Official 33 Passage 1


Railroads and Commercial Agriculture in the Nineteen...


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The huge expansion of rail lines in midwestern United States during the 1850s had major economic and environmental effects.

正确答案:B D E
  • A.
    Construction of new rail lines into the Midwest had been effectively stopped by the Appalachian Mountains, but by 1850 improved construction technology had made further advances possible.
  • B.
    Rail lines to Chicago and on to the East made it easier to get midwestern goods to distant markets, while growing demand encouraged crop specialization and led to higher crop prices.
  • C.
    Because of the growing volume of traffic coming by rail from the Northeast and Midwest, the value of goods arriving in New Orleans for shipment to markets abroad increased dramatically.
  • D.
    Access to rail lines combined with the development of more-efficient farming equipment allowed the fertile land of the open prairies to be used for large-scale commercial agriculture.
  • E.
    Reduction of annual prairie fires allowed trees to reappear, and native grasses were replaced by a few commercially grown plants as previously unbroken grasslands were divided into large fenced fields.
  • F.
    Native Americans had grown corn on the prairies for years but had not produced large surpluses because the varieties they planted had far poorer yields than those introduced by commercial farmers.

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  • 原文
  • 译文
  • By 1850 the United States possessed roughly 9,000 miles of railroad track; ten years later it had over 30,000 miles, more than the rest of the world combined. Much of the new construction during the 1850s occurred west of the Appalachian Mountains—over 2,000 miles in the states of Ohio and Illinois alone.

    The effect of the new railroad lines rippled outward through the economy. Farmers along the tracks began to specialize in crops that they could market in distant locations. With their profits they purchased manufactured goods that earlier they might have made at home. Before the railroad reached Tennessee, the state produced about 25,000 bushels (or 640 tons) of wheat, which sold for less than 50 cents a bushel. Once the railroad came, farmers in the same counties grew 400,000 bushels (over 10,000 tons) and sold their crop at a dollar a bushel.

    The new railroad networks shifted the direction of western trade. In 1840 most northwestern grain was shipped south down the Mississippi River to the bustling port of New Orleans. But low water made steamboat travel hazardous in summer, and ice shut down traffic in winter. Products such as lard, tallow, and cheese quickly spoiled if stored in New Orleans' hot and humid warehouses. Increasingly, traffic from the Midwest flowed west to east, over the new rail lines. Chicago became the region's hub, linking the farms of the upper Midwest to New York and other eastern cities by more than 2,000 miles of track in 1855. Thus while the value of goods shipped by river to New Orleans continued to increase, the South's overall share of western trade dropped dramatically.

    A sharp rise in demand for grain abroad also encouraged farmers in the Northeast and Midwest to become more commercially oriented. Wheat, which in 1845 commanded $1.08 a bushel in New York City, fetched $2.6 in 1855; in similar fashion the price of corn nearly doubled. Farmers responded by specializing in cash crops, borrowing to purchase more land, and investing in equipment to increase productivity.

    As railroad lines fanned out from Chicago, farmers began to acquire open prairie land in Illinois and then Iowa, putting the fertile, deep black soil into production. Commercial agriculture transformed this remarkable treeless environment. To settlers accustomed to eastern woodlands, the thousands of square miles of tall grass were an awesome sight. Indian grass, Canada wild rye, and native big bluestem all grew higher than a person. Because eastern plows could not penetrate the densely tangled roots of prairie grass, the earliest settlers erected farms along the boundary separating the forest from the prairie. In 1837, however, John Deere patented a sharp-cutting steel plow that sliced through the sod without soil sticking to the blade. Cyrus McCormick refined a mechanical reaper that harvested fourteen times more wheat with the same amount of labor. By the 1850s McCormick was selling 1,000 reapers a year and could not keep up with demand, while Deere turned out 10,000 plows annually.

    The new commercial farming fundamentally altered the midwestern landscape and the environment. Native Americans had grown corn in the region for years, but never in such large fields as did later settlers who became farmers, whose surpluses were shipped east. Prairie farmers also introduced new crops that were not part of the earlier ecological system, notably wheat, along with fruits and vegetables.

    Native grasses were replaced by a small number of plants cultivated as commodities. Corn had the best yields, but it was primarily used to feed livestock. Because bread played a key role in the American and European diet, wheat became the major cash crop. Tame grasses replaced native grasses in pastures for making hay.

