"The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the
same time; the hand of force may destroy, but
cannot disjoin them." (1774)
Admitted to the practice of law in 1767, Thomas Jefferson for the next seven years seemed headed for the career of a Virginia attorney. Politics, however, drew him into its net, even in these early years, as he served in the House of Burgesses from 1769 until a royal governor shut it down in the midst of Revolutionary outcries and clamor. In 1770, he began what would become virtually a lifetime occupation: the designing, building, and rebuilding of Monticello. And by 1772, he had a companion to share with him the joys and sorrows of domesticity, the young widow Martha Skelton Wayles.
In 1774, the American colonies from Massachusetts to South Carolina railed against the growing oppression (as they saw it) of freedoms long taken for granted on both sides of the Atlantic. But "English liberties" apparently meant one thing in