- 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.
Thomas Jefferson was was a draftsman of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the nation's first secretary of state, second vice president and third president. As President, he was 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.
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The pair married on January 1, 1772. Thomas and Martha Jefferson had six children together, but only two survived into adulthood: Martha, their firstborn, and Mary, their fourth. Only Martha survived her father.
The beginning of Jefferson's professional life coincided with great changes in Great Britain's American colonies. The conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763 left Great Britain in dire financial straits; to raise revenue, the Crown levied a host of new taxes on its American colonies. In particular, the Stamp Act of 1765, imposing a tax on printed and paper goods, outraged the colonists, giving rise to the American revolutionary slogan, "No taxation without representation."
Eight years later, on December 16, 1773, colonists protesting a British tea tax dumped 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor in what is known as the "Boston Tea Party." In April 1775, American militiamen clashed with British soldiers at the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord, the first battles in what developed into the American Revolutionary War.
Thomas Jefferson was one of the earliest and most fervent supporters of the cause of American independence from Great Britain. He was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1768 and joined its radical bloc, led by Patrick Henry and George Washington. In 1774, Jefferson penned his first major political work, "A Summary View of the Rights of British America," which established his reputation as one of the most eloquent advocates of the American cause. A year later, in 1775, Jefferson attended the Second Continental Congress, which created the Continental Army and appointed Jefferson's fellow Virginian, George Washington, as its commander-in-chief. However, the Congress's most significant work fell to Jefferson himself.
In June 1776, the Congress appointed a five-man committee (Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston) to draft a Declaration of Independence. The committee then chose Jefferson to author the declaration's first draft, selecting him for what John Adams called his "happy talent for composition and singular felicity of expression." Over the next 17 days, Jefferson drafted one of the most beautiful and powerful testaments to liberty and equality in world history.
The document opened with a preamble stating the natural rights of all human beings and then continued on to enumerate specific grievances against King George III that absolved the American colonies of any allegiance to the British Crown. Although the Declaration of Independence adopted on July 4, 1776 had undergone a series of revisions from Jefferson's original draft, its immortal words remain essentially his own: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
After authoring the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson returned to Virginia, where, from 1776 to 1779, he served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.
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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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