Thomas Jefferson Biography

Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States and one of the key drafters of the Declaration of Independence. Biographer James Parton said Thomas Jefferson could "calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, dance a minuet, and play the violin." He served two full terms as president (1801-09) and also served as U.S. vice president, Secretary of State, minister to France, congressman, and governor of Virginia. He also founded the University of Virginia and served as president of the American Philosophical Society. For all that, Jefferson is best remembered as a champion of human rights and the lead draftsman of the Declaration of Independence. High points of his presidency included the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon Bonaparte and the exploration of the west at Jefferson's behest by Lewis and Clark. Thomas Jefferson was the third person to be president of the United States, following George Washington and John Adams; he was succeeded by James Madison.

Extra credit:

Thomas Jefferson's vice president was George Clinton of New York... Thomas Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton, a widow, in 1772. She died in 1782, at the age of 33... Thomas Jefferson and his wife had one son and five daughters; only two of his children lived to see him become president... DNA tests in 1998 showed that Thomas Jefferson may well have fathered a child or children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings... Jefferson was played by Nick Nolte in the 1995 movie Jefferson in Paris... Thomas Jefferson's face appears on the U.S. nickel and the two-dollar bill.

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