Reading Comprehension Quiz

[A new interlinear poem will be available each Monday: Weekly Interlinear Poem .]

Use the dictionary, the acronym finder, and the word origins dictionary (links above) as needed. A new quiz is available each Monday through Thursday. This is the quiz for January 19.

The cotton gin of Eli Whitney (died 1825) transformed Southern agriculture and the national economy. Southern cotton found ready markets in Europe and in the burgeoning textile mills of New England. Cotton exports from the South boomed after the cotton gin's appearance, going from 180,000 pounds of total cotton production in 1793 to 93 million tons by 1810, while New England manufacturing companies struggled to compete against imported goods and clamored for tariff protection.

Cotton agriculture revived the profitability of slavery. By the 1820's, the dominant issues in American politics were driven by "King Cotton" - maintaining the political balance between slave and free states and tariff protection for American industry.

The cotton interests, expecting a vast expansion of cotton agriculture, led the country into war with Mexico.

Paradoxically, the cotton gin, a labor-saving device, helped preserve the weakening arguments for slavery, since cheap labor was needed to pick cotton.

1. The cotton gin was
A. a device for storing cotton.
B. a fertilizer for cotton.
C. a sales technique.
D. a machine for separating the fibers of cotton from the seeds.
2. Between 1793 and 1810 cotton production
A. increased slightly.
B. increased enormously.
C. declined slightly.
D. declined enormously.
3. Before the cotton gin, arguments for slavery were
A. strengthening.
B. disappearing.
C. weakening.
D. increasing.
4. Burgeoning means
A. growing rapidly.
B. declining.
C. harmful.
D. failing.

The information comes from Wikipedia.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-D..........2-B..........3-C..........4-A
Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at