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Thomas Jefferson

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale.
Personal data
Date of birthApril 13, 1743
Place of birthShadwell, Virginia
Date of deathJuly 4, 1826(age 83)
Place of deathCharlottesville, Virginia, United States
Political partyDemocratic-Republican Party
SpouseMartha Wayles
Lucy Elizabeth
Alma materCollege of William and Mary
ReligionSee article
3rd President of the United States
In officeMarch 4, 1801 - March 4, 1809
PresidentAaron Burr
George Clinton
Vice PresidentAaron Burr
George Clinton
Succeeded byJames Madison
Preceded byJohn Adams
2nd Vice President of the United States
In officeMarch 4, 1797 - March 4, 1801
PresidentJohn Adams
Succeeded byAaron Burr
Preceded byJohn Adams
1st United States Secretary of State
In officeMarch 22, 1790 - December 31, 1793
PresidentGeorge Washington
Succeeded byEdmund Randolph
Preceded byJohn Jay (Acting)
United States Ambassador to France
In officeMay 17, 1785 - September 26, 1789
Nominated byCongress of the Confederation
Succeeded byWilliam Short
Preceded byBenjamin Franklin
Delegate to the
Congress of the Confederation
from Virginia
In officeNovember 3, 1783 - May 7, 1784
Succeeded byRichard Henry Lee
Preceded byJames Madison
2nd Governor of Virginia
In officeJune 1, 1779 - June 3, 1781
Succeeded byWilliam Fleming
Preceded byPatrick Henry
Delegate to the
Second Continental Congress
from Virginia
In officeJune 20, 1775 - September 26, 1776
Succeeded byJohn Harvie
Preceded byGeorge Washington

Thomas Jefferson

PresidentThomas Jefferson|President start=1801|President end=1809
Vice PresidentAaron Burr|Vice President start=1801|Vice President end=1805
Vice President 2George Clinton|Vice President start 2=1805|Vice President end 2=1809
StateJames Madison|State start=1801|State end=1809
TreasurySamuel Dexter|Treasury date=1801
Treasury 2Albert Gallatin|Treasury start 2=1801|Treasury end 2=1809
WarHenry Dearborn|War start=1801|War end=1809
JusticeLevi Lincoln, Sr.|Justice start=1801|Justice end=1804
Justice 2John Breckinridge|Justice start 2=1805|Justice end 2=1806
Justice 3Caesar A. Rodney|Justice start 3=1807|Justice end 3=1809
NavyBenjamin Stoddert|Navy date=1801
Navy 2Robert Smith|Navy start 2=1801|Navy end 2=1809

     Home | Office Holder | Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 � July 4, 1826) was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom (1777), the third President of the United States (1801 � 1809) and founder of the University of Virginia (1819). He was an influential Founding Father and an exponent of Jeffersonian democracy.

At the beginning of the American Revolution, Jefferson served in the Continental Congress, representing Virginia. He then served as the wartime Governor of Virginia (1779 � 1781), barely escaping capture by the British in 1781. Just after the war ended, from mid-1784 Jefferson served as a diplomat, stationed in Paris, initially as a commissioner to help negotiate commercial treaties. In May 1785, he became the United States Minister to France. He was the first United States Secretary of State (1790 � 1793). During the administration of President George Washington, Jefferson advised against a national bank and the Jay Treaty. Upon leaving office, with his close friend James Madison he organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton's policies, especially his desire to create a national bank. He and Madison secretly wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which attempted to nullify the Alien and Sedition Acts and formed the basis of States' rights.

Elected president in what he called the Revolution of 1800, he oversaw a peaceful transition in power, purchased the vast Louisiana Territory from France (1803), and sent the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804 � 1806) to explore the new west. He decided to allow slavery in the acquired territory, which laid the foundation for the crisis of the Union a half century later. His second term was beset with troubles at home, such as the failed treason trial of his former Vice President Aaron Burr, and escalating trouble with Britain. Jefferson always distrusted Britain as a threat to American values. With Britain at war with Napoleon, he tried aggressive economic warfare, however his embargo laws stopped American trade, hurt the economy, and provoked a furious reaction in the Northeast.

Jefferson was part of the Virginia planter elite and, as a tobacco planter, owned hundreds of slaves throughout his lifetime. Like many of his contemporaries, he viewed Africans as being racially inferior. He remained a widower for the rest of his life after his wife of eleven years, Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, died in childbirth. Their marriage produced six children. Most historians believe that after his wife's death, Jefferson had an intimate relationship for nearly four decades with Martha's half-sister, his mixed-race slave Sally Hemings; and he also fathered her six children. He freed the four surviving Hemings children when they came of age.

A leader in The Enlightenment, Jefferson was a polymath who spoke five languages and was deeply interested in science and political philosophy. While not an orator he was an indefatigable letter writer and was acquainted with many influential people in America and Europe. His views on slavery were complex, and changed over the course of his life. He was a leading American opponent of the international slave trade, and presided over its abolition in 1807. Jefferson is typically rated by historical scholars as one of the greatest U.S. presidents, though in recent decades scholars have tended to be more negative.

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