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Although the century between the War of 1812 and the First World War

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Although the century between the War of 1812 and the First World War  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 21 Oct 2019, 05:14
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 315, Date : 07-Sep-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Although the century between the War of 1812 and the First World War is accurately depicted as a time of American introspection, if not isolation, the great agony of America’s Civil War could not, and did not, go unnoticed across the sea in Great Britain. Southern secessionists anticipated British cooperation from the outset, pointing to the industrial giant’s reliance on American cotton in its innumerable mills. A prewar cotton glut, however, had reduced Britain’s demand for the South’s staple crop, and although many captains of British industry, along with some ministers in Lord Palmerston’s government, thought it best to stay in their suppliers’ good graces, the Crown chose to observe a policy of neutrality in the face of Lincoln’s declared and enforced blockade of Southern ports.

Whether Victorian notions of human dignity eventually contributed to Britain’s neutrality is another question. While continuing to rely on such fruits of slavery as cotton and tobacco, Britain herself had abolished slavery across the empire at no small cost. Furthermore, many of Britain’s increasingly powerful working class vocally sided with the Union as the champion of abolition. Far from winning Britain any Northern friends, her explicit refusal to take sides in the conflict earned her the distrust of the Union, a suspicion that flared into hostility over a British firm’s outfitting of a number of ships, including the Alabama, for the Confederacy.

1. The passage is primarily concerned with

A. the importance of cotton to British forces during the Civil War
B. contrasting viewpoints on the industrial resources of the Union and the Confederacy
C. inconsistencies in the wartime policies of Lord Palmerston's government
D. relations between Great Britain and the opposing factions of the Civil War
E. economic turmoil fostered by American isolationism
Spoiler: :: OE
This is a primary purpose question, as indicated by the phrase primarily concerned with. The task of the question is to determine why the author wrote the passage. The subject of the question is the passage as a whole. In order to answer the question, determine why the author wrote the passage, then evaluate the answer choices, eliminating any choice which does not match the author’s primary purpose. According to the passage, during the Civil War, Southern secessionists anticipated British cooperation based on its reliance on American cotton. However, Britain chose to observe a policy of neutrality. Britain’s explicit refusal to take sides in the conflict earned her the distrust of the Union. So the primary purpose of the passage is to discuss Great Britain’s position regarding the Confederacy and the Union during the Civil War.

Choice A: No. The word cotton is an example of a memory trap. While the passage mentions Britain’s reliance on American cotton in its innumerable mills, this is not the primary purpose of the passage which focuses mainly on the relationship between Britain and the Union and Confederacy.

Choice B: No. The phrase industrial resources is a memory trap. While the passage does discuss industry, it does so in reference to Britain, not to either the Union or Confederacy.

Choice C: No. The phrase Lord Palmerston’s government is recycled language and the word inconsistencies is a memory trap for the phrase some ministers in Lord Palmerston’s government, thought it best to stay in their suppliers’ good graces. While the thoughts of some ministers does contrast with Britain’s policy of neutrality, there is no indication that there were inconsistencies in the policy itself. In fact, the passage mentions Britain’s explicit refusal to take sides in the conflict which implies that it was consistent.

Choice D: Correct. This is a paraphrase of the primary purpose of the passage which is to discuss Great Britain’s position regarding the Confederacy and the Union during the Civil War.

Choice E: No. The phrase American isolationism in the answer choice is a memory trap for American introspection, if not isolation mentioned in the first paragraph. However, this is not the primary purpose of the passage which focuses mainly on the relationship between Britain and the Union and Confederacy.

The correct answer is choice D.



2. The passage suggests which of the following about American foreign policy during the nineteenth century?

A. The United States government was interested in improving relations with the allies of Great Britain.
B. America was more concerned with domestic than foreign issues during this time.
C. Americans believed it was their destiny to spread democracy to other nations of the world.
D. Economic difficulties forced Americans to make concessions to distrustful foreign governments.
E. America was involved in conflicts throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Spoiler: :: OE
The phrase suggests in the question stem indicates that this is an inference question. The task of the question is indicated by the word suggests. The subject of the question is American foreign policy during the nineteenth century. In order to answer the question, determine what the passage states about the subject and evaluate the answer choices, eliminating any choice which cannot be supported by the text. The passage states that the nineteenth century in America can be accurately depicted as a time of American introspection, if not isolation. This suggests that America was focused on domestic issues, not global issues.

Choice A: No. This choice might seem tempting as the passage does discuss Great Britain throughout but this choice is a reversal since the passage states that it was a time of American introspection, if not isolation.

