A Mencken Chrestomathy Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What is the chief problem with political theorists?
(a) They have little sense of history.
(b) They are too antagonistic to the current political system.
(c) They hate politics in general.
(d) They attempt to dignify the political order of their day.

2. What was the most damning effect of the Civil War, in regard to the South?
(a) It introduced technology into an innocent and primitive society.
(b) It destroyed the Southern aristocracy.
(c) It replaced religious values with secular ones.
(d) It created the Southern aristocracy.

3. Which politician does Mencken refer to as "a good man in a bad trade"?
(a) William Jennings Bryan.
(b) Abraham Lincoln.
(c) George Washington.
(d) Grover Cleveland.

4. Who is the "ideal citizen of Christendom" according to Chapter 3?
(a) The hapless hero of a female novel.
(b) Young men full of passion.
(c) An emotionally cold woman.
(d) Young men drained of passion.

5. How does Mencken define government?
(a) A dozen men who can't do anything right.
(b) A conspiracy against superior men.
(c) A war on the poor.
(d) A collection of the looniest among us.

Short Answer Questions

1. What kind of men has history been written by, to date?

2. Mencken compares Theodore Roosevelt's political ideas to which other politician's?

3. How does Mencken characterize a woman's level of civility?

4. Which is NOT one of the features Mencken imagines for the Confederacy, had it survived the Civil War?

5. How has Mencken organized his book?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is Mencken's view of monogamy/marriage?

2. In Chapter 1, what comparison does Mencken make between man and animal? Who is "superior"?

3. What is democracy's fundamental flaw? What aspect of human nature motivates democracy?

4. What is the origin of morality according to Mencken?

5. Is morality necessary in Mencken's view? How many people are moral people? Is there a good and evil, or is that a human-created concept?

6. What is Mencken's view of romantic love?

7. Summarize Mencken's appraisal of Abraham Lincoln.

8. Describe Mencken's opinion of George Washington. Why does Mencken admire him? Why doesn't Mencken believe Washington would do well in a contemporary political climate?

9. Summarize Mencken's appraisal of William Jennings Bryan. How is Mencken's opinion related to the Scopes Monkey Trial?

10. Describe Mencken's contention that democracy is a "self-limiting disease." What does he mean by that? Is there any good aspects to democracy?

(see the answer keys)

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