Thomas Jefferson

 

 

thomas.jpg (15446 bytes)

Thomas Jefferson’s family lived with his uncle on a plantation in Virginia. When Thomas was fourteen his father died. Thomas spent a lot of his time reading at the little schoolhouse. Thomas enjoyed studying Latin, Greek, and French. At the age of 17, Thomas set off for the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. After two years at college, Thomas decided to study law. He started his practice of law in Virginia. He also began to build his house on land he inherited from his father. He named his home Monticello which means "little mountain" in Italian.

In 1770, Thomas met a young widow, Martha Wayles Skelton. Martha was the daughter of a lawyer in Williamsburg. In 1772 Martha and Thomas were wed at her home. The Jefferson’s first child was born in September 1772. They named her Martha, after her mother.

 

By this time, Jefferson had become a good lawyer and was elected to the Virginia General Assembly. He helped make laws and run the government. In the spring of 1776, Jefferson attended the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. He became known as one of the best writers at the Congress. This is why he was asked to write the Declaration of Independence.

It took Jefferson seventeen days to write the Declaration. After he gave it to Congress, members spent three days going over it line by line. Finally, on July 4, 1776, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. It listed the crimes of the British king and explained that Americans should fight for their freedom. It is known as one of the most famous documents ever written.

Return to the Colonial America Index Page.