s main point?

(A) Classical republicanism could not have been the ideological basis of eighteenth-century America.
(B) Classical republicanism is an elitist theory that was rejected by eighteenth-century artisans and shopkeepers.
(C) Pocock understates the importance of the contributions Machiavelli made to the formation of early American culture.
(D) Pocock fails to capture the great extent to which eighteenth-century Americans were committed to a sense of civic duty.
(E) Pocock’s account of Jefferson is incompatible with Jefferson’s commitment to a Lockean notion of liberty.



2. The conception of liberty that, according to Pocock, formed the basis of America’s eighteenth-century ideology is most clearly exhibited by which of the following individuals?

(A) The merchant who rebuilds the damaged sidewalk in front of his store in order to avoid potential lawsuits by customers who might fall there
(B) The professor who allows her students to help her design the content and the format of the courses she teaches
(C) The doctor who bows to government pressure and agrees to treat a small number of low-income patients at no cost
(D) The lawyer who argues that a state law prohibiting smoking in public places unfairly encroaches on the rights of smokers
(E) The engineer whose business suffers as a result of the personal time and energy he devotes to a program to clean up city streets



3. According to the author, eighteenth-century American artisans and shopkeepers had little reason to

(A) support the political efforts of Thomas Jefferson
(B) reject the ideals of classical virtue
(C) embrace the principles of classical republicanism
(D) renounce the political objectives of the British Empire
(E) worry about increasing profits and maintaining general prosperity



4. The author mentions which of the following as a fact that weakens Pocock’s argument about the ideology of eighteenth-century America?

(A) Jefferson’s obsession with virtue and corruption and his fear of commercial development
(B) The precapitalist mentality that was pervasive among farmers in early America
(C) The political decline of artisans and shopkeepers in eighteenth-century America
(D) The colonists’ lack of commitment to support the general welfare of the British Empire
(E) The existence of political privilege in early American society



5. The passage suggests that, if classical republicanism had been the ideology of eighteenth-century America, which of the following would have resulted?

(A) People would have been motivated to open small businesses and expand commercial activity.
(B) Citizens and politicians would not have been encouraged to agitate for increased individual rights.
(C) People would have been convinced that by pursuing their own interests they were contributing to the good of the group.
(D) The political and social privileges enjoyed by the landed gentry would have been destroyed.
(E) A mood of optimism among people over individual profits and prosperity would have been created.



6. The author implies that Pocock’s argument about the ideology of eighteenth-century America would be more plausible if the argument explained which of the following?

(A) How a society that was once committed to the ideals of classical virtue could be transformed into a society of individual rights and self-interest
(B) How Thomas Jefferson could have become obsessed with individual rights and with prosperity and profits
(C) Why classical republicanism had such wide appeal among those who were free from the demands of the marketplace
(D) Why many colonists who embraced classical republicanism were reluctant to place their individual interests above those of Great Britain
(E) Why the landed gentry in eighteenth-century America should have believed that moral fulfillment is achieved by participating in a self-governing republic



7. According to the passage, Pocock’s theory suggests that many eighteenth-century Americans believed that increasing commercial activity would

(A) force the landed gentry to relinquish their vast holdings
(B) enrich the nation and increase individual rights
(C) cause some people to forfeit their liberty and virtue
(D) create a mood of optimism about national prosperity
(E) strengthen the political appeal of middle-class radicals



8. The author is primarily concerned with

(A) refuting a proposed thesis about eighteenth-century America
(B) analyzing a long-established interpretation of American history
(C) criticizing a set of deeply held beliefs about early American ideology
(D) reconciling opposing interpretations of eighteenth-century American ideology
(E) defending a novel reading of the ideology of eighteenth-century America


Originally posted by Bull78 on 30 Sep 2012, 14:38.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 14 Aug 2019, 08:17, edited 1 time in total.
Updated - Complete topic (142).
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New post 12 Oct 2017, 21:45
The author is primarily concerned with
(A) refuting a proposed thesis about eighteenth-century America
(B) analyzing a long-established interpretation of American history
(C) criticizing a set of deeply held beliefs about early American ideology
(D) reconciling opposing interpretations of eighteenth-century American ideology
(E) defending a novel reading of the ideology of eighteenth-century America

Request experts to explain how the OA is A...and why not other options such as B or D
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New post 19 Oct 2017, 20:15
Luckisnoexcuse wrote:
The author is primarily concerned with
(A) refuting a proposed thesis about eighteenth-century America
(B) analyzing a long-established interpretation of American history
(C) criticizing a set of deeply held beliefs about early American ideology
(D) reconciling opposing interpretations of eighteenth-century American ideology
(E) defending a novel reading of the ideology of eighteenth-century America

Request experts to explain how the OA is A...and why not other options such as B or D

The author first introduces the thinking of most historians (first sentence). Then, the author introduces a proposed thesis contrary to the thinking of most historians ("historian J. G. A. Pocock argues that early American culture was actually rooted in the writings of Machiavelli, not Locke.") The author describes how this proposed thesis would change some interpretations of American history, but then, in the second paragraph, the author describes why "Pocock’s thesis and the reinterpretation of the history of eighteenth-century America engendered by it are of dubious validity."

