- NAME: Thomas Jefferson
- OCCUPATION: Diplomat, U.S. President, U.S. Vice President, U.S. Governor, Government Official
- BIRTH DATE: April 13, 1743
- DEATH DATE: July 04, 1826
- EDUCATION: College of William and Mary
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Shadwell, Virginia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Monticello (near Charlottesville), Virginia
- Nickname: "Sage of Monticello"
- Nickname: "Apostle of the Constitution"
- Nickname: "Long Tom"
- Full Name: Thomas Jefferson
Best Known For
Thomas Jefferson was a draftsman of the Declaration of Independence and the third U.S. president (1801-09). He was also responsible for the Louisiana Purchase.
In 1784 Thomas Jefferson arrived in Paris as a trade representative appointed by the Continental Congress. In Paris, Jefferson would be exposed to an entirely new culture and way of life.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the "Head and Heart" letter to Mariah Causeway.
At the Second Continental Congress in June of 1775, Thomas Jefferson flaunted his writing abilities.
33-year-old Thomas Jefferson was assigned the task of writing the Declaration of Independence.
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Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, in Shadwell, Virginia. He was a draftsman of the U.S. Declaration of Independence; the nation's first secretary of state (1789-94); second vice president (1797-1801); and, as the third president (1801-09), the statesman responsible for the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson died in bed at Monticello (located near Charlottesville, Virginia) on July 4, 1826.
"We have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other."
"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."
" ...How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy."
Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence and the third U.S. president, was born on April 13, 1743, at the Shadwell plantation located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia -- near the western edge of Great Britain's American Empire.
Jefferson was born into one of the most prominent families of Virginia's planter elite. His mother, Jane Randolph Jefferson, was a member of the proud Randolph clan, a family claiming descent from English and Scottish royalty. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a successful farmer as well as a skilled surveyor and cartographer who produced the first accurate map of the Province of Virginia. Jefferson had five siblings: two older sisters, two younger sisters and a younger brother.
As a boy, Thomas Jefferson's favorite pastimes were playing in the woods, practicing the violin and reading. He began his formal education at the age of nine, studying Latin and Greek at a local private school run by the Reverend William Douglas. In 1757, at the age of 14, he took up further study of the classical languages as well as literature and mathematics with the Reverend James Maury, whom Jefferson later described as "a correct classical scholar."
In 1760, having learned all he could from Maury, Jefferson left home to attend the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia's capital. Although it was the second oldest college in America (after only Harvard), William and Mary was not at that time an especially rigorous academic institution. Jefferson was dismayed to discover that his classmates expended their energies betting on horse races, playing cards and courting women rather than studying. Nevertheless, the serious and precocious Jefferson fell in with a circle of older scholars that included Professor William Small, Lieutenant Governor Francis Fauquier and lawyer George Wythe, and it was from them that he received his true education.
After three years at William and Mary, Jefferson decided to read law under Wythe, one of the pre-eminent lawyers of the American colonies. There were no law schools at this time; instead aspiring attorneys "read law" under the supervision of an established lawyer before being examined by the bar. Wythe guided Jefferson through an extraordinarily rigorous five-year course of study (more than double the typical duration); by the time Jefferson won admission to the Virginia bar in 1767, he was already one of the most learned lawyers in America.
From 1767-'74, Jefferson practiced law in Virginia with great success, trying many cases and winning most of them. During these years, he also met and fell in love with Martha Wayles Skelton, a recent widow and one of the wealthiest women in Virginia.
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They are American icons—they're on our dollars and coins, they are the subject of our monuments, and we live our daily lives in the world their ideas helped create. America's "Founding Fathers" include George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and of course, Benjamin Franklin. These men, together with several other key players of their time, structured the American democracy and left a legacy that has shaped the world. But beyond their legends, these men were human beings who led complex and fascinating lives. Learning their stories helps us better understand what made them tick, as well as their influence on our world today.
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