Thomas Jefferson Essay

Submitted By jamesbond9201
Words: 1392
Pages: 6

Student Name
3 May 2012
Thomas Jefferson Known to Americans as one of the Founding Fathers and the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson is among United States history as one of the greatest Americans to live. Jefferson was the third child of 10 in his family and was born on April 13th, 1743 in Shadwell, Goochland County, Virginia. His father Peter Jefferson was a planter and slaveholder whom meets Jane Randolph, daughter of a ship captain named Isham Randolph, and married in 1793. His father passed away in 1957 and divided his estate between his two sons; Thomas and Randolph. Thomas inherited approximately five thousand acres of land, including Monticello and between twenty to forty slaves. The passing of his older sister, Jane, caused him to fall into a deep morning, as he was already saddened by the absence of his other sisters who went on to marry and live their lives with their spouses. Thomas struggled with loneliness and abandonment issues while growing up which ended developing into a reclusive lifestyle as an adult. As a child, Thomas, studied under the direction of tutors at Tuckahoe and in 1752 he began attending the local school which was ran by a Scottish Presbyterian minister. At the age of nine, Thomas learned Latin, Greek, and French; as we all horse back riding and appreciated the study of nature. He later studied under Reverend James Maury from 1758 to 1760 and while attending he learned history, science, and the classics. By the age of 16 Thomas entered the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, and first met the law professor George Wythe, who became his influential mentor. For two years he studied mathematics, metaphysics, and philosophy under Professor William Small, who as well introduced Thomas to the writings of the British Empiricists, including John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton. He improved on multiple languages as well as showed a large amount of curiosity in all fields of education and graduated in 1762 with the highest honors. While working as a law clerk for Wythe he read a wide variety of English classics and political works. Thomas was then admitted to the Virginia bar five years later in 1767. Thought out his life, Thomas depended a lot of his education on books and went on to collect and accumulate thousands. When his father pasted, Thomas inherited a large library and a significant portion of his books where handed down from George Wythe, who had an extensive collection of books. After practicing as a circuit lawyer for several years, Thomas married a 23 year old widow Martha Wayles Skelton on January 1st, 1772 on her estate called ‘The Forest’ near Williamsburg, VA. Martha Jefferson was described as an attractive and popular with their friends; she was a frequent hostess for Jefferson and managed the household. It was said that they where one of the happiest couple and where very interactive with each other, as she was a reader as well as an amateur musician and did fine needlework. Jefferson played the violin and Martha was an accomplished pianist. Martha was incredibly attracted to Jefferson for the fact of their mutual love of music. As a wedding gift, Jefferson gave Martha a forte-piano. During their ten years of marriage they gave birth to six children and a stillborn or unnamed son in 1777, but only two survived to adulthood. After Martha’s father, John Wayles, died in 1773 she and Thomas inherited his hundered and thirty five slaves, eleven thousand acres, and the debts of his estate. It took Thomas and the other co-executors of the estate years to pay off the debt, which contributed to his financial problems. Among the slaves were Betty Hemings and her ten children, which the six youngest where half-siblings of Martha and three-quarters European in ancestry. As they grew up and trained, all the Hemings family members were assigned to privileged