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GRE阅读真题之OG2 Passage 26

2016-11-23 10:50

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  OG-2

  Passage 26

  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.

  1. The passage suggests that the history of criminal law in early modern England differs from the history of civil law during that same period in that the history of criminal law

  A. is of more intellectual interest to historians and their readers

  B. has been studied more thoroughly by historians

  C. is more relevant to general social history

  D. involves the study of a larger proportion of the population

  E. does not require the mastery of an extremely formal system of procedures

  2. The author of the passage mentions the occupations of those involved in civil litigation in early modern England most likely in order to

  A. suggest that most historians’ assumptions about the participants in the civil legal system during that period are probably correct

  B. support the theory that more people participated in the civil legal system than the criminal legal system in England during that period

  C. counter the claim that legal issues reveal more about a country’s ordinary citizens than about its elite

  D. illustrate the wide range of people who used the civil legal system in England during that period

  E. suggest that recent data on people who participated in early modern England’s legal system may not be correct

  3. The author of the passage suggests which of the following about the “widespread assumption” (line 15)?

  A. 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.

  B. Because it is inaccurate, the history of civil law in early modern England should enrich the general historical scholarship of that period.

  C. It is based on inaccurate data about the propertied male elite of early modern England.

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

  E. It is based on an analogy with criminal law in early modern England.

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