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星火20篇文章贯通1-6级词汇01-03

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UNIT 1 Abraham Lincoln

abraham lincoln was one of the greatest presidents the usa has ever had. he was an extraordinary man:both humble and ambitious .plodding and piercingly intelligent. his charity ,courtesy and integrity gained the respect. there are many reasons for lincoln's popularity. his career reflected common american belief or dream that everyone could become rich .successful through hard work with all his intelligence and ability.

on february 12,1809, abraham lincoln came to the world in a log cabin beside nolin creek, in an inland state, kentucky. his father, thomas, was a cheerful,sociable, obstinate petty farmer who scraped an uncertain living from the kentucky impoverished soil. in 1818, his mother, nancy lincoln, died from tuberculosis.without nancy , shack life soon became chaotic, sordid and miserable, after a year, thomas married a widow called 'saly'.sally was as good as a mother to abraham as his real one had been. although she was illiterate, she understood her stepson's odd ways. she accepted the brooding silences that contrasted so strongly with the jokes that poured out of him when he was in mood .supported by sally,abraham read all kinds of transcriptions lent .but he'd spent no more than a year in classroom. most of his time, he helped his father fell trees and seed crops. sometimes he came to the brook nearby ,watching the dews on the broom, listening the cuckoo or larks. for aught he knew what his future was like .but really he didn't want to reconcile himself to the drudgery. in the spring of 1831, he left home.

after several migrations, abraham, taking his baggage tied by elastic bands, settled down in new salem and joined the local debating society, at first, its other members mocked at their new recruit , but then they realized the austere young man in amber suit turned out to be an inborn speaker. for the first time, lincoln showed his eminent aptitude for eloquence . in 1834 ,he stood for election to the illinois state legislature, and the lean - faced, rumpled giant man struk lucky. he'd now add ambition to his list: to be a lawyer ,although he was a layman at that time .fascinated to the courtrooms and by dramas that took place there, he'd pore over the united states constitution, the set of rules by which the country is governed. the declaration of independence kindled his interest.(the following was quoted from the declaration: we hold this truth to be self-evident that all men are created equal :that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happi-ness... today the thoughts have filtered into people's minds.) During the cause ,he took his self-education a stage further in real earnest. in 1837, he qualified as a fully -fledged lawyer and had more chances to unfold his unmatched forensic eloquence. five years later,he married mary , a tiny .vivacious ,fashionable girl ,in spite of the opposition of her family . by the late of 1840s, he and his family have moved into a smart clapboard house of their own. with shutters and a delicate rough -iron balcony.

in abraham lincoln's time,the united states of america consisted of thirteen states, not stretc-hing from the atlantic ocean in the east to the pacific in the west.but it was expanding .even as colo-nies, the thirteen states had had very different characters. the south,with its rich soil and mild damp climate, be-came a land of big farms called 'plantation'. the owners enjoyed many prerogatives. for them , the ideal way of life was appropriate to the status of feudal baron: elegant, refined ,sociable, with all the time in the world for outdoor pursuits like riding and in-door amusement like music. the northerners had a differ-ent outlook on life.the were serious-minded; they be-lieved in hard work, education,democracy and equality .

the south mainly exported cotton to europe for cash. raw cotton is a white, fluffy lining of a seed pot. the moist. warm climate in the south was applicable to the weed-like plant. so cotton was one of the staples of the south. and across the atlantic, the europe with quickly growing population was eager to buy the cheap, durable fabric that could be made from crude cotton. this resulted in the south monoculture .europe, in fact, was going through a huge upheaval of its own: the industrial revolution. the newly invented machines were throbbing in the factories that were being set up everywhere.

