Directions: The ACT Reading passage below is accompanied by several questions. After reading the passage, choose the best answer to each of the questions. You may refer to the passage as often as necessary.
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The author of the passage would likely agree with all of the following statements EXCEPT:
The old code had an abundance of inefficient and contradictory decrees.
The abundance of turmoil under Napoleon’s rule allowed for the Rights of Man to be adopted.
The National Assembly was both a fount of needless bureaucracy and considered reform.
The compilers of the new code understood the need to appeal to French cultural identity.
Question 1 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). This is an Inference question. In the final sentence of the passage, the author states that “the general pacification of France now permitted a calm consideration.” Earlier in the paragraph, the author outlines the various Rights of Man that were incorporated into the Napoleonic code. It was the LACK of turmoil, not its abundance, which allowed the Rights of Man to be included in the reformed law. Remember, since this is an “EXCEPT” question, look for the choice that is contradicted by specific details from the passage.
The phrase, “warred against” in the first paragraph most nearly means:
Question 2 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). This is a Vocab-in-Context question. In context, the phrase is: “several of them warred against the instincts of the Gallic race.” The pronoun “them” here refers to the “decrees” mentioned earlier in the paragraph. Obviously laws cannot “go to war” so there must be a metaphorical meaning. The “decrees” must not be compatible with the “instincts” and “warred” is revealing an opposite relationship. “Opposed” is the closest in meaning to the original connotation of “warred.”
The primary purpose of this passage is to:
question the efficacy of the pyramidal solidity model.
review the individual Rights of Man utilized in the new code.
praise Napoleon’s unerring political sagacity in reforming French criminal law.
explain the challenges Napoleon faced in codifying French law.
Question 3 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). This is a Main Idea question. The passage begins by describing the “difficulties” of the undertaking, and each paragraph adds to this idea: describing the overabundance of decrees, the French national character, the confusion state of the legal system, and the importance of including the Rights of Man. Each paragraph adds up to a discussion of the challenges of imposing a new legal code.
Why does the author mention Caesar in the second paragraph?
To compare Napoleon to one of his great forebears.
To reveal an aspect of the French character Napoleon utilized.
To describe the foundational characteristics of the Gallic people.
To emphasize the impact Roman law had on the development of the code.
Question 4 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). This is a Function question. The passage mentions how French “pride” was linked with “respect for a resolute champion.” Caesar is used to show just how far back in time this characteristic was evidenced. The next sentence then describes how Napoleon was to be “regulator” and utilized this aspect to great “political sagacity.”
It can be inferred that the author of the passage believed the old code to be flawed because of its:
refusal to adopt the Rights of Man.
strict adherence to feudal customs.
lack of innovation.
Question 5 Explanation:
The correct answer is (A). This is an Inference question. The description “bloated inefficiency” is supported by the description of the state of the old code in the third paragraph. The old code is described as “an inextricable labyrinth” and an “exasperating jungle,” implying a dense, inefficient system.
What is the function of the third paragraph?
Describe the manner in which the law was codified.
Outline the conditions prior to the codification.
Emphasize the Roman and Gallic influences on French law.
Explain the principles of the new code that related to criminal law.
Question 6 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). This is a Function question. The third paragraph begins, “Old French law had been an inextricable labyrinth of laws and customs….” From this we can infer that the purpose of this paragraph is to describe the state of affairs of French law prior to the reform.
The phrase “root and branch destruction of this exasperating jungle” is an example of a:
Question 7 Explanation:
The correct answer is (A). This is an Inference question. The author is describing the old version of French laws as being similar to a dense jungle with roots and branches. When a comparison such as this is made directly, without the use of “as” or “like,” it is a metaphor. The intended meaning here is not literal.
It can be inferred from the passage that a “dictum” is:
a type of law.
a theory of government.
a formal pronouncement.
a deeply-held prejudice.
Question 8 Explanation:
The correct answer is (C). This is an Inference question. The last sentence of the first paragraph quotes a “brief statement.” The next sentence, beginning the second paragraph, refers to the quote as “this dictum.” Therefore a dictum must be something like a “statement” or a “quote.” (C) is the closest match.
What was added to the law in 1790, according to the passage?
Citizens accused of crimes have a right to defend themselves.
Defendants are innocent until proven guilty.
All non-citizens deserve a fair trial.
Punishment should fit the crime.
Question 9 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). This is a Detail question. That year is mentioned in the final paragraph. The passage states “the Assembly added, in 1790, that crimes should be visited only on the guilty individual, not on the family; and that penalties must be proportioned to the offences.” (D) is a restatement of the second clause of this sentence.
It can inferred from the passage that chronologically (from past to present) Gallic law was influenced by:
the Romans, the Assembly, Feudalism.
the Romans, the Monarchy, the Assembly.
Feudalism, the Franks, the Monarchy.
the Franks, Feudalism, the Assembly.
Question 10 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). This is an Inference question. The first paragraph mentions the many “National Assemblies” of the Napoleonic period, so it is safe to assume that is the closest to present-day and should be last in the order. Everything else in the passage was mentioned as a precursor to the Napoleonic codification: Frankish law, Caesar and the Romans, Feudalism, and the “old monarchy.” Since the third paragraph mentions old French law as first influenced by Roman and Frankish laws, and “later undergrowth of royal decrees,” we can infer the Romans were before the monarchy.
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