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appointment2 of history - Thomas Jefferson Biographical...

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Thomas Jefferson. Biographical Information Jefferson was born at Shadwell, in Goochland (now Albemarle) County, Virginia. His father was a self-made man and an early settler of the Virginia wilderness, and his mother was a member of a prominent Colonial family, the Randolphs. Jefferson attended private schools and the College of William and Mary, where he studied law, science, literature, and philosophy. He was admitted to the bar in 1767 and practiced law for two years. In 1769 he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses. During that same year he designed and began building Monticello, his famous family home, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While a member of the House of Burgesses, Jefferson penned A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774), the philosophical antecedent to the Declaration of Independence. A year later he joined the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and in June, 1776, he wrote the original draft of the Declaration. From 1776 to 1779, Jefferson served in the Virginia House of Delegates and was elected to the governorship in 1779. As governor, he attempted to reform the penal code, to abolish the inheritance policies of primogeniture and entail, and to establish a complete system of public education. In 1782, Jefferson briefly retired from politics following the death of his wife of ten years, Martha Wayles Skelton. He returned to politics two years later and Congress appointed him envoy to France to assist Benjamin Franklin; in 1785 he succeeded Franklin as minister to France, an office he held until the beginning of the French Revolution four years later.During the 1790s Jefferson served as secretary of state in George Washington's administration, and as vice president under John Adams, while at the same time leading the Republican opposition to the Federalist programs of both men. The Federalists advocated a strong, centralized government that favored industrialism, commercialism, and banking, while Jefferson's vision of government was founded on states' rights, individual liberties, and self-reliant agrarianism. In 1800, Jefferson was elected president and he attempted to reconcile the differences between the two factions. In 1803, he presided over the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the territory of the United States and gaining complete control of the Mississippi River. After serving a second term as
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president, Jefferson retired to Monticello in 1809 after 40 years of public service. During his last years, Jefferson received visitors at Monticello, composed his autobiography, and carried on an extensive correspondence. He continued to pursue philosophical, educational, and architectural interests. His efforts to establish a state-supported university eventually resulted in the creation of the University of Virginia, and he was involved in every aspect of its development from the architectural plans to the recruitment of faculty. He considered it one of his greatest achievements. Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
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