The author presents the proposed thesis only to refute that theory (to show that it is not valid), and this is the main purpose of the passage.
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New post 10 Nov 2017, 14:27
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ShashankDave wrote:
Good read. All except Q5 correct. I can't figure out how C is the answer and B is not. GMATNinja any comments? and also..do you think it's an original GMAT paper test question? If possible, please also suggest where can GMAT paper test questions can be found

Quote:
5. The passage suggests that, if classical republicanism had been the ideology of eighteenth-century America, which of the following would have resulted?
(A) People would have been motivated to open small businesses and expand commercial activity.
(B) Citizens and politicians would not have been encouraged to agitate for increased individual rights.
(C) People would have been convinced that by pursuing their own interests they were contributing to the good of the group.
(D) The political and social privileges enjoyed by the landed gentry would have been destroyed.
(E) A mood of optimism among people over individual profits and prosperity would have been created.

I agree that choice (B) seems defensible. If somebody has access to the source, please verify the OA.

Several questions from the paper tests are discussed in this forum. The paper tests are also available for purchase from the mba.com store.
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New post 11 Apr 2018, 13:59
1
Quote:
GMATNinja please help in explaining Questions 4 and 5.

Quote:
4. The author mentions which of the following as a fact that weakens Pocock’s argument about the ideology of eighteenth-century America?
(A) Jefferson’s obsession with virtue and corruption and his fear of commercial development
(B) The precapitalist mentality that was pervasive among farmers in early America
(C) The political decline of artisans and shopkeepers in eighteenth-century America
(D) The colonists’ lack of commitment to support the general welfare of the British Empire
(E) The existence of political privilege in early American society

Try this one again after reviewing this portion of the passage: "Yet Pocock’s thesis and the reinterpretation of the history of eighteenth-century America engendered by it are of dubious validity. If Americans did believe in the ideals of classical virtue that stressed civic duty and made the whole community greater than its discrete parts, then why did the colonists lack a sense of obligation to support the greater good of the British Empire? If indeed America has not always been the society of individual rights and self-interest that it is today, how and when did it be come so?"

As for question 5, refer to my earlier post: https://gmatclub.com/forum/historians-h ... l#p1959924
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New post 11 Jul 2019, 18:21
1
Tough question. Would be good to clarify the source.

Passage map:
p1: To state a reinterpretation of a long standing belief
P2: To argue that this reinterpretation is not representative of how the US was created
The author is initially quite descriptive, then questions a lot of the arguments given by the authors in question

2 incorrect, sat this untimed

I'm just writing out my analysis for the 2 questions i got wrong.

Question 1
A - I didn't select A, incorrectly I marked it as a Contender, as I didn't really understand how things tied together. But now I see that A is correct. Initially the author states that's Pocock's argument: that he believes the US was "rooted" in "classical republicanism" - M's writings. The author, in the second passage, then argues against Pocock's thesis (that US was uprooted...) stating that it is of "dubious" validity. The author then states what the US is founded upon: "optimism..." (last sentence).
Thus the main idea is encapsulated in A
B is incorrect because this is just not supported. The passage is based on the virtues the US was founded upon
C -- i stupidly selected this as I didn't fully understand the argument. It's incorrect as the argument isn't really concerned with this, it's states pocock's belief then argues against it.
D - is incorrect as this is more the author's view, not pocock's.
E - No- jeferson is briefly mentioned to present how jeferson is reinterpreted in light of P's notion

Question 2
This relies on you understanding of this portion of the passage:
Pocock argues that out of the writings of antiquity Machiavelli created a body of political thinking called “classical republicanism.” This body of thought revived the ancient belief that a human being was by nature a citizen who achieved moral fulfillment by participating in a self-governing republic. Liberty was interpreted as a condition that is realized when people are virtuous and are willing to sacrifice their individual interests for the sake of the community.


