Custom Search

Interesting Facts about Thomas Jefferson during his youth

During Thomas Jefferson's earliest years, a private tutor was hired and a family schoolhouse erected to serve the purposes of educating the Jefferson and Randolph children. At age nine, Thomas Jefferson continued his studies with a Scottish Reverend, William Douglas, as his teacher. In addition to laying the foundation for Jefferson's wide interests in adult life, Reverend Douglas saddled Jefferson with the peculiar trait of speaking French with a Scottish accent. At 14 Thomas inherited 5000 acres of land, which would be managed by several guardians, until Thomas turned 21.

Interesting Facts during Thomas Jefferson's College Studies

When Thomas Jefferson turned 16 he travelled to Tidewater center of Williamsburg in order to begin studies at the College of William and Mary. Jefferson made fast friends with several of the most prominent men of Williamsburg society. Dining regularly in the company of the royal lieutenant governor Francis Farquier, the philosopher William Small, and the lawyer George Wythe. Jefferson followed two years of study at the college with five years of the study of law under the direction of George Wythe

Interesting Facts of Thomas Jefferson as America's 3rd President

In 1803, during the war between France and Britain, Thomas Jefferson authorized the Louisiana Purchase, a major land acquisition from France that doubled the size of the United States. Jefferson had sent James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston to Paris in 1802 to try to buy the city of New Orleans and adjacent coastal areas. At Jefferson's request, Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, a French nobleman who had close ties with both Jefferson and Napoleon, also helped negotiate the purchase with France. After the purchase of the Louisiana Territory Jefferson now needed to have this mostly unknown part of the country explored and mapped. In 1804 he appointed Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as leaders of the expedition, which explored the Louisiana Territory and beyond, producing a wealth of scientific and geographical knowledge, and ultimately contributing to the European-American settlement of the West.

Jefferson was opposed to slavery during his youth, a conviction that became greater throughout his life. In his initial draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson denounced the British government's role in the international slave trade, which he opposed as inhumane. Although Jefferson boldly proposed abolishing slavery in all territories to the west after 1800 in his draft of the Land Ordinance of 1784, that provision was stricken by Congress. Jefferson's anti-slavery land proposal in 1784 did influence Congress to prohibit slavery in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. While the 1803 Louisiana Purchase was a great achievement by the Jefferson administration, Jefferson was criticized for having allowed slavery to continue in the newly acquired vast territory. Jefferson was convinced Southerners had become economically dependent on slavery. Sectional divisions over slavery in the country "exploded" when Missouri, included in the Louisiana Purchase and organized in 1817, applied for admission to the United States in 1819.

Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence

Jefferson served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress beginning in June 1775, soon after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. He didn't know many people in the congress, but sought out John Adams who, along with his cousin Samuel, had emerged as a leader of the convention. Jefferson and Adams established a friendship that would last the rest of their lives; it led to the drafting of Jefferson to write the declaration of independence. When Congress began considering a resolution of independence in June 1776, Adams ensured that Jefferson was appointed to the five-man committee to write a declaration in support of the resolution. After discussing the general outline for the document, the committee decided that Jefferson would write the first draft.

The committee in general, and Jefferson in particular, thought Adams should write the document. Adams persuaded the committee to choose Jefferson, who was reluctant to take the assignment, and promised to consult with the younger man. Over the next seventeen days, Jefferson had limited time for writing and finished the draft quickly. Consulting with other committee members, Jefferson also drew on his own proposed draft of the Virginia Constitution, George Mason's draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and other sources. The other committee members made some changes. Most notably Jefferson had written, "We hold these truths to be sacred and un-deniable..." Franklin changed it to, "We hold these truths to be self-evident." A final draft was presented to the Congress on June 28, 1776. The title of the document was "A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled."

After voting in favor of the resolution of independence on July 2, Congress turned its attention to the declaration. Over three days of debate, Congress made changes and deleted nearly a fourth of the text, most notably a passage critical of the slave trade. While Jefferson resented the changes, he did not speak publicly about the revisions. On July 4, 1776, the Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence and the delegates signed the document. The Declaration would eventually be considered one of Jefferson's major achievements.

Presidential History | Biography