Facts on Thomas Jefferson

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This is a list of basic Facts on Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was a Virginia lawyer who was a delegate to the Continental Congress, the writer of the Declaration of Independence, a governor of Virginia, ambassador to France and Secretary of State under President George Washington. In addition to these achievements, Thomas Jefferson was elected the third President of the United States, serving two terms in this highest office in the land. This list of Facts on Thomas Jefferson contains basic things such as birth and death dates, marriage dates, number of children and offices he held. It also contains some interesting and less well known Facts on Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale
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Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale
Click to enlarge
Thomas Jefferson

Facts on Thomas Jefferson

Birthdate

  • April 13, 1743

Birthplace

  • Shadwell, Virginia

Parents' names

  • Father - Peter Jefferson, born February 29, 1708, died August 17, 1757
  • Mother - Jane Randolph, born 1720, died 1776

Parents' occupations

  • Peter Jefferson was a planter and surveyor in Albemarle County, Virginia.

Number of siblings

  • 9

Birth order

  • 3rd of 10 children, two died in childhood

Nicknames

  • The Sage of Monticello
  • Man of the People
  • Father of the University of Virginia

Schools attended

  • In 1752 at age 9, Jefferson began attending a local school that was run by a Scottish minister named William Douglas. He studied Greek, Latin and French.
  • From 1758 - 1760, Jefferson attended a school run by minister James Maury in Fredericksville Parish near Gordonsville, Virginia. He received a classical education and studied history and science.
  • In 1760, at age 16, Jefferson entered the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He studied mathematics, philosophy and metaphysics, graduating with highest honors in 1762.
  • Jefferson studied law with George Wythe, a future signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Religious Views

  • Raised an Anglican, in later life Jefferson apparently believed in God and the moral teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible. He apparently did not believe, however, that Jesus Christ was divine.

First Occupation

  • Lawyer, involved with hundreds of cases between 1768 and 1773

Books about Thomas Jefferson

Facts on Thomas Jefferson -
Thomas Jefferson Family

Date of marriage, wife's name

  • Jefferson married 23 year old widow Martha Wayles Skelton (October 30, 1748 - September 6, 1782) on January 1, 1772. They were distant cousins.

Children's names and birth order

  1. Martha Jefferson Randolph (also known as Patsy), September 27, 1772 - October 10, 1836, named in honor of Martha Washington
  2. Jane Randolph, 1774-1775
  3. Unnamed son, 1777
  4. Mary Wayles (also known as Polly), 1778-1804
  5. Lucy Elizabeth, 1780-1781
  6. Elizabeth, 1782-1785

(Only Martha and Mary live to adulthood)


Children's occupations later in life

  • Martha married cousin Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. who became Governor of Virginia from 1819-1822.

Children's occupations later in life

  • Martha married cousin Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. who became Governor of Virginia from 1819-1822.

Famous relatives

  • Jefferson's mother Jane Randolph was first cousin of Peyton Randolph who became the first President of the Continental Congress.
  • Jefferson's father Peter assumed charge of Thomas Mann Randolph when he was an infant, after his father, a relative of Jane's passed away. Thomas Mann Randolph later married Thomas Jefferson's daughter Martha and also became a Governor of Virginia.

Facts on Thomas Jefferson -
The Revolutionary War

How he got involved in the independence effort?

  • Jefferson served in the Virginia House of Burgesses beginning in 1769 as a representative from Albemarle County. In 1774, the British Parliament passed the Intolerable Acts, which punished Bostonians for the Boston Tea Party. Colonists all over America were outraged by the acts and Jefferson wrote a set of resolutions condemning the acts. These resolutions were expanded into Jefferson's first published work, called "A Summary View of the Rights of British America." The document was intended as instructions for Virginia's delegation to the Continental Congress. The document was widely distributed and made Jefferson into a widely respected patriot.

Did he see military action during the war?

  • No, but he narrowly escaped capture twice during the British invasion of Virginia, including once by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, the notorious villain depicted in Mel Gibson's, "The Patriot."

Facts on Thomas Jefferson -
Offices he held

Which party was he in?

  • Democrat-Republican (today's Democrat party)

Which government offices did he hold?

  • Representative to House of Burgesses from Albemarle County - 1769-1776
  • Delegate to Continental Congress - 1775-1776 and 1783-1784
  • Appointed Minister to negotiate treaties with Barbary States and various European nations - 1784
  • Member of Virginia House of Delegates - 1776-1779
  • Governor of Virginia - 1779-1781
  • Minister Plenipotentiary to France - 1785-1789
  • US Secretary of State - September 26, 1789 - December 31, 1793
  • Vice President of the United States - March 4, 1797 - March 4, 1801
  • President of the United States - March 4, 1801 - March 4, 1809

Did he hold any office under the Royal government?

