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# In England before 1660, a husband controlled his wife’s property. In

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Updated on: 27 Nov 2017, 07:19
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Source : LSAT PrepTest 26

In England before 1660, a husband controlled his wife’s property. In the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with the shift from land-based to commercial wealth, marriage began to incorporate certain features of a contract. Historian have traditionally argued that this trend represented a gain for women, one that reflects changing views about democracy and property following the English Restoration in 1660. Susan Staves contests this view; she argues that whatever gains marriage contracts may briefly have represented for women were undermined by judicial decisions about women’s contractual rights.

Sifting (to go through especially to sort out what is useful or valuable “sifted the evidence” often used with through “sift through a pile of old letters”) through the tangled details of court cases, Staves demonstrates that, despite surface changes, a rhetoric of equality, and occasional decisions supporting women’s financial power, definitions of men’s and women’s property remained inconsistent—generally to women’s detriment. For example, dower lands (property inherited by wives after their husbands’ deaths) could not be sold, but “curtsey” property (inherited by husbands from their wives) could be sold. Furthermore, comparatively new concepts that developed in conjunction with the marriage contract, such as jointure, pin money (pin money: money given by a man to his wife for her own use), and separate maintenance, were compromised by peculiar rules. For instance, if a woman spent her pin money (money paid by the husband according to the marriage contract for wife’s personal items) on possessions other than clothes she could not sell them; in effect they belonged to her husband. In addition, a wife could sue for pin money only up to a year in arrears—which rendered a suit impractical. Similarly, separate maintenance allowances (stated sums of money for the wife’s support if husband and wife agreed to live apart) were complicated by the fact that if a couple tried to agree in a marriage contract on an amount, they were admitting that a supposedly indissoluble bond could be dissolved, an assumption courts could not recognize. Eighteenth-century historians underplayed these inconsistencies, calling them “little contrarieties” that would soon vanish. Staves shows, however, that as judges gained power over decisions on marriage contracts, they tended to fall back on pre-1660 assumptions about property.

Staves’ work on women’s property has general implications for other studies about women in eighteenth-century England. Staves revised her previous claim that separate maintenance allowances proved the weakening of patriarchy; she now finds that an oversimplification. She also challenges the contention by historians Jeanne and Lawrence Stone that in the late eighteenth century wealthy men married widows less often than before because couples began marring for love rather than for financial reasons. Staves does not completely undermine their contention, but she does counter their assumption that widows had more money than never-married women. She points out that jointure property (a widow’s lifetime use of an amount of money specified in the marriage contract) was often lost on remarriage.

1. Which one of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?

(A) As notions of property and democracy changed in late seventeenth-and eighteenth-century England, marriage settlements began to incorporate contractual features designed to protect women’s property rights.
(B) Traditional historians have incorrectly identified the contractual features that were incorporated into marriage contracts in late seventeenth-and eighteenth-century England.
(C) The incorporation of contractual features into marriage settlements in late seventeen-and eighteenth-century England did not represent a significant gain of women.
(D) An examination of late seventeenth-and eighteenth-century English court cases indicates that most marriage settlements did not incorporate contractual features designed to protect women’s property rights.
(E) Before marriage settlements incorporated contractual features protecting women’s property rights, women were unable to gain any financial power in England.

2. Which one of the following best describes the function of the last paragraph in the context of the passage as a whole?

(A) It suggests that Staves’ recent work has caused significant revision of theories about the rights of women in eighteenth-century England.
(B) It discusses research that may qualify Staves’ work on women’s property in eighteenth-century England.
(C) It provides further support for Staves’ argument by describing more recent research on women’s property in eighteenth-century England.
(D) It asserts that Staves’ recent work has provided support for two other hypotheses developed by historians of eighteenth-century England.
(E) It suggests the implications Staves’ recent research has for other theories about women in eighteenth-century England.

3. The primary purpose of the passage to

(A) compare two explanations for the same phenomenon
(B) summarize research that refutes an argument
(C) resolve a long-standing controversy
(D) suggest that a recent hypothesis should be reevaluated
(E) provide support for a traditional theory

4. According to the passage, Staves’ research has which one of the following effects on the Stones’ contention about marriage in late eighteenth-century England?

(A) Staves’ research undermines one of the Stones’ assumptions but does not effectively invalidate their contention.
(B) Staves’ research refutes that the Stones’ contention by providing additional data overlooked by the Stones.
(C) Staves’ research shows that the Stones’ contention cannot be correct, and that a number of their assumptions are mistaken.
(D) Staves’ research indicates that the Stones’ contention is incorrect because it is based on contradictory data.
(E) Staves’ research qualifies the Stones’ contention by indicating that it is based on accurate out incomplete data.

