Thomas Jefferson is the third president of the United States of America. Aside from being a politician, Jefferson was a lawyer, musician, architect, diplomat, and founding father of America. He served as president from 1801 to 1809 after serving as America’s second vice president from 1979 to 1801.
In addition, he served as America’s first secretary of state under George Washington between the period 1790 to 1793. Thomas was born to parents Peter Jefferson, a planter and surveyor, and mother Jane Randolph in Shadwell Plantation in Virginia. He is said to be of English and Welsh descent, and after losing his father at the tender age of 14, he lived with his guardian until he was able to take charge of the land his father had willed out for him.
He played a critical role in building the United States of America we know today as he was a key member in writing the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was a man of democracy who believed in individual rights and motivating his fellow man to strive continually to move away from the bondage of Great Britain. Forming a new nation was his ultimate goal, and he would stop at nothing until that mission was accomplished.
Thomas Jefferson Birthday
Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, at his family home in Virginia and was the third of ten children.
Thomas Jefferson Accomplishments
Thomas Jefferson has accomplished a lot in his life that has been beneficial to both him and the nation. There are countless accomplishments, with some of the most standout beings…
* Wrote the Declaration of Independence
The United States of America has longed for its independence from Great Britain, but Thomas Jefferson, along with his other congressmen, knew and valued the importance of this mission. The search for independence was lobbied by Jefferson, who was instrumental in writing the Declaration of Independence for the country.
* Played Violin
Thomas Jefferson was a fond lover of music and often played several musical instruments. Though he often played the cello, the violin was his true passion. From a young age, he noted he would always practice the violin for over three hours and would perfect his skills at local concerts at places like the Governer’s Palace.
He spent a lot on violins and even owned a portable version he took wherever he was going. Jefferson has always sought to include music in the existence of America, and since then, it has been a critical part of the country’s history.
* Invented the Swivel Chair
Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair, a revolving chair that features a single center leg that allows users to rotate a full 360 degrees in either direction. The chair invented by Jefferson was said to be the same one he sat on while he drafted the Declaration of Independence for the country in 1776.
*Designed his Home: Monticello
Jefferson designed his own mansion, which is positioned atop a hill close to where he was born. Interestingly, the home was drafted and designed by the president himself, and even though it took over four decades, the man served as his own architecture, and the result was superb. It has since been labeled a UNESCO World Heritage Site as of 1987.
*Founded the University of Virginia
Thomas Jefferson is a tower of strength behind the establishment of the University of Virginia in 1819. He created the university to create an avenue to enhance the overall knowledge of the citizens and leaders of the country. The true mission with which the university was created is still living up to 200 years later.
Get our Thomas Jefferson Lapbook!
Learn all about Thomas from this article of mine and then use the lapbook to help drive those facts and fun things home in your lesson!
Thomas Jefferson Education
Thomas started school at a really tender age when his father enrolled him in an English school at age five. Because his father had never got formal education, he didn’t want the same to happen to his son.
By age nine, he started attending a local school that a Scottish Presbyterian minister operated. He found interest in world nature and started learning other disciplines and languages such as Greek, Latin, and French. Thomas was also interested in horseriding, and seeing his father had a small library, he was fascinated by reading.
Between 1758 to 1760, Thomas was taught by Reverend James Maury close to Gordonsville, Virginia, where he learned history, classics, and science.
By the time he was 16 years old, he was enrolled in college (William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia), where he focused on studying metaphysics, philosophy, and mathematics under the guidance of Professor William Small.
During his time in college, he came in contact with a few high-end dignitaries, such as Francis Fauquier and George Whythe. Fauquier noticed how excellent Jefferson was and the potential he had to achieve greatness. He started visiting the family and their business outings quite frequently. During his first year in college, he spent a lot of time partying and drinking but by the second year, he had so many regrets that he decided to dedicated countless hours to studying.
After two years, he managed to earn his law practice license under the guidance of Wythe’s tutelage. His law degree covered various titles, including natural law, philosophy, natural religion, and science.
Thomas Jefferson Married
Thomas married his third cousin, Martha Wayles Skelton, on January 1, 1772. She was the 23-year-old widow of Bathurst Skelton, and after their marriage, she moved into the South Pavilion. She was a hostess for Jefferson and did well in managing the entire household.
The marriage was definitely one of the happiest moments for Thomas, and they enjoyed each other’s company very much. A year after their marriage, Martha’s father died, and they inherited his properties (135 slaves and over 11,000 acres of land and, sadly, countless debts – the debts cost them a lot, but they managed to survive through it.
The couple had a few children, but after 10 years, due to ill-health, and a weakened body from frequent child-bearing, Martha died just a few weeks after the birth of her last child. Interestingly, before she died, she begged Thomas not to get married again as she never wanted her children to repeat the same as she did as a child (living with two stepmothers after her mother died at a young age).
Thomas Jefferson Children
Thomas and his wife had a few children, but sadly, many of them died at a pretty young age, and this was really devastating for them. After getting married in 1772, their first child, Martha, was born the same year, and Jane coming only two years later but only lived for a year.
They then had a son who died a few weeks after birth in 1777. In 1778, Mary “Polly” was born and died in 1804. The couple later had Lucy Elizabeth two years after Mary was born but only lived for a year, and then another Lucy Elizabeth in 1782 but only lived for two years. Of their six children, only Martha and Mary lived for extended years.
Thomas Jefferson Inventions
Thomas Jefferson did many inventions that would turn out to improve the overall quality of life. Some of the small practical devices included a revolving book-stand and a “Great Clock.” He also created the polygraph, a device used for duplicating writing, the pedometer, and the moldboard plow.
Another great invention included the swivel chair, which history records as the same chair he used to sit on while writing the Declaration of Independence. In addition, he invented ways that allowed for the parts of the firearms to be interchangeable.
Thomas Jefferson Embargo Act
Many people saw this as controversial as the Embargo Act saw Jefferson and some of his U.S. Congressmen working to block American ships from trading with Britain and France. This Act came about as the two European countries were at war with each other and once tried to affect the trade process of the United States.
Thomas Jefferson Hobbies
Thomas Jefferson had many hobbies, but we can safely say the most common is his playing of the violin. He also enjoyed farming, horseriding, archaeology, horticulture, walking, and fishing. In addition, he enjoyed inventing new devices and other new items which would initially improve the overall operation of life.
Thomas Jefferson Death
During the last months of his life, Jefferson went through a lot of psychological pressure due to the high level of debt. He was pretty scared and worried that he would not have any inheritance to leave for his children, and he still tried ways to raise funds to help clear his debts. He applied to the house for the opportunity to hold a public lottery which he did manage to go through.
By June 1825, his health went really bad because of rheumatism from arm and wrist injuries. By July 3, 1826, Jefferson became bedridden, and by midday July 4, he passed away peacefully, on the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with his friends and family by his side.
Thomas Jefferson Books For Kids
Help your kids learn so much more about who Thomas Jefferson was and his contribution to history in general. Here are a few books to help you accomplish this goal…
* Who Was Thomas Jefferson?
* Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of Liberty
* Thomas Jefferson for Kids: His Life and Times
* Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The War That Changed American History
* Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation