Thomas Jefferson Heather Henderson History Period 4 12/13/09 Thomas Jefferson lived to be 83, born on April 13, 1743 and died on July 4, 1826. Jefferson was the third of eight children. His mother was Jane Randolph and his father was Peter Jefferson, who was a successful planter in Virginia. In 1752, Jefferson began attending a local school. At the age of nine, Jefferson began studying Latin, Greek, and French. In 1757, when he was 14 years old, his father died. Jefferson inherited about 5,000 acres of land and lots of slaves. He built his home there, which eventually became known as Monticello. In 1760 Jefferson entered the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg at the age of 16. He studied there for two years, graduating with highest honors in 1762. At William & Mary, he enrolled in the philosophy school and studied mathematics, metaphysics, and philosophy. His closest college friend, John Page, reported that Jefferson "could tear himself away from his dearest friends to fly to his studies." On October 1, 1765, Jefferson's oldest sister Jane died at the age of 25. Jefferson fell into a period of deep mourning; he was very sad and hurt by the absence of his sisters. In 1768 Thomas Jefferson started the construction of Monticello, a neoclassical mansion. Starting in childhood, Jefferson had always wanted to build a beautiful mountaintop home within site of Shadwell. Jefferson went greatly in debt on Monticello by spending lavishly on his Monticello Estate. Monticello was also Thomas Jefferson's slave plantation. Throughout a period lasting seventy years, Thomas Jefferson owned over 600 slaves. Jefferson’s slaves probably worked from dawn to dusk, short or long days, according to the season. In 1772, at age 29 Jefferson married the 23yearold widow Martha Wayles. They had six children but Martha died on September 6, 1782, after the birth of her last child.
Jefferson served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress beginning in June 1775, soon after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. When Congress began considering a resolution of independence in June 1776, Jefferson was appointed to a fiveman team to prepare a declaration to accompany the resolution. The committee selected Jefferson to write the first draft probably because he had a reputation as a writer. The assignment, no one took as a responsibility. Jefferson showed his draft to the committee, which made some final revisions, and then presented it to Congress on June 28, 1776. After voting in favor of the resolution of independence on July 2, Congress turned its attention to the declaration. Over several days of debate, Congress made a few changes in wording and deleted almost a forth of the text most notably a passage critical of the
slave trade, changes that Jefferson resented. On July 4, 1776, the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved. The Declaration would eventually be one of Jefferson’s biggest accomplishments. As the DemocraticRepublican candidate in 1796 he lost to John Adams running for President, but had enough electoral votes to become Vice President (1797–1801). Working closely with Aaron Burr, Jefferson attacking the new taxes especially, and ran for the Presidency in 1800. He tied with Burr for first place in the Electoral College, leaving the House of Representatives to decide the election. The issue was resolved by the House, on February 17, 1801, after thirtysix ballots, when Jefferson was elected President and Burr Vice President. Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. He died a few hours before John Adams, his compatriot in their quest for independence, then great political rival, and later friend and correspondent. Adams is often rumored to have referenced Jefferson in his last words, unaware of his passing. Although he was born into one of the wealthiest families in North America, Thomas Jefferson was deeply in debt when he died. On his gravestone it read, “HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA BORN APRIL 2 1743 O.S. DIED JULY 4 1826” I think Thomas Jefferson was a great man. We all know he was against slaves and wrote it into the Declaration of Independence even though he had them. He most likely treated his slaves nice, fair, and equal. He was a man I think every person would have liked to meet for many reasons, for example a man with such talent of writing something like the Declaration of Independence. He is a man who deserves much honor and should be remembered forever. Thomas Jefferson will be remembered forever by students or even adults who have studied or learned about him. He is a man worth thinking of to boost confidence.