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# Surprisingly enough, modern historians have rarely interested themselv

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Surprisingly enough, modern historians have rarely interested themselv  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 20 May 2020, 22:17
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 186, Date : 04-Jul-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details

Surprisingly enough, modern historians have rarely interested themselves in the history of the American South in the period before the South began to become self-consciously and distinctively "Southern"—the decades after 1815. Consequently, the cultural history of Britain's North American empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries has been written almost as if the Southern colonies had never existed. The American culture that emerged during the Colonial and Revolutionary eras has been depicted as having been simply an extension of the New England Puritan culture. However, Professor Davis has recently argued that the South stood apart from the rest of American society during this early period, following its own unique pattern of cultural development. The case for Southern distinctiveness rests upon two related premises: first, that the cultural similarities among the five Southern colonies were far more impressive than the differences, and second, that what made those colonies alike also made them different from the other colonies. The first, for which Davis offers an enormous amount of evidence, can be accepted without major reservations; the second is far more problematic.

What makes the second premise problematic is the use of the Puritan colonies as a basis for comparison. Quite properly, Davis decries the excessive influence ascribed by historians to the Puritans in the formation of American culture. Yet Davis inadvertently adds weight to such ascriptions by using the Puritans as the standard against which to assess the achievements and contributions of Southern colonials. Throughout, Davis focuses on the important, and undeniable, differences between the Southern and Puritan colonies in motives for and patterns of early settlement, in attitudes toward nature and Native Americans, and in the degree of receptivity to metropolitan cultural influences.

However, recent scholarship has strongly suggested that those aspects of early New England culture that seem to have been most distinctly Puritan, such as the strong religious orientation and the communal impulse, were not even typical of New England as a whole, but were largely confined to the two colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Thus, what in contrast to the Puritan colonies appears to Davis to be peculiarly Southern—acquisitiveness, a strong interest in politics and the law, and a tendency to cultivate metropolitan cultural models—was not only more typically English than the cultural patterns exhibited by Puritan Massachusetts and Connecticut, but also almost certainly characteristic of most other early modern British colonies from Barbados north to Rhode Island and New Hamp-shire. Within the larger framework of American colonial life, then, not the Southern but the Puritan colonies appear to have been distinctive, and even they seem to have been rapidly assimilating to the dominant cultural patterns by the late Colonial period.

Spoiler: :: OA
B

1. The author is primarily concerned with

(A) refuting a claim about the influence of Puritan culture on the early American South
(B) refuting a thesis about the distinctiveness of the culture of the early American South
(C) refuting the two premises that underlie Davis' discussion of the culture of the American South in the period before 1815
(D) challenging the hypothesis that early American culture was homogeneous in nature
(E) challenging the contention that the American South made greater contributions to early American culture than Puritan New Eng-land did

Spoiler: :: OA
D

2. The passage implies that the attitudes toward Nathe Americans that prevailed in the Southern colonies

(A) were in conflict with the cosmopolitan outlook of the South
(B) derived from Southerners' strong interest in the law
(C) were modeled after those that prevailed in the North
(D) differed from those that prevailed in the Puritan colonies
(E) developed as a response to attitudes that prevailed in Massachusetts and Connecticut

3. According to the author, the depiction of American culture during the Colonial and Revolutionary ems as an extension of New England Puritan culture reflects the

(A) fact that historians have overestimated the importance of the Puritans in the development of American culture
(B) fact that early American culture was deeply influenced by the strong religious orientation of the colonists
(C) failure to recognize important and undeniable cultural differences between New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the one hand and the Southern colonies on the other
(D) extent to which Massachusetts and Connecticut served as cultural models for the other American colonies
(E) extent to which colonial America resisted assimilating cultural patterns that were typically English

Spoiler: :: OA
E

4. The author of the passage is in agreement with which of the following elements of Davis' book?

I. Davis' claim that acquisitiveness was a characteristic unique to the South during the Colonial period
II. Davis' argument that there were significant differences between Puritan and Southern culture during the Colonial period
III. Davis' thesis that the Southern colonies shared a common culture

(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) III only
(D) I and II only
(E) II and III only

Spoiler: :: OA
B

5. It can be inferred from the passage that the author would find Davis' second premise (lines 18-20) more plausible if it were true that

(A) Puritan culture had displayed the tendency characteristic of the South to cultivate metropolitan cultural models
(B) Puritan culture had been dominant in all the non-Southern colonies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
(C) the communal impulse and a strong religious orientation had been more prevalent in the South
(D) the various cultural patterns of the Southern colonies had more closely resembled each other
(E) the cultural patterns characteristic of most early modern British colonies had also been characteristic of the Puritan colonies

Spoiler: :: OA
C

6. The passage suggests that by the late Colonial period the tendency to cultivate metropolitan cultural models was a cultural pattern that was

