Jefferson had a profound effect on the United States, both as a founding father and as a President of the country. Events in his early life led him to become interested in law, which helped him write the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson was an American who had a great impact on America and contributed to it in many ways, improving it with his ideas.
Jefferson was born on a plantation in Shadwell, Virginia, on April 13, 1743. He was the third born of five. His parents, Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph, both came from well-known families. Peter Jefferson was a descendent of a line of Welsh kings and Jane Randolph Jefferson came from a leading Tidewater family, and a noble bloodline from various locations in England and Scotland. Thomas’s father was the strongest and hardest working man in the whole dominion. He could upend two tobacco hogsheads at the same time, each weighing over 500 pounds. Peter Jefferson also helped survey and draw the first accurate map of Virginia. He was a lieutenant colonel and the justice of the peace in the county militia. Thomas’s father had a tremendous influence on shaping his son’s character and inspiring him in building up the great new American commonwealth. Thomas took great pride in his father. At age fourteen, Thomas Jefferson’s father died. This caused a tremendous and emotional shock for young Jefferson.
Peter Jefferson’s will provided enough funds to further young Jefferson in his education. He could enter the college of William and Mary, in the spring of 1760 when he was seventeen. He became friends with Dr. William Small, a Professor from Scotland, who taught mathematics, science, and communication. He was Jefferson’s favorite professor. Before Dr. William Small returned to Europe in 1762, he arranged for Jefferson to read and study law under George Wythe.
Wythe was the first law professor in America and later had a major influence on Jefferson and his studies in law. Jefferson studied law under Wythe for 5 years. Jefferson had an appetite for learning and he studied more than just law. He studied languages, physics, agriculture, mathematics, philosophy, chemistry, anatomy, zoology, botany, religion, politics, history, literature, rhetoric, and every subject imaginable. Jefferson called this “a time of life when I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow the truth and reason to whatever results they led.” (Skousen 18) By adulthood, Thomas Jefferson could read Latin, Greek, Spanish, Italian and Anglo-Saxon. He also became very fluent in French. Jefferson graduated from William and Mary at the age of nineteen.
During Jefferson’s intense studies in Williamsburg, the dominion capital, he sometimes broke away from his studies to hear the debates in the House or Burgesses. Newly elected member of the assembly, Patrick Henry, gave his famous speech against the Stamp Act here. Jefferson was there when the speech was given on May 29,...