Thomas Jefferson

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Thomas Jefferson
United States President 1801-1809

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, at Shadwell Plantation outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. He was born into one of the4 most prominent families of Virginia’s planter elite. He inherited from his father 50000 acres of land and from his mother he inherited a Randolph, high social standing. As a boy Jefferson’s favorite activities included reading, practicing the violin and playing in the woods. Jefferson had five siblings: two older sisters, two younger sisters and a younger brother. He started his formal education at the age of nine, studying Latin and Greek at a local private school. In 1757 at the age of 14 he took up classical languages as well as literature and mathematics with the Reverend James Maury. By the age of 17 he had learned all he could from Reverend James Maury and he left home to attend the college of William and Mary in Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia. Some references state that Jefferson’s education during these early times was at boarding schools instead of studying with Maury. After three years Jefferson decided to “read law” under George Wythe. Wythe was one of the pre-eminent lawyers of the American colonies. Law schools did not exist at this time; instead aspiring attorneys “read law” under the supervision of an established lawyer before being examined by the bar. With Wythe, Jefferson had an extraordinarily rigorous five year course of study (more than double the typical duration), He was admitted to the bar in 1767, and many considered him to have one of the nation’s best legal minds. From 1767 to 1764, Jefferson practiced law in Virginia with great success, trying many cases and winning most of them. During these years, he also met and fell in love with Martha Wayles Skelton, a recent widow and one of the wealthiest women in Virginia. The Pair married on New Year’s Day in the year 1772. The couple went to live at his estate...
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