Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Was he prepared for such a task? What experiences did he have and what 10 character traits did he develop? Thomas Jefferson’s father was justice of the peace and lieutenant colonel in the county militia. He inspired his son with a commitment to build up the Great American Commonwealth.He died when Jefferson was only 13 years old, which made young Jefferson the head of the family. Fortunately his father left enough funds for Thomas to attend college. Here are some of Jefferson’s accomplishments:
1. Began studying under the direction of his cousin’s tutor at age 5.
2. Studied Latin under the direction of Reverend William Douglas at age 9.
3. He studied classical literature and additional languages under the direction of Reverend James Maury at the age of 14.
4. He entered the college of William and Mary of Virginia at the young age of 16 and graduated at the age of 19.
5. After graduating from the College of William and Mary of Virginia, he began an intensive study of law under George Wythe. George Wythe was an authority on liberty and the natural and equal rights of man.
6. He studies Latin and Greek so he could read classical works in their original languages.
7. Jefferson was literally in love with learning. It was not unusual for his to study for 14 hours a day.
8. He not only studied law, but languages, physics, agriculture, mathematics, philosophy, chemistry, anatomy, zoology, botany, religion, politics, history, literature, rhetoric, and virtually every other subject imaginable-
9. Always recording quotations and observations in his personal notebooks. Jefferson called this “a time of life when I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never faring to follow the truth and reason to whatever results they led.”
10. He had a mastery of the spoken word. He could read Latin, Greek, Spanish, Italian, French and Ango-Saxon.
11. At the age of 23 Jefferson was admitted to the bar. It was said of him, that as a lawyer, he won practically all his cases because he always chose the right side.
12. He was elected to represent Albemarle County Virginia in the 17669 session of the Virginia House of Burgesses at age 25.
13. He listened to debates in the House of Burgesses on many occasions. It was during one of these occasions that he heard Patrick Henry speak on the abuses of the American people by the British. He felt such a surge of fervor for the cause of freedom and justice that the flame burned brightly for the rest of his days. He later referred to this as the most important day of his life.
14. At the age of 31 he wrote a paper called “A Summary View of the Rights of British America “. It provided a legal, historical, and political analysis of the rights of the English colonists in America and accused the Crown of ignoring and abusing those rights. This caused a considerable amount of bristling indignation in the royal British court.
15. He was sent as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress at the age of 32.
16. Jefferson was 33 years old when he was asked to write the Declaration of Independence. It took him 7 days to complete the draft.
On July 2, 1776, the Congress assembled as an informal “Committee of the Whole” to freely discuss Jefferson’s Manifesto of Freedom. A number of changes were suggested and debated. It was the evening of July 4 when the Congress as an official body finally approved Jefferson’s somewhat modified document.
Neither Jefferson nor the Congress called this document the “Declaration of Independence”. It was the people who later gave the Declaration its name.
According to the above information about Thomas Jefferson, you can see how it helped him develop the following character traits that made it possible for him to write one of the most famous documents of America, The Declaration of Independence.
2. Well educated on a multiple subjects
3. Great understanding of history and politics
4. Open mind for learning
5. A love of freedom
6. Sense of Justice
7. Love of learning
8. Hard worker
9. Follower of truth and reason
10. Master of the spoken word
Thomas Jefferson served as the first Secretary of State, Vice President to John Adams and served two terms as the third president of the United States.
Learn more about Thomas Jefferson’s amazing life, read the book, “The Real Thomas Jefferson. The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom.” You can find this book at: http://www.learntheconstitution.com
Linda N. Hackett