AP English Language and Composition Practice Test 34

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Question 13 questions

Time 14 minutes

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Questions 1-13 refer to the following information.

The passage below is an excerpt from a contemporary book.

So he bought it.1 Everyone knows that. Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan Island
from a group of local Indians for sixty guilders worth of goods, or as the nineteenthcentury
historian Edmund O'Callaghan calculated it, twenty-four dollars. From the
Lineseventeenth through the early twentieth century thousands of real estate transactions
5occurred in which native Americans sold parcels-ranging in size from a town
lot to a midwestern state-to English, Dutch, French, Spanish, and other European
settlers. But only one sale is legend; only one is known by everyone. Only one has
had the durability to be riffed on in Broadway song ("Give It Back to the Indians,"
from the 1939 Rodgers and Hart musical Too Many Girls), and, at the end of the
10twentieth century, to do service as a punchline in a column by humorist Dave Barry
(". . . which the Dutch settler Peter Minuit purchased from the Manhattan Indians
for $24, plus $167,000 a month in maintenance fees").2
It's pretty clear why this particular sale lodged in the cultural memory, why it
became legend: the extreme incongruity, the exquisitely absurd price. It is the most
15dramatic illustration of the whole long process of stripping the natives of their
land. The idea that the center of world commerce, an island packed with trillions of
dollars' worth of real estate, was once bought from supposedly hapless Stone Age
innocents for twenty-four dollars' worth of household goods is too delicious to let
slip. It speaks to our sense of early American history as the history of savvy, ruthless
20Europeans conniving, tricking, enslaving, and bludgeoning innocent and guileless
natives out of their land and their lives. It's a neatly packed symbol of the entire
conquest of the continent that was to come.
Beyond that, the purchase snippet is notable because it is virtually the only thing
about Manhattan colony that has become part of history. For this reason, too, it
25deserves exploring.
So, who were the Indians who agreed to this transaction, and what did they
think it meant? The ancestors of the people whom European settlers took to calling
Indians (after Columbus, who at first thought he had arrived at the outer reaches of
India) traveled the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska that existed during the last ice
30age, more than twelve thousand years ago, then spread slowly through the Americas.
They came from Asia; their genetic makeup is a close match with Siberians and
Mongolians.3 They spread out thinly across the incomprehensible vastness of the
American continents to create a linguistic richness unparalleled in human history: it
has been estimated that at the moment Columbus arrived in the New World twentyfive
35percent of all human languages were North American Indian.4
There are two rival, hardened stereotypes that get in the way of understanding
these people: the one that arose from the long cultural dismissing of American Indians
as "primitive," and the modern dogma that sees them as Noble and Defenseless.
Both are cartoon images. Recent work in genetics, archaeology, anthropology,
40and linguistics makes plain what should be obvious: that the Mohican, Mohawk,
Lenape, Montauk, Housatonic, and other peoples occupying the lands that for a
time were called New Netherland, as well as the Massachusett, Wampanoag, Sokoki,
Pennacook, Abenaki, Oneida, Onondaga, Susquehannock, Nanticoke, and others
who inhabited other parts of what became the states of New York, Massachusetts,
45Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, Maryland,
and New Jersey, were biologically, genetically, intellectually, all but identical to the
Dutch, English, French, Swedish, and others who came in contact with them in the
beginning of the seventeenth century. The Indians were as skilled, as duplicitous, as
capable of theological rumination and technological cunning, as smart and as pigheaded,
50and as curious and cruel as the Europeans who met them. The members of
the Manhattan-based colony who knew them-who spent time among them in their
villages, hunted and traded with them, learned their languages-knew this perfectly
well. It was later, after the two had separated into rival camps, that the stereotypes
set. The early seventeenth century was a much more interesting time than the Wild
55West era, a time when Indians and Europeans were something like equal participants,
dealing with one another as allies, competitors, partners.

1 The order of events is far from clear, and historians debate whether Verhulst or Minuit was the one who purchased Manhattan Island. My account is based on my own reading of all relevant primary source material, as well as arguments made by various historians. I side against those who in recent decades removed Minuit from his legendary position as purchaser of the island, and with those who reassign him to that position . . . .

2 Dave Barry, "A Certified Wacko Rewrites History's Greatest Hits," Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 26 December 1999.

3 Brian Sykes, The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry,


1. The passage as a whole can best be described as

2. The speaker's tone of the first two sentences of the passage (line 1) is best described as

3. Footnote 1 (line 1) suggests that

4. The speaker's reference to a Broadway song (line 8) serves chiefly to

5. All of the following phrases are used to support the idea that the "sale lodged in the cultural memory" (line 13) EXCEPT

6. In line 19, the pronoun "our" refers to

7. Which of the following inferences can be drawn from a reading of footnotes 3 and 4?

8. The primary rhetorical purpose of the sentence "For this reason . . ."(lines 24–25) is to

9. In which of the following does the speaker exaggerate in order to create certain effects?

I. "Everyone knows that" (line 1)

II. "the most dramatic illustration . . . of their land" (lines 14–15)

III. "linguistic richness unparalleled in human history" (line 33)

10. In describing the Indians who lived in areas that now are eastern states (lines 48–50), the speaker emphasizes their

11. Which of the following best describes the footnoted material in the passage?

12. In the sentence beginning "The Indians were . . ." (lines 48–50), all of the following words are parallel in function to "capable" (line 49) EXCEPT

13. The main rhetorical function of the last sentence of the passage (lines 54–56) is to