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Historians have long accepted the notion that women of English descent

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Historians have long accepted the notion that women of English descent  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2018, 23:05
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Historians have long accepted the notion that women of English descent who lived in the English colonies of North America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were better off than either the contemporary women in England or the colonists’ own nineteenth-century daughters and granddaughters. The “golden age” theory originated in the 1920s with the work of Elizabeth Dexter, who argued that there were relatively few women among the colonists, and that all hands—male and female—were needed to sustain the growing settlements. Rigid sex-role distinctions could not exist under such circumstances; female colonists could accordingly engage in whatever occupations they wished, encountering few legal or social constraints if they sought employment outside the home. The surplus of male colonists also gave women crucial bargaining power in the marriage market since women’s contributions were vital to the survival of colonial households.

Dexter’s portrait of female colonists living under conditions of rough equality with their male counterparts was eventually incorporated into studies of nineteenth-century middle-class women. The contrast between the self-sufficient colonial woman and the oppressed nineteenth-century woman, confined to her home by stultifying ideologies of domesticity and by the fact that industrialization eliminated employment opportunities for middle-class women, gained an extraordinarily tenacious hold on historians. Even scholars who have questioned the “golden age” view of colonial women’s status have continued to accept the paradigm of a nineteenth-century decline from a more desirable past. For example, Joan Hoff-Wilson asserted that there was no “golden age” and yet emphasized that the nineteenth century brought “increased loss of function and authentic status for” middle-class women.

Recent publications about colonial women have exposed the concept of a decline in status as simplistic and unsophisticated, a theory that based its assessment of colonial women’s status solely on one factor (their economic function in society) and assumed all too readily that a relatively simple social system automatically brought higher standing to colonial women. The new scholarship presents a far more complicated picture, one in which definitions of gender roles, the colonial economy, demographic patterns, religion, the law, and household organization all contributed to defining the circumstances of colonial women’s lives. Indeed, the primary concern of modern scholarship is not to generalize about women’s status but to identify the specific changes and continuities in women’s lives during the colonial period. For example, whereas earlier historians suggested that there was little change for colonial women before 1800, the new scholarship suggests that a three-part chronological division more accurately reflects colonial women’s experiences. First was the initial period of English colonization (from the 1620s to about 1660); then a period during which patterns of family and community were challenged and reshaped (roughly from 1660 to 1750); and finally the era of revolution (approximately 1750 to 1815), which brought other changes to women’s lives.

1. Which one of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?

(A) An earlier theory about the status of middle-class women in the nineteenth century has been supported by recent scholarship.
(B) Recent studies of middle-class nineteenth-century women have altered an earlier theory about the status of colonial women.
(C) Recent scholarship has exposed an earlier theory about the status of colonial women as too narrowly based and oversimplified.
(D) An earlier theory about colonial women has greatly influenced recent studies on middle-class women in the nineteenth century.
(E) An earlier study of middle-class women was based on insufficient research on the status of women in the nineteenth century.



2. The author discusses Hoff-Wilson primarily in order to

(A) describe how Dexter’s theory was refuted by historians of nineteenth-century North America
(B) describe how the theory of middle-class women’s nineteenth-century decline in status was developed
(C) describe an important influence on recent scholarship about the colonial period
(D) demonstrate the persistent influence of the “golden age” theory
(E) provide an example of current research one the colonial period



3. It can be inferred from the passage that the author would be most likely to describe the views of the scholars mentioned in line 32 as

(A) unassailable
(B) innovative
(C) paradoxical
(D) overly sophisticated
(E) without merit



4. It can be inferred from the passage that in proposing the “three-part chronological division” (lines 60-61), scholars recognized which one of the following?

(A) The circumstances of colonial women’s lives were defined by a broad variety of social and economic factors.
(B) Women’s lives in the English colonies of North America were similar to women’s lives in seventeenth-and eighteenth-century England.
(C) Colonial women’s status was adversely affected when patterns of family and community were established in the late seventeenth century.
(D) Colonial women’s status should be assessed primarily on the basis of their economic function in society.
(E) Colonial women’s status was low when the colonies were settled but changed significantly during the era of revolution.



5. According to the author, the publications about colonial women mentioned in the third paragraph had which one of the following effects?

(A) They undermined Dexter’s argument on the status of women colonists during the colonial period.
(B) They revealed the tenacity of the “golden age” theory in American history.
(C) They provided support for historians, such as Hoff-Wilson. Who study the nineteenth century.
(D) They established that women’s status did not change significantly from the colonial period to the nineteenth century.
(E) They provided support for earlier theories about women colonists in the English colonies of North America.



6. Practitioners of the new scholarship discussed in the last paragraph would be most likely to agree with which one of the following statements about Dexter’s argument?

(A) It makes the assumption that women’s status is determined primarily by their political power in society.
(B) It makes the assumption that a less complex social system necessarily confers higher status on women.
(C) It is based on inadequate research on women’s economic role in the colonies.
(D) It places too much emphasis on the way definitions of gender roles affected women colonists in the colonial period.
(E) It accurately describes the way women’s status declined in the nineteenth century.


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Re: Historians have long accepted the notion that women of English descent  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Sep 2018, 20:12

+1 kudos to the posts containing answer explanations of all questions


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Re: Historians have long accepted the notion that women of English descent  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Sep 2018, 22:12
workout nice passage, i guess its difficulty level should be 650
10 mins and all correct
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Re: Historians have long accepted the notion that women of English descent &nbs [#permalink] 27 Sep 2018, 22:12
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Historians have long accepted the notion that women of English descent

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