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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.

21. 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

22. 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

23. 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

24. 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

25. 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

26. 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

27. 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.

Author
Sing wang

Posted May 28, 2019

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