(A) dying out as Puritan influence began to grow
(B) self-consciously and distinctively Southern
(C) spreading to Massachusetts and Connecticut
(D) more characteristic of the Southern colonies than of England
(E) beginning to spread to Rhode Island and New Hampshire

Spoiler: :: OA
B

7. Which of the following statements could most logically follow the last sentence of the passage?

(A) Thus, had more attention been paid to the evidence, Davis would not have been tempted to argue that the culture of the South diverged greatly from Puritan culture in the seventeenth century.
(B) Thus, convergence, not divergence, seems to have characterized the cultural development of the American colonies in the eighteenth century.
(C) Thus, without the cultural diversity represented by the American South, the culture of colonial America would certainly have been homogeneous in nature.
(D) Thus, the contribution of Southern colonials to American culture was certainly overshadowed by that of the Puritans.
(E) Thus, the culture of America during the Colonial period was far more sensitive to outside influences than historians are accustomed to acknowledge.

Source: GRE Official Material
Difficulty Level: 700

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Originally posted by carcass on 26 Jan 2019, 14:12.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 20 May 2020, 22:17, edited 3 times in total.
Updated
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Re: Surprisingly enough, modern historians have rarely interested themselv  [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2019, 14:02
2
Below is my take on Q 6 and 7- both are based off the last line of the 3rd para.
Q6 : By late colonial period, we have to determine characteristic of a phemonemon that was typical of Southern and english features. The last line states that Puritan colonies were assimilating to dominant cultural patterns and hence, the answer- the pattern was spreading to Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Similarly,for Q7:

Since the puritan colonies were now assimilating to the patterns of the southern ones, we can say that "convergence" characterized the cultural development in the eighteenth century.
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Re: Surprisingly enough, modern historians have rarely interested themselv  [#permalink]

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31 Jan 2019, 10:17
1
Brutal brutal passage. Wow. Managed 5 out of 7.

I got Q5 so let me try and explain it.

Davis made two claims and the second one didn't go down too well with the author. The author spends a good two paragraphs explaining why. The author suggests that the distinction between Southern colonies and English colonies cannot be used to show that the south differed from the rest of the colonies as only Massachusetts and Connecticut were distinct from South but not the rest. And those two also converged to colonial type after the exit of the English. This is my understanding

So we need something which would make Davis's second claim more palatable and would go against all the evidence presented by the author. What could that be?

(A) Puritan culture had displayed the tendency characteristic of the South to cultivate metropolitan cultural models Okay - this would destroy Davis's claim as it hinged primarily on the differences between the two.
(B) Puritan culture had been dominant in all the non-Southern colonies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Perfect - if Puritan culture had been common in all "non-south" states and we have accepted that Puritan differed from south, then all "non-south" would differ from south as claimed by Davis.
(C) the communal impulse and a strong religious orientation had been more prevalent in the South Okay, no comparison made and hence does not help our cause.
(D) the various cultural patterns of the Southern colonies had more closely resembled each other Again, off-topic, we are discussing differences here and not similarities.
(E) the cultural patterns characteristic of most early modern British colonies had also been characteristic of the Puritan colonies This is established and not contested in the second claim. Discard.

Hope this helps

ShankSouljaBoi wrote:
Please provide explanations for Q5 and Q7.
A good read but very very tricky questions. I was almost crying interim.

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Re: Surprisingly enough, modern historians have rarely interested themselv  [#permalink]

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20 May 2020, 08:57
1
Someone Pls help by explaining the passage outline and overall idea of passage
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Surprisingly enough, modern historians have rarely interested themselv  [#permalink]

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04 Jul 2020, 06:06
1
Hi KumarMohan, deep31993,

Let me know if this helps.

P1: Historians ignored the history of Southern America, as if South never existed. Professor David argues that South existed, following its own unique pattern of cultural development. He presents this argument based on 2 premises:
1. The cultural similarities among the five Southern colonies were far more impressive than the differences - agreed by the author.
2. The Southern colonies were different from the other colonies. - Puritan Colonies.

P2: The author doesn't agree with the 2nd premise, since it uses Puritan Culture for comparison. On one hand Davis criticizes the historians for portraying the excessive influence of the Puritans in the formation of American culture, and on the other uses the Puritan culture as a standard for assessing the achievements and contributions of Southern colonials.

P3: Author argues that the Puritan culture was predominantly confined to the two colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and not New England as a whole, implying that what qualities of Southern appear to be distinctive, are similar to those of the Northern Colonies (Barbados north to Rhode Island and New Hamp-shire.) and not the Southern but the Puritan colonies appear to have been distinctive, and even they seem to have been rapidly assimilating to the dominant cultural patterns by the late Colonial period.

Once we break down the passage, it becomes easy to infer the answers.

