MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Practice Test 5

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"To live as our fathers and grandfathers lived will not do. The village resident more and more feels that his life is connected by thousands of invisible threads not only with his fellow villagers, with the nearest rural township, but this connection goes much farther. He dimly perceives that he is a subject of a vast state, and that events taking place far from his place of birth can have a much greater influence on his life than some event in his village." -Petr Koropachinskii, Ufa Provincial Zemstvo Chairman, 1906

When Koropachinskii wrote these words, he viewed the "invisible threads" connecting the villager with the state as a new political consciousness gained primarily through the political mobilization of the 1905 revolution. Salient features of this mobilization, such as political parties, their programs, and a freer press, drew the attention of political actors at the time and, subsequently, of historians of late imperial Russia. We might consider these connections from another perspective, however: that of the state and the "invisible threads" it used to connect with its subjects. Furthermore, many of these connections were not so much invisible threads as paper trails-written documents found in the files of bureaucracies staffed by officials who sought to extend the regime's knowledge about its population.

[One such method,] registration through the state church, presented complications in an empire composed of many religious groups. Not all of the tsar's subjects were Orthodox. What to do about the rest? As Gérard Noiriel has pointed out, the Old Regime in France had faced a similar problem. Registration by Catholic priests left many Jews and Protestants without civil status. In 1792, the revolutionary Republic addressed this situation by secularizing registration and requiring municipal authorities to register all French citizens. This option held little attraction for the Russian state, where an autocrat ruled an empire organized by legal estates. Tsar Nicholas had no interest in creating citizens. As protector of the Orthodox Church, Nicholas I did not desire to eliminate religious registration, either.

Nonetheless, Nicholas I and his officials did seek to identify the tsar's subjects and to include them in the civic order. The tsarist regime attempted to achieve the civic inclusion of the non-Orthodox by insisting that they register with their own religious institutions. Between 1826 and 1837, the tsar decreed that Catholic priests, Muslim imams, Lutheran pastors, and Jewish rabbis must keep metrical registers. These laws did not extend civil status to all religious groups. Religious dissenters known as Old Believers, numbering as much as 10 percent of the empire's population, and animist peoples were notable exceptions. The Orthodox Church claimed Old Believers as part of its flock, but the dissenters had rejected seventeenth-century reforms in the liturgy and generally wanted nothing to do with the Orthodox clergy. Furthermore, the expansion of metrical registration came at the expense of uniformity. Muslim imams did not report estate status. Religious leaders who did not know Russian could maintain the books in their native languages-the imams could use Tatar, for instance. Nonetheless the expansion of metrical books in the 1820s and 1830s represented a major step toward the inclusion of the empire's non-Orthodox residents into legally recognized subjecthood.

[Decades later, under a different regime,] the Great Reform era brought a new governing ethos to the empire, one that changed the role of metrical registration. Reform-minded bureaucrats sought to increase the population's participation in the administration of the empire and to reduce the importance of estate distinctions. The state emancipated the peasantry, introduced a new court system, and allowed elected units of self-administration (zemstvos) a limited role in local affairs. The military service reform of 1874 marked a shift toward the equalization of male subjects in law. Before 1874, military service was an obligation for those of lower status. The military reform of 1874 made males of all estates liable for military service. A universal military obligation, with reduced burdens based on educational achievement, replaced an estate-based system. After the Great Reforms, the autocracy took the first, halting steps toward a more inclusive, less particularistic civic order.

Material used in this particular passage has been adapted from the following source:

C. Steinwedel, "Making Social Groups, One Person at a Time: The Identification of Individuals by Estate, Religious Confession, and Ethnicity in Late Imperial Russia," Documenting Individual Identity: The Development of State Practices in the Modern World. © 2001 by Princeton University Press.

1. Nicholas I's regime ordered inhabitants of Russia to register with their particular religious institutions because:

  • A. the Orthodox Church would have required registrants to convert.
  • B. the tsar did not want to extend civil rights to all people by having the state register them.
  • C. some political parties, such as the Old Believers, rejected the authority of the Catholic Church.
  • D. the military service reform of 1874 had not yet been enacted to equalize the status of the male population.

2. Suppose a Russian peasant in the early 20th century returning home from a day's work first told his wife of rumors from St. Petersburg that the tsar had been deposed and only later mentioned to her, as an afterthought, that the local Orthodox Church had new priest. Based on the information in the passage:

  • A. the peasant's conversation with his wife supports the claim that Old Believers did not value the Orthodox Clergy.
  • B. the tsar's hope of including subjects in the civic order through registration had been fulfilled.
  • C. the peasant is likely part of a minority religious group not recognized by the Orthodox Church.
  • D. the peasant's behavior may strengthen Koropachinskii's assertions in paragraph 1.

3. Which of the following is LEAST supported by the passage?

  • A. Nicholas I's new court system sought to increase the population's participation in the administration of his empire.
  • B. Some residents of Russia were not citizens prior to the reign of Nicholas I.
  • C. Nicholas I had an interest in maintaining the power of the Orthodox Church.
  • D. Not all Russian residents understood the official language.

4. Which of the following events, if it occurred, would most support the author's description of the changes happening in Russian society and politics in the 1870s?

  • A. Old Believers and animists united to oppose registration and were granted independent civil status in 1835.
  • B. A peasant attended university in 1880 and was then elected chairman of the zemstvo.
  • C. A man in early 20th century Russia had a life different from his father's.
  • D. The progress of the so-called Great Reform era was reversed upon Nicholas II's ascent to the throne.

5. The author's discussion of Koropachinskii's assertions most supports which of the following statements?

  • A. The changes Koropachinskii identified were possible only after the advent of political parties and a freer press.
  • B. Religion was less important in people's lives than were the affairs of government.
  • C. Koropachinskii did not believe the threads were actually invisible.
  • D. Part of the chairman's statement may not be entirely accurate.

6. The passage includes discussion of Gérard Noiriel's work in order to do all of the following EXCEPT:

  • A. help place events in Russia in a broader context.
  • B. provide a precedent for the author's analysis of Nicholas I's policies.
  • C. offer one solution Nicholas I declined to pursue.
  • D. illustrate another situation where the Orthodox Church served a majority but not all of the population.