The influence of the legal and political thought of Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) was felt by America in its earliest days. Lawyer, landowner, and slave owner Thomas Jefferson began his political career as a representative for Albemarle County in the Virginia House of Burgesses. There he served from 1769 to 1774, during which time he began to argue in favor of independence from Britain. In 1775, Jefferson began his participation in the Second Continental Congress, where he was named, along with John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. ...

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