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Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

How do you start a Thomas Jefferson research paper? Our expert writers suggest you start you project with facts on Thomas Jefferson, such as his birth place and important dates his life.

  • Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743
  • Jefferson was born at Shadwell, his family's modest house in a clearing at the outer fringes of the colony of Virginia.
  • Thomas was the third child and first son of Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph-Jefferson.

Although Jefferson's birth on the edges of the Virginia backwoods would foster a lifelong attachment to nature and to a simpler way of life, his destiny would be more profoundly shaped by his birth into the more privileged sectors of colonial society. For while Peter Jefferson never ranked among the largest Virginia landowners, his status as a rising planter and slaveholder, and as a justice of the peace in the powerful county courts of Virginia in the eighteenth century, ensured that Thomas would enjoy economic welfare, educational opportunities, and social privileges of a sort that few Americans enjoyed in his day. Moreover, Thomas' mother had been born into one of Virginia's earliest, wealthiest, and most powerful families, the Randolphs.

Despite the survival of extensive documents pertaining to Thomas Jefferson's adult life, surprisingly few records exist from his childhood-the consequence, in large part, of a ruinous fire that struck Shadwell in 1770. Nonetheless, it is clear that the young Thomas benefited greatly from his father's strong commitment to education, at least for his first male child. Much of Thomas' early school years were unhappily spent far away from Shadwell and under the tutelage of instructors who failed to motivate the young learner. At age 14, Thomas experienced what was undoubtedly the most traumatic event of his childhood years: the death of his father. The fact that Peter Jefferson left his affairs in the hands of competent executors who would ensure the youngster's welfare and education did little to dampen Thomas' deep sense of loss, particularly since Jane Randolph-Jefferson appears to have figured rather unimportantly in her son's life, either before or after Peter's death.

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