English Reading Practice

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson is one of the most important people in American history.


The law and beliefs in the United States are based on Jefferson’s ideas of equality and peace. "Equality" means that everyone is the same and no one is better than anyone else.

Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson was born in the colony called Virginia in 1753. A "colony" is land that is ruled by another country. In 1775, when he was only 22 years old, he was elected to the Continental Congress. The "Continental Congress" was the government of the American colonies. They made laws and worked to get independence for the American colonies from England.

In 1776, Jefferson was asked to write the Declaration of Independence. This was a document that all the members of the Continental Congress would sign. It said that the American colonies wanted to be their own country and that they didn’t want to be ruled by England anymore.

Jefferson wrote two of his beliefs in the Declaration of Independence. The first was that all men are created equal. This means that every person is the same and should be treated the same by the government and by other people. The second was that the government should be a servant of the people and not a master. This means that the government should help people and not only tell them what to do. These two beliefs are critical (very important) to the United States and how the government works today.

The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. In 1783, the war between England and America ended and the United States became an independent country.


President of the United States

Thomas Jefferson was elected to be the third president of the United States. He was president for 9 years from 1801 until 1809.

While he was president, Jefferson expanded (made bigger) the United States. He bought land from France in the southern part of the United States where the state of Louisiana is today. This was called the Louisiana Purchase. He also sent two men named Lewis and Clark to explore (look at) the western part of the country. Because of this exploration, the United States was able to expand to the west, making the country even larger.

Importance of Education

Thomas Jefferson was a very smart man who was very well educated. "Well educated" means that he went to school and learned a lot there. He had a huge library at his home in Virginia. He knew a lot about history, science, and architecture (buildings).

When he got older, Jefferson decided to share his books with the people of the United States. At that time, the United States government had just built a library. They called it the Library of Congress. Jefferson sold many of his books to the Library of Congress. Today, the Library of Congress is the most important library in the country. Every person in the United States can visit and read the books there.

library of congress

Thomas Jefferson believed in equality, education, and fairness. Because of the very important role (part) he played in United States history, these ideas are written into the laws of United States and are important to every person living there.

And now, practice:

Thomas Jefferson - Exercises

Vocabulary Questions

1. What does "equality" mean?

a) everyone is the same

b) everyone is different

c) some people are better than others

d) some people are nicer than others

2. What does "colony" mean?

a) land that is ruled by itself

b) land that is ruled by another country

c) land that was won in a war

d) land that was lost in a war

3. What does "critical" mean?

a) interesting

b) boring

a) important

b) unimportant

Grammar Questions

1. In 1776, Jefferson was asked to write _________ Declaration of Independence.

a) a

b) the

c) an

d) that

2. Jefferson _________ two of his beliefs in the Declaration of Independence.

a) writes

b) wrote

c) had written

d) will write

3. Jefferson also sent two men named Lewis and Clark to explore the western part _________ the country.

a) in

b) at

c) on

d) of

Comprehension Questions

1. What were two to Thomas Jefferson's beliefs that he wrote in the Declaration of Independence?


2. What topics did Jefferson know a lot about?


3. What did Jefferson do with many of his books?


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