Initially, my view of what Pocock is says was murky - i thought the opposite of what he actually intends. "Self-governing republic" is what led me there.
A is incorrect because it is more an example of self-interest
B is incorrect as its not apparent what "self-interest" is being sacrificed
C is incorrect because the individual is forcefully helping the community
D is incorrect for similar reasons to B
E is correct because it shows how one sacrifices self interest for the sake of the community, as defined in the text I captured above.
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New post 12 Aug 2019, 01:26
Can some one help me with que 7. I am unable to identify the location in passage
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New post 16 Aug 2019, 21:06
prags1989 wrote:
Can some one help me with que 7. I am unable to identify the location in passage


" Liberty was interpreted as a condition that is realized when people are virtuous and are willing to sacrifice their individual interests for the sake of the community. To be completely virtuous, people had to be independent and free of the petty interests of the marketplace. The greatest enemy of virtue was commerce."
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New post 16 Aug 2019, 22:47
Can anyone please explain as to why is answer to question 6 is option A?
I think it should be option D.
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New post 16 Aug 2019, 23:01
JasleenKahlon wrote:
Can anyone please explain as to why is answer to question 6 is option A?
I think it should be option D.


In the second paragraph, it is mentioned: "If indeed America has not always been the society of individual rights and self-interest that it is today, how and when did it become so?"

D says the opposite. The Colonists did not support the greater good of the British Empire. This implies that the colonists were not reluctant to place their individual interests above those of Great Britain.
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New post 19 Sep 2019, 19:56
Can anyone please explain question 7?
Thanks in advance :)

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New post 20 Sep 2019, 00:35
Hi GMATNinjaTwo

In question 6 options A and D both represent the thought of the author as to why Pocock's theory was not plausible enough.

If Americans did believe in the ideals of classical virtue that stressed civic duty and made the whole community greater than its discrete parts, then why did the colonists lack a sense of obligation to support the greater good of the British Empire? If indeed America has not always been the society of individual rights and self-interest that it is today, how and when did it be come so?

How is A correct ?
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New post 28 Oct 2019, 19:22

Question 6


Sidmehra wrote:
Hi GMATNinjaTwo

In question 6 options A and D both represent the thought of the author as to why Pocock's theory was not plausible enough.

If Americans did believe in the ideals of classical virtue that stressed civic duty and made the whole community greater than its discrete parts, then why did the colonists lack a sense of obligation to support the greater good of the British Empire? If indeed America has not always been the society of individual rights and self-interest that it is today, how and when did it be come so?

How is A correct ?

Both (A) and (D) relate to information in the passage, but as usual, the exact language of each option has a significant impact on the meaning of the answer choice.

Take another look at (D):
Quote:
(D) Why many colonists who embraced classical republicanism were reluctant to place their individual interests above those of Great Britain

Remember, classical republicans regarded those who "are willing to sacrifice their individual interests for the sake of the community" as virtuous. Would these people be reluctant to place their individual interests above those of Great Britain? Not if they were truly classical republicans!

The author actually demands the answer to the opposite question in the passage: "If Americans did believe in the ideals of classical virtue that stressed civic duty and made the whole community greater than its discrete parts, then why did the colonists lack a sense of obligation to support the greater good of the British Empire?" In other words, why were these colonists not concerned about ditching their classical republican ideals and failing to support Great Britain?

Because the supposedly classical republican colonists were not reluctant to place their individual interests above those of Great Britain, the answer to (D) would not make Pocock's argument more plausible. For this reason, (D) is out.

Compare that with (A):
Quote:
(A) How a society that was once committed to the ideals of classical virtue could be transformed into a society of individual rights and self-interest

In the passage, the author asks "If indeed America has not always been the society of individual rights and self-interest that it is today, how and when did it become so?"

This aligns closely with the language of (A) -- both ask Pocock to explain the America's transformation to a self-interested society if indeed it was a classically republican society in the 18th century. (A) is the correct answer.

Question #7


Parhikrit wrote:
Can anyone please explain question 7?
Thanks in advance :)

Posted from my mobile device

The best way to go about question #7 is to examine the question and then use POE on the answer choices.

To answer the question, we are looking for something that Pocock's theory suggests about 18th century Americans. Pocock believed that American society at this time was shaped by classical republicanism -- so, what would these classically republican Americans believe about increasing commercial activity? Would it:

Quote:
(A) force the landed gentry to relinquish their vast holdings

There is no support in the passage for this answer choice. "Landed gentry" are mentioned near the end of the passage, but nowhere does the author imply that classical republicans believed that increasing commercial activity would somehow force the gentry to give up their land. (A) is out.

Quote:
(B) enrich the nation and increase individual rights

Classical republicans saw commerce as "the greatest enemy of virtue." So, commerce is not seen in a positive light at all, and increasing commercial activity was not seen as a way to "enrich the nation." (B) is out.

Quote:
(C) cause some people to forfeit their liberty and virtue

Here is what the passage says about liberty, virtue, and commerce in the eyes of classical republicans:
Quote:
Liberty was interpreted as a condition that is realized when people are virtuous and are willing to sacrifice their individual interests for the sake of the community. To be completely virtuous, people had to be independent and free of the petty interests of the marketplace. The greatest enemy of virtue was commerce.

