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United States. About Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson. More than a mere renaissance man, Jefferson may actually have been a new kind of man. He was fluent in five languages and able to read two others. He wrote, over the course of his life, over sixteen thousand letters. He was acquainted with nearly every influential person in America, and a great many in Europe as well. He was a lawyer, agronomist, musician, scientist, philosopher, author, architect More than a mere renaissance man, Jefferson may actually have been a new kind of man.
He was a lawyer, agronomist, musician, scientist, philosopher, author, architect, inventor, and statesman. Though he never set foot outside of the American continent before adulthood, he acquired an education that rivaled the finest to be attained in Europe.
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He was clearly the foremost American son of the Enlightenment. Jefferson was born at Shadwell in Albemarle county, Virginia on April 13, He was tutored by the Reverend James Maury, a learned man, in the finest classical tradition. He began the study of Latin, Greek, and French at the age of 9.
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He attended William and Mary College in Williamsburg at sixteen years old, then continued his education in the Law under George Wythe, the first professor of law in America who later would sign Jefferson's Declaration in Thomas Jefferson attended the House of Burgesses as a student in when he witnessed Patrick Henry's defiant stand against the Stamp Act. He gained the Virginia bar and began practice in , and was elected to the House of Burgesses in It was there that his involvement in revolutionary politics began.
He was never a very vocal member, but his writing, his quiet work in committee, and his ability to distill large volumes of information to essence, made him an invaluable member in any deliberative body. In when a Virginia convention selected delegates to the Continental Congress, Jefferson was selected as an alternate. This did happen and Jefferson went in his place.
Thomas Jefferson had a theory about self governance and the rights of people who established habitat in new lands. This paper he sent on ahead of him. He fell ill on the road and was delayed for several days. By the time he arrived, his paper had been published as a pamphlet and sent throughout the colonies and on to England where Edmund Burke, sympathetic to the colonial condition, had it reprinted and circulated widely. In Jefferson, then a member of the committee to draft a declaration of independence, was chosen by the committee to write the draft.
This he did, with some minor corrections from James Madison and an embellishment from Franklin, the document was offered to the Congress on the first day of July.
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The congress modified it somewhat, abbreviating certain wording and removing points that were outside of general agreement. The Declaration was adopted on the Fourth of July. Jefferson returned to his home not long afterward. His wife and two of his children were very ill, he was tired of being remote from his home, and he was anxious about the development of a new government for his native state. The nation was still at war, and the southern colonies were under heavy attack.
Jefferson's Governorship was clouded with hesitation. He himself concluded that the state would be better served by a military man. He declined re-election after his first term and was succeeded by General Nelson of Yorktown. In he retired to Monticello, the estate he inherited, to write, work on improved agriculture, and attend his wife. It was during this time that he wrote Notes on the State of Virginia, a work that he never completed. Martha Jefferson died in September of This event threw Jefferson into a depression that, according to his eldest daughter he might never have recovere Books by Thomas Jefferson.
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Quotes from Works of Thomas J It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly deprive the nation of its benefits, than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knolege with the lies of the day.
He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false. Welcome back. Thinking therefore it might be as agreeable to you, I have framed such a general collection as I think you would wish, and might in time find convenient, to procure.
Out of this you will chuse for yourself to the amount you mentioned for the present year, and may hereafter as shall be convenient proceed in completing the whole. A view of the second column in this catalogue would I suppose extort a smile from the face of gravity. Let me not awaken it. A little attention however to the nature of the human mind evinces that the entertainments of fiction are useful as well as pleasant.
That they are pleasant when well written, every person feels who reads. I answer, every thing is useful which contributes to fix us in the principles and practice of virtue. Now every emotion of this kind is an exercise of our virtuous dispositions; and dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise. But exercise produces habit; and in the instance of which we speak, the exercise being of the moral feelings, produces a habit of thinking and acting virtuously.
We never reflect whether the story we read be truth or fiction. If the painting be lively, and a tolerable picture of nature, we are thrown into a reverie, from which if we awaken it is the fault of the writer.
I appeal to every reader of feeling and sentiment whether the fictitious murther of Duncan by Macbeth in Shakespeare does not excite in him as great horror of villainy, as the real one of Henry IV by Ravaillac as related by Davila? And whether the fidelity of Nelson, and generosity of Blandford in Marmontel do not dilate his breast, and elevate his sentiments as much as any similar incident which real history can furnish?
Does he not in fact feel himself a better man while reading them, and privately covenant to copy the fair example? We neither know nor care whether Lawrence Sterne really went to France, whether he was there accosted by the poor Franciscan, at first rebuked him unkindly, and then gave him a peace offering; or whether the whole be not a fiction. Considering history as a moral exercise, her lessons would be too unfrequent if confined to real life.
Of those recorded by historians few incidents have been attended with such circumstances as to excite in any high degree this sympathetic emotion of virtue.
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We are therefore wisely framed to be as warmly interested for a fictitious as for a real personage. The spacious field of imagination is thus laid open to our use, and lessons may be formed to illustrate and carry home to the mind every moral rule of life. Thus a lively and lasting sense of filial duty is more effectually impressed on the mind of a son or daughter by reading King Lear, than by all the dry volumes of ethics and divinity that ever were written.
Of Politicks and Trade I have given you a few only of the best books, as you would probably chuse to be not unacquainted with those commercial principles which bring wealth into our country, and the constitutional security we have for the enjoiment of that wealth. In Law I mention a few systematical books, as a knowlege of the minutiae of that science is not necessary for a private gentleman.