Thomas Jefferson


Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and later served as the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809.

The President of the United States is the elected head of state and head of government of the United States.

The duality of Thomas Jefferson by CBS News


Prior thereto, he was elected the second Vice President of the United States, serving under John Adams from 1797 to 1801.

The Vice President of the United States is a constitutional officer in the legislative branch of the Federal government as President of the Senate under Article One, Section Three, Paragraph Four of the United States Constitution.

Thomas Jefferson - Mini Biography by BIO


A proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from Great Britain and form a new nation, he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

Republicanism is an ideology of being a citizen in a state as a republic under which the people hold popular sovereignty.


Jefferson was primarily of English ancestry, born and educated in colonial Virginia.


He graduated from the College of William & Mary and briefly practiced law, at times defending slaves seeking their freedom.

The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States.


During the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration, drafted the law for religious freedom as a Virginia legislator, and served as a wartime governor.

The American Revolution was a political upheaval that took place between 1765 and 1783 during which colonists in the Thirteen American Colonies rejected the British monarchy and aristocracy, overthrew the authority of Great Britain, and founded the United States of America.

The Continental Congress, also known as the Philadelphia Congress, was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies which became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution.


He became the United States Minister to France in May 1785, and subsequently the nation's first Secretary of State in 1790–1793 under President George Washington.

George Washington was an American politician and soldier who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797 and was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.


Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the First Party System.

The Democratic-Republican Party was an American political party, formed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in 1791–93 to oppose the centralizing policies of the new Federalist Party run by Alexander Hamilton, who was then Secretary of the Treasury and chief architect of George Washington's administration.

The First Party System is a model of American politics used in history and political science to periodize the political party system existing in the United States between roughly 1792 and 1824.


With Madison, he anonymously wrote the controversial Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798–1799, which sought to embolden states' rights in opposition to the national government by nullifying the Alien and Sedition Acts.

In American political discourse, states' rights refers to political powers reserved for the state governments rather than the federal government according to the United States Constitution, reflecting especially the enumerated powers of Congress and the Tenth Amendment.

The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were political statements drafted in 1798 and 1799, in which the Kentucky and Virginia legislatures took the position that the federal Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional.

The Alien and Sedition Acts were four bills passed by the Federalist-dominated 5th United States Congress and signed into law by President John Adams in 1798.


As President, Jefferson pursued the nation's shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies.

The Barbary pirates, sometimes called Barbary corsairs or Ottoman corsairs, were pirates and privateers who operated from North Africa, based primarily in the ports of SalΓ©, Rabat, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli.


He also organized the Louisiana Purchase, almost doubling the country's territory.


As a result of peace negotiations with France, his administration reduced military forces.


He was reelected in 1804.


Jefferson's second term was beset with difficulties at home, including the trial of former Vice President Aaron Burr.


American foreign trade was diminished when Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act of 1807, responding to British threats to U.S. shipping.

The Embargo Act of 1807 was a general embargo enacted by the United States Congress against Great Britain and France during the Napoleonic Wars.


In 1803, Jefferson began a controversial process of Indian tribe removal to the newly organized Louisiana Territory, and he signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807.

The Territory of Louisiana or Louisiana Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1805, until June 4, 1812, when it was renamed the Missouri Territory.

The Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807 is a United States federal law that stated that no new slaves were permitted to be imported into the United States.


Jefferson mastered many disciplines, which ranged from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and mechanics.


He was a proven architect in the classical tradition.


Jefferson's keen interest in religion and philosophy earned him the presidency of the American Philosophical Society.

The American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743 and located in Philadelphia, is an eminent scholarly organization of international reputation that promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and community outreach.


He shunned organized religion, but was influenced by both Christianity and deism.

Organized religion, also known as institutional religion, is religion as a social institution, in which belief systems and rituals are systematically arranged and formally established.

A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

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