So, what would happen with increasing commercial activity?
  • "The greatest enemy of virtue was commerce," so increasing commercial activity would make it more difficult to be virtuous.
  • "Liberty... is realized when people are virtuous," so if it is more difficult to be virtuous, then it is less likely that people would have liberty.

In all, classical republicans believed that increasing commercial activity would decrease the number of people who were virtuous and therefore had liberty. Let's keep (C) for now.

Quote:
(D) create a mood of optimism about national prosperity

Nope. Classical republicans did not support increasing commercial activity, and optimism about national prosperity is mentioned in the last sentence of the passage to describe how Americans were actually not classical republicans. (D) is out.

Quote:
(E) strengthen the political appeal of middle-class radicals

The passage does not imply that classical republicans connected increasing commercial activity with a strengthened appeal of middle class radicals.

(E) is out, and (C) is our answer.

I hope that helps!
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New post 31 Jan 2020, 04:43
Plz explain Q5. Why not B and how could it be c?

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New post 18 Jun 2020, 07:31
Can someone please explain Q5?
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New post 01 Jul 2020, 07:47
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Question 5

jawediqbal94 wrote:
Can someone please explain Q5?


Hello jawediqbal94

I may help you with this; I took 3 minutes to answer this question, and got it right.

I followed Process of elimination

Quote:
5. The passage suggests that, if classical republicanism had been the ideology of eighteenth-century America, which of the following would have resulted?


Quote:
(A) People would have been motivated to open small businesses and expand commercial activity.


This can be easily eliminated because it is out of scope, not at all mentioned in the passage.

Quote:
(B) Citizens and politicians would not have been encouraged to agitate for increased individual rights.


If you have understood second paragraph of the passage, then you would know that middle class have not accepted this ideals so rather they might encouraged to agitate for the increased individual rights. Wrong Eliminate.

Quote:
(C) People would have been convinced that by pursuing their own interests they were contributing to the good of the group.


Excerpt from first paragraph wrote:
Pocock’s argument is right, then Americans may not be as deeply individualistic and capitalistic as many believe. Pocock argues that out of the writings of antiquity Machiavelli created a body of political thinking called “classical republicanism.” This body of thought revived the ancient belief that a human being was by nature a citizen who achieved moral fulfillment by participating in a self-governing republic.


Correct. People achieved moral fulfillment.... So this can not be eliminated

Quote:
(D) The political and social privileges enjoyed by the landed gentry would have been destroyed.


No 180° Opposite answer eliminated

Quote:
(E) A mood of optimism among people over individual profits and prosperity would have been created.


It could have been created among middle class but not among all. Wrong eliminate.
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New post 01 Jul 2020, 19:04
nityakaul02 wrote:
what is the difficulty level of this rc ?


Good question!
According to GMATclub it is 600-700 level, but I feel it is 700 level according to GMAT.

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New post 01 Jul 2020, 20:20
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nityakaul02 wrote:
what is the difficulty level of this rc ?


Question #1: 650
Question #2: 650
Question #3: 600
Question #4: 600
Question #5: 750
Question #6: 650
Question #7: 650
Question #8: 650

Overall: 650
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New post 20 Jul 2020, 09:42
SajjadAhmad wrote:
nityakaul02 wrote:
what is the difficulty level of this rc ?


Question #1: 650
Question #2: 650
Question #3: 600
Question #4: 600
Question #5: 750
Question #6: 650
Question #7: 650
Question #8: 650

Overall: 650


If you have the official explanation for Q5. please could you post it
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New post 02 Aug 2020, 00:21
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5. The passage suggests that, if classical republicanism had been the ideology of eighteenth-century America, which of the following would have resulted?

(A) People would have been motivated to open small businesses and expand commercial activity.
(B) Citizens and politicians would not have been encouraged to agitate for increased individual rights.
(C) People would have been convinced that by pursuing their own interests they were contributing to the good of the group.
(D) The political and social privileges enjoyed by the landed gentry would have been destroyed.
(E) A mood of optimism among people over individual profits and prosperity would have been created.

VeritasKarishma GMATNinja
Kindly refer below lines from the from passage.
Pocock argues that out of the writings of antiquity Machiavelli created a body of political thinking called “classical republicanism.” This body of thought revived the ancient belief that a human being was by nature a citizen who achieved moral fulfillment by participating in a self-governing republic. Liberty was interpreted as a condition that is realized when people are virtuous and are willing to sacrifice their individual interests for the sake of the community.

Option B seems correct and better option than C.
B shows people thinks about self interest first.
Please explain.
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Re: Historians have long thought that America was, from the beginning, pro   [#permalink] 02 Aug 2020, 00:21

Historians have long thought that America was, from the beginning, pro

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