His Life and Times
With 21 Activities
I think it was my fourteenth summer that my dad took my siblings and me on an amazing summer vacation where we toured President’s homes. We spent a week in Washington DC and then ventured into the outskirts visiting the home of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Both were amazing, however, Monticello truly stood out as a remarkable home, even for my mid-1980 mind.
As an adult, Thomas Jefferson inspires me. Seemingly, there is always something new I discover about him either through his inventions, his farming, architecture and of course his time as President. Like our nations founders, I immediately think of him as a man of courage. This continues as we learn that he was left without a father as a young boy. He didn’t let not having a father figure stop him from working hard at his studies becoming a lawer, a landowner and a leader who did incredible things in the name of freedom.
Before his term as president, he was elected to the Virginia Assembly in 1769. Here he developed a following for his debates and colonial policies of Great Britain and King George III. Perhaps it were these policies that prompted him to write the Declaration of Independence, allowing America freedom and independence in a world Monarchs ruled.
That summer I was fourteen, my heart sank in learning that Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner. It didn’t compute in my mind that a man who wrote, “all men are created equal” didn’t practice this belief. I wanted to believe he treated them as his friends, but a tour of Monticello and viewing the servant’s quarters, proved that he considered himself of far more worth than the men and women he claimed as his property.
Someday, perhaps I will take my children to Monticello. In the meantime, we are learning about this man through Thomas Jefferson for Kids: His Life and Times with 21 Activities. The author, Brandon Marie Miller, uses original letters and papers of Thomas Jefferson to create the life of this amazing man. Miller does an outstanding job at bringing to the forefront of my mind how much he accomplished and leaves me in awe of his many achievements.
I was thankful for page 65 where Miller writes:
“Jefferson covered a multitude of topics including slavery in Virginia. Jefferson believed African Americans inferior to whites in reason and imagination. He favored a system where blacks gradually became free. But he felt they could not stay in the United States after gaining that freedom. He did not believe the two races could live together in harmony.”
My appreciation came from her honesty. That she painted Thomas Jefferson as he was–I suppose, a hypocrite, in terms of “all men created equal”. There is no fluff. It’s just as it should be. Proving that even the greatest of men are with weakness and hypocrisy.
Author Brandon Marie Miller captures the complexity of this talented leader through his original writings and hands-on activities from the colonial era
I enjoyed reading about the Colonial times and what life was like then. It’s fascinating to me to see the roots of where I came from, the foundation of this country and the people who shaped America.