Biography of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, and died on July 4, 1826. He was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809.

Biography of Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence. And was the nation’s first U.S. secretary of state under George Washington and then the nation’s second vice president under John Adams, following the American Revolutionary War and prior to becoming president in 1801.

Welcome, and this is the biography of Thomas Jefferson.

Early Years and Career Trajectory

As already stated, Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 (Old Style, Julian calendar: April 2, 1743), the third of ten children, in the British Colony of Virginia, at the family’s Shadwell Plantation. He was of English and potentially Welsh heritage, and he was born as a subject of the British.

Peter Jefferson, Jefferson’s father, was a planter and surveyor who passed away when Jefferson was fourteen. His mother, Jane Randolph, raised him. After the death of William Randolph III, the owner of Tuckahoe Plantation and a friend of Jefferson, Peter Jefferson moved the family to the plantation in 1745 as per William Randolph III’s will, which named Peter as the guardian of Randolph’s children.

The Jeffersons moved back to Shadwell before October 1753. And in 1757, Peter passed away, and his sons Thomas and Randolph inherited his estate. John Harvie Sr. became the guardian of 13-year-old Thomas. When Thomas turned 21, he gained full legal control over the approximately 5,000 acres of land, including Monticello, that he inherited.

Academic Foundation and Early Family Background

Jefferson and Randolph children started their education at Tuckahoe under tutors. Thomas’ father (a self-taught man who regretted not having a formal education) got Thomas into an English school when he was five. At age nine (1752), he went to a local school run by a Scottish Presbyterian minister and also began studying the natural world, which he grew to love. He started learning Latin, Greek, and French and also took up horseback riding during this period.

In 1761, at the age of sixteen, Jefferson enrolled at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, where he studied mathematics, metaphysics, and philosophy under William Small. He was introduced to influential figures like George Wythe and Francis Fauquier and became a regular member of their inner circle. Jefferson graduated in 1762, studied law under Wythe, and was well-read in various subjects. He treasured his books and mourned the unexpected death of his sister Jane in 1765.

Monticello, Matrimony, and Family Ties

Jefferson started building his primary residence in 1768, Monticello, known in Italian as “Little Mountain,” on a hilltop overlooking his 5,000-acre (20 km2; 7.8 sq mi) plantation. In his adult life, most of his time was spent designing Monticello as an architect.

Local masons and carpenters were mostly the ones who worked on construction, assisted by Jefferson’s slaves. He moved into the South Pavilion in 1770. Turning Monticello into a neoclassical masterpiece in the Palladian style was his perennial project.

In 1772, Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton, his third cousin. They had a happy marriage and six children, but only two survived to adulthood. Martha’s ill health and frequent childbirth weakened her, and she died in 1782.

Jefferson was devastated by her death and promised her never to marry again. After serving as U.S. Secretary of State, he returned to Monticello and remodeled it based on European architectural concepts, completing the work in 1809.

Thomas Jefferson: Spokesman for Democracy, Founding Father, and Third President of the United States

Thomas Jefferson wrote in a private letter, saying, “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” in the thick of party conflict in 1800.

Biography of Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson, with freckled and sandy hair, was tall and awkward and not a public speaker. He contributed as a correspondent to the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress but did not speak publicly. At 33, he drafted the Declaration of Independence as the “silent member” of the Congress. He later worked to make its words a reality in Virginia, including writing a bill for religious freedom in 1786.

After Franklin, Jefferson became minister to France in 1785. Conflict arises with Hamilton during his time as Secretary of State as a result of his support for the French Revolution. When he resigned in 1793, it led to the formation of two parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. Jefferson took the leadership of the Republicans, who supported the French Revolution. He opposed federalist policies and advocated for states’ rights over a strong central government.

In 1796, as a reluctant candidate for president, Jefferson came within three votes of the election. Even though he was an opponent of President Adams, he became vice president as a result of a flaw in the Constitution. The defect in 1800 caused a more serious problem. Republican electors tied in their attempt to name both a president and a vice president from their own party, casting a tie vote between Jefferson and Aaron Burr.

The House of Representatives settled the tie, with Hamilton supporting Jefferson’s election despite his dislike for both Jefferson and Burr. When Jefferson assumed the presidency, the crisis in France had passed. He slashed Army and Navy expenditures, cut the budget, and eliminated the tax on whiskey, which was so unpopular in the West, yet reduced the national debt by a third. He also sent a naval squadron to fight the Barbary pirates and acquired the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon.

During his second term, he tried to keep the nation out of the Napoleonic Wars but faced challenges from England and France. His embargo on American shipping was unsuccessful and unpopular. Jefferson retired to Monticello to contemplate his grand designs for the University of Virginia. A French nobleman noted that he had positioned his house and mind in an elevated location to ponder the universe.

He passed away on July 4, 1826.

I hope this article provided you with the information you need about the third president of America, Thomas Jefferson. Thank you for your time, and I’ll see you in the next one!

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