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President Thomas Jefferson

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Portrait of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
by Rembrandt Peele

Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd President of the United States.

Served as President: 1801-1809
Vice President: Aaron Burr, George Clinton
Party: Democratic-Republican
Age at inauguration: 57

Born: April 13, 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia
Died: July 4, 1826 in Monticello in Virginia

Married: Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson
Children: Martha and Mary
Nickname: Father of the Declaration of Independence


What is Thomas Jefferson most known for?

Thomas Jefferson is known as a Founding Father of the United States. He is most famous for writing the Declaration of Independence.

Growing Up

Thomas grew up in the English Colony of Virginia. His parents, Peter and Jane, were wealthy landowners. Thomas enjoyed reading, exploring nature, and playing the violin. When he was 14 years old his father died. He inherited his father's large estate and began to manage it at the age of 21.

Thomas attended the college of William and Mary in Virginia. There he met his mentor, a law professor by the name of George Wythe. He became interested in law and would later decide to become a lawyer.

Declaration of Independence
The Signing of the Declaration of Independence
by John Trumbull

Before He Became President

Before he became president, Thomas Jefferson had a number of jobs: he was a lawyer who studied and practiced law, he was a farmer and managed his vast estate, and he was a politician who served as a member of Virginia's legislature.

By the 1770s, the American colonies, including Jefferson's Virginia, began to feel they were being unjustly treated by their British rulers. Thomas Jefferson became a leader in the fight for independence and represented Virginia at the Continental Congress.

The desk where Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson designed
this desk where he wrote
the Declaration of Independence

Source: Smithsonian Institute
Writing the Declaration of Independence

During the Second Continental Congress, Jefferson was tasked, together with John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, to write a Declaration of Independence. This document was to state that the colonies considered themselves free from British rule and were willing to fight for that freedom. Jefferson was the primary author of the document and wrote the first draft. After incorporating a few changes from the other members of the committee, they presented it to the congress. This document is one of the most treasured documents in the history of the United States.

During and After the Revolutionary War

Jefferson held a number of political positions during and after the war including U.S. Minister to France, Governor of Virginia, the first Secretary of State under George Washington, and Vice President under John Adams.

Thomas Jefferson's Presidency

Jefferson became the third President of the United States on March 4, 1801. One of the first things he did was try to reduce the federal budget, moving power back into the hands of the states. He also lowered taxes, which made him popular to many people.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial
A statue of Thomas Jefferson is located
at the center of the Jefferson Memorial.
Photo by Ducksters

Some of his main accomplishments as president include: Jefferson also served a second term as president. During his second term he mostly worked to keep the United States out of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe.

How did he die?

Jefferson became sick in 1825. His health grew worse, and he finally passed away on July 4, 1826. It is an amazing fact that he died on the same day as his fellow founding father John Adams. Even more amazing is that they both died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
President Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
by Rembrandt Peale

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