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Thomas Jefferson: Author of Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was born on the 13th April 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia, one of six children.  To parents Peter Jefferson; farmer, surveyor and cartographer, and Jane Randolph Jefferson descendant of the Randolph’s who descended from English and Scottish royalty.

Young Thomas started his education early, first learning Latin and Greek, and by fourteen progressed to classical languages, literature and mathematics.  Aged seventeen he attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg reading law, and in 1767 won his admission to the Virginia bar.

On the 1st January 1772, Thomas married Martha Wayles Skeleton and they had six children of which only two survived to reach adulthood.

A date in history; 16th December 1773, The Boston Harbour Tea Party; protesters objected to taxes, and so 342 chests of tea were thrown into Boston Harbour.  In 1774 Jefferson penned his first political work “A summary view of the rights of British America in 1774.”

April 1775, American militiamen clashed with British soldiers at Lexington and Concord in what would develop into the American Revolutionary War.

In 1775, Jefferson attended the Second Continental Congress where George Washington became its Commander – in – Chief.

Thomas Jefferson came out and supported the cause for American Independence from Great Britain.

Thomas Jefferson became the Delegate to the Second Continental Congress from Virginia from the 20th June 1775 – 26th September 1776.

In June of 1776, Congress appointed a committee consisting of; Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston to draft a Declaration of Independence.

In turn they chose Thomas Jefferson to pen this document of liberty and equality in world history, and absolving the American colonies of any allegiance to the British Crown.

So it was that on the 4th July 1776 “The Declaration of Independence” became law and is remembered each and every year by American people, wherever they may be.

Between 1776-1779 Jefferson served as a member of the Virginia House of delegates, where he revised laws to fit the American ideals, as in the bill; “Declaration of Independence.”  In 1777 he wrote the bill, calling for religious freedom, and the separation of church and state.

Thomas Jefferson became the Second Governor of Virginia from 1st June 1779 – 3rd June 1781.

On the 4th June 1781, he stepped down from the political life, and returned home to spend his days with his family and went on to write the book; “Notes on the State of Virginia.”  His new and relaxed life changed on the 6th September 1782, when his wife Martha only 34 years old died.  After months of mourning he returned to the political arena.

Jefferson became the Delegate to the Congress of the Confederation from Virginia from 3rd November 1783 – 7th May 1784.  Then was appointed United States Minister to France from 17th May 1785 – 26th September 1789.

Thomas Jefferson became the First United States Secretary of State from 22nd March 1790 – 31st December 1793.  Yet, he resigned his position, frustrated by endless conflicts, and went home to his farm at Monticello.

Thomas Jefferson became the Second Vice President of the United States from 4th March 1797 – 4th March 1801, and the Third President of the United States from 4th March 1801 – 4th March 1809.

During his term as President of the United States, Jefferson acquired a stretch of land from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountain, which was the property of Napoleonic France.  He purchased it in 1803, when France’s finance’s were not so good for a sum of $15 million, and the Lewis and Clark expedition explored and mapped out the New American territories.

In 1804 he was re-elected for a second term in the office of President.

After his presidency he returned home, and he created a centre of learning, at the University of Virginia, as designed by him, and attracted the cream of European professors.  It opened its doors on the 7th March 1825.

On the 50th Anniversary of the “Declaration of Independence” Thomas Jefferson who had penned those very words died: 4th July 1826.  He will always be remembered as one of America’s Founding Fathers.  For he believed in liberty, and was a champion of the common people.

Thomas Jefferson is buried in the family cemetery at Monticello; a grave with a plain grey tombstone.  The words written upon the tombstone; “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence of the Virginia State for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.”

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