This is an explanation for passage 4 of LSAT Preptest 74, the December 2014 LSAT. This passage is about Garcia’s work regarding Mexican American activists. The author believes that several aspects of Garcia’s work are incorrect.
This section has paragraph summaries and an analysis of the passage, links to the explanations for the questions are below.
- Garcia argues that earlier Mexican American activists were more diverse and radical than previously thought. But Garcia’s work is flawed.
- Oddly, Garcia argues that the diverse groups had much consensus. This is wrong.
- It’s unclear how representative Mexican American political leaders were of the Mexican American population as a whole.
This is one of the most complex reading comprehension passages I’ve ever seen. Trust me, everything in this essay makes sense and has real meaning – the LSAT doesn’t use vague nonsense language. But though this passage has real meaning, it’s hard nonetheless. I’m going to summarize and simplify it.
- Mexican American activists from 1930-60 were diverse.
- These early activists were more radical than believed.
- There was consensus in the Mexican American activist community (paragraph 2)
- The activists were representative of the Mexican American population. (Paragraph 3)
The author of the passage agrees with the first two points. They think Garcia is wrong on the third and fourth points.
The author believes that there was no Mexican-American consensus
In the second paragraph, the author argues that Garcia is inconsistent. Garcia argues that there was a consensus among Mexican American activists. This contrasts with Garcia’s view that the movement had great diversity.
The second paragraph describes two different groups: the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Congress of Spanish-Speaking People.
The first group thoughts Mexican Americans should assimilate. The second group wanted separate cultures and bilingual schooling.
Garcia argued that both groups were united in favor of liberal reform. But the author points out that there were intense debates within the Mexican American community, and therefore no real consensus. (See lines 30-36)
So to sum up the second paragraph: Garcia’s views on diversity and consensus are inconsistent, and also incorrect, as there was no real consensus.
We don’t know what the Mexican-American population believed
The third paragraph is more complex. In this paragraph, we see Garcia’s view that the Mexican American activists were representative of the Mexican American population at the time. That is to say that Garcia believes the Mexican American population was just as radical as its representatives.
To support this, Garcia noted that the leaders had increasingly grown up in American culture, and had absorbed the liberal slogans of World War II.
The author says that this evidence about the leaders tells us anything about the population as a whole. Garcia’s only evidence is that the proportion of Mexican Americans born in America had increased. That is to say, a greater percentage of Mexican Americans were born in the United States.
In lines 53-60, the author essentially says that the issue is complicated. There are a bunch of factors at work, and we don’t know how they affected the attitudes of ordinary Mexican Americans. We can’t automatically assume that the attitudes of Mexican American leaders were shared by the people.
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