5. According to the passage, Staves indicates that which one of the following was true of judicial decisions on contractual rights?

(A) Judges frequently misunderstood and misapplied laws regarding married women’s property.
(B) Judges were aware of inconsistencies in laws concerning women’s contractual rights but claimed that such inconsistencies would soon vanish.
(C) Judges’ decisions about marriage contracts tended to reflect assumptions about property that had been common before 1660.
(D) Judges had little influence on the development and application of laws concerning married women’s property.
(E) Judges recognized the patriarchal assumptions underlying laws concerning married women’s property and tried to interpret the laws in ways that would protect women.

6. The passage suggests that the historians mentioned in line 5 would be most likely to agree with which one of the following statements?

(A) The shift from land-based to commercial wealth changed views about property but did not significantly benefit married women until the late eighteenth century.
(B) Despite initial judicial resistance to women’s contractual rights, marriage contracts represented a significant gain for married women.
(C) Although marriage contracts incorporated a series of surface changes and a rhetoric of equality, they did not ultimately benefit married women.
(D) Changing views about property and democracy in post-Restoration England had an effect on property laws that was beneficial to women.
(E) Although contractual rights protecting women’s property represented a small gain for married women, most laws continued to be more beneficial for men than for women.

Originally posted by rs2010 on 03 Apr 2009, 14:49.
Last edited by hazelnut on 27 Nov 2017, 07:19, edited 2 times in total.
Edited the question.
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04 Apr 2009, 16:24
CEBACC (I am not sure about last though A or C).
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04 Apr 2009, 16:25
I have looked more and come to know that answer is E for last one.
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04 Apr 2009, 17:13
16 mins
My take CEBACD

I will post OAs in a while.
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05 Apr 2009, 06:12
Last one went wrong...thanks for posting hemant......it seems I have started improvement at some extent but still need to increase my pace and accuracy across RCs.
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05 Apr 2009, 08:51
my take is CABACD.

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05 Apr 2009, 08:58
patedhav wrote:
Last one went wrong...thanks for posting hemant......it seems I have started improvement at some extent but still need to increase my pace and accuracy across RCs.

I have looked and find where I made mistake in last one....I though from Stave's point of view but question was about historian's view.
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15 Apr 2009, 21:23
rampuria wrote:
Can someone explain 2

Look at the first line of the 3rd paragraph.
"Staves’ work on women’s property has general implications for other studies about women in eighteenth-century England."
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12 Jan 2013, 13:11
Which one of the following most accurately describes the organization of the last paragraph?
(A) One explanation is criticized and different explanation is proposed.
(B) An argument is advanced and then refuted by means of an opposing argument.

Kindly help me understand what Option (B) means.

Also help me with this passage.
Refer to the passage above...

Which one of the following best describes the function of the last paragraph in the context of the passage as a whole?
(A) It suggests that Staves’ recent work has caused significant revision of theories about the rights of women in eighteenth-century England.
(B) It discusses research that may qualify Staves’ work on women’s property in eighteenth-century England.
(C) It provides further support for Staves’ argument by describing more recent research on women’s property in eighteenth-century England.
(D) It asserts that Staves’ recent work has provided support for two other hypotheses developed by historians of eighteenth-century England.
(E) It suggests the implications Staves’ recent research has for other theories about women in eighteenth-century England.
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14 Jan 2013, 22:13
Hi nilaysinha,

Will try to help u in this.
Pls correct me if i go wrong!

Last Paragraph explains about Staves’ work and she opposes historians Jeanne and Lawrence views.

Which one of the following most accurately describes the organization of the last paragraph? (This question is based on info only in Last paragraph)
(A) One explanation is criticized and different explanation is proposed.
There is no different explanation in the last paragraph (She refutes historians view)
(B) An argument is advanced and then refuted by means of an opposing argument.
This seems to be correct here (she refutes historians view)

Which one of the following best describes the function of the last paragraph in the context of the passage as a whole? (This is Last paragraph as a whole)
(A) It suggests that Staves’ recent work has caused significant revision of theories about the rights of women in eighteenth-century England.
(B) It discusses research that may qualify Staves’ work on women’s property in eighteenth-century England.
(C) It provides further support for Staves’ argument by describing more recent research on women’s property in eighteenth-century England.
This seems to correct IMO (She explains further on her point by refutes historians)
(D) It asserts that Staves’ recent work has provided support for two other hypotheses developed by historians of eighteenth-century England.
(E) It suggests the implications Staves’ recent research has for other theories about women in eighteenth-century England.[/quote]
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Re: In England before 1660, a husband controlled his wife’s property. In  [#permalink]

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16 Jan 2013, 00:38
1
Hi nilaysinha,

I suggest that you practice LSAT questions only if you have exhausted all the official and practice GMAT questions. I see that your test date is 31st Jan, you would be better off practicing GMAT type RC questions. LSAT RC is not representative of GMAT questions;It is a rare possibility that you will get a passage like this on GMAT.