  • No

Significant accomplishments while in office?

  • Wrote the Declaration of Independence - 1776
  • Signed Declaration of Independence - 1776
  • Directed the Louisiana Purchase, which purchased much of the land west of the Mississippi from France in 1803. 828,000 acres was purchased from Napoleon Bonaparte and France for $233 million dollars in today's money. That's only 42 cents an acre!
Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
(The area in green)
  • Sent Meriwether Lewis and Thomas Clark on their famous expedition to explore the Western United States - 1804-1806. Lewis was an aide to President Jefferson.

Facts on Thomas Jefferson -
Other Personal Info

Selected Thomas Jefferson writings and their dates


Thomas Jefferson Quotes

  • "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time." - From "A Summary View of the Rights of British America" - 1774
  • "All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution." - From Jefferson's draft Constitution for the State of Virginia - June 1776
  • "I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Letter to Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800
  • "He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions." - Letter to Peter Carr, his nephew, August 19, 1785

Find more Thomas Jefferson Quotes here.


Character and disposition

  • Jefferson often greeted people at the White House in a robe and slippers! He also made formal White House dinners more casual affairs. These things earned him the nickname, "Man of the People." Jefferson had a great intellect, learned several languages, played instruments and was an inventor and architect. He was often considered a very private man - he burned all the letters between himself and his wife after her death. Jefferson was a terrible money manager and was heavily in debt most of his life, including at his death.

Facts on Thomas Jefferson -
The end of his life

Date and age of retirement

  • Jefferson left public office for the last time in 1809, but continued to be President of the American Philosophical Society until 1815. He designed and oversaw the building of the University of Virginia from roughly 1819-1825.

Date of death

  • July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, at age 83. This is the same day that Jefferson's one time rival, former President John Adams died. They were bitter enemies for years, but reconciled in later years. Jefferson died only a few hours before Adams.

Location of grave

  • Monticello, Jefferson's estate near Charlottesville, Virginia

Epitaph on gravestone

This epitaph was written by Jefferson himself. He insisted that not a word be changed:

HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON
AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

BORN APRIL 2 1743 O.S.
DIED JULY 4 1826

The O.S. in the birthdate stands for "Old Style," referring to the old Julian calendar used in English nations at the time of Jefferson's birth. The calendar was changed to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, adding about two weeks to the calendar to compensate for inaccuracies in the Julian calendar.

Other interesting
Facts on Thomas Jefferson

Landmarks for Thomas Jefferson

  • Jefferson Memorial - Washington DC, dedicated on April 13, 1943, the 200th anniversary of Jefferson's birth. The most prominent inscription, in his own words, reads: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
Click to enlarge
Jefferson Memorial
Washington DC
  • Mount Rushmore - Near Keystone, South Dakota, features the heads of Washington, Roosevelt, Lincoln and Jefferson carved into the side of a mountain.
Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore
  • Monticello - Jefferson's famous home near Charlottesville, Virginia. The home was designed by Jefferson himself. You can visit the Monticello website here.
Monticello, Home of Thomas Jefferson
Monticello, Home of Thomas Jefferson
Click to enlarge
Monticello

Other interesting Facts on Thomas Jefferson

  • One of the primary founders of the University of Virginia in 1819. Jefferson designed the original architecture and curriculum himself.
  • While in the Virginia legislature, Thomas Jefferson introduced a bill to outlaw the death penalty for all crimes except murder and treason. The bill failed by one vote.
  • Jefferson spearheaded the hiring of George Wythe as the first professor of law at an American university at the College of William and Mary.
  • Jefferson was six feet tall and had red hair.
  • Jefferson was President of the American Philosophical Society from 1797-1815.
  • Jefferson sold his personal library of 6,487 books to the Federal government in 1815 to help restart the Library of Congress, which had been burned during the British invasion of Washington DC during the War of 1812.
  • Jefferson was a slaveholder all his life. He received a large number of slaves at the age of 14, but was never legally allowed to release his own slaves. He fought vigorously at the state and national level to abolish slavery his whole life.
  • Thomas Jefferson's likeness is featured on the United States $2 bill and the United States 5 cent nickel.
2 Dollar Bill
2 Dollar Bill
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2 Dollar Bill back
2 Dollar Bill back
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2 Dollar Bill
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You may like to check out these other pages about Thomas Jefferson:

If you liked these Thomas Jefferson Facts, you will also like to read the following Revolutionary War Facts:

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