All GED Social Studies Resources
Example Question #1 : Other Passage Content
Adapted from A Short History of the United States (1908) by Edward Channing.
The first colonists sailed for Virginia in December, 1606. They were months on the way and suffered terrible hardships. At last they reached Chesapeake Bay and settled on a peninsula on the James, about thirty miles from its mouth. Across the little isthmus which connected this peninsula with the mainland they built a strong fence, or stockade, to keep the Indians away from their huts. Their settlement they named Jamestown. The early colonists of Virginia were not very well fitted for such a work. Some of them were gentlemen who had never labored with their hands; others were poor, idle fellows whose only wish was to do nothing whatever. There were a few energetic men among them as Ratcliffe, Archer, and Smith. But these spent most of their time in exploring the bay and the rivers, in hunting for gold, and in quarreling with one another. With the summer came fevers, and soon fifty of the one-hundred-and-five original colonists were dead. Then followed a cold, hard winter, and many of those who had not died of fever in the summer died of cold. The colonists brought little food with them, they were too lazy to plant much corn, and they were able to get only small supplies from the Indians. Indeed, the early history of Virginia is given mainly to accounts of "starving times." Of the first thousand colonists not one hundred lived to tell the tale of those early days.
The early experience of the colonists was defined by __________.
Based on the author's description of how the colonists came to The New World ill-prepared for life there and did not plant enough food to prevent them from starving, you could reasonably say their experience was defined by "insanity," but the best answer choice is clearly suffering. The author notes that "of the first thousand colonists, not one hundred lived to tell the tale of those early days."