THE TRANSPORTATION REVOLUTION
By the close of the eighteenth century, the outlines of a world economy were clearly visible. Centered in Western Europe, it included Russia, India, the East Indies, the Middle East, northern and western Africa, and the Americas. Trade had increased greatly and shipping had grown in volume and speed, connecting the markets of the world more closely than ever before. The world market, however, was confined to the coasts and along rivers, and its effects were rarely felt a hundred miles inland. The expansion of economic activity into the interior, and its spread throughout China, Japan, Oceania, and Africa, was a major development of the nineteenth century. It was largely accomplished through a revolution in transportation, particularly the development of the steamship, canals, and railroads.
Since the fifteenth century, the wooden sailing ship had been the main instrument of European economic and political expansion. Sailing ships constantly grew in carrying capacity and speed with improvements in design, and they were built of easily available materials. The age of sailing ships reached its zenith in the middle of the nineteenth century, the era of the great ocean-plying clippers that carried the majority of international trade.
Before 1850, the bulk of internal trade was carried by water. In Western Europe, there had been several attempts to supplement the excellent river network with canals. However, it was the demands of the Industrial Revolution, particularly the need to transport huge quantities of coal, that stimulated large-scale canal building in the years 1760-1850, first in Britain and then in Western Europe and the United States. The introduction of steamboats gave an additional impetus to river navigation and canal construction. The steamship rose in stature in the 1870s, when technical progress reduced the amount of coal the steam engine consumed. Technical innovation, along with the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, enabled the steamship to surpass the sailing ship as the chief instrument of international trade.
Methods of land transport continued to be slow, uncertain, and expensive until the boom in railroad construction at mid century, in 1840 there were 5,500 miles of rail track throughout the world; just twenty years later, there were 66,000 miles. Of these, 50 percent were in North America and 47 percent were in Europe. The rail lines built during that period served populated areas where considerable economic activity already existed, yet a global ideology of railroads gradually emerged: the belief that railroads could populate and bring wealth to undeveloped regions.
In Britain and the United States, private companies built hundreds of uncoordinated rail projects, but in continental Europe railroad construction became a concern of the state, which provided overall control and a large share of capital. Until 1914, the building of railroads remained the most important reason for the export of capital as well as the main method of developing new territories. British capital financed the majority of the railroads built in India, Canada, and Latin America. The U.S. transcontinental railroad played a key role in populating and developing huge tracts of land in North America, as did the Trans-Siberian Railway in Asia.
In the course of the nineteenth century, around 9 million square miles of land were settled in North and South America and Oceania. This was made possible by the decline in transportation costs, which greatly extended the area from which bulky products such as grains and minerals could be marketed. The introduction of refrigeration on railcars and steamers in the 1870s opened huge markets for meat, dairy products, and fruit in North America and Europe, The 1870s also saw the adoption of steel rails, electric signals, compressed-air brakes, and other inventions that made railroads a leading source of technical innovation in the nineteenth century.
In the world context, the rise of the railroad was inseparable from that of the steamship. The economic and geographic consequences of these two innovations complemented one another. Both had the effect of increasing the size of markets as well as the amount of economic activity worldwide.
clipper: a sailing ship that was built for great speed
14. Which sentence below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in paragraph 1? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
(A) International trade had to take place near oceans and rivers and did not extend to interior regions.
(B) After several centuries of slow growth, the world economy was no longer confined by geography.
(C) The effects of economic activity were felt everywhere, but especially along coasts and rivers.
(D) World markets expanded rapidly, affecting people who lived hundreds of miles from the coast.
15. The word zenith in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) final goal
(B) slow period
(C) natural limit
(D) high point
16. What factor led to an increase in canal building?
(A) Competition among the world powers
(B) The need to move large quantities of coal
(C) Improvements in the design of sailing ships
(D) An increase in the export of capital
17. The word impetus in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to
18. Which of the following is given as a reason for the rise of the steamship over the sailing ship?
(A) Wood for the construction of sailing ships became scarce.
(B) The steamship could travel at faster speeds than the sailing ship.
(C) Steamships were better than sailing ships at navigating canals.
(D) Technical advances made the steamship require less coal.
19. The word boom in paragraph 4 is closest in meaning to
(a) popular interest
(b) loud noise
(c) rapid growth
(d) business opportunities
20. The word these in paragraph 4 refers to
(X) methods of land transport
(X) miles of rail track
(X) rail lines
(X) populated areas
21. According to the passage, what was a major result of railroad building in the nineteenth century?
(X) The majority of wealth became concentrated in a few powerful nations.
(X) Competition increased between private and state-owned companies.
(X) There was an increase in the demand for an educated workforce.
(X) Large parts of the world became populated and economically developed.
22. Why does the author mention refrigeration in paragraph 6?
(A) To show how the steam engine contributed to refrigeration
(B) To illustrate the standard of living of North America and Europe
(C) To give an example of an innovation that expanded markets
(D) To argue that refrigeration was the most important invention of the time
23. All of the following were effects of the transportation revolution EXCEPT
(A) the spread of trade to new regions
(B) innovations in technology
(C) population decline in major cities
(D) an increase in the size of world markets
24. It can be inferred from the passage that the author most likely believes which of the following about the transportation revolution of the nineteenth century?
(X) There will never again be so many developments in transportation in a single century.
(X) Improvements in transportation had a direct impact on world economics.
(X) The transportation revolution was part of a worldwide political revolution.
(X) Technical innovations of that time led to similar inventions in the next century.
25. Look at the four squares [A], [B], [C], [D] which indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage. Where would the sentence best fit?
Railroad construction required enormous amounts of capital and was financed in diverse ways.
[A] In Britain and the United States, private companies built hundreds of uncoordinated rail projects, but in continental Europe railroad construction became a concern of the state, which provided overall control and a large share of capital. [B] Until 1914, the building of railroads remained the most important reason for the export of capital as well as the main method of developing new territories. [C] British capital financed the majority of the railroads built in India, Canada, and Latin America. [D] The U.S. transcontinental railroad played a key role in populating and developing huge tracts of land in North America, as did the Trans- Siberian Railway in Asia.
26. Read the first sentence of a summary of the passage. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.
A revolution in transportation took place in the nineteenth century.
A .Europe was the center of the world economy, but markets expanded to Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
B. The Industrial Revolution created a demand for a system of canals.
C. The sailing ship gave way to the steamship as the primary means of international trade.
D. Steel rails, electric signals, and compressed-air brakes came into use during the 1870s.
E. New methods of transportation required the development of better communications.
F. Railroad construction led to technical innovation and the development of new territories.