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托福阅读背景资料总结(十二):George Washington

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George Washington (1732-99)

the first US *President (1789-97), who had led its army to success in the *American Revolution. He is called'the Father of His Country'. The *Continental Congress placed him in charge of the American forces in 1775.Although his army had a difficult and dangerous winter at *Valley Forge, General Washington led them to several victories, including the final Battle of *Yorktown. He later gave his important approval for the *American Constitution and was elected in 1789 as the country's first president. He supported a strong central government but disliked political party arguments. He was elected a second time, but refused to stand as a candidate for a third time and returned to his home at *Mount Vernon.Americans have always admired Washington as one of their best and most moral presidents. He is considered by many to have been the country's greatest leader and perhaps the only one who could have united the colonists during the American Revolution. Most people know the story of how as a boy he cut down his father's cherry tree and then admitted what he had done, saying, 'I cannot tell a lie.' The story may not be true but it is seen as a symbol of his honesty. Washington's fine personal qualities and fair politics were recognized during his life, and they seem even more impressive today. His memory is honoured by the *Washington Monument and the names of the country's capital city, a state, many *counties, government buildings, schools,streets, mountains, etc, and his image appears on the dollar note and the 25-cent coin.

Washington, DC (Washington, District of Columbia)

the capital city of the US, whose area covers the *District of Columbia. The place was chosen by George *Washington in 1790, and since 1800 the main departments of the US government have been there. It is known for its historical monuments and important buildings, including the *Capitol, the *White House(1), the *Supreme Court, the*National Archives, the *Library of Congress, the *Smithsonian Institution, the*National Gallery of Art and the *Kennedy Center. About 66% of Washington's population are *African Americans.

Washington Monument a tall, thin monument on The *Mall(2) in *Washington, DC, built to honour the memory of George *Washington. It is 555 feet/169 metres high and made of white marble.Tourists can climb the 898 steps to the top, from which there are fine views of the city. The Monument took 40 years to build and was completed in 1888.

jazz

Jazz is one of the greatest forms of music originating in the US. The names of its stars, who are mostly *African Americans, are known around the world. Most people have heard of stars like Ella *Fitzgerald, 'Count' *Basie, 'Duke' *Ellington and Louis*Armstrong. Wynton *Marsalis, who plays in the traditional style, is the best-known jazz musician today.

Jazz was begun in the *South by African Americans. Many of its rhythms came from the work songs and spirituals (= religious songs) of black slaves. New Orleans street bands first made jazz popular. Early forms of jazz created at the beginning of the20th century were *ragtime and the *blues. Ragtime musicians included the singer'Jelly Roll' *Morton and the composer and piano player Scott *Joplin. Famous blues singers included Bessie *Smith and later Billie *Holiday. *Dixieland developed from ragtime and the blues and made a feature of improvisation (= making up the music as it is being played), especially on the trumpet and saxophone. Dixieland stars included Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet.

In the 1920s many African Americans moved north, taking jazz with them, and *Chicago and New York became centres for the music. This was the beginning of the big band era.In the 1930s swing music came into fashion and people danced to jazz. Radio and the new recording industry helped to make it even more popular. The big bands were led by Basie, Ellington, Woody *Herman, Glenn *Miller and 'the King of Swing', Benny*Goodman. In the 1940s there were new styles such as *bebop, developed by 'Dizzy' *Gillespie, Charlie 'Bird' *Parker and Thelonious *Monk. Freer forms like progressive jazz developed in the 1950s with stars including Stan *Getz and Dave *Brubeck. Cooljazz followed in the 1960s, led by Getz and Miles *Davis. More recent styles have included funky jazz, jazz-rock and hip-hop jazz. Many jazz clubs, like the *Cotton Club, have now closed but others, like Preservation Hall in *New Orleans, and Birdlandin *Manhattan, remain.In Britain jazz attracts a small but enthusiastic audience. The height of its popularity was in the 1940s and 1950s, when large crowds gathered to hear big bands.British jazz has always been heavily influenced by US jazz. In the 1960s pop and rock music replaced jazz as the music of the young generation. There are now few jazz bands, although smaller combos (= groups) continue to play a wide range of trad (=traditional), bebop, cool and avant-garde jazz. The most famous British jazz musicians have included Johnny *Dankworth and Cleo *Laine, George Melly, Humphrey *Lyttelton and Courtney *Pine. The home of jazz in Britain is Ronnie *Scott's club in London.


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