Choice B: Correct. During the nineteenth century, America was dominated by introspection, if not isolation. This suggests that America was more concerned with domestic issues rather than foreign issues.


Choice C: No. This answer choice relies upon outside knowledge to be appealing and is a reversal. The reference to destiny to spread democracy to other nations of the world may be tempting to anyone who has studied American history. However, the passage indicates that the nineteenth century can be accurately depicted as a time of American introspection, if not isolation.

Choice D: No. The phrase distrustful foreign governments in the answer choice is a memory trap for the phrase the distrust of the Union in the passage. However, this is a reversal since the passage indicates that the nineteenth century can be accurately depicted as a time of American introspection, if not isolation.

Choice E: No. This choice may seem tempting because the word conflicts is a memory trap for conflict mentioned in the passage. However, this is a reversal since the passage indicates that the nineteenth century can be accurately depicted as a time of American introspection, if not isolation.

The correct answer is choice B.




3. With which of the following statements regarding Great Britain's attitude toward the American Civil War would the author most likely agree?

A. British government ministers were concerned for the welfare of their former colonies but refused to become entangled in another war on the American mainland.
B. Victorian abolitionists chose to abide by the will of the Crown rather than their moral principles.
C. Lord Palmerston refused to support the Confederates until they could prove that slaves in the South were treated humanely.
D. Leaders of British industry had reservations about Lincoln's trade policies.
E. British workers and industrialists disagreed over the whether to support the Southern secessionists.
Spoiler: :: OE
The phrase would the author most likely agree indicates that this is an evaluation question. The task of the question is indicated by the phrase which of the following statements. The subject of the question is Great Britain's attitude toward the American Civil War. In order to answer the question, determine what the author states about the subject and evaluate the answer choices, eliminating any choice which cannot be supported by the text. According to the passage, a prewar cotton glut, however, had reduced Britain’s demand for the South’s staple crop, and although many captains of British industry, along with some ministers in Lord Palmerston’s government, thought it best to stay in their suppliers’ good graces, the Crown chose to observe a policy of neutrality in the face of Lincoln’s declared and enforced blockade of Southern ports. The second paragraph indicates that Britain herself had abolished slavery across the empire at no small cost. Furthermore, many of Britain’s increasingly powerful working class vocally sided with the Union as the champion of abolition. However, Britain’s explicit refusal to take sides in the conflict earned her the distrust of the Union, a suspicion that flared into hostility over a British firm’s outfitting of a number of ships…for the Confederacy.

Choice A: No. This choice relies upon outside knowledge to be appealing. The phrase concerned for the welfare of their former colonies but refused to become entangled in another war on the American mainland may be tempting to anyone with prior knowledge of British history. However, the passage only mentions the Civil War and no other war on the American mainland. Additionally, the passage mentions only Britain’s policy of neutrality and not its concern for the welfare of [its] former colonies.

Choice B: No. This choice is a reversal. The passage states that many of Britain’s increasingly powerful working class vocally sided with the Union as the champion of abolition, meaning that they were able to stand by their moral principles.

Choice C: No. The phrase refused to support and the word prove are examples of extreme language. Additionally, the reference to Lord Palmerston is a memory trap. The passage mentions that some ministers in Lord Palmerston’s government, thought it best to stay in their suppliers’ [the South] good graces, but it does not address the treatment of slaves.

Choice D: No. The recycled language British industry may make this choice seem tempting. However, this choice requires outside knowledge as the passage never discusses Lincoln’s trade policies. It only mentions his declared and enforced blockade of Southern ports.

Choice E: Correct. The passage states that many captains of British industry, along with some ministers in Lord Palmerston’s government, thought it best to stay in their suppliers’ [the South] good graces. While, many of Britain’s increasingly powerful working class vocally sided with the Union as the champion of abolition. This indicates that the two groups disagreed.

The correct answer is choice E.


Originally posted by srij13 on 06 Sep 2019, 06:32.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 21 Oct 2019, 05:14, edited 4 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (1050).
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Re: Although the century between the War of 1812 and the First World War  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Sep 2019, 09:34
SajjadAhmad what is the level of this passage ?
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Re: Although the century between the War of 1812 and the First World War  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Sep 2019, 09:37
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Re: Although the century between the War of 1812 and the First World War  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Dec 2019, 05:54
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Re: Although the century between the War of 1812 and the First World War  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2020, 10:00
A careful reading of the passage is required.
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Re: Although the century between the War of 1812 and the First World War   [#permalink] 30 Jan 2020, 10:00
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