Which one of the following most accurately describes the organization of the last paragraph?
(A) One explanation is criticized and different explanation is proposed.

Incorrect – irrelevant choice, nothing is being criticized “she challenges, not criticizes” and no new explanation is proposed

(B) An argument is advanced and then refuted by means of an opposing argument.

In context to the given passage both of these options are incorrect. In choice (B) Staves has advanced an argument – “She also challenges the contention” ; however she is not refuting this argument, just lowering the intensity of contention ” does not completely undermine their contention”

Kindly help me understand what Option (B) means.

Try to figure out what the terms "argument" and "opposing argument" are referring to, and then relate them as per answer choice. If it makes sense then you got the correct answer. If not then POE and move to the next choice.

23. Which one of the following best describes the function of the last paragraph in the context of the passage as a whole?
(A) It suggests that Staves’ recent work has caused significant revision of theories about the rights of women in eighteenth-century England.

Incorrect, careful of the word significant, passage has just mentioned revision.

(B) It discusses research that may qualify Staves’ work on women’s property in eighteenth-century England.

Incorrect, tough one though; it merely tells Staves’ challenge to the contention of historians; it does not discuss any research that could “quality” Staves’ work

(C) It provides further support for Staves’ argument by describing more recent research on women’s property in eighteenth-century England.

– Incorrect, although Staves revised her previous claims, she did not provide any recent research

(D) It asserts that Staves’ recent work has provided support for two other hypotheses developed by historians of eighteenth-century England.

Incorrect, no discussion on two hypotheses -- irrelevant

(E) It suggests the implications Staves’ recent research has for other theories about women in eighteenth-century England.

– Correct, pretty clear from the very first sentence. In fact it is a restatement of the first sentence of the last paragraph.
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Re: In England before 1660, a husband controlled his wife’s property. In  [#permalink]

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22 May 2015, 09:36
Quote:
Q. 25. According to the passage, Staves’ research has which one of the following effects on the Stones’ contention about marriage in late eighteenth-century England?
(A) Staves’ research undermines one of the Stones’ assumptions but does not effectively invalidate their contention.
(B) Staves’ research refutes that the Stones’ contention by providing additional data overlooked by the Stones.
(C) Staves’ research shows that the Stones’ contention cannot be correct, and that a number of their assumptions are mistaken.
(D) Staves’ research indicates that the Stones’ contention is incorrect because it is based on contradictory data.
(E) Staves’ research qualifies the Stones’ contention by indicating that it is based on accurate out incomplete data.

In the last paragraph, the passage clearly states that "Staves does not completely undermine their contention, but she does counter their assumption that widows had more money than never-married women." Which, to me, means that Staves negated the Stones' assumption (by virtue of her countering their assumption).

Therefore, the answer should NOT be (A) unless it is the best of the available options.

Took me 15m 05s for 5/6 correct answers. Good to know that this a LSAT question - I have never encountered such a passage while practicing Mock CATs and OG questions.
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28 Nov 2017, 10:03
Time taken around 13 minutes ... all correct!!
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Re: In England before 1660, a husband controlled his wife’s property. In  [#permalink]

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04 Nov 2018, 22:22
NOTE - LSAT passages are lengthy and complex ,and the corresponding questions are easy. This quirk is not what GMAC practices. GMAT is more like standard (not too complex) passage with HARD questions. But LSATs are good for complex practice , as in for main point and para functions.

anyways -

In England before 1660, a husband controlled his wife’s property. In the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with the shift from land-based to commercial wealth, marriage began to incorporate certain features of a contract. Historian have traditionally argued that this trend represented a gain for women, one that reflects changing views about democracy and property following the English Restoration in 1660. Susan Staves contests this view; she argues that whatever gains marriage contracts may briefly have represented for women were undermined by judicial decisions about women’s contractual rights.

