question 1

Passage 30

Since the early 1970's, historians have begun to
devote serious attention to the working class in the
United States. Yet while we now have studies of
working-class communities and culture, we know
(5) remarkably little of worklessness. When historians have
paid any attention at all to unemployment, they have
focused on the Great Depression of the 1930's. The
narrowness of this perspective ignores the pervasive
recessions and joblessness of the previous decades, as
(10) Alexander Keyssar shows in his recent book. Examining
the period 1870-1920, Keyssar concentrates on Massa-
chusetts, where the historical materials are particularly
rich, and the findings applicable to other industrial
(15 ) The unemployment rates that Keyssar calculates
appear to be relatively modest, at least by Great Depres-
sion standards: during the worst years, in the 1870's
and 1890's, unemployment was around 15 percent. Yet
Keyssar rightly understands that a better way to
(20) measure the impact of unemployment is to calculate
unemployment frequencies-measuring the percentage
of workers who experience any unemployment in the
course of a year. Given this perspective, joblessness
looms much larger.
(25) Keyssar also scrutinizes unemployment patterns
according to skill level, ethnicity, race, age, class, and
gender. He finds that rates of joblessness differed
primarily according to class: those in middle-class and
white-collar occupations were far less likely to be unem-
(30) ployed. Yet the impact of unemployment on a specific
class was not always the same. Even when dependent on
the same trade, adjoining communities could have
dramatically different unemployment rates. Keyssar uses
these differential rates to help explain a phenomenon
(35) that has puzzled historians-the startlingly high rate of
geographical mobility in the nineteenth-century United
States. But mobility was not the dominant working-class
strategy for coping with unemployment, nor was assis-
tance from private charities or state agencies. Self-help
(40) and the help of kin got most workers through jobless
While Keyssar might have spent more time develop-
ing the implications of his findings on joblessness for
contemporary public policy, his study, in its thorough
(45) research and creative use of quantitative and qualitative
evidence, is a model of historical analysis.

1. The passage is primarily concerned with

A recommending a new course of investigation
B summarizing and assessing a study
C making distinctions among categories
D criticizing the current state of a field
E comparing and contrasting two methods for calculating data