By far the most important United States export product in the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries was cotton, favored by the European textile industry over flax or wool because it was
easy to process and soft to tile touch. Mechanization of spinning and weaving allowed significant
centralization and expansion in the textile industry during this period, and at the same time the
demand for cotton increased dramatically. American producers were able to meet this demand
largely because of tile invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1793. Cotton could be grown
throughout the South, but separating the fiber — or lint — from the seed was a laborious process.
Sea island cotton was relatively easy to process by hand, because its fibers were long and seeds
were concentrated at the base of the flower, but it demanded a long growing season, available only
along the nation's eastern seacoast. Short-staple cotton required a much shorter growing season,
but the shortness of the fibers and their mixture with seeds meant that a worker could
hand-process only about one pound per day. Whitney's gin was a hand-powered machine with
revolving drums and metal teeth to pull cotton fibers away from seeds. Using the gin, a worker
could produce up to 50 pounds of lint a day. The later development of larger gins, powered by
horses, water, or steam, multiplied productivity further.
The interaction of improved processing and high demand led to the rapid spread of the
cultivation of cotton and to a surge in production. It became the main American export, dwarfing
all others. In 1802, cotton composed 14 percent of total American exports by value. Cotton had a
36 percent share by 1810 and over a 50 percent share in 1830. In 1860, 61 percent of the value of
American exports was represented by cotton.
In contrast, wheat and wheat flour composed only 6 percent of the value of American exports
in that year. Clearly, cotton was king in the trade of the young republic. The growing market for
cotton and other American agricultural products led to an unprecedented expansion of agricultural
settlement, mostly in the eastern half of the United States — west of the Appalachian Mountains
and east of the Mississippi River.
1. The main point of the passage is that the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were a time when
(A) the European textile industry increased its demand forAmerican export products
(B) mechanization of spinning and weaving dramatically changed the textile industry
(C) cotton became a profitable crop but was still time-consuming to process
(D) cotton became the most importantAmerican export product
2. The word "favored" in line 2 is closest in meaning to
3. All of the following are mentioned in the passage as reasons for the increased demand for cotton EXCEPT
(A) cotton's softness
(B) cotton's ease of processing
(C) a shortage of flax and wool
(D) the growth that occurred in the textile industry.
4. The word "laborious" in line 8 is closest in meaning to
5.According to the passage , one advantage of Sea island cotton was its
(A) abundance of seeds
(B) long fibers
(C) long growing season
(D) adaptability to different climates
6. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about cotton production in the United States after the introduction of Whitney's cotton gin?
(A) More cotton came from Sea island cotton plants than before.
(B) More cotton came from short-staple cotton plants than before.
(C) Most cotton produced was sold domestically.
(D) Most cotton produced was exported to England.
7. The word "surge" in line 19 is closest in meaning to
(A) sharp increase
(B) sudden stop
(C) important change
(D) excess amount
8. The author mentions "wheat and wheat flour" in line 23 in order to
(A) show thatAmericans exported more agricultural products than they imported.
(B) show the increase in the amount of wheat products exported.
(C) demonstrate the importance of cotton among American export products.
(D) demonstrate that wheat farming was becoming more profitable.
9. The word "unprecedented" in line 26 is closest in meaning to
(C) not seen before
(D) never explained
10.According to the passage , the Mississippi River was
(A) one of the boundaries of a region where new agricultural settlement took place
(B) a major source of water for agricultural crops
(C) the primary route by which agricultural crops were transported
(D) a main source of power for most agricultural machinery