the south prosperity was based on the tragic fate of black slaves: africans and their descendants, who were sold like commodities. the transatlan-tic trade in human beings had been going on since the early 1600s, for over 200 years, its merchants had been tearing africans from their homes and families. and plunging them into a hell that is hard to describe and infinitely har-der to endure. of the millions that were crammed into the wooden sailing ships for the voyage west, huge members did not ever survive the journey. for their tor-ment started as soon as they entered the stinking, suffodating cargo-holds that had been pre-pared for them. each adult slave was packed into a space which was about 75 centimeters high. 38 centimeters wide and less than 200 centimeters long. once stowed, the men had to stay where they were, in the very lousy spaces narrower even than coffins .here they ate,slept, voided their torture guts :hygiene conditions were terrible. they were chained down in the disgustful darkness. there were mosquitoes and cockroaches everywhere. ships arrived in the new world with only tow -thirds of the complement loaded, de-ducting the dead and the insane. sometimes the proportion was even lower. the dead and the insane had gone the way of everything else that the crew regarded as useless, and were thrown over the shipboard.illegal ,fast-moving and slimmed with bloodsained profit, the hideous trade went on.

the slaves were constrained to work from dawn to dusk .some acted as miners and porters. but most of them worked in the cotton field, tending and picking the precious harvest, they were often savage-ly whipped even when they obeyed the orders they re-ceived.they were disparaged as livestock, branded as a precaution against escaping .even used in-stead of money by keen gambler. without slavery,the wealth of the south would vanish overnight, utterly and completely. they were sold on the auctioneer's platform like furniture through brisk bidding. formal slave mar-riage was banned, but their owners were delighted that they had children, as yielding machines. slave women who managed to survive ten children birth were sometimes given their freedom as a reward, out of the concentration camp.

although some northerners did not like the ideas of blacks living alongside whites in some communities , quite a lot genuinely did oppose slavery. a new feeling of com-passion was spreading through the western world.people had started to react against the harsh realities of the industrial revolution. they were discovering how grim life really was for all but rich . and were demanding reforms .slavery contradicted both christianity of the bi-ble and the declaration of independence .which preached the brotherhood of man. as the number of the slae and free states changing , four of the slave states even began to think of the ultimate, desperate remedy: before the union de-stroyed their way of life, they would defy the union altogether and set up an autonomous state, in 1852, uncle tom's cabin, which told of slavery from the slaves' aspect: the terror , the brutality, and the despair, sold by the million. the voices calling for abolition swelled to a deafening cho-rus.

in 1854, a fresh shift in usa's frontier provoked an-other crisis .to the fury of many northerners, two new western territories, kansas and nebraska, were allowed to choose slavery or be free for themselves, which wasn't compatible with the clauses of old missouri compromise.

lincoln deduced that slavery would die out of its own accord, since intensive cotton-farming exhausted the soil, however, he was not an abolitionist but a realist .modera-tion was one of the main traits in his character. and it was hased, not on ignorance or dogmatism, but on years of hard, self-probing thought, and the learning he'd patiently been accumulating from his childhood.

UNIT 2 Abraham Lincoln

Amid all these disturbances and conflicts, America held its presidential election of 1860. The democrats, who represented wishes of the slave owners, split in the nomination of a Democratic candidate for the presidency. This was partly due to their disagreement on concrete policy and partly due to the effect of the famous Lincoln Douglas debates in 1858. The scattering of their votes caused their failure in the presidential election.

The republican party nominated Lincoln, a dark horse and state senator of Illinois. For the presidency. The democrats tried hard to defeat Lincoln. They even heaped slanders upon his beloved mother, calling her and innocent and loose woman. But Lincoln ignored the malicious indignities. He put forward political slogan for the people, and won wide support. He was elected with forty percent of the total popular vote cast. His induction speech embodied his ideas:” A house divided against itself cannot stand .i believe this government can not endure permanently half slave and half free. I don’t expect the union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall but I do expect it will cease to be divided. Each civilian has the liability to uphold nation peace.

Licoln had not openly declared he would free all the slaves, but the southern states were alarmed at his election. They feared that he would take more drastic measures against slavery than his predecessor. On February 4,1861, representatives from some southern states met and agreed to form a government for a new country that they named the confederate states of America. They publicly declared that the “ union is hereby dissolved”

When Lincoln swore as president on march 4, 1861, he faced and extremely critical situation. Should the southern states be won back, through negotiation or by war? The whole nation, both the south and the north, anxiously awaited the decision of the new president that would decide the future of the country.

