What we know Jefferson best for is his infamous phrase in the Declaration of
Independence: The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Without this wed
Never be in America speaking English, Spanish, Indian, and all other diverse languages.
Like any one of us, Thomas was a living person, growing and changing.
It was Virginia that Jefferson grew up in. Virginia was the largest American
colony in size by the time he was born in April of 1743. Thomas was the 3rd born in his
family. He had two older sisters. His father Peter had great strength. Everyone
remembered the time Peter had taken two hogs head of tobacco weighing 1,000lbs each
and lifted them from their sides to stand them upright.
There were no early portraits of Jefferson, but what some have said was that, he
was tall for his age, skinny, and awkward in movement, hazel-blue eyes and freckled
(The Revolutionary Aristocrat pg.13)
Jefferson was a politician and a statesman. He was one of the most talented architects of
his time, designing the Virginia State capitol, the University of Virginia, and his own
home the Monticello. He loved music and played the violin.
On June11, 1776 the Continental Congress appointed a committee to draw up a
formal declaration of independence to be sent to King George. Jefferson was one of five
men appointed. When the time came for someone to write the declaration. Jefferson told
Adams that he would be perfect for that position.
You should do it, Jefferson said.
Why will you not Jefferson persisted.
Jefferson looked at Adams and said, What are your reasons?
Adams answered: First, You are a Virginian and a Virginian should be at the
head of a business. Reason number two is that I am unpopular. You are very
much otherwise. Reason number three is you can write ten times better than I can.
Jefferson spoke up at once, Well if you are decided then I will do as well as I can.
Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in a small room on Market Street
in Philadelphia. He wrote in a neat, but small penmanship. One revision it had to
undergo was when he condemned slavery to be immoral. Jefferson believed slavery was
wrong, although he did not free his own slaves. He did not feel blacks
completely free to mingle with whites. It was then revised and approved by congress
as a Fine piece of work, well done.
After Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he went home to
Virginia, and a few years later, was elected governor. That was when the British army
invaded Virginia. The redcoats wanted to capture Jefferson and the members of the
Virginia General Assembly- and they almost did. Hardly anyone has heard of Jack
Jouett but he is a very important man. This poem explains the almost tragic invasion:
Hardly anyone has heard of the ride
Of big Jack Jouett through the countryside;
Through Virginias forest in the dark of night.
The British were marching, they were heading west
Seeking one prize over all the rest:
It was the man who had made the King Glower,
Virginias governor -Wanted- for Londons Tower.
Big Jack, feather in his cap, cut by briars, short of sleep,
Had Rivers to cross and fences to leap,
Till he reined in his horse and came to a stop
At a house, Monticello, on a mountain top.
Dragoons, he warned. Theyre coming, theyre real!
The governon, at breakfast, finished his meal.
Then he mounted his horse and rode off and away,
A minute later-thats the truth, so they say-
The redcoats arrived; too late and they knew it,
Thomas Jefferson was gone and thanks to Jack Jouett.
( From Countries to Colonies by Joy Hakim)