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Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

  • BORN
  • Albemarle County, Virginia
  • April 13, 1743
  • DIED
  • Charlottesville, Virginia
  • July 4, 1826
LISTS
1743 births; 1826 deaths; 18th-century American politicians; 18th-century American writers; 19th-century American politicians; Ambassadors of the United States to France; American architects; American book and manuscript collectors; American classical liberals; American deists; American foreign policy writers; American gardeners; American inventors; American male writers; American Neoclassical architects; American people of English descent; American planters; American political philosophers; American Unitarians; Burials at Monticello; College of William & Mary alumni; Continental Congressmen from Virginia; Democratic-Republican Party Presidents of the United States; Democratic-Republican Party Vice Presidents of the United States; Enlightenment philosophers; Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Gentleman scientists; Governors of Virginia; Hall of Fame for Great Americans inductees; History of the United States (1789–1849); House of Burgesses members; Jefferson family; Members of the American Antiquarian Society; Members of the American Philosophical Society; Members of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; Members of the Virginia House of Delegates; People from Albemarle County, Virginia; People of the American Enlightenment; People of Virginia in the American Revolution; Physiocrats; Pre-19th-century cryptographers; Presidents of the United States; Randolph family of Virginia; Religious skeptics; Signers of the United States Declaration of Independence; Slave owners in the United States; Thomas Jefferson; United States presidential candidates, 1792; United States presidential candidates, 1796; United States presidential candidates, 1800; United States presidential candidates, 1804; United States Secretaries of State; University and college founders; University of Virginia people; Vice Presidents of the United States; Virginia Democratic-Republicans; Virginia lawyers; Washington administration cabinet members; Writers from Virginia; Writers of American Southern literature

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. He later served as the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he was elected the second Vice President of the United States, serving under John Adams from 1797 to 1801. A proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from Great Britain and form a new nation, he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level. He was a land owner and farmer.

Jefferson was primarily of English ancestry, born and educated in colonial Virginia. He graduated from the College of William & Mary and briefly practiced law, at times defending slaves seeking their freedom. During the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration, drafted the law for religious freedom as a Virginia legislator, and served as a wartime governor (1779–1781). He became the United States Minister to France in May 1785, and subsequently the nation's first Secretary of State in 1790–1793 under President George Washington. Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the First Party System. With Madison, he anonymously wrote the controversial Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798–1799, which sought to embolden states' rights in opposition to the national government by nullifying the Alien and Sedition Acts.

As President, Jefferson pursued the nation's shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies. He also organized the Louisiana Purchase, almost doubling the country's territory. As a result of peace negotiations with France, his administration reduced military forces. He was reelected in 1804. Jefferson's second term was beset with difficulties at home, including the trial of former Vice President Aaron Burr. American foreign trade was diminished when Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act of 1807, responding to British threats to U.S. shipping. In 1803, Jefferson began a controversial process of Indian tribe removal to the newly organized Louisiana Territory, and he signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807.

Jefferson mastered many disciplines, which ranged from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and mechanics. He was a proven architect in the classical tradition. Jefferson's keen interest in religion and philosophy earned him the presidency of the American Philosophical Society. He shunned organized religion, but was influenced by both Christianity and deism. He was well versed in linguistics and spoke several languages. He founded the University of Virginia after retiring from public office. He was a prolific letter writer and corresponded with many prominent and important people throughout his adult life. His only full-length book is Notes on the State of Virginia (1785), considered among the most important American books published before 1800.

Jefferson owned several plantations which were worked by hundreds of slaves. After the death of his wife Martha in 1782, he had a relationship with his slave Sally Hemings and fathered at least one of her children. Historians have lauded Jefferson's public life, noting his primary authorship of the Declaration of Independence during the Revolutionary War, his advocacy of religious freedom and tolerance in Virginia, and the Louisiana Purchase while he was president. Various modern scholars are more critical of Jefferson's private life, often pointing out the discrepancy between his ownership of slaves and his liberal political principles. Presidential scholars consistently rank Jefferson among the greatest presidents.

SOURCE: Wikipedia

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