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Thomas Jefferson (1197 words)

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia. Jefferson was known as the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States. Jefferson was also a diplomat, an architect, a musician, a scientist and an inventor; Jefferson was an advocate for the public school system.

Education was very important to him. Jefferson founded the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. He designed it, planned it, and hired the professors; he also came up with the first study courses. Jefferson lived 83 years and was very young spirited. He was always learning something new and was never afraid to try and try again.

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Thomas Jefferson did many things very well, and there was only one person that came close to matching him, that person was Benjamin Franklin. They were both very fascinating people. Jefferson’s father was Colonel Peter Jefferson, he was a well-known explorer and owned large amounts of land, therefore Thomas had the best of everything.

His mother was from a well-known family in Virginia, her name was Jane Randolph, and she was wealthy also.

Thomas Jefferson was educated privately in his early days and went on to study Latin, Greek, Italian and Spanish. His favorite subjects were math and science. Thomas studied law for five years under a well-known law teacher by the name of George Wythe.

At the age of 24 he was admitted to the bar in the year 1767. He practiced law until the American Revolution closed all the courts. He earned most of his income by all the farms he owned. He married Martha Wayles Skelton in the year 1772 that increased his land ownership immensely. They had six children, one son and five daughters. Only two children lived to adults, Martha and Mary
Thomas Jefferson designed and built a house on a mountain, which he called his Monticello home. Jefferson loved his home and was very proud of it. He left his home when his wife died, her death left him very sad and lonely.

In the year 1783 Thomas Jefferson was accepted to the Continental Congress. This started his political career. Thomas Jefferson was very active in writing laws and resolutions; he was a very straightforward man. Some people viewed him as being to extreme. Jefferson was chosen to represent Albemarle County at the first Virginia Convention. He became ill and was not able to attend, but he sent his messages that British Parliament had no control over the colonies. Jefferson was the primary person to write the Declaration of Independence. Congress felt it was too harsh, and had Dickenson take the responsibility of rewriting it. He used allot of Jefferson’s original ideas. Jefferson was a Republican and in 1779 became governor of Virginia.
In 1786 Jefferson wrote a bill establishing religious freedom. Two parties started to emerge. The Democrats and the Republicans. Jefferson assumed the leadership of the Republicans. Jefferson opposed a strong centralized Government and wanted the states to have their rights. We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. These words are arguably the backbone of our countries right to freedom. Jefferson is considered one of the greatest pioneers of America.
One of the issues that troubled Jefferson throughout his lifetime was slavery and his ownership of more than two hundred slaves The question that puzzles most Americans is how could the man that wrote ?ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL?
Could own slaves? The question has been asked over and over throughout the history of our Great Nation. This is the thing that contemporary Americans find most interesting about Thomas Jefferson. Although slavery was the normal thing in Jefferson’s lifetime, this cannot be used a to justify his ownership of slaves. Jefferson was A very kind master to his slaves. Jefferson spoke out against the institution of slavery, slave trading, and for the right of black people to be free. People of today’s society would think of Jefferson as being a hypocrite for owning slaves, and at the same time denouncing slavery. We must put ourselves in his time and place and not judge him for what he did. Jefferson knew it was wrong, but why did he keep owning slaves. Why didn’t he just let them go? Jefferson never let one slave go, until he died, then he let five of them go, they were all in his will.

Jefferson had a view called emancipation; he did not believe that if we gave the slaves their freedom that they would not be able to change their ways of living. The answer to slavery for Jefferson was that it would do more harm than good to let them go.

Jefferson felt like they should gradually remove the slaves from America to the coast of Africa. In a letter to Jared Sparks Jefferson wrote: In the disposition of these unfortunate people, there are two rational objects to be distinctly kept in view. First. The establishment of a colony on the coast of Africa, which may introduce among the aborigines the arts of cultivated life, and the blessings of civilization and science.

Jefferson wanted the white man to educate and train the black people to be self-sufficient. He wanted the white people to provide them with the tools that were necessary to establish them a colony off the Africa coastline. In 1769 Virginia Legislature rejected the emancipation. In 1776 Jefferson proposed a bill to end slave trading, it was not until the year 1778 that Virginia adopted the bill. The bill proposed stern penalties for slaves that were brought in illegal and provided immediate release of any that were brought in illegally. Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island followed suit. Another issue that has threatened Thomas Jefferson is that of his alleged affair with Sally Hemmings. She was one of his slaves. Thomas has been accused of being the father of a few of her kids.

Thomas Jefferson’s masterpiece was the Declaration of Independence. It was the most important episode in the development of the American ideal of equality and freedom. Although he was a slave owner definitely denounced the institution of slavery and proposed the plan for emancipation. Thomas Jefferson led the way for the abolishment of slave trading. Many people call Thomas Jefferson a hypocrite. I think that they are just upset with the idea that he owned slaves, yet he preached that it was wrong. The Declaration of Independence laid down the framework for the abolishment of slavery. In a transcription written by William Marris he says ? Jefferson had taken what was merely a national struggle, the American struggle for independence and cast it in rhetoric that made it a human struggle. And by doing so, he sowed the seeds of the end of the peculiar institution of slavery.? Thomas Jefferson should be remembered as the man who started to break down the process of slavery. He also did a lot more for our country than any other person of his time.

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