SAT Reading - Khan Diagnostic Quiz level 2 - reading 3

Questions 1-11 are based on the following

This passage is adapted from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to James Madison. It was originally written in 1785, when Jefferson was residing in France.

Seven o'clock, and retired to my fireside, I have

determined to enter into conversation with you; this

[Fontainebleau] is a village of about 5,000 inhabitants
when the court is not here and 20,000 when they are,
5 occupying a valley thro' which runs a brook, and on each

side of it a ridge of small mountains most of which are

naked rock. The king comes here in the fall always, to

hunt. His court attend him, as do also the foreign

diplomatic corps. But as this is not indispensably required,
10 and my finances do not admit the expence of a continued

residence here, I propose to come occasionally to attend the

king's levees, returning again to Paris, distant 40 miles.
This being the first trip, I set out yesterday morning to

take a view of the place. For this purpose I shaped my
15 course towards the highest of the mountains in sight, to the

top of which was about a league. As soon as I had got clear

of the town I fell in with a poor woman walking at the same

rate with myself and going the same course. Wishing to

know the condition of the labouring poor I entered into
20 conversation with her, which I began by enquiries for the

path which would lead me into the mountain: and thence

proceeded to enquiries into her vocation, condition and

circumstance. She told me she was a day labourer, at 8.

sous or 4 d. sterling the day; that she had two children to
25 maintain, and to pay a rent of 30 livres for her house

(which would consume the hire of 75 days), that often she

could get no emploiment, and of course was without bread.

As we had walked together near a mile and she had so far

served me as a guide, I gave her, on parting 24 sous. She
30 burst into tears of a gratitude which I could perceive was

unfeigned, because she was unable to utter a word. She had

probably never before received so great an aid.
This little attendrissement1, with the solitude of my

walk led me into a train of reflections on that unequal
35 division of property which occasions the numberless

instances of wretchedness which I had observed in this

country and is to be observed all over Europe. The

property of this country is absolutely concentered in a very

few hands, having revenues of from half a million of guineas
40 a year downwards. These employ the flower of the country

as servants, some of them having as many as 200

domestics, not labouring. They employ also a great number

of manufacturers, and tradesmen, and lastly the class of

labouring husbandmen2. But after all these comes the most
45 numerous of all the classes, that is, the poor who cannot

find work. I asked myself what could be the reason that so

many should be permitted to beg who are willing to work,

in a country where there is a very considerable proportion

of uncultivated lands? These lands are kept idle mostly for
50 the sake of game. It should seem then that it must be

because of the enormous wealth of the proprietors which

places them above attention to the increase of their

revenues by permitting these lands to be laboured.
I am conscious that an equal division of property is
55 impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous

inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of

mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for

subdividing property, only taking care to let their

subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of
60 the human mind. The descent of property of every kind

therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and

sisters, or other relations in equal degree is a politic

measure, and a practicable one. Another means of silently

lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from
65 taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher

portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.

Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and

unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have

been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth
70 is given as a common stock for man to labour and live on.

If, for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be

appropriated, we must take care that other employment be

furnished to those excluded from the appropriation. . .

1 emotion
2 farmers

Question 1 Jefferson’s central claim in the passage is that