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Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad

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Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 24 Jan 2018, 21:54
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Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad Journal, drew the important elements of the image of the railroad together in 1851, ― "Look at the results of this material progress...the vigor, life, and executive energy that followed in its train, rapidly succeeded by wealth, the refinement and intellectual culture of a high civilization. All this is typified, in a degree, by a locomotive. The combination in its construction of nice art and scientific application of power, its speed surpassing that of our proudest courser, and its immense strength, are all characteristic of our age and tendencies. To us, like the telegraph, it is essential, it constitutes a part of our nature, is a condition of our being what we are."

In the third decade of the nineteenth century, Americans began to define their character in light of the new railroads. They liked the idea that it took special people to foresee and capitalize on the promise of science. Railroad promoters, using the steam engine as a metaphor for what they thought Americans were and what they thought Americans were becoming, frequently discussed parallels between the locomotive and national character, pointing out that both possessed youth, power, speed, single-mindedness, and bright prospects.

Poor was, of course, promoting acceptance of railroads and enticing his readers to open their pocketbooks. But his metaphors had their dark side. A locomotive was quite unlike anything Americans had ever seen. It was large, mysterious and dangerous; many thought that it was a monster waiting to devour the unwary. There was a suspicion that a country founded upon Jeffersonian agrarian principles had bought a ticket and boarded a train pulled by some iron monster into the dark recesses of an unknown future.

To ease such public apprehensions, promoters, poets, editors, and writers alike adopted the notion that locomotives were really only ―iron horses,‖ an early metaphor that lingered because it made steam technology ordinary and understandable. Iron horse metaphors assuaged fears about inherent defects in the national character, prompting images of a more secure future, and made an alien technology less frightening, and even comforting and congenial.

Essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson saw the locomotive as an agent of domestic harmony. He observed that ―"the locomotive and the steamboat, like enormous shuttles, shoot every day across the thousand various threads of national descent and employment and bind them fast in one web", "adding ―an hourly assimilation goes forward, and there is no danger that local peculiarities and hostilities should be preserved. To us Americans, it seems to have fallen as a political aid. We could not else have held the vast North America together, which we now engage to do."

1. Which of the following claims would the author of the passage most agree with?

A. The railroad undermined America‘s progressive tendencies.
B. Railroad promoters like Poor denounced Jeffersonian agrarian principles.
C. The Americans in general were against the railroad
D. Ralph Waldo Emerson thought that the railroad would harm America.
E. Americans generally supported the development of the railroad.


2. The passage is primarily concerned with which of the following?

A. criticize one interpretation of the early American railroads
B. discuss the early years of the railroad and its connection to the American character of the time.
C. suggest that railroads were the most important development in the history of America
D. describe the apprehension with which most of the Americans greeted the early railroads
E. assert that Americans were tricked into believing that the railroads were beneficial for them


3. According to the passage, which of the following is most likely to be true about Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s beliefs?

A. He felt that Americans should adhere strictly to Jeffersonian agrarian principles.
B. He thought that the railroad was as important as the telegraph.
C. He felt that technological progress would help to unify Americans.
D. He thought that railroad promoters were acting against America‘s best interests.
E. His metaphors had a dark side to them


4. Suppose that an early nineteenth-century American inventor had developed a device that made it easier to construct multi-story building. How would early nineteenth-century Americans be expected to react to this invention?

A. They would not support society‘s use of such a device.
B. They would generally support society‘s use of such a device.
C. They would have no opinion about society‘s use of such a device.
D. They themselves would not use such a device.
E. They would initially view such a device with skepticism


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Originally posted by sandysilva on 24 Jan 2018, 11:53.
Last edited by broall on 24 Jan 2018, 21:54, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jan 2018, 23:41
why not answer is E for question 4??

"There was a suspicion that a country founded upon Jeffersonian agrarian principles had bought a ticket and boarded a train pulled by some iron monster into the dark recesses of an unknown future. ". This line clearly indicates skeptical attitude.
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Re: Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2018, 07:07
Sankalp92
Same reasoning for question 4 .
Why the answer is not e..
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Re: Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2018, 07:15
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naina0001 wrote:
Sankalp92
Same reasoning for question 4 .
Why the answer is not e..


Hi Here is the OE for question 4.

The new situation involves scientific progress much like the railroad; what does the author say about Americans‘ ideas about this? Go back to para2: the author argues that Americans had a special fondness for science and progress. Therefore, they‘d endorse something that furthered these goals. (B) fits.

(A): Opposite. As described above, the American public at the time would have supported scientific progress.

(B): The Correct answer

(C): Opposite. The author indicates that they‘d have a favourable opinion of such a new device.

(D): Out of Scope. This answer choice doesn‘t deal with the reaction looked for by the question.

(E): The passage does not mention anything about Americans viewing the railroad or new scientific devices with skepticism

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Re: Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2018, 12:11
naina0001 wrote:
Sankalp92
Same reasoning for question 4 .
Why the answer is not e..


