Thomas Jefferson wrote his own epitaph & designed the obelisk grave marker that was to bear three of his accomplishments và “not a word more:”


He could have sầu filled several markers had he chosen to menu his other public offices: third president of the new United States, vice president, secretary of state, diplomatic minister, và congressman. For his home page state of Virginia he served as governor và member of the House of Delegates and the House of Burgesses as well as filling various local offices — all tallied into almost five decades of public service. He also omitted his work as a lawyer, architect, writer, farmer, gentleman scientist, and life as patriarch of an extended family at, both trắng và blaông xã. He offered no particular explanation as lớn why only these three accomplishments should be recorded, but they were unique lớn Jefferson.quý khách đang xem: Thomas jefferson là ai



Other men would serve as U.S. president và hold the public offices he had filled, but only he was the primary draftsman of the Declaration of Independence & of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, nor could others clalặng the position as the Father of the University of Virginia. More importantly, through these three accomplishments he had made an enormous contribution lớn the aspirations of a new America và lớn the dawning hopes of repressed people around the world. He had dedicated his life to lớn meeting the challenges of his age: political freedom, religious freedom, and educational opportunity. While he knew that we would continue to lớn face these challenges through time, he believed that America’s democratic values would become a beanhỏ for the rest of the world. He never wavered from his belief in the American experiment.

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I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted khổng lồ govern themselves. . . .Thomas Jefferson, 2 July 1787

He spent much of his life laying the groundwork to lớn insure that the great experiment would continue.

Early Life &

Jefferson was born April 13, 1743, on his father’s plantation of Shadwell located along the Rivanna River in the Piedmont region of central Virginia at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.1 His father Peter Jefferson was a successful planter & surveyor và his mother Jane Randolph a thành viên of one of Virginia’s most distinguished families. When Jefferson was fourteen, his father died, và he inherited a sizeable estate of approximately 5,000 acres. That inheritance included the house at Shadwell, but Jefferson dreamed of living on a mountain.2

In 1768 he contracted for the clearing of a 250 feet square site on the topmost point of the 868-foot mountain that rose above sầu Shadwell & where he played as a boy.3 He would name this mountain, & the house that he would build and rebuild over a forty-year period took on this name as well. He would later refer khổng lồ this ongoing project, the home that he loved, as “my essay in Architecture.”4 The following year, after preparing the site, he began construction of a small brick structure that would consist of a single room with a walk-out basement kitchen & workroom below. This would eventually be referred khổng lồ as the South Pavilion và was where he lived first alone & then with his bride, Martha Wayles Skelton, following their marriage in January 1772.

Unfortunately, Martha would never see the completion of; she died in the tenth year of their marriage, và Jefferson lost “the cherished companion of my life.” Their marriage produced six children but only two survived into lớn adulthood, Martha (known as Patsy) and Mary (known as Maria or Polly).5

Along with the l& Jefferson inherited slaves from his father & even more slaves from his father-in-law, John Wayles; he also bought và sold enslaved people. In a typical year, he owned about 200, almost half of them under the age of sixteen. About eighty of these enslaved individuals lived at; the others lived on his adjacent Albemarle County farms, & on his Poplar Forest estate in Bedford County, Virginia. Over the course of his life, he owned over 600 enslaved people. These men, women và children were integral lớn the running of his farms and building and maintaining his home at Some were given training in various trades, others worked the fields, và some worked inside the main house.

Education & Professional Life

After a two-year course of study at the College of William and Mary that he began at age seventeen, Jefferson read the law for five sầu years with Virginia’s prominent jurist, George Wythe, & recorded his first legal case in 1767. In two years he was elected to lớn Virginia’s House of Burgesses (the legislature in colonial Virginia).

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His first political work to gain broad acclayên ổn was a 1774 draft of directions for Virginia’s delegation khổng lồ the First Continental Congress, reprinted as a “Summary View of the Rights of British America.” Here he boldly reminded George III that, “he is no more than the chief officer of the people, appointed by the laws, và circumscribed with definite powers, lớn assist in working the great machine of government. . . .” Nevertheless, in his “Summary View” he maintained that it was not the wish of Virginia to lớn separate from the mother country.6 But two years later as a member of the Second Continental Congress & chosen to draft the Declaration of Independence, he put forward the colonies’ arguments for declaring themselves free và independent states. The Declaration has been regarded as a charter of American và universal liberties. The document proclaims that all men are equal in rights, regardless of birth, wealth, or status; that those rights are inherent in each human, a gift of the creator, not a gift of government, and that government is the servant & not the master of the people.

Jefferson recognized that the principles he included in the Declaration had not been fully realized and would remain a challenge across time, but his poetic vision continues khổng lồ have a profound influence in the United States và around the world. Abrađê mê Lincoln made just this point when he declared:

All honor to lớn Jefferson – to lớn the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, và capađô thị to lớn introduce into lớn a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, và so to embalm it there, that to-day & in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke và a stumbling-blochồng to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny và oppression.7

After Jefferson left Congress in 1776, he returned to lớn Virginia & served in the legislature. In late 1776, as a thành viên of the new House of Delegates of Virginia, he worked closely with James Madison. Their first collaboration, to over the religious establishment in Virginia, became a legislative battle which would culminate with the passage of Jefferson’s Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786.

Elected governor from 1779 to 1781, he suffered an inquiry inkhổng lồ his conduct during the British invasion of Virginia in his last year in office that, although the investigation was finally repudiated by the General Assembly, left him with a life-long pricklishness in the face of criticism & generated a life-long enmity toward Patriông chồng Henry whom Jefferson blamed for the investigation. The investigation “inflicted a wound on my spirit which will only be cured by the all-healing grave” Jefferson told James Monroe.8During the brief private interval in his life following his governorship, Jefferson completed the one book which he authored, Notes on the State of Virginia. Several aspects of this work were highly controversial. With respect lớn slavery, in Notes Jefferson recognized the gross injustice of the institution – warning that because of slavery “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his Justice cannot sleep for ever.” But he also expressed racist views of blacks’ abilities; albeit he recognized that his views of their limitations might result from the degrading conditions khổng lồ which they had been subjected for many years. With respect khổng lồ religion, Jefferson’s Notes emphatically supported a broad religious freedom và opposed any establishment or linkage between church & state, famously insisting that “it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”9

In 1784, he entered public service again, in France, first as trade commissioner & then as Benjamin Franklin"s successor as U.S. minister. During this period, he avidly studied European culture, sending trang chính lớn, books, seeds và plants, along with architectural drawings, artwork, furniture, scientific instruments, và information.

Perhaps the most notable achievements of his first term were the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803 and his tư vấn of the Lewis and Clark expedition. His second term, a time when he encountered more difficulties on both the domestic and foreign fronts, is most remembered for his efforts khổng lồ maintain neutrality in the midst of the conflict between Britain and France. Unfortunately, his efforts did not avert a war with Britain in 1812 after he had left office & his friend & colleague, James Madison, had assumed the presidency.

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