Thomas Jefferson (March 4, 1801 - March 4, 1809)


Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 - July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. Major events during his presidency include the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806).

Thomas JeffersonAs a political philosopher, Jefferson was a man of the Enlightenment and knew many intellectual leaders in Britain and France. He idealized the independent yeoman farmer as exemplar of republican virtues, distrusted cities and financiers, and favored states' rights and a strictly limited federal government. Jefferson supported the separation of church and state and was the author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779, 1786). He was the eponym of Jeffersonian democracy and the co-founder and leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, which dominated American politics for a quarter-century and was the precursor of the modern-day Democratic Party. Jefferson served as the wartime Governor of Virginia (1779-1781), first United States Secretary of State (1789-1793) and second Vice President (1797-1801).

A polymath, Jefferson achieved distinction as, among other things, a horticulturist, statesman, architect, archaeologist, paleontologist, author, inventor and founder of the University of Virginia. When President John F. Kennedy welcomed forty-nine Nobel Prize winners to the White House in 1962 he said, "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."¹

Quotes

"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical." -- Letter to James Madison, Jan. 30, 1787

"... I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -- Letter to Benjamin Rush, Sept. 23, 1800

"Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing." -- Letter to his daughter Martha, May 5, 1787

"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical." -- Letter to James Madison, Jan. 30, 1787

Noteworthy Sites

¹ Thomas Jefferson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Books on Thomas Jefferson
Biography of Thomas Jefferson
Essays on Thomas Jefferson and His Administration
Jefferson's Monticello: Thomas Jefferson

 


 
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