Ms. deborah hodge
Dual Credit U.S. History
“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” (“Thomas Jefferson Quotes”). Thomas Jefferson included this statement in the Declaration of Independence to help make strides toward separating and gaining independence from Great Britain. The great scholar, writer, and lawyer that Thomas Jefferson was helped him to contribute greatly to the history of the United States of America by writing the Declaration of Independence, becoming the third president of the United States, and making the Louisiana Purchase.
Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 to Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph in Shadwell (now known as Albemarle County), Virginia (Magill). Oddly enough, Thomas was not given a middle name. He was the third child, yet first son of the couple (Smith). The Jefferson name gave him land and money, and the Randolph name gave him high social standing (Freidel). Jefferson attended private schools in his childhood and teen years. He did not really need to, however, because his father died in 1757 and left his son Thomas over 2500 acres of land (Magill). Jefferson still attended school, however, and left for William and Mary College in 1760 at the age of seventeen. After graduating in 1762, Thomas studied law under George Wythe for five years (Smith). In 1765, King George III and the English parliament passed the Stamp Act, requiring a tax to be paid on all paper products. Many colonists were upset with this new law, saying it violated their rights guaranteed to them by being English citizens in the English Bill of Rights. Stated in the Bill of Rights, no one can be directly taxed unless they are represented in parliament by an elected official. The colonies had elected no one to represent them. Thomas Jefferson, like many other colonists, was upset with this act. Jefferson became a revolutionary because of his disagreement with this act. The Townshend Acts were passed in 1767, the same year Jefferson was finally admitted to the bar. Colonists were again upset with this new law introduced by England. This time, however, Thomas was not as affiliated as much as he was with the Stamp Act. He was busy building his mountaintop home, Monticello, which was finished in 1760 (Freidel). In 1769, Thomas Jefferson was chosen to represent Albemarle County in the Virginia House of Burgesses (Kale). He was sent off a few months later to Williamsburg for the assembly meeting. They were to discuss the future colonial action toward the Townshend Acts (Smith). In the middle of this whole mess, Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton. The couple had six children with only two, Martha and Mary, living to adulthood. Jefferson was thrilled with being a husband and a father, but he had to return to politics. In 1774, he wrote A Summary View of the Rights of British America to support the colony of Massachusetts against the assaults of the Coercive, or Intolerable, Acts. Jefferson was chosen to be a Virginia delegate in 1775 at the Constitutional Convention, also known as the Second Continental Congress, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to discuss and decide on the subject of independence (Magill). The delegates voted to create the Continental Army. They also acted as the national government of the colonies, even though they were not actually a ruling government (Smith). After visiting his family at Monticello for a while, Thomas Jefferson returned to the convention in May of 1776 (Smith). In June, Jefferson was chosen to be on a committee with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to write a declaration of independence (Magill). Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence, with the other delegates putting a few of their thoughts and criticism into the work. The...
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