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Thomas Jefferson is remembered in history not only for the offices he held but also for his belief in the rights of man as written in the Declaration of Independence and his faith in the peoples ability to govern themselves Born on April 13 1743 Jefferson was the third child of seven with six sisters and one brother Jefferson developed an interest in botany geology cartography North American exploration and a love for Greek and Latin In 1760 at the age of 16 Jefferson entered the College of William and Mary and studied under William Small and George Wythe Through Small he got his first views of the expansion of science and of the system of things in which we are placed Through Small and Wythe Jefferson became acquainted with Governor Francis Fauquier After finishing college in 1762 Jefferson studied law with Wythe and noticed growing tension between America and Great Britain Jefferson was admitted to the bar in 1767 He successfully practiced law until public service occupied most of his time At his home in Shadwell he designed and supervised the building of his home Monticello on a nearby hill He was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1769 Jefferson met Martha Wayles Skelton a wealthy widow in 1770 and married her in 1772 They settled in Monticello and had one son and five daughters Only two of his children Martha and Mary survived past childhood Mrs Martha Jefferson died in 1782 leaving Thomas to take care of his two remaining childrenJefferson proved to be an able writer of laws and resolutions he was very concise and straight to the point Jefferson soon became a member in a group which opposed and took action in the disputes between Britain and the colonies Together with other patriots the group met in the Apollo Room of Williamsburgs Raleigh Tavern in 1769 and formed a nonimportation agreement against Britain vowing not to pay import duties
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