ilies needed. They might sometimes trade with their neighbors, but in general they could get along just fine by relying on themselves, not on commercial ties with others. This is how Thomas Jefferson idealized the farmer at the beginning of the 19th century. And at that time, this may have been close to the truth, especially on the frontier.
But by the mid-century, sweeping changes in agriculture were well underway as farmers began to specialize in the raising of crops such as cotton, corn or wheat. Late in the century, revolutionary advances in farm machinery had vastly increased production of specialized crops and an extensive network of railroads had linked farmers throughout the country to markets in the east and even overseas. By raising and selling specialized crops, farmers could afford more and finer goods and achieve a much higher standard of living---but at a price.
Now farmers were no longer dependent just on the weather and on their own efforts. Their lives were increasingly controlled by banks, which had power to grant or deny loans for new machinery, and by the railroads which set the rates for shipping their crops to market. As businessmen, farmers now had to worry about national economic depressions and the influence of world supply and demand on, for example, the price of wheat in Kansas. And so by the end of the 19th century, the era of Jefferson’s independent farmer had come to a close.
Questions 32 to 35 are based on the passage you have just heard.
32. What is the main topic of the passage?
33. According to the passage, what was the major change in agriculture during the 19th century?
34. What was one result of the increased use of machinery on farms in the United States?
35. According to the passage, why was the world market important for United States agriculture?
Directions: In this section, you will hear a passage three times. When the passage is read for the first time, you should listen carefully for its general idea. When the passage is read for the second time, you are required to fill in the blanks numbered from 36 to 43 with the exact words you have just heard. For blanks numbered from 44 to 46 you are required to fill in the missing information. For these blanks, you can either use the exact words you have just heard or write down the main points in your own words. Finally, when the passage is read for the third time, you should check what you have written.
Psychologists have found that only about two percent of adults use their creativity, compared with ten percent of seven-year-old children. When five-year olds were tested, the results rose to ninety percent! Curiosity and originality are daily occurrences for the small child, but somehow most of us lose the freedom and flexibility of the child as we grow older. The need to “follow directions” and “do it right” plus the many social constraints we put on ourselves prevent us from using our creative potential.
It is never too late to tap our creative potential. Some of us, however, find it difficult to think in imaginative and flexible ways because of our set pattern of approaching problems. When we are inflexible in our approach to situations, we close our minds to creative possibilities.
Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean being a genius. It means looking at situations in a new way or putting something together in a new form that makes sense. Spontaneity is one of the key elements of creativity.
If you were to ask someone, “What’s half of eight?” and received the answer “zero,” you might laugh and say “That’s wrong!” But the figure 8 can be visualized as two zeros, one on top of the other, or it can also be seen as two 3s standing face to face.
The ability to visualize our environment in new ways opens our perspective and allows us to make all kinds of discoveries. If each of us asked the question “why” more often and investigated “other” alternatives to problem solving, our lives would be more interesting and exciting.