Thomas Jefferson Essay

1286 words - 5 pages

Jefferson was born at Shadwell in Albemarle county, Virginia, on april 13 1743. His father, Peter Jefferson and his mother Jane Randolph were members of the most famous Virginia families. Besides being well born, Thomas Jefferson, was well educated. He attended the College of William and Mary and read law (1762-1767) with George Wythe the greatest law teacher of his generation in Virginia. He was admitted to the bar in 1767 and practiced until 1774, when the courts were closed by the American Revolution.He had inherited a considerable landed estate from his father, and doubled it by a happy marriage on Jan. 1, 1772, to Martha Wayles Skelton. He was elected to the House of Burgesses, when he was 25, he served there from 1769 to 1774, showing himself to be an effective committeeman and skillful draftsman, though not an able speaker.The Revolutionary Era.From the beginning of the struggle with the mother country, Jefferson stood with the more advanced Patriots, grounding his position on a wide knowledge of English history and political philosophy. His most notable early contribution to the cause of the Patriots was his powerful pamphlet A Summary View of the Rights of Brittish America (1774), originally written for presentation to the Virginia convention of that year. In this he emphasized natural rights, including that of emigration, and denied parliamentary authority over the colonies, recognizing no tie with the mother country except the king.As a member of the Continental Congress (1775-1776), Jefferson was chosen together with John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingstone and Roger Sherman in 1776 to draft the Declaration of Independence . He wrote the declaration all by himself and was amended by john adams and Benjaminn Franklin .Jefferson left Congress in the autumn of 1776 and served in the Virginia legislature until his election as governor in 1779. He was governor from 1779 to 1781.During this brief private interval (1781-1783) he began to compile his Notes on the State of Virginia, which was first published in 1785. In this document there are some of his thoughts on the question of slavery. From 1783 to 1784 he was a member of the Continental Congress.Minister to France.Jefferson's stay in France (1784-1789), where he was first a commissioner to negotiate commercial treaties and then Benjamin Franklin's successor as minister, was in many ways the richest period of his life. He was confirmed in his opinion that France was a natural friend of the United States, and Britain at this stage a natural rival.Toward the end of his mission he reported with scrupulous care the unfolding revolution in France. Eventually the excesses of the French repelled him Revolution, and he thoroughly disapproved of it when it passed into an openly imperialistic phase under Napoleon.Because of his absence in Europe, Jefferson had no direct part in the framing or ratification of the Constitution of the United States (17 sept. 1787), and at first the document...

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