GED Sample Questions: Social Studies Historical Speech Analysis Questions

On the Social Studies portion of the GED, you may be asked to identify information from historical speeches. Here is an example of questions asked about a speech given by a historical figure.

The questions in this article refer to the following passage, which is excerpted from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.

Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.…

  1. The issue of primary importance in this great civil war is

    • (A)happiness and friendship

    • (B)safety and security

    • (C)liberty and equality

    • (D)peace and prosperity

  2. Where was President Lincoln's speech delivered?

    • (A)on a train

    • (B)at the White House

    • (C)on a battlefield

    • (D)on the radio

  3. What does “little note nor long remember” mean?

    • (A)The audience is not taking notes.

    • (B)Lincoln has a bad memory.

    • (C)The soldiers are not there to hear the speech.

    • (D)People around the world will not remember the speech.

  4. According to the address, a portion of the battlefield is used for _____________.

  5. Who has “hallow[ed] this ground”?

    • (A)President Lincoln

    • (B)those who fought there

    • (C)the Confederate government

    • (D)the Union government

  6. What does “four score and seven” probably refer to?

    • (A)soldiers

    • (B)consecration

    • (C)time

    • (D)the war

Answer Key

  1. C. liberty and equality.

    As stated in the first two sentences of the passage, the issues of prime importance in the Civil War were liberty and equality. Happiness and friendship, safety and security, and peace and prosperity aren’t the best answers.

  2. C. on a battlefield.

    You know from the passage that President Lincoln was delivering his speech on a battlefield at Gettysburg. This fact rules out every answer choice except “on a battlefield” and “on the radio” (he could’ve recorded his speech, and it could’ve been broadcasted by radio at the battlefield). However, Lincoln gave this speech in 1863, and radios hadn’t yet been invented.

  3. D. People around the world will not remember the speech.

    Lincoln was saying that the world would remember the soldiers who died but would not remember his speech. (He was wrong, given that the Gettysburg Address is one of the most famous speeches in American history.)

  4. burial ground.

    Some of the battlefield was to become a burial ground for the fallen.

  5. B. those who fought there.

    The ground was hallowed by those who fought there. Lincoln doesn’t believe the people involved in the dedication of the battlefield can make the place holy or important; only the people who fought on the battlefield can do so.

  6. C. time.

    The word years follows four score and seven, so you can assume that phrase relates to time. (By the way, a score is 20 years, so four score and seven is 87 years.)

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