From what i understand the structure of the passage is this :
early 19th century Americans : Accepted the new inventions according to the second para
When Poor wrote about it because of his use of dark metaphors there was an apprehension meaning they grew skeptic about it. this information is in 3rd para.
The next paras talk about easing these apprehensions and promoting positive view about the railroads and in broader perspective about the new inventions.

Based on this early Americans would support any new inventions.
Hence B.

Hope it helps.
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Re: Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2018, 19:37
sandysilva Please post OE for all of the questions if possible! Would like to see the correct reasoning behind each of the answer choices!
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Re: Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 04:10
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Here are the OE for all questions as requested
Quote:
csaluja


1) The question stem gives you a big hint—take the statement "at face value" and "objectively." Don't over think! The passage itself is straightforward, so review the author‘s main gist: the railroad reflected American character at the time, and despite a few misgivings, American were generally on board. While three answer choices don‘t fit with what the author argues, (E) fits and is supported extensively in the last paragraph.

(A): Opposite. The author argues that the railroad reflected progressive tendencies, as described in ¶2.

(B): Distortion. ¶3 mentions that Americans were suspicious that the railroad contradicted Jeffersonian principles, but there‘s no indication that Poor denounced these principles.

(C): Opposite. This runs counter to the point made in the last paragraph.

(D): Opposite. This runs counter to the point made in the last paragraph.

(E): The Correct Answer


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Re: Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 04:15
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2. The passage is primarily concerned with which of the following?

A. criticize one interpretation of the early American railroads
B. discuss the early years of the railroad and its connection to the American character of the time.
C. suggest that railroads were the most important development in the history of America
D. describe the apprehension with which most of the Americans greeted the early railroads
E. assert that Americans were tricked into believing that the railroads were beneficial for them


2) The passage broadly describes the early years of the railroad and its impact on the American character at that time. B fits in very nicely with this.

(A): The author never criticises anything

(B): The Correct Answer

(C): 'most important‘ is extreme language; author never states this.

(D): Opposite. Most Americans were supportive of the railroads

(E): Distortion. Americans were never tricked into believing anything; the ‗poets, promoters....‘ mentioned in the passage were merely trying to ease public apprehensions and not deceive them

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Re: Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 04:16
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Quote:
3. According to the passage, which of the following is most likely to be true about Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s beliefs?

A. He felt that Americans should adhere strictly to Jeffersonian agrarian principles.
B. He thought that the railroad was as important as the telegraph.
C. He felt that technological progress would help to unify Americans.
D. He thought that railroad promoters were acting against America‘s best interests.
E. His metaphors had a dark side to them


3) Where is Emerson mentioned? Review the last paragraph: Emerson thought that the locomotive kept the nation together. Look for an answer choice that ties into this unity: (C) does just that.

(A): Faulty Use of Detail. Jeffersonian principles are mentioned in the previous paragraph, and though Emerson may possibly have approved of these principles, there‘s nothing to suggest that he thought there should be any sort of strict adherence to them.

(B): Faulty Use of Detail. The telegraph is never mentioned when discussing Emerson.

(C): The Correct Answer

(D): Opposite. If Emerson favoured the railroad, it follows that he‘d also be more likely to approve of rather than to condemn railroad promoters.

(E): Distortion. This was true of Poor, not Emerson


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Re: Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Feb 2018, 07:59
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sandysilva Thank you! Kudos given for all three posts!
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Re: Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Dec 2018, 00:38
early 19th century Americans : Accepted the new inventions according to the second para
When Poor wrote about it because of his use of dark metaphors there was an apprehension meaning they grew skeptic about it. this information is in 3rd para.
The next paras talk about easing these apprehensions and promoting positive view about the railroads and in broader perspective about the new inventions.

Hence B
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Re: Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Dec 2018, 18:18
Took me about 7 minutes but went 4/4 :please

My reasoning:

1) E is the only one that is possible. The overall tone of the passage skews positively towards locomotives.

2) B. I can see D being a tricky answer but it is wrong for a few reasons. There was SOME apprehension from SOME individuals, but that was quickly solved in paragraph 3. The overall goal of the passage is to show the impacts of locomotives. In the second paragraph "for what they thought Americans were and what they thought Americans were becoming, frequently discussed parallels between the locomotive and national character, pointing out that both possessed youth, power, speed, single-mindedness, and bright prospects." Hence B.

3) The last paragraph Ralph says "We could not else have held the vast North America together, which we now engage to do." Hence, C.

4) The overall point of the passage is to illustrate the acceptance and relationship of the locomotive with 19th century american people. SOME people had apprehension but that was quickly dispelled when they related the locomotive to an iron horse. For these types of questions, I like to think about the overall tone of the passage. The passage seems to be in support of locomotives hence I chose B. Most Americans WOULD support the new invention just like they did with locomotives.
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Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad  [#permalink]

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New post 08 May 2019, 02:40
Easy passage though a bit abstract! Took 7:09 min in total including 3:55 to read the passage.

Passage Map:


1) Benefits of Rail
2) Analogy
3) Monster
4) Iron horse
5) Domestic Harmony
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Henry Varnum Poor, editor of American Railroad   [#permalink] 08 May 2019, 02:40
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