Thomas Jefferson

Happy Belated July 4th! In observance of the holiday, here is a reading on Thomas Jefferson along with its vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. As most people understand, Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence of the British colonies in North America. A deeper dive into the origins of Jefferson’s rhetorical style in the Declaration shows that it is mostly a summary of issues John Locke raised in his Two Treatises of Government, particularly in the second.

Whenever I think of Jefferson, to be honest, a quote that has stuck with me from my high school reading of Kurt Vonnegut’s oeuvre. He is one of the great quotable authors of the twentieth century. This one comes from Breakfast of Champions (rather than, as I thought all these years, from  Wampeters, Foma, and Granfallooons, a book of Vonnegut’s essays and reviews that bears a rereading): “Thomas Jefferson High School…His high school was named after a slave owner who was also one of the world’s greatest theoreticians on the subject of human liberty.” Vonnegut never backed down from this observation, as this speech from 2000, seven years before his death, affirms.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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