Reading 07 - Forts and The Western Life
In addition to their military role, the forts of the nineteenth century provided numerous other benefits for the American West. The establishment of these posts opened new roads and provided for the protection of daring adventurers and expeditions as well as established settlers. Forts also served as bases where enterprising entrepreneurs could bring commerce to the West, providing supplies and refreshments to soldiers as well as to pioneers. Posts like Fort Laramie provided supplies for wagon trains traveling the natural highways toward new frontiers. Some posts became stations for the pony express; still others, such as Fort Davis, were stagecoach stops for weary travelers. All of these functions, of course, suggest that the contributions of the forts to the civilization and development of the West extended beyond patrol duty.
Through the establishment of military posts, yet other contributions were made to the development of western culture. Many posts maintained libraries or reading rooms, and some – for example, Fort Davis – had schools. Post chapels provided a setting for religious services and weddings. Throughout the wilderness, post bands provided entertainment and boosted morale. During the last part of the nineteenth century, to reduce expenses, gardening was encouraged at the forts, thus making experimental agriculture another activity of the military. The military stationed at the various forts also played a role in civilian life by assisting in maintaining order, and civilian officials often called on the army for protection.
Certainly, among other significant contributions the army made to the improvement of the conditions of life was the investigation of the relationships among health, climate, and architecture. From the earliest colonial times throughout the nineteenth century, disease ranked as the foremost problem in defense. It slowed construction of forts and inhibited their military functions. Official documents from many regions contained innumerable reports of sickness that virtually incapacitated entire garrisons. In response to the problems, detailed observations of architecture and climate and their relationships to the frequency of the occurrence of various diseases were recorded at various posts across the nation by military surgeons.
1. Which of the following statements best expresses the main idea of the passage?
By the nineteenth century, forts were no longer used by the military.
Surgeons at forts could not prevent outbreaks of disease.
Forts were important to the development of the American West
Life in nineteenth-century forts was very rough.
2. The word “daring” in line 2 is closest in meaning to
3. Which of the following would a traveler be LEAST likely to obtain at Fort Laramie?
4. The word “others” in line 5 refers to
5. The word “boosted” in line 10 is closest in meaning to
6. Which of the following is the most likely inference about the decision to promote gardening at forts?
It was expensive to import produce from far away.
Food brought in from outside was often spoiled
Gardening was a way to occupy otherwise idle soldiers.
The soil near the forts was very fertile.
7. According to the passage, which of the following posed the biggest obstacle to the development of military forts?
8. The word “inhibited” in line 16 is closest in meaning to
9. How did the military assists in the investigation of health problems?
By registering annual birth and death rates
By experiments with different building materials
By maintaining records of diseases and potential causes
By monitoring the soldiers’ diets.
10. The author organizes the discussion of forts by
describing their locations
comparing their sizes
explaining their damage to the environment
listing their contributions to western life