Reading: / Identifying Information (True/False/Not Given) / Part 4


 Questions 1-5, which are based on Reading Passage .


Thomas Jefferson is renowned for many accomplishments, among which he was the principal author of the American Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, during which time America grew significantly in size and stature.

Jefferson also designed his own three-storeyed, 33-roomed mansion, called Monticello, familiar to every American from the nickel, or 5-cent coin, on which can be seen a simple domed building with a four-columned portico.

Influenced by classical European design, and emulated across the land, Monticello took more than 40 years to build. Numerous labour-saving devices inside, invented by Jefferson himself, and gardens the envy of agronomists represent the scientific spirit of a new age.

Modelled on Andrea Palladio's 16th-century Italian villas, Monticello is a tribute to the man and style that Jefferson idolised. As Palladio considered the position of a building to be of the utmost importance, Jefferson had Monticello built on a mountain with splendid views. According to Palladio, a building should be symmetrical since mathematical order bestows harmony upon its inhabitants. Thus Monticello boasts a colonnaded entrance and a central room with a dome.

But who was the man who created Monticello? Thomas Jefferson was born at Shadwell, Virginia, on the east coast of America in 1743. On his father’s death, he inherited a large property where Monticello was subsequently constructed. Jefferson, both a lawyer and politician, was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1768, and in 1775 to the Continental Congress, Where he revised the laws of Virginia. Two of his famous pieces of legislation include: the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom; and the Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge.

Throughout Jefferson’s early adulthood, America had been righting Britain in the War of Independence. In 1776, Jefferson, who was never a combatant, wrote the Declaration of Independence, and although the conflict did not end until 1783, Americans consider the birth of their nation came with that declaration. As well as proclaiming America‘s freedom. The declaration outlines universal human rights, stating that all men are equal regardless of birth, wealth, or status, and, furthermore, that government is the servant, not the master, of the people. Although Jefferson's work was based on the ideas of John Locke, an Englishman, and on a body of French philosophy, it remains a uniquely American document.

After the war, Jefferson took up the post of Governor of Virginia, before returning to Congress. He then served five years in France as a US trade representative and minister. He was American Vice-President organised the purchase of a vast tract of land from the French, who were embattled in Europe and strapped for cash. This land, called the Louisiana Territory, doubled the size of America. Jefferson was also responsible for financing Lewis and Clark - two explorers who undertook a momentous journey along the Ohio River to survey nature and appraise land for settlement.

In retirement, Jefferson remained active. His huge library, donated to the nation, and known as the Library of Congress, is still one of the world’s most reputable. He founded the University of Virginia, designed most of its early buildings, defined its curriculum, and became its first rector or chancellor. When he died, on the fourth of July 1826, America had lost a truly great man.

Monticello, his home for most of his life, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List partly because Jefferson lived there, but mainly because it brought classicism - the style of Palladio- to the New World. It was Jefferson's belief that if America were to assume the mantle of a powerful nation, it needed to draw on the best of the European past as well as creating its own style.

Monticello is not a very large building: it is 1022 square metres (11,000 square feet) – these days, a football player or film star has a house as big.

Monticello was not all built at once since Jefferson's finances were seldom secure. Further- more, his ideas about building changed during his sojourn in France. In 1768, the mountaintop where Monticello would sit was leveled. Bricks were manufactured over a two-year period by Jefferson‘s slaves - he owned about 200. Wood was sourced from trees on Jefferson's land; stone and limestone were quarried on his property; and - in keeping with his concept of elegance - the window glass and furniture were imported from Europe. Jefferson moved into the South Pavilion in 1770. Around 1772, the Dining Room in the north wing was built. The first house was mostly complete in 1782, the year Jefferson’s wife died. On return from France in 1796, Jefferson had the upper storey demolished, and the whole structure remodeled, which took eleven years. In 1800, the dome was fitted. A North Pavilion was added from 1806-8. Extensive gardens - both ornamental and productive - were created since Jefferson believed in pursuing agriculture in a scientific manner.

As mentioned previously, Jefferson was an inventor. Since Virginian summers can be hot, he designed special fans and blinds. Blocks of ice were stored in the cellar all year round - a rarity at the time. For the cold winters, Monticello has numerous fireplaces and stoves. In the late 1790s, Jefferson altered the fireplaces to apply some modem fuel-saving principles. He introduced skylights - another unusual feature - and he designed tables that could be turned easily and doors that opened automatically. He even had a shaft-and-pulley system between floors for hoisting food. However, not until 1822, was the roof covered with durable material. Just four years later, Jefferson died.

Jefferson is remembered as a statesman, philosopher, educationalist and architect. Fiercely American, he drew on a European heritage. He was optimistic, far-sighted, and creative, and Monticello remains a monument to the man as much as his age.

Questions 1-5

Do the following statements agree with the information in the text on the following page?

In boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet, write:

TRUE             if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE           if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN             if there is no information on this

1. Monticello was inspired by Italian architecture.

2. Jefferson fought in the War of Independence.

3. During Jefferson’s presidency, the French bought some American land, greatly reducing the size of the country.

4. Jefferson taught at the University of Virginia.

5. By today’s standards, Monticello appears quite a small house for a famous person.