Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States, a farmer, an architect, a Virginia Statesman, and the author of The Declaration of Independence . He was born at Shadwell, Virginia, April 13, 1743. He, like his father, served as a burgess and as a county lieutenant. Jefferson was well educated in classic literature and attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Jefferson practiced law from 1762 to 1767. In 1767, Jefferson was admitted to the bar and practiced publicly until 1774 when courts were closed due to the American Revolutionary War.
Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton on New Year's Day 1772. Around this time, he began building Monticello.
Being a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, Jefferson authored a bill establishing religious freedom in 1786.
Jefferson sympathized with the cause of the French people in their Revolution. In 1785, he succeeded Benjamin Franklin as minister to France.Jefferson served as Secretary of State in George Washington's Cabinet. He resigned that post in 1793.
Jefferson became the leader of the Republicans. Being a strong supporter of liberty, Jefferson opposed a strong central government. He ran for President in 1796 and came within three votes of being elected. He, however, became Vice President even though he was an opponent of President John Adams.
Jefferson ran again for President in 1800. He was nominated on the Republican ticket with Aaron Burr as his Vice President. The Federalists, who nominated John Adams again, were divided among themselves. Jefferson and Burr were tied with the same number of electoral votes. This resulted in a tie-breaker in which the U. S. House of Representatives had to decide who the President would be. Jefferson, through the influence of Alexander Hamilton, was elected President on the 36th ballot.
Jefferson served two terms as President. Following his retirement form the Presidency, Jefferson returned to Monticello where he devoted much of his time to designing the University of Virginia. Jefferson died on July 4, 1826.
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