    Western farmers altered the landscape by reducing the annual fires that had kept the prairie free from trees. In the absence of these fires, trees reappeared on land not in cultivation and, if undisturbed, eventually formed woodlots. The earlier unbroken landscape gave way to independent farms, each fenced off in a precise checkerboard pattern. It was an artificial ecosystem of animals, woodlots, and crops, whose large, uniform layout made western farms more efficient than the more-irregular farms in the East.

  • 到1850 年,美国拥有大概九千英里的铁路线路,十年之后就拥有了三万英里,比世界上所有其他国家的铁路总和还多。 19 世纪50 年代大部分的新线路是在阿巴拉契亚山脉以西,仅俄亥俄州和伊利诺伊州单独就拥有两千英里。

    新的铁路线也影响到了经济。 铁路沿线的农民开始专门种植能卖到很远地区的作物。 他们用所获利益购买一些之前在家自己做的手工商品。 在铁路通到田纳西州之前,这个州生产大约两万五千蒲式耳(相当于640吨)小麦,这些小麦的售价低于每蒲式耳50 分。 当铁路到了这里,同样的村庄的农民则种植了四十万蒲式耳的小麦(相当于一万吨),并且以每蒲式耳一美元的价格卖出。

    新的铁路网转变了西部贸易的方向。 1840 年大部分西北部的粮食用船从密西西比河南下到热闹的新奥尔良港口。 但是夏天水位低,蒸汽船的航行很有危险,冬天冰又封锁了交通。 像猪油、牛脂和奶酪这样的产品如果存放在新奥尔良闷热潮湿的库房中的话就会很快变质。 慢慢地从中西部出发的货物转变成用新的铁路线路从西到东运输。 芝加哥成为地区的中心,1855 年它用超过2000英里的铁路线将中西部以北的农场和别的东部城市连接了起来。 因此尽管通过河流运往新奥尔良的商品价值持续增长,在西部贸易的总体比例中南部份额却下降了。

    国外对于谷物需求的急剧增长也鼓励了东北部和中西部的农民开始更加商业化。 1845 年纽约城小麦的价格是每蒲式耳1.08 美元,而1855 年价格则到了每蒲式耳2.46美元,几乎以同样的方式,玉米的价格也近乎翻倍。 农民的反应是专门从事经济作物,借钱来购买更多的土地,投资设备以期提高产量。

    当铁路线路从芝加哥呈扇形延伸开来,农民们开始获得伊利诺伊州的广阔草原地带,然后获得了洛瓦的大片草原,将这肥沃深袤的黑土地用于生产。 商业化的农业改变了这些令人瞩目的不生长树木的土地。 对于那些习惯了东部树木葱郁的环境的定居者来说,一望无际的高高生长的野草是一种壮观的风景。 印度草,加拿大野黑麦,当地的大须芒草都长得比人还高。 因为东部的犁进不了浓密的纠结的草原牧草的根须中,最早的定居者就在森林和草原的交界处建立了农场。 不过1837 年,John Deere申请了专利,是一个有锋利的切割刀片的犁,可以切入草皮而不会有泥土粘在刀片上。 Cyrus McCormick改进了机械收割机,用之前同样的人力能收割十四倍。 十九世纪五十年代McCormick 每年卖1000 台收割机,还不能满足需求,同时Deere 每年生产一万台犁。

    新的商业农业根本性地改变了中西部的地貌和环境。 本土美国人在这里种植了多年的玉米,却从没有像后来的定居者这样有这么大产量,后来的定居者还把多余的产量运到了东部。 草原的农民也引进了新的作物,这些作物都不是原先生态系统中的一部分,特别是小麦,还有水果和蔬菜。

    作为商品来种植的几种植物取代了当地的草类。 玉米产量最多,主要用于喂养牲畜。 因为面包是美国和欧洲饮食中的主食,小麦成了主要的经济作物。 为了制作饲料,栽培牧草取代了当地草类。

    西部的农民通过降低每年的野火来改变地貌,这些火曾经防止草原长出大树。 没有了这些火树木又重新出现在没有耕种的土地上,而且如果没有干预的话最终会长成林子。 最早的统一的地貌转变成了独立的农场,每一个都被篱笆隔开成了严格的棋盘模式。 这是一种人造的动物、树木和作物的生态系统,统一的布局使得西部农场比无秩序的东部农场更加有效率。
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    A选项中的 stopped by the Appalachian Mountains 原文没有提到,不对。

    C选项说的因果关系不符合原文,原文没有具体说 the value of goods arriving in New Orleans increased 的原因;

    F选项对应原文第六段, Native Americans 选项不对,主要是原因没说对,不是因为 the varieties they planted had far poorer yields,而是因为 The new commercial farming fundamentally altered the Midwestern landscape and the environment