( historians claim - significant positive effect on women
Stave's claim - Not really. Infact it undermined even more)

Sifting (to go through especially to sort out what is useful or valuable “sifted the evidence” often used with through “sift through a pile of old letters”) through the tangled details of court cases, Staves demonstrates that, despite surface changes, a rhetoric of equality, and occasional decisions supporting women’s financial power, definitions of men’s and women’s property remained inconsistent—generally to women’s detriment. For example, dower lands (property inherited by wives after their husbands’ deaths) could not be sold, but “curtsey” property (inherited by husbands from their wives) could be sold. Furthermore, comparatively new concepts that developed in conjunction with the marriage contract, such as jointure, pin money (pin money: money given by a man to his wife for her own use), and separate maintenance, were compromised by peculiar rules. For instance, if a woman spent her pin money (money paid by the husband according to the marriage contract for wife’s personal items) on possessions other than clothes she could not sell them; in effect they belonged to her husband. In addition, a wife could sue for pin money only up to a year in arrears—which rendered a suit impractical. Similarly, separate maintenance allowances (stated sums of money for the wife’s support if husband and wife agreed to live apart) were complicated by the fact that if a couple tried to agree in a marriage contract on an amount, they were admitting that a supposedly indissoluble bond could be dissolved, an assumption courts could not recognize. Eighteenth-century historians underplayed these inconsistencies, calling them “little contrarieties” that would soon vanish. Staves shows, however, that as judges gained power over decisions on marriage contracts, they tended to fall back on pre-1660 assumptions about property.

(summary - explanation for stave's claim. contentions by stave ...
function of 2nd para - furthering the opposing claim made by stave in 1st para)

Staves’ work on women’s property has general implications for other studies about women in eighteenth-century England. Staves revised her previous claim that separate maintenance allowances proved the weakening of patriarchy; she now finds that an oversimplification. She also challenges the contention by historians Jeanne and Lawrence Stone that in the late eighteenth century wealthy men married widows less often than before because couples began marring for love rather than for financial reasons. Staves does not completely undermine their contention, but she does counter their assumption that widows had more money than never-married women. She points out that jointure property (a widow’s lifetime use of an amount of money specified in the marriage contract) was often lost on remarriage.

( summary - the first sentence of the last para is basically the main idea of last para... rest all that follows is a derivation of the main claim in last para.... implications stave;s work on other studies
function - providing further implications of stave's work )

1. Which one of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?

(A) As notions of property and democracy changed in late seventeenth-and eighteenth-century England, marriage settlements began to incorporate contractual features designed to protect women’s property rights.- Seriously??? just the first line?? WRONGGGGG

B) Traditional historians have incorrectly identified the contractual features that were incorporated into marriage contracts in late seventeenth-and eighteenth-century England.- incorrectly indentified the features?? NO ... they overestimated the effect of features. Plus this is so narow...SOOOO WRONG

(C) The incorporation of contractual features into marriage settlements in late seventeen-and eighteenth-century England did not represent a significant gain of women.- CORRECT - the main claim made by stave which is supported in para 2.

(D) An examination of late seventeenth-and eighteenth-century English court cases indicates that most marriage settlements did not incorporate contractual features designed to protect women’s property rights.- This is in second para whose function is to support the MAIN claim made by stave... SOOO WRONG.

(E) Before marriage settlements incorporated contractual features protecting women’s property rights, women were unable to gain any financial power in England. - Talks about time before the implementation of contarctual features.. SOOOOO WRONG

you can feel the difference between GMAT and LSAT... a GMAT question has answer choices too close and are annoyingly hard to eliminate...
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21 Dec 2018, 18:23
when being asked about "the main idea" about one certain paragraph, am I suppose try to find it on the head of that paragraph?
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21 Dec 2018, 21:30
I want to talk about the difference between lsat and gmat passages.

lsat passages are more difficult to understand and normally are longer. but the questions of lsat are more easy to answer . normally, we can prethink an answer and then find a match among answer choices. we do not need to do POE ( power of elimination)

gmat passage are more easy to understand and shorter. but the questions of gmat are harder. prethinking dose not help a lot in answering the questions. we must do POE. POE is powerful but time consuming and requires higher level of inferring or generalizing information in the passage.

so, if you want to practice reading for main ideas and structure, take lsat passages. but remember, the key for success on RC is high level of inferring and POE, and so, you have to take gmat passages for practicing inferring and POE.

you can read hard passages and understand them well. but if you can not infer an answering information from the information in the passage, you fail. remember to take gmat passages to practice POE.

so, we have 2 main jobs, reading for understanding passage structure and inferring and do POE for answering the hard questions

native speakers will not realize these 2 jobs. after a few months of practicing, they can master 2 jobs naturally. we, the non native, need to distinghish these 2 job to practice them separately to master both of them. for non native , mastering both of 2 skills takes longer time, requires conscious practice and require separate practices. only with this kind of consciousness and practices, the non native can master both skills.

so, never say that lsat passages are harder. but say that gmat questions are harder.
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21 Dec 2018, 21:33
for easy question, prethinking is enough. for hard questions, doing POE is nessessary. I already talk about prethinking and POE. you can see my old posting a few postings far from this posting to know about prethinking and POE.
Re: In England before 1660, a husband controlled his wife’s property. In   [#permalink] 21 Dec 2018, 21:33
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