What are three interesting facts about Thomas Jefferson?  

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Thomas Jefferson was one of the most fascinating men of his age, and his life in many ways reflected a lot of the contradictions present in American society as a whole in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. So there are many interesting facts about Jefferson. I will choose...

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Thomas Jefferson was one of the most fascinating men of his age, and his life in many ways reflected a lot of the contradictions present in American society as a whole in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. So there are many interesting facts about Jefferson. I will choose the three facts of his life that he chose for the epitaph on his tombstone at Monticello--the three things for which he hoped he would be remembered:

  • First, Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. While he took most of the ideas, and even the language, from sources ranging from John Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government to the resolutions for independence from various states, and the final document was heavily edited by his colleagues, the Declaration of Independence was Jefferson's. This "statement of the American mind," as Jefferson put it, remains a vital part of American political heritage.
  • Second, Jefferson was the author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. This document, which was implemented thanks largely to the efforts of James Madison, enshrined one of the most crucial aspects of the Enlightenment into American law. 
  • Finally, Jefferson was the founder of the University of Virginia. In keeping with his belief in religious freedom, Jefferson intended that the University would be a secular institution, different from the many church-affiliated universities in existence at the time. It was not the first state-supported institution in the United States, but like the Declaration and the Statute for Religious Freedom, it was a concrete embodiment of Jefferson's vision for the new nation.

 

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