Industrialization

Thu 12 Mar 2015


In the early 1800’s, over 80 percent of the United States labor force was engaged in agriculture. Sophisticated technology and machinery were virtually nonexistent. People who lived in the cities and were not directly involved in trade often participated in small cottage industries making handcrafted goods. Others cured meats, silversmiths, candle or otherwise produced needed goods and commodities. Blacksmiths, silversmiths, candle makers, and other artisans worked in their homes or barns, relying on help of family.

Perhaps no single phenomenon brought more widespread and lasting change to the United States society than the rise of industrialization. Industrial growth hinged on several economic factors. First, industry requires an abundance of natural resources, especially coal, iron ore, water, petroleum, and timber-all readily available on the North American continent. Second, factories demand a large labor supply. Between the 1870’s and the First World War (1914-1918), approximately 23 million immigrants streamed to the United States, settled in cities, and went to work in factories and mines. They also helped build the vast network of canals and railroads that crisscrossed the continent and linked important trade centers essential to industrial growth.

Factories also offered a reprieve from the backbreaking work and financial unpredictability associated with farming. Many adults, poor and disillusioned with farm life, were lured to the cities by promises of steady employment, regular paychecks, increased access to goods and services, and expanded social opportunities. Others were pushed there when new technologies made their labor cheap or expendable; inventions such as steel plows and mechanized harvesters allowed one farmhand to perform work that previously had required several, thus making farming capital-intensive rather than labor-intensive.

The United States economy underwent a massive transition and the nature of work was permanently altered. Whereas cottage industries relied on a few highly skilled craft workers who slowly and carefully converted raw materials into finished products from start to finish, factories relied on specialization. While factory work was less creative and more monotonous, it was also more efficient and allowed mass production of goods at less expense.

Questions:

1.What aspect of life in the United States does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) The transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy
(B) The inventions that transformed life in the nineteenth century
(C) The problems associated with the earliest factories
(D) The difficulty of farm life in the nineteenth century

2. Blacksmiths, silversmiths, and candle makers are mentioned in lines 5-6 as examples of artisans who
(A) maintained their businesses at home
(B) were eventually able to use sophisticated technology
(C) produced unusual goods and commodities
(D) would employ only family members

3. The phrase “hinged on” in line 9 is closest in meaning to
(A) recovered from        

(B) depended on
(C) started on
(D) contributed to

4. Which of the following is mentioned in the passage as a reason for the industrial growth that occurred in the United States before 1914?
(A)The availability of natural resources found only in the United States
(B) The decrease in number of farms resulting from technological advances
(C) The replacement of canals and railroads by other forms of transportation
(D) The availability of a large immigrant work force

5. The word “lured” in line 19 is closest in meaning to
(A) attracted    
(B) assigned    
(C) restricted    
(D) attached

6. The word “Others” in line 20 refers to other
(A) adults        
(B) promises
(C) goods and services        
(D) social opportunities

7.The word “expendable” in line 21 is closest in meaning to
(A) nonproductive  
(B) unacceptable    
(C) nonessential    
(D) unprofitable

8. It can be inferred from the passage that industrialization affected farming in that industrialization
(A) increased the price of farm products
(B) limited the need for new farm machinery
(C) created new and interesting jobs on farms
(D) reduced the number of people willing to do farm work

9.What does the author mean when stating that certain inventions made farming “capital-intensive rather than labor-intensive” (lines 23-24)?
(A) Workers had to be trained to operate the new machines.
(B) Mechanized farming required more capital and fewer laborers.
(C) The new inventions were not helpful for all farming activities.
(D) Human labor could still accomplish as much work as the first machines.

10. According to the passage, factory workers differed from craft workers in that factory workers
(A) were required to be more creative
(B) worked extensively with raw materials
(C) changed jobs frequently
(D) specialized in one aspect of the finished product only

Answers:

1)A 2)A 3)B 4)D 5)A 6)A 7)D 8)D 9)B 10)D

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