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Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence

by Jayde Clayton

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Thomas Jefferson
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The Architect of American Independence
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Chapter One: Early Life of Thomas Jefferson
  • Thomas Jefferson was the eldest of 9 (Avalon Project - Jefferson's Autobiography).
  • He was from Shadwell, VA (Avalon Project - Jefferson's Autobiography)
  • Jefferson's father died when he Jefferson was only 14 and left his mother widowed with him and his 9 siblings (Avalon Project - Jefferson's Autobiography)
  • Jefferson went to college at the early age of 16, at William and Mary College (Avalon Project - Jefferson's Autobiography).
  • Jefferson married in 1772 to Martha Skelton (Jefferson) (Avalon Project - Jefferson's Autobiography).

Jefferson and his wife, Martha (Watch Thomas Jefferson's Family Clip|HISTORY Channel)
Jefferson and his family (Sutori)
Chapter One: Early Life of Thomas Jefferson and Accomplishments

  • Jefferson was the third President of the United States and served from 1801-1809.
  • In 1769 Jefferson became "...a member of the legislature by the choice of the county in which I live, and continued in that until it was closed by the revolution" (Avalon Project - Jefferson's Autobiography).
  • Jefferson had a big part in the Louisiana Purchase, in which he "...authorized the negotiation and acquisition of territory from France..." in 1801 (Onuf).
  • The Louisiana Purchase was considered one of the biggest major milestones in America history (Onuf).
  • Jefferson also had a significant accomplishment in the education field; he founded the University of Virginia and the doors to the university was opened in 1825 (Onuf).
Louisiana Purchase Map (“Louisiana Purchase”)
University of Virginia (“Plan Your Visit”)
Chapter Two: Thomas Jefferson Impact on Declaration of Independence
  • Jefferson had many impacts on the Declaration of Independence.
  • At the age of only 33, Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence as ... "the 'silent member' of the Congress..." (The White House).
  • In 1786 the bill establishing religious freedom was enacted, thanks to Jefferson writing it, (The White House).
  • Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, but without the help of many other men, it would not have impacted us the way it has today.
(“Thomas Jefferson Drafting Declaration of Independence”)
Chapter Three: Other Men that Helped
  • Although, there were several other signatures that were on the Declaration of Independence, these four men were the ones that helped Jefferson write it:
  1. John Adams of Massachusetts
  2. Benjiman Franklin of Pennsylvania
  3. Robert R. Livingston of New York
  4. Roger Sherman of Connecticut (Drafting the Declaration of Independence)
  • The five men that wrote it were referred to as the " ...'Committee of Five'..." (Drafting the Declaration of Independence).
  • Without the Committee of Five, we would not have all the rights and freedoms that we have today.

History Brief: The Committee of Five (Reading Through History)
Chapter Four: The Impact of the Declaration
  • Many people appreciate having the opportunities we have as U.S. citizens and many other countries yearn to have what we have.
  • Without Jefferson, our freedom would not be possible.
  • `The most famous quote from the Declaration of Independence is, "... 'that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,'" (Jefferson)

  • Life is the right to live without the threat of harm and death.
  • Liberty is the freedom to make your own choices without the governments control.
  • Pursuit of happiness is the right to seek personal happiness and fulfillment within the boundaries of the law.

(Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Reframing Our Goals for Education « Journal of Sustainability Education)
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