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
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.
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