Bernard Bailyn has recently reinterpreted the early history of the United States by applying new social research findings on the experiences of European migrants. In his reinterpretation, migration becomes the organizing principle for rewriting the history of preindustrial North America. His approach rests on four separate propositions.
The first of these asserts that residents of early modern England moved regularly about their countryside; migrating to the New World was simply a “natural spillover”. Although at first the colonies held little positive attraction for the English — they would rather have stayed home — by the eighteenth century people increasingly migrated to America because they regarded it as the land of opportunity. Secondly, Bailyn holds that, contrary to the notion that used to flourish in America history textbooks, there was never a typical New World community. For example, the economic and demographic character of early New England towns varied considerably.
Bailyn’s third proposition suggest two general patterns prevailing among the many thousands of migrants: one group came as indentured servants, another came to acquire land. Surprisingly, Bailyn suggests that those who recruited indentured servants were the driving forces of transatlantic migration. These colonial entrepreneurs helped determine the social character of people who came to preindustrial North America. At first, thousands of unskilled laborers were recruited; by the 1730’s, however, American employers demanded skilled artisans.
Finally, Bailyn argues that the colonies were a half-civilized hinterland of the European culture system. He is undoubtedly correct to insist that the colonies were part of an Anglo-American empire. But to divide the empire into English core and colonial periphery, as Bailyn does, devalues the achievements of colonial culture. It is true, as Bailyn claims, that high culture in the colonies never matched that in England. But what of seventeenth-century New England, where the settlers created effective laws, built a distinguished university, and published books? Bailyn might respond that New England was exceptional. However, the ideas and institutions developed by New England Puritans had powerful effects on North American culture.
Although Bailyn goes on to apply his approach to some thousands of indentured servants who migrated just prior to the revolution, he fails to link their experience with the political development of the United States. Evidence presented in his work suggests how we might make such a connection. These indentured servants were treated as slaves for the period during which they had sold their time to American employers. It is not surprising that as soon as they served their time they passed up good wages in the cities and headed west to ensure their personal independence by acquiring land. Thus, it is in the west that a peculiarly American political culture began, among colonists who were suspicious of authority and intensely anti-aristocratic.
1. Which of the following statements about migrants to colonial North America is supported by information in the text?
[A] A larger percentage of migrants to colonial North America came as indentured servants than as free agents interested in acquiring land.
[B] Migrants who came to the colonies as indentured servants were more successful at making a livelihood than were farmers and artisans.
[C] Migrants to colonial North America were more successful at acquiring their own land during the eighteenth century than during the seventeenth century.
[D] By the 1730’s, migrants already skilled in a trade were in more demand by American employers than were unskilled laborers.
2. The author of the text states that Bailyn failed to
[A] give sufficient emphasis to the cultural and political interdependence of the colonies and England.
[B] describe carefully how migrants of different ethnic backgrounds preserved their culture in the United States.
[C] take advantage of social research on the experiences of colonists who migrated to colonial North America specifically to acquire land.
[D] relate the experience of the migrants to the political values that eventually shaped the character of the United States.
3. Which of the following best summarizes the author’s evaluation of Bailyn’s fourth proposition?
[A] It is totally implausible.
[B] It is partially acceptable.
[C] It is highly admirable.
[D] It is controversial though persuasive.
4. According to the text, Bailyn and the author agree on which of the following statements about the culture of colonial New England?
[A] High culture in New England never equaled the high culture of England.
[B] The cultural achievements of colonial New England have generally been unrecognized by historians.
[C] The colonists imitated the high culture of England, and did not develop a culture that was uniquely their own.
[D] The southern colonies were greatly influenced by the high culture of New England.
5. The author of the text would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements about Bailyn’s work?
[A] Bailyn underestimates the effects of Puritan thought on North American culture.
[B] Bailyn overemphasizes the economic dependence of the colonies on Great Britain.
[C] Bailyn’s description of the colonies as part of an Anglo-American empire is misleading and incorrect.
[D] Bailyn failed to test his propositions on a specific group of migrants to colonial North America.
【考点解析】本题是一道归纳推导题。本题题干中的“Bailyn’s fourth proposition”将本题的答案信息来源确定在原文的第四段。通过仔细阅读和理解本段的每一句话，尤其是第二、三句话和四、五句话，我们可以推导出本题的正确选项应该是B。考生在解题时一定要善于归纳和推导原文的内容，更要善于体会上下句之间的语意关系。