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D. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

This powerful advocate of liberty was born in 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia, inheriting from his father some 5,000 acres of land and from his mother-- a high social standing.

Jefferson studied literature and languages. He also studied to be a lawyer, and later he wrote many of the Virginia laws. One of the laws was a law to allow every child to go to school free. Schools in America were only for children whose parents were rich.

His most outstanding achievement was as chief author of the Declaration of Independence (a statement of human rights and liberties). It was read to the happy people on the 4th of July, 1776.

Jefferson also drew up the constitution for his state, Virginia, and served as its governor. He was sent to France as the foreign minister of the USA, and then was President Washington’s Secretary of State. A few years later he became the third president of the country, serving in this position for two terms.

Jefferson did another important thing for the American people. He worked out a plan for a university where the students and teachers could live and work together in a village built for them. It was one of the first schools to teach science. Today it is the University of Virginia.

Thomas Jefferson was also a self-taught architect. He introduced the simple classical design of the Virginia State Capitol building. He also designed his own home. He remained the most influential architect of his time.

Jefferson did many useful things during his lifetime. He always thought about helping ordinary people. He was a practical and theoretical scientist.


to inherit (у)наследовать

a lawyer юрист, адвокат

achievement достижение

to draw up составлять (о документе)

to remain оставаться

Ex. 1. Find in the text the English equivalents for:

закон, позволяющий каждому ребёнку учиться в школе бесплатно; его самое выдающееся достижение; служил в качестве губернатора; государственный секретарь президента Вашингтона; разработал проект для университета; утверждение человеческих прав и свобод; сделал много полезного; как помочь простым людям.

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