Lincoln was regarded, by many Americans, as an unassuming, kindhearted person, but he was firm. In his inaugural address he made his last attempt to avoid civil war by expressing a kind feeling for the south, but at the same time he solemnly declared that he would “preserve, protect, and defend” the union. This left no room for suspicion as to what his policy would be. Hence, the southerners decided to go to war. The situation came to the critical point.

The military struggle in the civil war began on April 12 ,1861, when the southerners bombarded Fort sumter in the Charleston harbor.

Many northerners were enraged by the intrusion. Although the dove exaggerated the difficulties and disapproved of war, Lincoln cleared away obstacles at last. After deliberate thought. He issued a decree for 75 thousand volunteers under the banner of reunion, hundreds of thousands responded instantaneously. They took an oath to defend the union and defeat separationism. In terms of strength, the north enjoyed predominant superiority. It had 23 states with a population of 22 million while the south had only 11 states with a population of about 9 million. Though many of the experienced army officers went to join the south , the whole Navy remained loyal to the union.

The north controlled most of the factories .the middle west could produce enough foodstuffs for the north while the south, relying on cotton for wealth , had to solve the problem of food supply.

The southerners seemed inferior in strength, but they had their own advantages, they were fighting a defensive war and could keep close to their sources of supplies. They had many experienced officers and soldiers from planters’ families who were skilled in shooting and horseback riding .the notion that they werE fighting in defense of their vital interests was of great psycho logical value to them .and lastly , they entreated aid of England and france who needed cotton from the southern states. They thought the two countries had correlative benefit at slavery.

The advantages of the north were potential rather than actual. So at the first onset, the federal army was passive .the southern troops occupied many areas and nearly captured Washington. The federal army felt ashamed of the repeated setbacks. Lincoln had already proclaimed a blockade of the southern coasts after the war broke out, but its immediate effect was small, for the federal navy was still small and the south had not been exhausted, the year 1863 was a turning point when the blockade stopped all foreign trade with the south soon after, the northern troops went on the offensive. The prospect of victory for the south was fast diminishing.

The changed military situation prompted Lincoln to take his decisive step. He had been considering the advisability of repealing the slavery in the South. But he would not take a rash action lest his opponents considered it as “the last shriek on the retreat.” After the North won big victories, Lincoln belived the time had come and on September 22 , 1862 , he discarded the old beliefs and announced the notable Emancipation Proclamation. It provided that all the slaves in the rebelling states were freed, with an appendix welcoming the slaves bursting their bonds to join the armed forces of the North . The proclamation thus declared the slave embargo to be an objective of the Union .Today ,racial discrimination isn’t exterminated yet ,but it has been turning better.

The effect of the Proclamation was great. It also won broad support in England and france. This made the governments of the two . countries remain neutral, for they could no longer find a proper pretext for interference with a war that was against social evils, The South envoy sent to England for help had to return back, The South was thus greatly discouraged and became more worried of slave revolt.

In the face of the slow but inexorable advance of the Federal troops under grand who was the commander ,the Southern troops were forced to retreat, Some Federal troops were forced to retreat. Some Federal troops from the Mississippi River Valley was detached into the very heart of the south, They did much mischief to whatever could be used to serve the war. They sabotaged factories , trampled crops and leveled Atlanta to the ground .The southern states suffered a severe shortage of supplies .Even their soldiers did not have enough provisions . The novel Gone With The Wind reflects part of the situation in the south , although it is a progressive novel so far as its viewpoint if concerned.

On April 2, 1865, the Northern troops dynamited the defense fortress and captured the South capital, A week later, the Southern troops were hemmed in a marsh. They had no alternative but to surrender. The Northerners got the mastery over the whole situation. The war ended with victory for the North at last.

Lincoln played a very important role in the war. Without his firmness , keen insight , wise leadership, warmth and imperial generosity , American history would perhaps have been rewritten, The victory made the man with bristly beard gain high reputation. In 1864, his brilliant feat made him be elected president for a second term by a unanimous vote.

