Thomas Jefferson Biography

Thomas Jefferson Biography

In Thomas Jefferson's case, the pen really does prove mightier than the sword. Although Jefferson served the United States first as secretary of state, then as vice president, and finally as its third president, it is as the main writer of the Declaration of Independence that he stands out in the minds of most Americans. He alone wrote the first draft of the historic document, which was then submitted for minor revisions, presented to the Continental Congress, and quickly approved on July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence remains an eloquent reminder of the principles of liberty. By crafting it, Jefferson indelibly affected not only his country but the entire world.

Facts and Trivia

  • Jefferson was born into a well-to-do Virginian family in 1743. He received an excellent classical education that included the study of Latin and Greek as well as mathematics, philosophy, and metaphysics. His study of philosopher John Locke played a major role in making Jefferson a strong advocate of personal liberty.
  • Jefferson is one of only two presidents to serve as secretary of state, vice president, and president (the other is Martin Van Buren).
  • One of the most important events during Jefferson’s presidency was the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the size of the United States in 1803. After the purchase of the territory, Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the land.
  • Jefferson’s life sometimes contradicted his ideals. He was a devout supporter of liberty who stated his moral outrage against slavery, yet he was also a slave owner.
  • Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, fifty years to the day after the acceptance and reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Additional Content
  • Biography (History of the World: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
  • Biography (Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)
  • Bibliography (Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

(The entire section is 4316 words.)