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The third president of the United States a diplomat statesman architect scientist and philosopher Thomas Jefferson is one of the most eminent figures in American history No leader in the period of the American Enlightenment was as articulate wise or conscious of the implications and consequences of a free society as Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13 1743 at Shadwell a tobacco plantation in Virginia His father Peter Jefferson was a self-made success and although uneducated he was a very intelligent man His mother Jane Randolph was a member of one of the most distinguished families in Virginia Peter Jefferson died when Thomas was 14 and left him valuable lands and property Denied a formal education himself he directed that his son be given complete classical training He studied with Reverend Mr Maury a classical scholar for two years and in 1760 he attended William and Mary College After graduating from William and Mary in 1762 Jefferson studied law for five years under George Wythe In January of 1772 he married Martha Wayles Skelton and established a residence at Monticello When they moved to Monticello only a small one room building was completed Jefferson was thirty when he began his political career He was elected to the Virginia House of Burgess in 1769 where his first action was an unsuccessful bill allowing owners to free their slaves The impending crisis in British-Colonial relations overshadowed routine affairs of legislature In 1774 the first of the Intolerable Acts closed the port of Boston until Massachusetts paid for the Boston Tea Party of the preceding year Jefferson and other younger members of the Virginia Assembly ordained a day of fasting and prayer to demonstrate their sympathy with Massachusetts Thereupon Virginias Royal Governor Dunmore once again dissolved the assembly Koch and Peden 20 The members met and planned to call together an inter-colonial congress Jefferson began writing resolutions which were radical and better written than
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