Thomas Jefferson

Founding Father, 3rd president of the United States / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743[lower-alpha 2] – July 4, 1826) 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.[6] He was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. Following the American Revolutionary War and prior to becoming president in 1801, Jefferson was the nation's first U.S. secretary of state under George Washington and then the nation's second vice president under John Adams.

Quick facts: Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United...
Thomas Jefferson
Portrait of Jefferson in his late 50s with a full head of hair
1800 portrait
3rd President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1801  March 4, 1809
Vice President
Preceded byJohn Adams
Succeeded byJames Madison
2nd Vice President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1797  March 4, 1801
PresidentJohn Adams
Preceded byJohn Adams
Succeeded byAaron Burr
1st United States Secretary of State
In office
March 22, 1790  December 31, 1793
PresidentGeorge Washington
Preceded byJohn Jay (acting)
Succeeded byEdmund Randolph
2nd United States Minister to France
In office
May 17, 1785  September 26, 1789
Appointed byConfederation Congress
Preceded byBenjamin Franklin
Succeeded byWilliam Short
Minister Plenipotentiary for Negotiating Treaties of Amity and Commerce
In office
May 7, 1784  May 11, 1786
Appointed byConfederation Congress
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Delegate from Virginia to the Congress of the Confederation
In office
June 6, 1782  May 7, 1784
Preceded byJames Madison
Succeeded byRichard Lee
2nd Governor of Virginia
In office
June 1, 1779  June 3, 1781
Preceded byPatrick Henry
Succeeded byWilliam Fleming
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Albemarle County[1]
In office
October 7, 1776  May 30, 1779
Preceded byCharles Lewis
Succeeded byNicholas Lewis
In office
December 10, 1781  December 22, 1781
Preceded byIsaac Davis
Succeeded byJames Marks
Delegate from Virginia to the Continental Congress
In office
June 20, 1775  September 26, 1776
Preceded byGeorge Washington
Succeeded byJohn Harvie
ConstituencySecond Continental Congress
Member of the Virginia House of Burgesses
In office
May 11, 1769[2]  June 1, 1775[3]
Preceded byEdward Carter[3]
Succeeded byOffice abolished
ConstituencyAlbemarle County
Personal details
Born(1743-04-13)April 13, 1743
Shadwell, Virginia, British America
DiedJuly 4, 1826(1826-07-04) (aged 83)
Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.
Resting placeMonticello, Virginia
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
(m. 1772; died 1782)
Alma materCollege of William & Mary
  • Politician
  • lawyer
SignatureThomas Jefferson signature
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceVirginia militia
Years of service17751776
UnitAlbemarle County Militia
Battles/warsAmerican Revolutionary War

Philosophy career
Notable work
EraAge of Enlightenment
InstitutionsAmerican Philosophical Society
Main interests
Notable ideas

During the American Revolution, Jefferson represented Virginia at the Second Continental Congress and served as the second governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781. In 1785, Congress appointed Jefferson U.S. minister to France, where he served from 1785 to 1789. President Washington then appointed Jefferson the nation's first secretary of state, where he served from 1790 to 1793. During this time, in the early 1790s, Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the nation's First Party System. Jefferson and Federalist John Adams became both friends and political rivals. In the 1796 U.S. presidential election between the two, Jefferson came in second, which made him Adams' vice president under the electoral laws of the time. Four years later, in the 1800 presidential election, Jefferson again challenged Adams, and won the presidency. In 1804, Jefferson was reelected overwhelmingly to a second term.

As president, Jefferson assertively defended the nation's shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies. Beginning in 1803, he promoted a western expansionist policy with the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the nation's geographic size. To make room for settlement, Jefferson began the process of Indian tribal removal from the newly acquired territory. As a result of peace negotiations with France, Jefferson was able to reduce military forces and expenditures. In his second presidential term, Jefferson was beset by difficulties at home, including the trial of his former vice president Aaron Burr. In 1807, American foreign trade was diminished when Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act to defend the nation's industries from British threats to U.S. shipping.

Presidential scholars and historians generally praise Jefferson's public achievements, including his advocacy of religious freedom and tolerance, his peaceful acquisition of the Louisiana Territory from France, and his leadership in supporting the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Jefferson is consistently ranked among the top ten US presidents, though his relationship with slavery continues to be debated. Jefferson was a slave owner, but condemned the slave trade in his draft of the Declaration of Independence and signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807. Since the 1790s, he was rumored to have had children by his slave Sally Hemings; according to scholarly consensus, Jefferson probably fathered at least six children with Hemings.[7][8][9] Jefferson's writings and advocacy for human rights, including freedom of thought, speech, and religion, served as substantial inspirations to the American Revolution and subsequent Revolutionary War in which the Thirteen Colonies succeeded in breaking from British America and establishing the United States as a free and sovereign nation.[10] Jefferson was a leading proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, and produced formative documents and decisions at the state, national, and international levels.

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