2014年3月16日托福阅读真题+题目+答案：Agricultural Society in Eighteenth-Century British Americ
In the northern American colonies, especially New England, tight-knit farming families, organized in communities of several thousand people, dotted the landscape by the mid-eighteenth century. New Englanders staked their future on a mixed economy. They cleared forests for timber used in barrels, ships, houses, and barns. They plumbed the offshore waters for fish to feed local populations. And they cultivated and grazed as much of the thin-soiled, rocky hills and bottomlands as they could recover from the forest.
The farmers of the middle colonies-Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York-set their wooden plows to much richer soils than New Englanders did. They enjoyed the additional advantage of setting an area already partly cleared by Native Americans who had relied more on agriculture than had New England tribes. Thus favored, mid-Atlantic farm families produced modest surpluses of corn, wheat, beef, and pork. By the mid-eighteenth century, ships from New York and Philadelphia were carrying these foodstuffs not only to the West Indies, always a primary market, but also to areas that could no longer feed themselves-England, Spain, Portugal, and even New England.
In the North, the broad ownership of land distinguished farming society from every other agricultural region of the Western world. Although differences in circumstances and ability led gradually toward greater social stratification, in most communities, the truly rich and terribly poor were few and the gap between them small compared with European society. Most men other than indentured servants (servants contracted to work for a specific number of years) lived to purchase or inherit a farm of at least 50 acres. With their family’s labor, they earned a decent existence and provided a small inheritance for each of their children. Settlers valued land highly, for owning land ordinarily guaranteed both economic independence and political rights.
By the eighteenth century, amid widespread property ownership, a rising population pressed against a limited land supply, especially in New England. Family farms could not be divided and subdivided indefinitely, for it took at least fifty acres(of which only a quarter could usually be cropped) to support a single family. In Concurd, Massachusetts, for example, the founders had worked farms averaging about 250 acres. A century later, in the 1730s, the average farm had shrunk by two thirds, as farm owners struggled to provide an inheritance for the three or four sons that the average marriage produced.
The decreasing fertility of the soil compounded the problem of dwindling farm size in New England. When land had been plentiful, farmers planted crops in the same field for three years and then let it lie fallow (unplanted) in pasture seven years or more until it regained its fertility. But on the smaller farms of the eighteenth century, farmers had reduced fallow time to only a year or two. Such intense use of the soil reduced crop yields, forcing farmers to plow marginal land or shift to livestock production.
The diminishing size and productivity of family farms forced many New Englanders to move to the frontier or out of the area altogether in the eighteen century. "Many of our old towns are too full of inhabitants for husbandry, many of them living on small shares of land, " complained one writer. In Concurd, one of every four adult males migrated from town every decade from the 1740s on, and in many towns migration out was even greater. Some drifted south to New York and Pennsylvania. Others sought opportunities as artisans in the coastal towns or took to the sea. More headed for the colonies, western frontier or north into New Hampshire and the eastern frontier of Maine. Several thousand New England families migrated even farther north to the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. Throughout New England after the early eighteenth century, most farmers' sons knew that their destiny lay elsewhere.
Wherever they took up farming, northern cultivators engaged in agricultural work routines that were far less intense than in the south. The growing season was much shorter, and the cultivation of cereal crops required incessant labor only during spring planting and autumn harvesting. This less burdensome work rhythm let many northern cultivators to fill out their calendars with intermittent work as clockmakers, shoemakers, carpenters, and weavers.
