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Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States His terms lasted from the year 1801 to the year 1809 Jefferson was an American revolutionary leader as well as an influential political philosopher Jefferson was among a group of the most brilliant Americans that resulted from the Enlightenment in Europe Possibly one of the best writers during his time Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence Jeffersons status as a Virginia aristocrat gave him the two most important things to become an educated man which was a difficult thing to become during that time Those two things time and the resources allowed him to educate himself in history literature law architecture science and philosophy He also had a great deal of influence on his ideals that came directly from the European culture and thought because he had been a diplomat and friend of French and British intellectuals Jefferson was born on the thirteenth day of April of the year 1743 at Shadwell in Goochland now in Albemarle Co Virginia which was at the time considered a western outpost and was to remain as Jeffersons lifelong home He was the son of Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph Jefferson His father Peter was a surveyor a cartographer and a plantation owner and he was also largely self-educated His mother Jane was from the prominent Rudolph family of colonial Virginia Jeffersons intense interest in botany geology cartography North American exploration and love of Greek and Latin are due largely from his father and his surrounding environment out in the west where he also absorbed the democratic views of his Western countrymen For several years Jefferson studied at the local grammar and classical schools After that he entered the College of William and Mary in the year 1760 During his time at the college he had become a close friend to three prominent residents of Williamsburg William Small
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