TOEFL iTP | Reading | Protecting the Coastline

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In the first half of the nineteenth century, the U.S. government decided that it needed to set up a system for protecting its coastline. It then began building a series of forts along the coast of the eastern part of the country to facilitate its defenses.

The largest of these forts was Fort Jefferson, which was begun in 1846. This fort was built on Garden Key, a cluster of small coral islands 70 miles west of Key West. At the time of its construction, Fort Jefferson was believed to be of primary strategic importance to the United States because of its location at the entryway to the Gulf of Mexico. Because of its location at the entrance to a great body of water, it became known as the Gibraltar of the Gulf, in reference to the island located at the mouth of the Mediterranean. The fort itself was a massive structure. It was hexagonal in shape, most of the Garden Key, it was approximately half a mile in circumference.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, during the Civil War and its aftermath, the fort was used as a prison rather than a military installation. The most notorious of its prisoners was Dr. Samuel Mudd, a physician who was most probably innocently involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The actual assassin, John Wilkes Booth, broke his leg as he lept from the stage of the Ford Theater during the assassination. Dr. Mudd set Booth’s broken leg, unaware of Booth’s involvement in the assassination. As a result of this action, Dr. Mudd was sentenced to life in prison and remanded to Fort Jefferson. He was pardoned after only four years because of his courageous efforts in combatting an epidemic of yellow fever that ravaged the fort.

Continuous use of Fort Jefferson ended in the 1870s, although the U.S. Navy continued with sporadic use of it into the twentieth century. Today, the massive ruins still remain of the tiny island that stands guard over the entrance to the gulf, undisturbed except for the occasional sightseer who ventures out from the coast to visit.

Longman
  1. The passage is mainly about
  • A series of forts
  • A series of events at one fort
  • A single event at one fort
  • A series of events at several forts
  • All of the following are true about Fort Jefferson EXCEPT that
  • It is on an island
  • It was built because of its strategic location
  • It is in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico
  • It has been compared with an island at the opening of the Mediterranean
  • The word “hexagonal” in line 9 is closest in meaning to
  • Six-sided
  • Seven-sided
  • Eight-sided
  • Irregular in shape
  • The pronoun “it” in line 11 refers to
  • Fort
  • Shape
  • Moat
  • Circumference
  • All of the following are stated about Dr. Samuel Mudd EXCEPT that
  • He was a medical doctor
  • He cared for Lincoln’s assassin
  • He was imprisoned at Fort Jefferson
  • He was most likely guilty of Lincoln’s assassination
  • How was Fort Jefferson most likely used in 1865?
  • As a strategic defensive unit of U.S. military
  • As a penal institution
  • As a regularly functioning naval base
  • As a destination for tourists
  • “Yellow fever” in line 19 is most likely
  • an enemy military force
  • a prison regimen
  • a contagious disease
  • a mental illness
  • What is implied about Fort Jefferson today?
  • It is a thriving community.
  • It is a relatively quiet place.
  • It is still in use by the U.S. military.
  • It remains in good condition.
  • Where in the passage does the author describe an injury to the man who shot Lincoln?
  1. Lines 5-7
  2. Lines 13-15
  3. Lines 15-16
  4. Lines 18-19
  1. The information in the passage is presented
  • In chronological order
  • By listing examples of a concept
  • In spatial order
  • By arguing for a hypothesis

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