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Thomas Jefferson
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Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Other images: (, , )
Order:3rd President
Term of Office:Monday, March 4, 1801
Thursday, March 4, 1809
Followed:John Adams
Succeeded by:James Madison
Date of BirthApril 13, 1743
Place of Birth:Shadwell, Virginia
Date of Death:Tuesday, July 4, 1826
Place of Death:Monticello, Virginia
Wife:Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson
First Lady:Martha Jefferson Randolph (daughter)
Dolley Madison (friend)
Occupation:lawyer, farmer
Political Party:Democratic-Republican
Vice President: Aaron Burr (1801-1805)
George Clinton (1805-1809)

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743July 4, 1826) was the third (18011809) President of the United States and an American statesman, political philosopher, revolutionary, agriculturalist and horticulturalist, land owner, architect, archaeologist, author and general Renaissance man.

Table of contents
1 Biographical information
2 Events during his first term as President
3 Predecessors
4 Sayings
5 Jefferson Administration
6 Supreme Court appointments
7 Writings
8 Further Reading
9 Related articles
10 External links

Biographical information

His parents were Peter Jefferson (March 29, 1708August 17, 1757) and Jane Randolph (February 20, 1720March 31, 1776) both from families who had settled in Virginia for several generations. He attended and then attempted to institute many reforms at the College of William & Mary;, before founding his own vision of higher education at the University of Virginia.

He was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, and a source of many other contributions to American culture. Achievements of his presidency include the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Jefferson himself designed his famous home, Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia; it included automatic doors and other convenient devices invented by Jefferson. Nearby is the University of Virginia, the original architecture and curriculum of which Jefferson also designed. Frank E. Grizzard, Jr., a scholar at the University of Virginia, has written the definitive book on the original buildings, or Academical Village, at the University of Virginia.

Jefferson's interests included archaeology, a discipline then in its infancy. He has sometimes been called the "father of archaeology" in recognition of his role in developing excavation techniques. When exploring an Indian burial mound on his Virginia estate in 1784, Jefferson avoided the common practice of simply digging downwards until something turned up. Instead, he cut a wedge out of the mound, so that he could walk into it, look at the layers of occupation and draw conclusions from them.

Jefferson was also an avid wine lover and noted gourmet. During his ambassadorship to France (1784-9) he took extensive trips through French and other European wine regions and sent the best back to the White House. He is noted for the bold pronouncement "We could in the United States make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good." While there were extensive vineyards planted at Monticello, a significant portion were V. vinifera and did not survive the many vine diseases native to the Americas. Thus, Jefferson himself was never able to produce wine on par with Europe. However, it seems likely that he would be pleased with the quantity and quality of wine now being made in Virginia, to say nothing of the rest of the country.

Jefferson's idea for the United States was that of an agricultural nation of yeoman farmers, in contrast to the vision of Alexander Hamilton, who envisioned a nation of commerce and manufacturing. Jefferson was a great beliver in the uniqueness and the potential of the United States and is often classified a forefather of American Exceptionalism (see also exceptionalism).

His personal records show he owned 187 slaves. A subject of considerable controversy since Jefferson's own time was whether Jefferson was the father of any of the children of his slave Sally Hemings. A modern look at this relationship is by Shannon Fair in his book Jefferson's Children.

Jefferson was the first secretary of state of the United States, serving from 1789 until 1795. He was also the second vice president of the United States, under John Adams from 1797 until 1801, achieving that position after getting second place in the presidential election of 1796. An electoral tie resulted between Jefferson and his opponent Aaron Burr in the U.S. presidential election, 1800. It was resolved on February 17, 1801 when Jefferson was elected President and Burr Vice President by the United States House of Representatives. Jefferson was the only Vice President elected to the Presidency to serve two full terms.

