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Reading: History and social studies — How-to Part 2

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Now that we've read this passage, let's see if we can answer the questions. So the first question: The stance Jordan takes in the passage is best described as that of an idealist setting forth principles. Now that seems actually not too bad. She talks about that it's actually the role of the congress to be the inquisitors, the role to kind of impeach the President, but sets up principles when it's appropriate and when it's not. It shouldn't be for petty reasons. It shouldn't be for party reasons. It shouldn't be just because the President, the Congress thinks the President did a bad job. It should be for major offenses, gross crimes and misdemeanors, so that's actually seems pretty good. Let's see these other ones. An advocate seeking a compromised position. There was nothing about this speech that seemed like a compromise. She seemed like she was stating some principles and in a fairly strong way. An observer striving for neutrality. There is an aspect where she kind of says, "Look, this shouldn't be about partisan bickering "or, or, or about pettiness," so there is an element of, and she wants to be solemn so she definitely wants to be neutral in that she wants to take it seriously but she also says, I mean this is her first line, "Today, I am an inquisitor." These are the people who are investigating and might be accusing someone. And she also says, "And I am not going to sit here "and be an idle spectator." That's what an observer is. An observer would be an idle spectator. She's not doing that, she's taking action. She is an inquisitor so I think because she's being so active, I think, and frankly idealist, I think this first A is a better choice. C, you know, I had to think about it for a second but A feels better. A scholar researching a historical controversy. No way, she's in, she's in it right now and she's not a scholar. She's an active participant in the events and it's not a historical event. It's happening as she's speaking. Let's go to the next question. The main rhetorical effect of the series of three phases, of three phrases in lines five through six, the diminution, the subversion, the destruction is to. So this is here, "And I am not going to sit here "and be an idle spectator to the diminution, "the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution." She's not messing around. Convey with increasing intensity the seriousness of the threat Jordan sees to the Constitution. That looks pretty good. She's saying, "I'm not going to sit here "and be an idle spectator to the diminution, "the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution." So that seems like she's, she wants to communicate the intensity, the seriousness that she sees the threat to the Constitution. Clarify that Jordan believes the Constitution was first weakened then sabotaged then broken. No, she's just saying she doesn't want to be the spectator to that happening. She's not saying that it necessarily already, already happened. Indicating, indicate that Jordan thinks the Constitution is prone to failure in three distinct ways. No, no, not at all. In fact, later on, she talks about, I mean she says, "My faith," not later on, actually right before that, "My faith in the Constitution is whole, "it is complete, it is total." So she doesn't think that it is prone to failure. Propose a three-part agenda for rescuing the Constitution from the current crisis. No, she doesn't start breaking off in like, "Step one, do this, step two, do this." So I think it is the increasing intensity, convey with increasing intensity the seriousness of the threat she sees to the Constitution. As used in line 34, "channeled" most nearly means. So line 34, we saw it right over here. "The nature of impeachment, a narrowly channeled exception "to the separation of powers maxim." So a narrowly channeled exception. So impeachment it's this, it's this, is this kind of a very limited exception, narrowly channeled that allows one branch of government to essentially accuse or potentially eventually remove or start the process to remove the President and it's narrowly, it's constrained and so over here, not worn. It's not a, it's not something that's actually done a lot so it's not going to be worn out or anything like that. Sent, a narrowly sent exception, no. A narrowly constrained exception to the separation of the powers. That sounds right. Narrowly siphoned exception to the, no that seems, that seems, that seems strange. She's talking about look, there's a, there's, it's a very, it's a narrowly constrained exception. It's a, to when one branch of government can have a deep, direct impact on another and potentially begin the proceedings to remove or accuse another, in this case, the President. Let's read the next one. In lines 45 to 49, prosecutions, so this is 45 to 49 so it's right here. "Prosecutions of impeachment will seldom fail "to agitate the passions of the whole community, "said Hamilton in the Federalist papers," number 65, "We divide into parties more or less friendly "or inimical to the accused. "I do not mean political parties in that sense." So this is just saying hey look, when you have an impeachment proceeding, people are going to get passionate about it. Some people are going to be sympathetic to the accuser, some people are going to be sympathetic to the accused but it should not be along party lines. So let's see, in lines, what is the most likely reason Jordan draws the distinction between two types of parties? To counter the suggestion that impeachment is or should be about partisan politics. I think that's right. You can have two groups of people, some who are, who are on one side or the other but it should not be along party lines. That's why she says, "I do not mean "political parties in that sense." To disagree with Hamilton's claim that political proceedings excite passions. No, they clearly do. To contend that Hamilton was too timid in his support for the concept of impeachment? No. To argue that impeachment cases are decided more on the basis of politics than on justice. No, and she's actually arguing they need to be. They necessarily need to be based on justice and they need to transcend party politics. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question? So remember the answer to the previous question, we're saying this is where she's starting to say that impeachment should not be, that impeachment should not be about partisan politics. She's countering the suggestion that impeachment should be about partisan politics. So which of these lines give us further evidence? So line 13 to 16, that's up here. That's unlikely to be it because we were already down in the passage and now to get further evidence of that, to go jump up, well let's see. "It is wrong, I suggest it is a misreading "of the Constitution for any member here "to assert that for a member to vote "for an article of impeachment "means that the member must be convinced "that the President should be removed from office." No, that's not saying that this should transcend party lines. Lines 20 to 22, lines 20 to 22. "The division between the two branches "of the legislature, the House and Senate, "assigning to the one to right to accuse "and to the other, the right to judge. "The framers of this Constitution "were very astute." No, this just talks about that hey, the framers of the Constitution, they knew what they were doing by separating, by allowing one branch to accuse and one branch to judge. They're not talking about, she's not talking about party politics here or the need to transcend them. Lines 50 to 53. "The drawing of political lines "goes to the motivation behind impeachment "but impeachment must proceed within the confines "of the Constitutional term, high crimes, and misdemeanors." So this is, this is an interesting one. She's kind of saying look, you know, political lines can help motivate some of the impeachment but impeachment must proceed within the confines of high crimes and misdemeanors. It needs to go beyond so, this one is, this one is interesting. Let's see choice D. Choice D is lines 60 to 63. "Common sense would be revolted "if we engaged upon this process for petty reasons." We actually want to start at Congress though. "Congress has a lot to do, appropriations," so it goes all the way to, so the ones, the lines from Congress to transportation, she's just citing all the things that Congress has to do. If they used, if it was these two lines, "Common sense would be revolted "if we engaged upon this process for petty reasons," that might elude a little bit to, to the notion to transcend party politics but the one, this one right over here, this just lists kind of the other things that Congress has to do that shouldn't get caught up in petty things. Line 50 to 53 directly addresses the notion of political lines and the fact that, or the need for impeachment to proceed within the confines of high crimes and misdemeanors, so to kind of go beyond, that it should not be politically based. So I would go with C.