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Thomas Jefferson (646 words)

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson and the American Ideal
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. He was
from Virginia and was one of the youngest men in Congress. He had only
recently become involved in politics. John Adams, the delegate from
Massachusetts, had years of experience. Jefferson thought it was only logical
that the task of writing this important document should fall to the older, more
experienced statesman. Adam’s wanted Jefferson to write the Declaration of
Independence, but Jefferson did not want to do it because he thought it would
be too hard and it would take a lot of thinking. Jefferson was a writer, inventor, a
statesman, and an architect. He explored the new ideas about science and
government that were taking shape all around him. When he was told that he had
to write the Declaration of Independence, he started right away which is
contradictory to what we would think, because he didn’t want to do it. It took
him 2 weeks to write the Declaration. With this document, the colonies were
declaring themselves independent. Americans would govern themselves.

Thomas Jefferson had first learned the principle of individual freedom as
a student in Williamsburg. He had learned that there were certain rights by which
all people had to live to be able to make their own choices, and to be free to do
as they wished as long as it didn’t hurt others. Today we take these ideas for
granted, but they were fairly new in the 1770’s. The Americans were not allowed
to govern themselves, to set taxes for themselves, or to defend themselves.

Thomas’ first home was the family plantation of Shadwell on the Rivana
River. When Thomas was nine years old, his family moved from the Randolph’s
place back to their own plantation, Shadwell. On a bright September morning in
1752, a wagon drove up the path to Shadwell. The driver gave a shout and the
family hurried outside. Everyone helped load Thomas’ bags into the coach. His
mother fussed at him before he left and told him that he must write once a week
telling them everything he had learned. Jane was his sister, and she said good-bye
to him. His father gave him a present which was an expensive Latin dictionary
that had come all the way from England. He was moving to a school called
Northam. It had only one teacher, Reverend Dougless. He had moved to the
Dougless’ house.
Thomas tried to pay attention to his classes, but they were so boring, they
nearly drove him to tears. He was studying Latin and Greek, which all gentlemen
needed to learn because the great early books were written in one of those
languages. After his father’s death, Thomas changed schools. It was the first
decision he had ever made on his own, and he never regretted it. His new teacher
was Reverend Maury. He liked these classes and school better because the
school was close to Shadwell, and he could rode a pony home. He also had a
best friend named Dabney Carr. Thomas was certainly not the kind of boy who
wanted to stop learning; the more he learned, the more he wanted to learn. By the
time he was out of school, he knew where he wanted to go for college; William
and Mary in Williamsburg, the capital of the colony of Virginia. He was
seventeen years old when he entered this college.

Thomas Jefferson was now becoming very concerned about what he
looked like. He knew that he wasn’t very handsome. He was over six feet tall,
he had red hair, and his arms and legs were very long and awkward. He also had
very big feet.
When he entered college, he obtained an interest for European
architecture. He got several books with pictures of famous Italian buildings, and
the more he read, the more excited he became. He became so excited, he
decided to build a house of his own in America that could match the great Italian
buildings magnificence. He built Monticello. Thomas Jefferson died on July 4,
1826. He was 83 years old.