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Thomas Jefferson

United States April 13, 1743 July 4, 1826


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), author of the Declaration of Independence and the third U.S. president, was a leading figure in America’s early development. During the American Revolutionary War (1775-83), Jefferson served in the Virginia legislature and the Continental Congress and was governor of Virginia. He later served as U.S. minister to France and U.S. secretary of state, and was vice president under John Adams (1735-1826). Jefferson, who thought the national government should have a limited role in citizens’ lives, was elected president in 1800. During his two terms in office (1801-1809), the U.S. purchased the Louisiana Territory and Lewis and Clark explored the vast new acquisition. Although Jefferson promoted individual liberty, he was also a slaveowner. After leaving office, he retired to his Virginia plantation, Monticello, and helped found the University of Virginia.

Jefferson remains an American icon. His face appears on the U.S. nickel and is carved into stone at Mount Rushmore. The Jefferson Memorial, near the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated on April 13, 1943, the 200th anniversary of Jefferson’s birth.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Though an old man I am but a young gardener.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.