Jefferson's portrait appears on the U.S. $2 bill and the U.S. 5 cent piece, or nickel. Thomas Jefferson is buried on his Monticello estate. Jefferson's epitaph, written by Jefferson with an insistence that only his words and "not a word more" be inscribed, reads,

Here was buried
Thomas Jefferson
Author of the Declaration of American Independence
of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom
& Father of the University of Virginia

Notably missing is a reference to his presidency.

Events during his first term as President


Jefferson was influenced heavily by the ideas of Polish brethren.

Englishman John Bidle had translated two works by said Przypkowski ; also the Racovian Catechism ; and a work by J. Stegmann, a "Polish Brother" from Germany.

Bidle's followers had very close relations with the Polish Socinian family of Crellius (aka Spinowski).

Subsequently, the Unitarian branch of Christianity was continued with by, most notably, Joseph Priestley, who had emigrated to the U. S. A. and was a friend of both James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson's political principles were also heavily influenced by John Locke, particularly relating to the principles of inalienable rights and popular sovereignty.


in Washington, DC.]]
Some quotes from Jefferson on Deism are available on the Wikipedia page.

Jefferson is known for taking a strong independent stance in regards to religion. He compiled a collection of what he considered to be the most profound and meaningful passages from the New Testament Gospels of the Bible, omitting blatantly supernatural or religious sections, and published it as an independent work. This became known as the Jefferson Bible, and was later printed in some 2,500 copies for the United States Congress in the early 1900s.

Other sayings:

There is also a Wikiquote section of quotes by Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson Administration

President Thomas Jefferson 1801-1809
Vice President Aaron Burr 1801-1805
  George Clinton 1805-1809
Secretary of State James Madison 1801-1809
Secretary of the Treasury Samuel Dexter 1801
  Albert Gallatin 1801-1809
Secretary of War Henry Dearborn 1801-1809
Attorney General Levi Lincoln 1801-1804
  Robert Smith 1805
  John Breckinridge 1805-1806
  Caesar A. Rodney 1807-1809
Postmaster General Joseph Habersham 1801
  Gideon Granger 1801-1809
Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert 1801
  Robert Smith 1801-1809

Supreme Court appointments

Jefferson appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:


Further Reading

Related articles

External links

Preceded by:
John Adams
President of the United States
Succeeded by:
James Madison
Preceded by:
John Adams
Vice President of the United States
Succeeded by:
Aaron Burr
Preceded by:
United States Secretary of State
Succeeded by:
Edmund Randolph


This text is part of the Liberalism series (IV): Liberal thinkers
Liberalism I - Liberalism in countries II - Liberal parties III - Liberal thinkers IV Introduction article

These thinkers had an important influence on the development of liberal thinking:
Baruch Spinoza | John Locke | Voltaire | Benjamin Franklin | David Hume | Jean-Jacques Rousseau | Denis Diderot | Adam Smith | Charles de Montesquieu | Immanuel Kant | Thomas Paine | Thomas Jefferson | Marquis de Condorcet | Jeremy Bentham | Benjamin Constant | Wilhelm von Humboldt | James Mill | Johan Rudolf Thorbecke | Frédéric Bastiat | Alexis de Tocqueville | John Stuart Mill | Herbert Spencer | Thomas Hill Green | Ludwig Joseph Brentano | Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk; | Émile Durkheim | Friedrich Naumann | Max Weber | Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse | Benedetto Croce | Walther Rathenau | William Beveridge | Ludwig von Mises | John Maynard Keynes | José Ortega y Gasset | Salvador de Madariaga | Wilhelm Röpke | Bertil Ohlin | Friedrich August von Hayek | Karl Raimund Popper | John Hicks | Raymond Aron | John Kenneth Galbraith | Isaiah Berlin | James M. Buchanan | John Rawls | Ralf Dahrendorf | Karl-Hermann Flach | Ronald Dworkin | Richard Rorty | Amartya Sen | Hernando de Soto | William Kymlicka | Dirk Verhofstadt

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