Founding Father: Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was a founding father of the United States, an author of the Declaration of Independence, and the 3rd President of the United States. Aside from being President, Thomas Jefferson was also a legislator, diplomat, lawyer architect, scientist, inventor, writer, agriculturist, and a revolutionary thinker.
Early Life of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, in Shadwell, Virginia. His father was Peter Jefferson, a very successful surveyor and planter in Virginia. His mother was Jane Jefferson, a woman from a wealthy family.
Thomas Jefferson’s Education and Marriage
Thomas Jefferson went to the College of William and Mary between 1760 and 1762. Later, he decided to study law. He passed the bar in 1767 he began practicing law. Thomas Jefferson lived in the Monticello house in Virginia for most of his life.
He built this home on land that he had inherited from his family. In 1772, Thomas Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton, who he had six children with. Unfortunately, only two children survived. Thomas Jefferson had about 200 slaves on his property who helped him run the house and grow food.
Thomas Jefferson During Revolutionary America
In 1775, Thomas Jefferson was a delegate to the Continental Congress. Here he helped draft the Declaration of Independence. This draft was then amended by other members of the committee.
The next year, Thomas Jefferson became a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Here he fought for important issues, like the separation of church and state, as well as other important causes. In 1779, Thomas Jefferson became the Governor of Virginia. However, he resigned in 1781 after the British invaded Virginia. Because Thomas Jefferson had not been prepared for this attack, he became very unpopular in Virginia.
In 1783, Thomas Jefferson was elected to Congress. In 1785, President Washington appointed Thomas Jefferson as the United States Minister to France. In 1789, Washington also made Thomas Jefferson into the Secretary of State. However, Thomas Jefferson resigned on December 31, 1793.
In 1796, Thomas Jefferson ran in the election for President, but he lost against John Adams. Thomas Jefferson became Vice President.
Thomas Jefferson as President
In 1800, Jefferson defeated John Adams and became President of the United States. He was then reelected for a second term in 1804. As President, Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from France. This purchase in 1803 increased the total area of the United States a lot. After, Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to map the new US territory.
Thomas Jefferson’s Later Life
Jefferson retired from office in 1809 and went back home to Monticello. Thomas Jefferson died at his home on July 4, 1826.
Fun Facts about Thomas Jefferson
• Thomas Jefferson died on the 50th anniversary of the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. This was on the same day as John Adam’s death. They were the only two signers who had become presidents.
• In 1814, Thomas Jefferson sold his personal library to the United States government in order to try to restart the Library of Congress. The original one had been burned down during the War of 1812.
• Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in 1819.