Question 24 - Reading and Writing Practice Test for the PSAT/NMSQT Exam

What is the main function of the underlined sentence in the passage provided?

The Industrial Revolution changed the world forever. Beginning in Great Britain around 1760, the development of and shift in reliance to machines for everything from food production to chemical manufacturing changed how the world works, literally. Technological innovations meant that machines were able to do the work of people faster, more economically, and in greater quantity. The revolution spread from Great Britain into continental Europe and eventually to the United States. By the early to mid-nineteenth century, manufacturing and industrialization were leading the way.

One important development from the Industrial Revolution was steam power. By harnessing steam energy, more efficient engines were developed that required far less fuel than previous energy sources while providing more power. The use of steam engines spread to a number of industrial uses, including transportation with the development of steam locomotives and steamboats.

Textile manufacturing was another industry that boomed during the Industrial Revolution. Cotton grown in the United States was an important commodity. It was sold to textile mills in England and northern states, but it was a time-consuming task to harvest the cotton by hand and separate the cotton fibers from the seeds. Much of this difficult work was done by enslaved people in the South. That changed in the 1790s, however, when Eli Whitney developed the cotton gin, a machine designed to quickly separate the fibers from the seeds. Using the cotton gin, a person could remove as much seed from cotton in one day as would have previously taken two months to process by hand.

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