Biography of Thomas Jefferson


Jefferson, Thomas. Third President of the United States. Born in Virginia, 1743. After graduating at William and Mary College, was admitted to the bar in 1767. He practiced law with success. In 1769 he became a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, and in 1773, a delegate to the first Continental Congress, where he assisted in framing the celebrated "Summary View of the Rights of British America." In 1775 he took his seat in the Continental Congress, and with a commanding voice in its deliberations, so that in the year following he was appointed chairman of the committee which drew up the Declaration of Independence. In 1779 he succeeded Patrick Henry in the governorship of Virginia. In 1783 he acted as chairman of the committee charged with the report to Congress of the treaty of peace entered into at Paris, 1783, and, two years later, succeeded Franklin as minister at Paris. On his return in 1789, he entered General Washington's first cabinet as secretary of state. In this position, he gradually came to be considered the head of the Democratic Party. In 1793 he resigned office, and four years afterwards became vice-president of the United States, and ex officio president of the Senate. In 1801 he was elected to the presidency, and during his first administration the Louisiana Purchase was effected. He retired to private life in 1809, at the close of his second term. Died 1826.