Thomas Jefferson

Article

July 5, 2022

Thomas Jefferson (Shadwell, April 13, 1743 - Charlottesville, July 4, 1826) was an American politician, scientist and architect. He was the third president of the United States of America from 1801 to 1809 and is considered to be one of the nation's founding fathers. His face is portrayed on Mount Rushmore alongside those of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. He was the principal author of the declaration of independence of July 4, 1776 and one of the founders of the Democratic-Republican Party of the United States. Strongly marked by Enlightenment thought, he was an advocate of a secular and liberal state, supporting the formal and legal egalitarianism of all human beings, even if he never wanted to speak out against slavery. He was also an intellectual of great depth: founder of the University of Virginia, he had a central role in the development and construction of this institution. Finally, he was also an architect: for example, his projects for the campus of the University of Virginia, his house in Monticello, part of the UNESCO heritage since 1987, as well as the Capitol in Richmond.

Biography

Childhood

The son of a Virginia pioneer from Wales, Thomas Jefferson was born in Shadwell, Albemarle County, Virginia, to a wealthy family on April 13, 1743. His father, Peter Jefferson II, was a wealthy landowner who had married Jane Randolph. which descended from one of the most influential families of the time. Jane Randolph, daughter of Isham Randolph herself, was therefore directly related to Peyton Randolph, one of the most influential Virginia figures of that period. Not much is known about his childhood years, except for some general information. Jefferson was the third of ten siblings, two of whom were born dead.

Instruction

Jefferson was initially taught by some private teachers and from 1752 he attended elementary school, where he taught William Douglas, an Anglican pastor from Scotland. At the age of nine he began his studies of Greek, Latin and French. In 1757 - when young Jefferson was 14 - his father died, leaving him heir to some 5,000 acres of land and numerous slaves. After his father's death, Jefferson was educated at an institution headed by Pastor James Maury, where he studied from 1758 until 1760. From 1760 he attended William and Mary College, where he graduated two years later with honors. Also at William and Mary College he received an education in philosophy and mathematics and he perfected his knowledge of French. Jefferson is also reported to have been an excellent violin player; he owned three violins (at least one of which probably belonged to the Cremonese school) and a musical library with works by Corelli, Geminiani and other Italian authors. After graduating from high school, Jefferson enrolled in law and studied to become a lawyer. He finally graduated at twenty with full marks.

Lawyer career

After the death of his eldest sister - Jane, October 1, 1765 - Jefferson fell into a long period of depression. Added to this was the fact that, following the marriage of his two other sisters, Mary Jefferson and Martha Jefferson, who married Thomas Bolling and Dabney Carr respectively, both moved into their husbands' homes, leaving the young Jefferson alone with their husbands. two younger sisters, Elizabeth and Lucy. Despite the initial difficulties suffered after the death of his sister Jane, Jefferson soon became a renowned lawyer, having among his clients prominent people, including relatives of his mother and members of the family Randolph. In 1772 he married a 23-year-old widow, Martha Skelton, with whom he had six children: Martha Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836), Jane Randolph (1774–1775), a daughter stillborn in