1. The author is primarily concerned with

(A) refuting a claim about the influence of Puritan culture on the early American South
(B) refuting a thesis about the distinctiveness of the culture of the early American South
(C) refuting the two premises that underlie Davis' discussion of the culture of the American South in the period before 1815
(D) challenging the hypothesis that early American culture was homogeneous in nature
(E) challenging the contention that the American South made greater contributions to early American culture than Puritan New Eng-land did

Explanation: refers to the 2nd premise with which the author doesn't agree : the Southern colonies were different from the Northern colonies.

2. The passage implies that the attitudes toward Native Americans that prevailed in the Southern colonies

(A) were in conflict with the cosmopolitan outlook of the South
(B) derived from Southerners' strong interest in the law
(C) were modeled after those that prevailed in the North
(D) differed from those that prevailed in the Puritan colonies
(E) developed as a response to attitudes that prevailed in Massachusetts and Connecticut

Explanation : can be inferred from P3.

3. According to the author, the depiction of American culture during the Colonial and Revolutionary ems as an extension of New England Puritan culture reflects the

(A) fact that historians have overestimated the importance of the Puritans in the development of American culture
(B) fact that early American culture was deeply influenced by the strong religious orientation of the colonists
(C) failure to recognize important and undeniable cultural differences between New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the one hand and the Southern colonies on the other
(D) extent to which Massachusetts and Connecticut served as cultural models for the other American colonies
(E) extent to which colonial America resisted assimilating cultural patterns that were typically English

Explanation : can be inferred from P2.

4. The author of the passage is in agreement with which of the following elements of Davis' book?

I. Davis' claim that acquisitiveness was a characteristic unique to the South during the Colonial period
II. Davis' argument that there were significant differences between Puritan and Southern culture during the Colonial period
III. Davis' thesis that the Southern colonies shared a common culture

(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) III only
(D) I and II only
(E) II and III only

Explanation: Throughout the passage Davis tries to point out the differences between Puritan and Southern culture during the Colonial period, implying that II is correct. III can be inferred from P3.

5. It can be inferred from the passage that the author would find Davis' second premise (lines 18-20) more plausible if it were true that

(A) Puritan culture had displayed the tendency characteristic of the South to cultivate metropolitan cultural models
(B) Puritan culture had been dominant in all the non-Southern colonies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
(C) the communal impulse and a strong religious orientation had been more prevalent in the South
(D) the various cultural patterns of the Southern colonies had more closely resembled each other
(E) the cultural patterns characteristic of most early modern British colonies had also been characteristic of the Puritan colonies

Explanation: if B would have been true, 2nd Premise would not have been in question and author would have been able to agree with Davis that indeed Southern colonies were different from the Northern Colonies with Puritan Culture.

6. The passage suggests that by the late Colonial period the tendency to cultivate metropolitan cultural models was a cultural pattern that was

(A) dying out as Puritan influence began to grow
(B) self-consciously and distinctively Southern
(C) spreading to Massachusetts and Connecticut
(D) more characteristic of the Southern colonies than of England
(E) beginning to spread to Rhode Island and New Hampshire

Explanation : can be inferred by P3.

7. Which of the following statements could most logically follow the last sentence of the passage?

(A) Thus, had more attention been paid to the evidence, Davis would not have been tempted to argue that the culture of the South diverged greatly from Puritan culture in the seventeenth century.
(B) Thus, convergence, not divergence, seems to have characterized the cultural development of the American colonies in the eighteenth century.
(C) Thus, without the cultural diversity represented by the American South, the culture of colonial America would certainly have been homogeneous in nature.
(D) Thus, the contribution of Southern colonials to American culture was certainly overshadowed by that of the Puritans.
(E) Thus, the culture of America during the Colonial period was far more sensitive to outside influences than historians are accustomed to acknowledge.

Explanation : as mentioned in the last lines of the passage: Puritan colonies a seem to have been rapidly assimilating to the dominant cultural patterns by the late Colonial period, implying that convergence characterized the cultural development of the American colonies in the eighteenth century.

Thanks.
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Re: Surprisingly enough, modern historians have rarely interested themselv  [#permalink]

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29 Jan 2019, 20:16
Please provide explanations for Q5 and Q7.
A good read but very very tricky questions. I was almost crying interim.
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07 Feb 2019, 01:17
hi

Can you please explain that why the ans to q2 isn't E and to q6 isn't E
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Re: Surprisingly enough, modern historians have rarely interested themselv  [#permalink]

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04 Jul 2019, 05:50
+1 Kudos to posts containing answer explanation of all questions
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Surprisingly enough, modern historians have rarely interested themselv  [#permalink]

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02 Jul 2020, 21:58
Can anyone post official explanations for all the questions?
Surprisingly enough, modern historians have rarely interested themselv   [#permalink] 02 Jul 2020, 21:58