1. Paragraph 1 mentions all of the following as economic activities that eighteenth century New Englanders practiced EXCEPT
A. raising crops
B. catching fish
D. selling timber
2. Paragraph 1 and 2 support all of the following statements about the economies of British colonies in America EXCEPT
A. The middle colonies engaged in international trade.
B. The middle colonies had agricultural advantages the northern colonies did not.
C. The northern colonies participated in a variety of economic enterprises.
D. The middle colonies were less prosperous than the northern colonies.
3. According to paragraph 2, one advantage that farmers in the middle colonies had over farmers in New England was better
C. ways of shipping farm products to market
D. relations with local native American tribes
4. The word “modest” in the passage is closet in meaning to
5. According to paragraph 3 in what way did farming society in the northern colonies differ from farming societies in the rest of the western world
A. The differences between social classes were much greater.
B. People lived much closer together.
C. The proportion of land owners was much higher.
D. Many more families had servants.
6. The word “indefinitely” in the passage is closet in meaning to
C. more than once
D. without limit
7. Why does author include a discussion of "Concurd, Massachusetts"
A. To give an example of the type of inheritance farm owners generally provided for their sons
B. To help explain why the farms started by the founders averaged at least 250 acres
C. To indicate that New England farms were always inherited by the oldest sons from their fathers
D. To help illustrate how limited the overall land supply was in New England
8. The word “compounded” in the passage is closet in meaning to
A. added to
B. resulted from
C. led to
D. occurred before
9. According to paragraph 5, what causes the crop yields in New England to fail
A.The shift to livestock production by many farmers
B.The decreased amount of time that fields were left fallow
C. The practice of planting crops in the same field for three years in a row
D. The reduced size of the average field
10. According to paragraph 6 why did many New Englanders move out of the area in the eighteenth century
A. They wanted to live in towns rather than on farms.
B.Their farms no longer provided them with good living.
C. There was unequal distribution of males and females in New England.
D. They were being crowded out by migrants from outside New England.
11. The word “burdensome” in the passage is closet in meaning to
12. Why does the author include the information about the " intermittent work as clockmakers, shoemakers, carpenters, and weavers" that northern cultivators engaged in?
A. To suggest that northern cultivators were not as skilled at agricultural work as southern cultivators were
B. To indicate an economic effect of the shorter northern growing season on northern cultivators
C.To challenge the claim that work routines in the north were less intense than they were in the south
D. To emphasize that northern workers tried to change their agriculturally centered economy
13. Look at the four squares [■] that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.
Paragraph 6 The diminishing size and productivity of family farms forced many New Englanders to move to the frontier or out of the area altogether in the eighteen century. "Many of our old towns are too full of inhabitants for husbandry, many of them living on small shares of land, " complained one writer. In Concurd, one of every four adult males migrated from town every decade from the 1740s on, and in many towns migration out was even greater. ■Some drifted south to New York and Pennsylvania. ■Others sought opportunities as artisans in the coastal towns or took to the sea. ■More headed for the colonies, western frontier or north into New Hampshire and the eastern frontier of Maine. ■Several thousand New England families migrated even farther north to the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. Throughout New England after the early eighteenth century, most farmers' sons knew that their destiny lay elsewhere.
A third of Northampton's men over 21 years old left, joining the stream of departing New Englanders.
Where would the sentence best fit? Click on a square [■] to add the sentence to the passage.
14. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below.
Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some answer choices do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.
Drag your choices to the spaces where they belong. To review the passage, click on View Text.
In eighteenth century British America agriculture was more productive and profitable in the middle colonies than in New England. ● ● ●
1.By the mid-eighteenth century shipping had become important to the economy of the middle colonies where farmers produced large surpluses of foodstuffs for trade with Europe and elsewhere.
2.The labor provided by indentured servants allowed most New England farmers to raise enough food and livestock to earn a living and leave a comfortable inheritance for their children.
3.Declining farm size forced farmers to greatly reduce the time fields were left fallow, and this more intensive use of relatively poor soil resulted in seriously decreased fertility and lowered crop yields.
4.Land ownership was far more important to New Englanders than to people in the middle colonies because it was necessary for political rights and economic independence only in the North.
5.Land ownership was widespread in the North but a shortage of farmland and the practice of dividing family farms among the sons had left the average farm barely big enough to support a family.
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