Biography of Thomas Jefferson
His Early Career
Jefferson was born at Shadwell in Albemarle county, Virginia, on april 13, 1743. His father, Peter Jefferson and his mother Jane Randolph were members of the most famous Virginia families. Besides being well born, Thomas Jefferson, was well educated. He attended the College of William and Mary and read law (1762-1767) with George Wythe, the greatest law teacher of his generation in Virginia. He was admitted to the bar in 1767 and practiced until 1774, when the courts were closed by the American Revolution.
He had inherited a considerable landed estate from his father, and doubled it by a happy marriage on Jan. 1, 1772, to Martha Wayles Skelton. He was elected to the House of Burgesses, when he was 25, he served there from 1769 to 1774, showing himself to be an effective committeeman and skillful draftsman, though not an able speaker.
The Revolutionary Era
From the beginning of the struggle with the mother country, Jefferson stood with the more advanced Patriots, grounding his position on a wide knowledge of English history and political philosophy. His most notable early contribution to the cause of the Patriots was his powerful pamphlet A Summary View of the Rights of Brittish America (1774), originally written for presentation to the Virginia convention of that year. In this he emphasized natural rights, including that of emigration, and denied parliamentary authority over the colonies, recognizing no tie with the mother country except the king.