Thomas Jefferson
1743 - 1826

Third President of the United States.

Jefferson was born in Albermarle County, Virginia. As a delegate to the Second Continental Congress (1775--77), Jefferson was the principal drafter of the Declaration of Independence. He held that all men were created equal, and he cherished liberty in every form. He was also largely responsible for the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, press and religion.

(But there is no denying that he retained about 150 slaves, treating them as property; he could accept this along with his high ideals because he regarded Africans as inferior beings.)

Jefferson spent four years in France as ambassador and in 1789 George Washington appointed him secretary of state. In that position he became head of the liberal 'Democratic - Republican' faction and worked against the conserva-tive Federalist policies of Hamilton, Madison, and Washington.

In 1796 Jefferson was elected vice-president und four years later president. During his first term he initiated the Louisiana Purchase (which more than doubled the size of the US). His second term was marred by vice-president Burr's trial for treason and Jefferson's highly unpopular embargo on trade with England and France.

In 1809 he retired to his estate at Monticello which he had designed earlier. He also designed the campus for the University of Virginia and the Virginia state capitol.

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