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Thomas JeffersonJefferson was born at Shadwell in what is now Albemarle County Va onApr 13 1743 His mother Jane Randolph Jefferson came from one of the firstfamilies of Virginia his father Peter Jefferson was a well-to-do landowneralthough not in the class of the wealthiest plantersJefferson attended the College of William and Mary and then studied lawwith George Wythe In 1769 he began six years of service as a representative inthe Virginia House of Burgesses The following year he began building Monticelloon land inherited from his father The mansion which he designed in every detailtook years to complete but part of it was ready for occupancy when he marriedMartha Wayles Skelton on Jan 1 1772 They had six children two of whomsurvived into adulthood Jeffersons reputation began to reach beyond Virginia in 1774 when hewrote a political pamphlet A Summary View of the Rights of British America Arguing on the basis of natural rights theory Jefferson claimed that colonialallegiance to the king was voluntaryElected to the Second Continental Congress meeting in PhiladelphiaJefferson was appointed on June 11 1776 to head a committee of five inpreparing the Declaration of Independence He was its primary author Jeffersonsreference to the voluntary allegiance of colonists to the crown was struck alsodeleted was a clause that censured the monarchy for imposing slavery uponAmerica The Declaration of Independence made Jefferson internationally famous Years later that fame brought up the jealousy of John Adams who complainedthat the declarations ideas were overusedReturning to Virginia late in 1776 Jefferson served until 1779 in the Houseof Delegates one of the two houses of the General Assembly of Virginia--established in 1776 by the states new constitutionWhile the American Revolution continued Jefferson wanted to liberalizeVirginias laws Joined by his old law teacher George Wythe and by JamesMadison and George Mason Jefferson introduced a number of bills that were veryresisted by those representing the conservative planter class In 1776 hesucceeded in getting the abolition of entail his proposal Jefferson
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