Who Was Thomas Jefferson?
Who Was Thomas Jefferson?
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Did you know that John Adams had to coax Thomas Jefferson into writing the Declaration of Independence? It's true. The shy Virginia statesman refused at first, but then went on to author one of our nation's most important and inspiring documents. The third U.S. president, Jefferson was also an architect, inventor, musician, farmer, and-what is certainly the most troubling aspect of his life-a slave owner. Finally, here's a biography for kids that unveils the many facets of this founding father's remarkable and complicated life.
thirty-five-room mansion was built on a hilltop four miles from Shadwell and also near the town of Charlottesville. He called his new estate Monticello. The name means little mountain in Italian. Young ladies were also in his thoughts. At nineteen, he had fallen in love with sixteen-year-old Rebecca Burwell. Tom carried a silhouette of Rebecca in his watch. He had a pet name for her:—Belinda. But he was too shy to express his feelings. In colonial days, young women often married at age sixteen
from Britain, he wrote. He even referred to the colonies as the “states of America.” Jefferson had another suggestion. On June 1, 1774—the day Boston’s port was to close—the House of Burgesses should not do business as usual. Instead, Virginia lawmakers should pray and fast (not eat) to show support for Massachusetts. Jefferson’s fellow lawmakers agreed to his idea. Lord Dunmore, Virginia’s British governor, learned of the plan. He decided to shut down the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg.
horse around Washington, often speaking to strangers. He opened the White House to everyone. “He was dressed with an old brown coat, woolen hose, slippers without heels,” wrote one visitor from New Hampshire. “I thought this man was a servant. It was the President.” Jefferson’s pet mockingbird also surprised visitors. Dick liked to fly about the White House, sometimes landing on Jefferson’s shoulder. THE WHITE HOUSE WORK BEGAN ON THE WHITE HOUSE, WHICH WAS TO BE THE HOME OF EACH PRESIDENT, IN
would make slavery slowly die out. But it didn’t. New slaves were smuggled in. And slaves already in America had children. These babies were born slaves, increasing the slave population. Jefferson’s failure to act boldly to end slavery was perhaps his greatest failure as President. Not until 1865 would the Civil War end slavery in the United States. Jefferson probably could have won a third term. But, like George Washington, he thought two terms were enough. During his second term, he also
had a device that made copies for him as he wrote. It was a special desk with several pens attached by wires. As he used one pen, the others moved automatically and copied his letter. Although he hadn’t invented this device, he did make improvements to it. THE EARLY POST OFFICE IN 1789, CONGRESS CREATED THE UNITED STATES POST OFFICE AS PART OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. POSTAGE RATES WERE FIXED ACCORDING TO THE DISTANCE THAT THE MAIL TRAVELED AND THE NUMBER OF PAGES BEING SENT. MOST PEOPLE