On Thursday night , April 13, 1864, Washington was illuminated and hurrahed to celebrate the final victory , and joyous crowed paraded in the street, Lincoln feasted a galaxy of generals on the lawn before White House ,The following evening, Lincoln and his wife attended a performance at Ford theatre, Before the first interval of the play, he was shot in the head by a crazy actor named John Wilkes Booth, who sprang from the presidential box to the stage and then fled swiftly in uproar. The assassin, Booth, a sympathizer of the South, was captured by irritated people some days later in a barn in the Virginia countryside.

The strong reaction of the nation to Lincoln’s death was almost unbelievable . The people were in deep melancholy . Newspapers were edged with black. Churches stopped their normal sermons and sang the hymns for the great egalitarian . The train which took his body back to his former home in Springfield, Illinois , traveled 12 days before reaching his destination, for all the towns , villages and even the railway itself were thronged with people mourning , Tens of thousands attended his funeral, American schools now still hold annual ceremonies to celebrate the martyr’s birthday, Lincoln is immortal in the hearts of Americans .

UNIT 3 The High Cost of Higher Education

A college presidents tell the tale , on a particular summer afternoon a few years ago, the telephone

Supposedly rang in the admissions office of a struggling liberal arts college , one best described as ※enrollment impaired§. The caller had a simple question, ※when will classes begin in the fall?§ The director of admissions had an equally simple answer, ※well ,when can you get here?§

The story , of course , is a fabrication ,but from the early 1990s decreases in the size of college age students were impairing enrollments on many less than top ranked campuses. It was a time when college presidents held their breath until changing demographic statistics would make it easier to fill their classrooms and rescue their institutions .from their most serious economic predicament since the Great Depression

The trouble is that higher education remains a labor intensive service industry , which was made up of thousands of stubbornly independent and mutually jealous units . They must each support expensive and vastly under used facilities . it is a more than $ 200 billion a year economic enterprise and often regards efficiency , productivity and commercial opportunity haughtily .

The net result : a hideously inefficient system that for all its tax advantages and public and private subsidies , still exacts a larger share of family income for a college education than almost anywhere else. With annual costs at some prominent private schools exceeding $ 10 000, paying for college has become a source of increasing distress in American household , including those with incomes well into six figures . The US News Cost of College Index show that the average middle class breadwinner must now work 95 days to pay for a year at an average private school. Twenty years ago , it took slightly more than half as long to pay for the same education .

To be sure, virtually every school from Harvard With its $ 7 billion endowment to the financially challenged community college insists it is striving to control costs,Yet, the rising costs of operating a college are seemingly inexorable. It is considered a tremendous achievement to hold annual tuition increases slightly more than the rate of inflation . what &s more. Only a handful of institutions have been courageous or foolish enough to have actually reduced their tuition .

The colleges blame rising tuition on an assortment of off campus scapegoats congressional budget cutters , miserly state legislatures .government regulators and parents who demand ever more costly student health and recreational services .rarely mentioned are the on 每campus causes of the tuition crisis: declining teaching loads, nonproductive research , ballooning financial aid programs , bloated administrative hierarchies. If college and universities were rated on their overall financial shrewdness , most would be lucky to escape with passing grades.

In their defense , many schools argue that the ※sticker§ prices shown in the US News Index are misleading, since most students , not just those who might be described as truly ※needy§, usually are qualified for some form of financial aid . in fact, tuition discounting has become so widespread that on many campuses the subsidy for the minority has turned into an entitlement for the majority . Naturally , the something for nothing, generosity comes at a price, as increases in financial aid usually have to be funded by escalating the tuition .

