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Thomas Jefferson

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Thomas Jefferson was Born on April 13, 1743,on a farm called Shadwell, what is now called Monticello, in the county of Albermarle, Virginia. Jefferson was the third child in the family and grew up with six sisters and one brother. At the age of five, Jefferson was placed by his father, Peter Jefferson, at an "English school, for four years, where he developed an interest in botany, geology, cartography, and North American exploration". After English school, was transferred to a Latin school, where he remained five years under the watchful eye of Mr. Douglass, a clergyman from Scotland. This is were he found and developed a love for Greek and Latin, which helped him acquired at the same time a knowledge of the French. At this period, his father died, leaving him an orphan only fourteen years old and without a relative or friend to guide him. (Daugherty 59).

In 1760, at the age of 16, Jefferson entered the College of William and Mary where he studied under William Small and George Wythe. Through Small, he got his first views of science and of the system of things in which we are placed. Through Small and Wythe, Jefferson became good friends with Governor Francis Fauquier. After finishing college in 1762, Jefferson studied law with Wythe and noticed a growing tension between America and Great Britain. Jefferson was admitted to the bar in 1767. He successfully practiced law and became acquainted with the civil and common law, exploring every topic and every principle.until public service occupied most of his time. (Daugherty 97)

Though he was not a master in the art of writing, Jefferson proved to be an able writer of laws and resolutions. he was very straight to the point in his writings. Jefferson soon became a member in a group which opposed and took action in the aurguments between Britain and the colonies." Together with other patriots, the group met in the Apollo Room of Williamsburg's famous Raleigh Tavern in 1769 and formed a nonimportation agreement against Britain, vowing not to pay import duties imposed by the Townshend Acts."(

Back at his home in Shadwell Virginia, he designed and supervised the building of his home in Monticello, on a nearby hill. He was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1769. In 1770 Jefferson met Martha Wayles Skelton, a wealthy widow of 23, and married her in 1772. They settled in Monticello and had one son and five daughters. Only two of his children, Martha and Mary, survived until their adulthood. Saddly, Mrs. Martha Jefferson died September 1782 becuse of illness since the birth of their last daughter , leaving Thomas to take care of his two remaining children.

When Jefferson arrived in Philadelphia in June, 1775, as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress, he already possessed, as John Adams remarked, "a reputation for literature, science, and a happy talent of composition" (Koch and Peden 21).When he returned in 1776, he was appointed to the five-man committee, that included Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, which was charged with the most momentous assignment ever given in the history of America: the drafting of a formal declaration of independence from Great Britain (Daugherty 109). Jefferson was responsible for writing the draft. The document, was finally approved by Congress on July



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