Thomas Jefferson | Facts, Education & Death

Thomas Jefferson Summary

Thomas Jefferson was a prominent member of history as he was the third president of the United States, serving from 1801-09. Along with it, he was a statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and philosopher. He was a vice president during John Adams’ presidency and the first Secretary of State of the United States during George Washington’s presidency.

Thomas Jefferson was the primary author behind the Declaration of Independence, and he championed democracy, republicanism, and individual liberties, which encouraged the American people to rebel from the control of Great Britain and form a new country. His tremendous effort as president qualifies him as one of America’s top 10 presidents. Historians and scholars praise his achievements, which few notable include his conflict-free and peaceful takeover of the Louisiana Territory from France and the foundation of the University of Virginia.

Facts About Thomas Jefferson

BornApril 13, 1743, Shadwell, Virginia, British America
DiedJuly 4, 1826, Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.
WifeMartha Wayles
ParentsPeter Jefferson and Jane Randolph

Thomas Jefferson Early Life

Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph gave birth to Thomas Jefferson on April 13, 1743, in Shadwell, Virginia, British America. He was the third eldest of nine siblings and was accepted as a British subject of Welsh origin. His father was a plantation owner. He died when Thomas was fourteen, in 1757, after which his estate was divided between Thomas Jefferson and his brother Randolph Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson 3rd Us President
Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America

Thomas Jefferson Education

His education began at age 5 when his father entered him into an English school. He began learning Latin, Greek, French, and horseback riding when he was nine.

When he was 16, Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. He began studying metaphysics and philosophy under the tutelage of Professor William Small.

This was a turning point as it was Small’s teaching that Jefferson came across the ideas of British Empiricists like John Locke and Isaac Newton. Small introduced Thomas to George Wythe and Francis Fauquier, from whom Jefferson discussed politics and philosophy. During his second year in college, he studied hard and improved his French and Greek.

Thomas Jefferson studied law under the guidance of Wythe and worked as a law clerk in his office after graduation. Jefferson was well-versed in various subjects, and Wythe was so impressed with him that he later left him his entire library collection. Thomas was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1767 and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses between 1769 to 1775. He pursued reforms to slavery and took 7 cases for freedom-seeking enslaved people.

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Thomas Jefferson Marriage

After spending most of his professional life as an architect, he erected his principal mansion, Monticello, in 1768. Thomas later Married Wayles, the widow of Bathurst Skelton, on January 1, 1772. In their 10 years of marriage, they had 6 children, and only two survived adulthood. Martha later had diabetes, and the frequent childbirth weakened her, increasing her ill health. After a few months after the birth of their last child, on September 6, 1782, she died with Jefferson at her bedside.

He was devastated by her death and took nearly three weeks to emerge from his grief. When Martha’s father passed away in 1773, they inherited 135 enslaved people and the estate’s debts, which added to his financial difficulties. In 1787, when he was in Paris, he began a sexual relationship with a young slave, Sally Hemings, she became pregnant, and he went on to have up to 6 kids with her. She reportedly only consented to go back to the US after Jefferson promised to release her kids once they reached adulthood.

Thomas Jefferson Wife
Thomas Jefferson’s wife (Martha Wayles)

Activities

Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence
John Trumbull: Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence’s principal author was Thomas Jefferson. He proposed social and political ideas before the inauguration of Washington. The American Revolutionary War started, and he sought out and engaged John Adams, an aspiring Congress leader. With his help, they formed a draft of the Declaration of Independence. The final draft was presented on June 28, 1776, and signed on August 2. His preamble is widely praised, and his statement “all men are created equal” has been dubbed “one of the best-known lines in English.”

Representative in Congress

Following the victory in the revolutionary war and the peace treaty with Britain, the United States formed a Congress of the Confederation, and Jefferson was appointed a Virginia delegate. He was a committee member setting foreign exchange rates and based on his recommendation, Jefferson adopted an American currency based on the decimal system. France’s Minister Jefferson accompanied Benjamin Franklin and John Adams in Paris in 1784 as Minister Plenipotentiary to establish Treaties of Amity and Commerce with the United Kingdom and other nations. Within a few months, he was appointed to succeed Franklin as Minister to France. And in the five years he spent in Paris, he played a leading role in shaping US foreign policy.

Secretary of State

After returning from France, he accepted Washington’s offer to become Secretary of State. The budget deficit and the permanent site of the capital were the two most critical problems at the time. Few issues arose because of these topics as he locked horns with Hamilton, nearly leading Washington to dismiss him from the cabinet, and he later voluntarily left it.

Thomas Jefferson Presidency

Thomas Jefferson Presidency
Thomas Jefferson’s Presidency (04 March 1801 – 4 March 1809)

On March 4, 1801, Jefferson took the oath of office before Chief Justice John Marshall at the brand-new Capitol in Washington, D.C. The nation’s 83 million dollar debt was Jefferson’s first official issue. And the Secretary of the Treasury began tearing down Hamilton’s Federalist economic system with Albert Gallatin. After serving two terms, he reduced the national debt from $83 million to $57 million. His popularity suffered in his second term due to his responses to European wars.

The University of Virginia Jefferson continued to pursue his interests in education after retiring from the presidency; he sold his sizable book collection to the Library of Congress and founded the University of Virginia. He thought that since education created a stable society, publicly funded institutions should be open to students from all socioeconomic classes and selected entirely based on potential. The University of Virginia was built in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson Grave

Thomas jefferson Grave
Thomas Jefferson Grave Monticello, Virginia, United States

In July 1825, Thomas Jefferson’s health began to decline due to rheumatism from arm and wrist injuries and digestive and bladder issues. He was utterly bedridden by June 1826. On July 3, he was overtaken by fever and had to refuse an invitation to the Declaration of Independence commemoration celebration. His loved ones joined him in his dying hours.

On July 4, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, he passed away at 83. Jefferson was cremated at Monticello, Virginia, United States, and buried with an epitaph underlining his devotion to the Declaration of Independence: ‘Here was interred Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of American Independence, and Father of the University of Virginia.’

People Also Ask?

What is Thomas Jefferson most famous for?

Thomas Jefferson was a prominent member of history as he was the third president of the United States, serving from 1801-09. Along with it, he was a statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and philosopher. He was a vice president during John Adams’ presidency and the first Secretary of State of the United States during George Washington’s presidency.

What are 3 important facts about Thomas Jefferson?

Born – April 13, 1743, Shadwell, Virginia, British America
Death – July 4, 1826, Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.
Cause of Death – Ill health 

How many slaves did Jefferson own?

600 enslaved people

How did Thomas Jefferson change the world?

Thomas Jefferson was the primary author behind the Declaration of Independence, and he championed democracy, republicanism, and individual liberties, which encouraged the American people to rebel from the control of Great Britain and form a new country.

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