PSAT Reading Practice Test 42: Great Global Conversation: Jefferson

Questions 1-10 refer to the following information.

Below are two letters sent by Thomas Jefferson of the United States of America, the first to Benjamin Franklin in 1777 and the second to George Washington in 1781.

Passage 1
Honorable Sir,
I forbear to write you news, as the time of Mr. Shore's departure being uncertain, it might be
old before you receive it, and he can, in person, possess you of all we have. With respect to the
State of Virginia in particular, the people seem to have laid aside the monarchical, and taken
05up the republican government, with as much ease as would have attended their throwing off
an old and putting on a new suit of clothes. Not a single throe has attended this important
transformation. A half dozen aristocratical gentlemen, agonizing under the loss of pre-emi-
nence, have sometimes ventured their sarcasms on our political metamorphosis. They have
been thought fitter objects of pity than of punishment. We are at present in the complete and
10quiet exercise of well organized government, save only that our courts of justice do not open
till the fall. I think nothing can bring the security of our continent and its cause into danger, if
we can support the credit of our paper. To do that, I apprehend one of two steps must be taken.
Either to procure free trade by alliance with some naval power able to protect it; or, if we find
there is no prospect of that, to shut our ports totally to all the world, and turn our colonies
15into manufactories. The former would be most eligible, because most conformable to the habits
and wishes of our people. Were the British Court to return to their senses in time to seize
the little advantage which still remains within their reach from this quarter, I judge that, on
acknowledging our absolute independence and sovereignty, a commercial treaty beneficial to
them, and perhaps even a league of mutual offence and defence, might, not seeing the expense
20or consequences of such a measure, be approved by our people, if nothing in the mean time,
done on your part, should prevent it. But they will continue to grasp at their desperate sover-
eignty, till every benefit short of that is for ever out of their reach. I wish my domestic situation
had rendered it possible for me to join you in the very honorable charge confided to you.
Residence in a polite Court, society of literati of the first order, a just cause and an approving
25God, will add length to a life for which all men pray, and none more than
Your most obedient
and humble servant,
Th: Jefferson.
Passage 2
30I have just received intelligence, which, though from a private hand, I believe is to be relied
on, that a fleet of the enemy's ships have entered Cape Fear river, that eight of them had got
over the bar, and many others were lying off; and that it was supposed to be a reinforcement
to Lord Cornwallis, under the command of General Prevost. This account, which had come
through another channel, is confirmed by a letter from General Parsons at Halifax, to the
35gentleman who forwards it to me. I thought it of sufficient importance to be communicated
to your Excellency by the stationed expresses. The fatal want of arms puts it out of our power
to bring a greater force into the field, than will barely suffice to restrain the adventures of the
pitiful body of men they have at Portsmouth. Should any more be added to them, this country
will be perfectly open to them, by land as well as water.
40I have the honor to be, with all possible respect,
Your Excellency's most obedient
and most humble servant,
Th: Jefferson.

10 questions    13 minutesAll test questions

1. In Passage 1, Jefferson describes the Virginia governmental transition as

2. In Passage 1, Jefferson suggests that the American people would be open to which of the following with the British?

3. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

4. As used in line 12, "apprehend" most closely means

5. Jefferson uses lines 15–16 ("The former . . . people") to imply most directly that

6. The implied meaning of Jefferson's message in Passage 2 is that at the time of the letter, the American defense against the invading British force was

7. As used in line 36, "want" most closely means

8. Both Passage 1 and Passage 2 have a tone of

9. Which of Jefferson's statements from Passage 1 demonstrated the greatest foresight given the issues mentioned in Passage 2?

10. The respective general themes of Passage 1 and Passage 2 are

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