NAPO - CEPA - Reading Type 3 - Text 4

1.      A man of many talents, Thomas Jefferson was an inventor, lawyer, architect, educator and third president of the United States. At the age of 33, he penned the American Declaration of Independence. In his lifetime, this complex and multi-talented individual left an indelible mark on American history that will never be erased.


2.      Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a successful farmer and surveyor and his mother, Jane Randolph, was a member of one of Virginia’s most influential families. When Jefferson was 14 years old his father died leaving him 5,000 acres of land. This land, known as Monticello, would become both his home and the future site of the University of Virginia. Jefferson was an avid reader who was proficient in five languages. At the age of 16, he enrolled in college to study mathematics, metaphysics and philosophy. He became especially interested in the writings of John Locke, Francis Bacon and Sir Isaac Newton. He graduated from college in two years with high honors. Following five more years of post-graduate study he was awarded a law degree in 1767.


3.      Jefferson’s political career began in 1774 when he served in the Virginia House of Burgesses. Two years later, in 1776, he became a leading voice in the American movement for independence from Britain. At the age of 33, Jefferson became the primary author of the American Declaration of Independence. In 1796, he reluctantly ran for president losing by three votes to John Adams. Four years later, he defeated Adams and became the third president of the United States. As president he was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase. This large tract of land purchased from France doubled the size of the U.S. Jefferson asked Congress for $2,500 to fund the Lewis and Clark expedition to this region because he wanted to learn about the geography and people of the Western region of North America. This eventually led to expansion, and the formation of the continental U.S.


4.      After leaving the presidency in 1809, Jefferson focused on establishing the University of Virginia. At the time of its building, it was one of the largest construction projects in North America. In 1825 the University opened its doors, becoming the first to offer elective courses. Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, 50 years to the day of the original signing of the Declaration of Independence.

 

  
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