Directions: The ACT Reading passage below is accompanied by several questions. After reading the passage, choose the best answer to each of the questions. You may refer to the passage as often as necessary.
The quality of almost pyramidal solidity characterizes another great enterprise of the Napoleonic period, the codification of French law. The difficulties of this undertaking consisted mainly in the enormous mass of decrees emanating from the National Assemblies, in political, civil, and criminal affairs. Many of those decrees, the offspring of a momentary enthusiasm, had found a place in the codes of laws which were then compiled; and yet sagacious observers knew that several of them warred against the instincts of the Gallic race. This conviction was summed up in the brief statement of the compilers of the new code, in which they appealed from the ideas of Rousseau to the customs of the past: “New theories are but the maxims of certain individuals: the old maxims represent the sense of centuries.”
There was much force in this dictum. The overthrow of Feudalism and the old monarchy had not permanently altered the French nature. They were still the same joyous, artistic, clan-loving people whom the Latin historians described: and pride in the nation or the family was as closely linked with respect for a resolute champion of national and family interests as in the days of Caesar. Of this Roman or quasi-Gallic reaction Napoleon was to be the regulator; and no sphere of his activities bespeaks his unerring political sagacity more than his sifting of the old and the new in the great code which was afterwards to bear his name.
Old French law had been an inextricable labyrinth of laws and customs, mainly Roman and Frankish in origin, hopelessly tangled by feudal customs, provincial privileges, ecclesiastical rights, and the later undergrowth of royal decrees; and no part of the legislation of the revolutionists met with so little resistance as their root and branch destruction of this exasperating jungle. Their difficulties only began when they endeavored to apply the principles of the Rights of Man to political, civil, and criminal affairs.
The chief of these principles relating to criminal law were that law can only forbid actions that are harmful to society, and must only impose penalties that are strictly necessary. To these epoch-making pronouncements the Assembly added, in 1790, that crimes should be visited only on the guilty individual, not on the family; and that penalties must be proportioned to the offences. The last two of these principles had of late been flagrantly violated; but the general pacification of France now permitted a calm consideration of the whole question of criminal law, and of its application to normal conditions.
The old code had an abundance of inefficient and contradictory decrees.
The abundance of turmoil under Napoleon’s rule allowed for the Rights of Man to be adopted.
The National Assembly was both a fount of needless bureaucracy and considered reform.
The compilers of the new code understood the need to appeal to French cultural identity.
question the efficacy of the pyramidal solidity model.
review the individual Rights of Man utilized in the new code.
praise Napoleon’s unerring political sagacity in reforming French criminal law.
explain the challenges Napoleon faced in codifying French law.
To compare Napoleon to one of his great forebears.
To reveal an aspect of the French character Napoleon utilized.
To describe the foundational characteristics of the Gallic people.
To emphasize the impact Roman law had on the development of the code.
refusal to adopt the Rights of Man.
strict adherence to feudal customs.
lack of innovation.
Describe the manner in which the law was codified.
Outline the conditions prior to the codification.
Emphasize the Roman and Gallic influences on French law.
Explain the principles of the new code that related to criminal law.
a type of law.
a theory of government.
a formal pronouncement.
a deeply-held prejudice.
Citizens accused of crimes have a right to defend themselves.
Defendants are innocent until proven guilty.
All non-citizens deserve a fair trial.
Punishment should fit the crime.
the Romans, the Assembly, Feudalism.
the Romans, the Monarchy, the Assembly.
Feudalism, the Franks, the Monarchy.
the Franks, Feudalism, the Assembly.
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