Thomas Jefferson

By Hannah Claxton

Thomas Jefferson's childhood had a great impact on his views.

Jefferson was born in one of Virginia's most elite families, which allowed him to understand that life style and incorporate it into his views on the ideal American society. Thomas spent three years of his life simply roaming the wilderness, getting acquainted with the beautiful terrain, which founded his strong view that the United states should be a nation of gentlemen farmers. Jefferson's earliest and most fond memory is of spending time of a trip with his father's slave, this impacted his belief that slaves should be treated humanly. Jefferson began studying Latin and Greek at age nine, which provided him with the skills he needed to write his many works. He attended a religious boarding school for most of his childhood, which influenced him to fight for religion separate that government.
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Jefferson's education and early involvement in politics provided him with the knowledge needed to do all that he did.

After leaving boarding school, he attended the college of William and Mary, where he decided to study law. Jefferson interned and studied law privately for 5 years before taking his bar exam. Throughout his time in school, he made money by playing violin at Lieutenant Governor Francis Fauquier, while playing he was taught about Virginia's social, political, and parliamentary life; something that encouraged him to enter politics. Jefferson was one of the earliest and most fervent supporter of independence, so immediately upon being elected to The Virginia House of Burgesses, he joined up with Washington in its radical bloc.

Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence forever changed American life.

After the Intolerable Acts were passed Jefferson publishes "A Summary of the Rights of British America", establishing himself as a radical. Because of that paper, Jefferson was sent to the second Continental Congress as the Virginia delegate. Once the Virginia Convention declared independence, Congress called Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence; it was presented on July 4 of 1776. The Declaration of Independence was read for the first time on July 6, 1776 and because of those words, we are now a free country, completely of the people, for the people. That day, the course of human history was changed.

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Before becoming President, Jefferson participated in various aspects of politics that had a big impact on our nation.

For the very beginning of the Revolutionary War, he was Governor of Virginia. To make a long story short, that time taught him and other people how not to behave when holding a public office. Soon after resigning from Governor's office, his wife Martha died, because of that, he had no reason to remain at Monticello, so he became the U.S. Minister to France. While in France, Jefferson repeatedly wrote to Madison, explaining how the Articles of Confederation were failing abroad, this encouraged Madison to push for the Constitution to be written and passed. Jefferson also helped to write Bill of Rights, which he based on the rights he listed in the Declaration of Independence. Upon returning to the United States, he was almost immediately made George Washington's Secretary of State, in this time, he so blatantly opposed Alexander Hamilton that Federalist and Anti-Federalist parties were formed. In 1797, Jefferson was made Vice President to John Adams, during this time (a period he calls useless), he wrote "A Manual to Parliamentary Practice".
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As President, Thomas Jefferson accomplished many things.

Jefferson won the Presidency against John Adams in 1800 and his vice president was Aaron Burr. in 1803, he negotiated with France and bought the Louisiana Territory, doubling our nations size! Following the precedent set by Washington, Jefferson ran for a second term as President, and was reelected. AS our country grew, Washington D.C. became increasingly important, and Jefferson was the first to start the tradition for which Washington is most widely known, he was the first President to be inaugurated there! Jefferson was an excellent President, however he definitely messed up with the Embargo Act of 1807, as a matter of fact, it was a colossal mistake, it started a WAR!!!!!

Jefferson did not stop impacting our nation until the day he stopped drawing breath.

in 1815, Jefferson sold the majority of his private library to fund the Library of Congress. Jefferson considered his role in the university of Virginia to be his most significant. He believed in free education, but the state did not. However, he was granted permission to plan and open a University which anyone could attend. he designed the building, wrote the curriculum, and hired all the staff himself. He called the opening of the University of Virginia proudest moment in his life. On July 3, at age 83, Jefferson fell ill with fever. He was delirious all throughout the night, continuously asking if it was July 4 yet. At 12:50 p.m. on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson died. His last words were: "This is the Fourth."
As can be plainly seen, Thomas Jefferson did not stop impacting our nation until he died. He pushed for us to be independent, wrote the paper that made us independent, helped come up with our basic rights that every citizen has, doubled the size of our nation, and established a university. So many aspects of our nation were impacted, and the meaning behind being a U.S. citizen was changed forever. Overall, Thomas Jefferson was one of the most important men to our nations founding and principle.