Unhappily , college loans have become as much a part of student life as Friday night beer busts , Between 1990 and 1995, the $ 103 billion combined total of undergraduate loans exceeded the sum of all the debt incurred by all the college students during the preceding three decades. Statistics like these could wind up negatively influencing students* lifestyles , their choices of careers , their willing ness to go to graduate and their ability to buy house , cars and other consumer products .Of even greater concern is that many of these debtors may also wind up, at least temporarily , in jobs that do not offer expected salaries. The disturbing truth is that there are simply too many college graduates competing for too few college level jobs. It is estimated that at least 22 percent of all college graduates entering the work force between 1994 and 2005 were or will be either unemployed or in jobs for which a bachelor*s degree is not ordinarily considered a necessity . Working with some big companies is an honorable first job, but the salaries they offer rarely enable graduates both to repay a student loan and to enjoy a lifestyle commensurate with their expectations . Clearly ,360 years after Harvard assembled the nation*s first college class , higher education is reaching a major turning point . Not only is there a widening disconnection between the cost of college and what the consumer can afford or is willing to pay, but the high technology is diminishing the role of traditional weekly lecture and even the classroom itself .

Academic technophobes, of course, insist that nothing will ever replace the good teacher . but even the best teacher cannot match the flexibility and the richness of resources made possible by top quality instructional software , especially for a generation often more at home on the internet than with a textbook .

No doubt, while first rate instructional software is expensive to develop, over the long run it can vastly reduce costs , especially if the capital investment is shared by a group of like minded institutions . The schools may enter into cooperative arrangements to share both costs and expertise. Otherwise, as the president of one Eastern liberal arts college said not long go , if we insist on going it alone , we could all still wind up wording together for bill gates university. A recent survey of 250 institutions taken by the Association of American Colleges and Universities showed that while Email and internet access are available on almost every campus , fewer than 25 percent of schools regularly employ technology for classroom institution. Most of these use the computer as an expensive way to display and project audiovisual aids in the classroom, Eventually , however, the computer is destined to eclipse the professor-centered classroom, It will free faculty from routine and repetitive chores in the classroom. enabling them to devote more time to doing what they should do best 每closely monitoring and mentoring students .Such one 每on 每one relationships are becoming increasingly important as colleges place more emphasis on so called experiential learning programs that take place outside the classroom . realizing the educational value of learning by doing and growing by doing , many schools now offer college credits for participation in off campus internships , independent study and research projects .volunteer service and undergraduate teaching assistantships and for enlisting in local community development activities , it is found that under graduates who are involved in internships take more responsibility for their own education and develop greater self confidence and sharper communication skills. One important bonus of experiential learning: students frequently develop off campus contacts that can help them land that elusive first job.

But change does not come easily on most campuses. One explanation for the slow pace of change is that most tenured faculty members are exceedingly comfortable with the academic status. After all , they enjoy guaranteed employment. Make their own schedules. and spend most of their working hours in extraordinarily pleasant environments .Why rock the boat? Since tenured faculty members have a loud and sometimes definitive voice in determining campus policy , their devotion often checkmate presidents who propose desirable reforms . for certain, nothing can undermine a college presidency more quickly and permanently than a faculty vote of ※no confidence ※, Accordingly , new college presidents no matter how brilliant and dynamic soon realize to go along with even the most limited reforms , they must persuade , or sometimes bully their faculties. Nevertheless, for America*s colleges and universities to avoid pricing them selves out of more markets, it will require a new way to raise revenues and allocate resources , Much more fundamental changes are needed to relieve the financial pain inflicted by tuition that consumes larger fractions of family budgets, leaves so many graduates laden with debt and compels more and more prospective students to select colleges on the basis of cost rather than academic abilities or personal preferences.

Surely , an enterprise as full of intellectual energy and moral sensitivity as higher education can design a new system less dependent on tuition and more compassionate about the cost . therefore , college officials should begin thinking unconventionally about new way to raise revenues. Of course, it all depends on the emergence of leaders who will have both the courage to challenge higher education*s encrusted tradition and toughness to withstand the faculty club snickers and snubs . America has begun holding colleges and universities accountable for the way they run their financial affairs , Simply put, the nation cannot afford to let higher education become less and less affordable for more and more students , the high cost of college is no longer just an academic affair, it is a national concern as well.
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