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Practice Test: Reading Comprehension - 73 - Notes | Study 100 RCs for GMAT - GMAT

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Directions: Read the given passage carefully and answer the questions as follows:

Passage

Bernard Bailyn has recently reinterpreted the early history of the United States by applying new social research findings on the experiences of European migrants. In his reinterpretation, migration becomes the organizing principle for rewriting the history of preindustrial North America. His approach rests on four separate propositions.

The first of these asserts that residents of early modern England moved regularly about their countryside; migrating to the New World was simply a “natural spillover.” Although at first the colonies held little positive attraction for the English—they would rather have stayed home—by the eighteenth century people increasingly migrated to America because they regarded it as the land of opportunity. Secondly, Bailyn holds that, contrary to the notion that used to flourish in America history textbooks, there was never a typical New World community. For example, the economic and demographic character of early New England towns varied considerably.

Bailyn’s third proposition suggests two general patterns prevailing among the many thousands of migrants: one group came as indentured servants, another came to acquire land. Surprisingly, Bailyn suggests that those who recruited indentured servants were the driving forces of transatlantic migration. These colonial entrepreneurs helped determine the social character of people who came to preindustrial North America. At first, thousands of unskilled laborers were recruited; by the 1730’s, however, American employers demanded skilled artisans.

Finally, Bailyn argues that the colonies were a half-civilized hinterland of the European culture system. He is undoubtedly correct to insist that the colonies were part of an Anglo-American empire. But to divide the empire into English core and colonial periphery, as Bailyn does, devalues the achievements of colonial culture. It is true, as Bailyn claims, that high culture in the colonies never matched that in England. But what of seventeenth-century New England, where the settlers created effective laws, built a distinguished university, and published books? Bailyn might respond that New England was exceptional. However, the ideas and institutions developed by New England Puritans had powerful effects on North American culture.

Although Bailyn goes on to apply his approach to some thousands of indentured servants who migrated just prior to the revolution, he fails to link their experience with the political development of the United States. Evidence presented in his work suggests how we might make such a connection. These indentured servants were treated as slaves for the period during which they had sold their time to American employers. It is not surprising that as soon as they served their time they passed up good wages in the cities and headed west to ensure their personal independence by acquiring land. Thus, it is in the west that a peculiarly American political culture began, among colonists who were suspicious of authority and intensely anti-aristocratic.

Question for Practice Test: Reading Comprehension - 73
Try yourself:The author of the passage states that Bailyn failed to
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Question for Practice Test: Reading Comprehension - 73
Try yourself:According to the passage, Bailyn and the author agree on which of the following statements about the culture of colonial New England?
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Question for Practice Test: Reading Comprehension - 73
Try yourself:The author of the passage is primarily concerned with
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Question for Practice Test: Reading Comprehension - 73
Try yourself:The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements about Bailyn’s work?
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Question for Practice Test: Reading Comprehension - 73
Try yourself:Which of the following statements about migrants to colonial North America is supported by information in the passage?
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Question for Practice Test: Reading Comprehension - 73
Try yourself:Which of the following best summarizes the author’s evaluation of Bailyn’s fourth proposition?
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Question for Practice Test: Reading Comprehension - 73
Try yourself:According to the passage, which of the following is true of English migrants to the colonies during the eighteenth century?
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Question for Practice Test: Reading Comprehension - 73
Try yourself:It can be inferred from the passage that American history textbooks used to assert that
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