Source: Revised GRE PDF 2nd Ed. Section 3; #11 (p. 54)

3

The author of the passage suggests

Historian F. W. Maitland observed that legal documents are the best—indeed, often the only—available evidence about the economic and social history of a given period. Why, then, has it taken so long for historians to focus systematically on the civil (noncriminal) law of early modern (sixteenth- to eighteenth-century) England? Maitland offered one reason: the subject requires researchers to “master an extremely formal system of pleading and procedure.” Yet the complexities that confront those who would study such materials are not wholly different from those recently surmounted by historians of criminal law in England during the same period. Another possible explanation for historians’ neglect of the subject is their widespread assumption that most people in early modern England had little contact with civil law. If that were so, the history of legal matters would be of little relevance to general historical scholarship. But recent research suggests that civil litigation during the period involved artisans, merchants, professionals, shopkeepers, and farmers, and not merely a narrow, propertied, male elite. Moreover, the later sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries saw an extraordinary explosion in civil litigation by both women and men, making this the most litigious era in English history on a per capita basis. The author of the passage suggests which of the following about the “widespread assumption” (line 15)? Because it is true, the history of civil law is of as much interest to historians focusing on general social history as to those specializing in legal history., Because it is inaccurate, the history of civil law in early modern England should enrich the general historical scholarship of that period.. It is based on inaccurate data about the propertied male elite of early modern England., It does not provide a plausible explanation for historians’ failure to study the civil law of early modern England., It is based on an analogy with criminal law in early modern England.

3 Explanations

1

Annie Wang

I didn't choose (B) b/c I thought it was too strongly worded. Is this not the case?

Dec 8, 2017 • Comment

Sam Kinsman, Magoosh Tutor

Answer choice B uses "inaccurate," which is justified. The author of the passage disagrees with the "widespread assumption" - he or she is saying that this assumption is not true. Therefore, it's OK to say that it is "inaccurate."

Dec 26, 2017 • Reply

1

Bilal Farooq

What question type is this? Is it a detail question?

Oct 7, 2016 • Comment

Cydney Seigerman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Bilal :) We can label this an inference question, since we're being asked about what the passage suggests or implies. For more on these types of RC questions, check out this post from our GRE blog :)

http://magoosh.com/gre/2014/inferences-questions-in-gre-reading-comprehension/

Hope this helps!

Oct 8, 2016 • Reply

3

Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Sep 21, 2012 • Comment

Xu Peining

Why not answer D?

Sep 16, 2015 • Reply

Adam

Hi Xu,

(D) states: It does not provide a plausible explanation for historians’ failure to study the civil law of early modern England

The problem with this is that the author of the passage refers to the "widespread assumption" precisely as one plausible explanation for the historians' failure...:

"Another possible explanation for historians' neglect of the subject is their widespread assumption that most people in early modern England had little contact with civil law."

So, (D) is actually the opposite of what is supported by the text.

Nov 4, 2015 • Reply

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