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Lesson II


Subjects to be familiar with:

  1. Ancient Empires of the World
  2. The Rise of Nations
  3. Global Expansion
  4. The Post-Cold War World

In this lesson, you will learn how to:

    1. Find and identify implications

    2. Determine the appropriateness

        of given information

    3. Identify implied causes

Skill Exercise: Finding Hidden Implications

An implication is something that is not clearly stated, but rather hinted at or suggested by what is being clearly stated. Finding an implication is similar to finding the hidden values or assumptions of an author in their text. Before being able to correctly find and identify implications, you must understand the information that has been presented directly. Then, you must think about whether or not there are any other conclusions that can be drawn from the text which the author has not stated overtly. Looking for emotions, attitudes, assumptions, and values can be a good way to find any implications.

Read the following passage and refer to the questions below:

     The language records for the Ancient Egyptian language date back to around 3000 BC. Most people think of Egyptian hieroglyphs when they refer to Egyptian writing. While the oldest known alphabet was created in ancient Egypt, it is uncertain if Egyptians were the first to invent writing and written language via the hieroglyph. As of yet, there is still uncertainty as to why the Egyptians used hieroglyphs instead of letters and words. Contrary to the common misconception that hieroglyphs are simply pictures that represent ideas, they actually represent the sounds of the language and are used for their phonetic value.

Choose one of the following two answers that best indicates the implication of the above passage:

a. The ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphs to represent the phonetic sounds of their language.

b. The use of hieroglyphs in ancient Egyptian culture is an important, though currently misunderstood practice that may provide imperative information about the formation of the alphabet.

Answer: b. The author of the above passage clearly indicates that the use of hieroglyphs was both important and is currently misunderstood. Option (a) is correct, but does not suggest an implication; it is clearly stated information.

Skill Exercise: Deciding on the Appropriateness of Information

Appropriate information is made up of facts and other details that make a conclusion or generalization understandable and believable. The information that supports a conclusion must provide an example, describe a cause, or explain the reasoning behind the conclusion. For example, you cannot simply say: “My father works harder than your father,” without having supporting information to illustrate why this is true. If the information you are given does not do this, then it is probably inappropriate information.

Read the following passage and refer to the questions below:

     The feudalist system of medieval Europe was a system of land in exchange for support. Within this terminology, a vassal or liege, was one who entered into mutual obligations with a lord, or seigneur. This relationship was usually one of military support and mutual protection in exchange for certain guarantees, which came to include the terrain held as a fief.

     The development of the vassal in a society that was increasingly organized around the concept of "lordship” is one that provides us with a clear view of how the early middle ages evolved out of late antiquity. Lordship was the basic social institution of the uprooted Germanic societies. The irreducible unit within these "tribes,” which were in fact often groupings of mixed culture, was based on the loyalty of warriors to their chieftain. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the patrocinium or “clientage” was a similar Roman institution.

Which of the following answers does NOT appropriately support or illustrate the explanation of how the vassal/lord relationship works? 

          1. In medieval European society, the vassal entered into a reciprocal relationship with the lord in 

              which he exchanged military protection for land.

          2. In 5th and 6th century Rome, the patrocinium functioned similarly to the medieval vassal/lord, as a

              relationship of mutual obligation, showing us how feudalism may have evolved out of antiquity.

          3. Many Germanic societies were made up of a variety of different cultures that had been uprooted

              and had to govern themselves through loyalty to their warriors.

Answer: 3. Answer 3 pulls information from the passage that is accurate, but it does not appropriately explain or give an example of the functioning of the vassal/lord relationship. Therefore, 3 is the correct answer because it incorrectly explains the question. This is a good reminder of the importance of reading instructions and making sure that you understand what the question is asking. If, for example, you missed that the question was asking you to find the WRONG answer, you could have wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what was wrong with either Answer #1 or #2. Pay attention!

Skill Exercise: Analyzing the Appropriateness of Information

Read the following chart and choose the answer below that indicates what conclusion can most clearly be drawn from the information provided:

Science and Thinkers

Art and Drama

Socrates (470 B.C. – 399 B.C.): Developed methods of seeking truth and knowledge that formed the basis of modern education.

Hippocrates (460 B.C. – 377 B.C.): Founded medicine by teaching that diseases were not the punishment of the Gods, but rather had natural causes.

Democritus (460 B.C. – 370 B.C.): Developed the idea that the universe is made of tiny particles of matter called “atoms.”

Aeschylus (525 B.C. – 456 B.C.): Wrote the first dramas, which were plays that contained both action and dialogue.

Euripides (484 B.C. – 406 B.C.): Wrote the first dramas that focused on ordinary people and social issues, as opposed to the actions of the Gods.

Myron (480 B.C. – 440 B.C.): Sculpted The Discus Thrower, which is one of the most famous examples of ancient Greek art.

      1.    The greatest thinkers came from Athens.

2.       Euripides was interested in social change.

3.       Hippocrates influenced Democritus’ coining of the term “atom”.

4.        The early Greeks influenced modern science.

5.       Aeschylus inspired Myron’s sculpture.

Answer: 4. This analysis question is asking you to see what information in the chart supports the statements made in the possible answers. The only one that is supported is the idea that the early Greeks influenced modern science, as it states the important scientific contributions of Democritus and Hippocrates.

Implied Causes:

In the last lesson, you learned about the relationship between cause and effect, including the fact that a single effect can have multiple causes and vice versa. Just to refresh your memory, let’s say that you stayed up all night partying before a big exam, and thus failed the exam. This one event would have many effects. You may have to take the exam again, or you may fail the class. If you fail the class, you could jeopardize your chances of graduating, or your parents may ground you, causing you to miss important social events, etc…

Within the framework of history, we see that many causes are implied causes, meaning that they are not directly stated. Writers often assume that the reader has an a priori knowledge of the chronology or significance of major historical events and will therefore not bother to give all of the information required to understand what they are writing about. Another way to imply cause is to give a number of related effects from which you must extrapolate the most likely cause or the cause that is being implied by the author through the effects.

Skill Exercise: Identifying Implied Causes

Read the following passage and then refer to the questions below:  

The “Age of Exploration” was the name for a period from the early 15th century until the early 17th century, during which European ships traveled around the world to search for new trading routes. This time period was rooted in new technologies and ideas that grew out of the Renaissance, including advances in cartography, navigation, and shipbuilding. The most important developments were the inventions of first the carrack and then thecaravel in Iberia. These were a combination of traditional European and Arab designs and were the first ships that could leave the relatively passive Mediterranean and sail safely on the open Atlantic. Pick the answer that best indicates a development that came out of the beginning of the Age of Exploration that had an enormous impact on the rest of the world.

  1. The combination of European and Arab ship designs that made a vessel that could sail on the Atlantic ocean
  2. The establishment of new trading routes

Answer: a. While the establishment of new trading routes definitely affected the rest of the world, the development of an Atlantic-friendly vessel had far-reaching implications and aided in the development of these trading routes. Thus, the development of the ship is the cause that led to the effect of finding new routes and “new” lands.

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