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Thomas Jefferson's Birthday
April 13

By Sarah Lane
Apr 13, 2004, 13:23 PST

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826


As one of the most recognizable presidents of all time, Thomas Jefferson left his mark on America in a big way.  Not only was he the third president of the United States, he also drafted the Declaration of Independence. 


Born on April 13th, 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia, Jefferson was the eldest of two sons.  He also had six sisters!  Jefferson studied law at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  He designed and built his home Monticello in 1768, and married Martha Wayles Skelton in 1772.  They had six children but only two lived to become adults. 


Jefferson believed in religious freedom even though some people disagreed with him.  He also had strong feelings about the separation of church and state.  The idea that individual rights should be protected was at the heart of his political statements.  During his presidency he played a major role in The Louisiana Purchase and also sponsored the Lewis & Clark expedition. 


When he retired to Monticello in 1808, Jefferson pursued numerous interests such as reading, writing, philosophy, and architecture.  He also helped in the founding of the University of Virginia.  Thomas Jefferson and his long time friend John Adams both died on July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Source:     A & E Networks


Additional Learning Links for Thomas Jefferson



At the famous home of Thomas Jefferson you can join the program called ‘A Day in the Life of Jefferson’.  You not only visit the grounds and home of the former president, you get to follow ‘Jefferson’ through a typical 24 hours in his life.  In this way you can learn about his wide range of talents from a more personal perspective.

Source:              Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.

Reading Level:   Moderate


The White House

This site gives you a complete biography of Jefferson and every president of the United States.  Find out more about this ‘powerful advocate of liberty’ and his wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson.  Also explore various areas of the White House online.

Source:              The White House Biographies

Reading Level:   Moderate


Jefferson Digital Archive

The University of Virginia Library presents the Jefferson Digital Archive.  You will find electronic texts by or to Jefferson, documentaries, quotations, bibliographies, and Jefferson organizations.  Especially noteworthy is the special collections of Online Exhibitions with Jefferson Content.

Source:              University of Virginia Library

Reading Level:   Advanced


American Memory

Visit the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress and you’ll find 27,000 documents related to Jefferson, the largest collection in the world.  The collection has nine series ranging from the year 1606 to 1827.  Browse the list of Special Presentations for more on this exhibition.

Source:              Library of Congress

Reading Level:   Advanced


Jefferson Online

PBS has assembled ‘Thomas Jefferson Online’ for teachers to find resources and for students to explore.  Get lesson plans, answer soul-searching questions written by Jefferson himself, or simply read around for fun.  Learn about the film production of ‘Thomas Jefferson’ and order your own.

Source:              PBS, Inc.

Reading Level:   Moderate


The Avalon Project

Read through ‘The Papers of the Presidents’ including works from Thomas Jefferson’s major collections and the Avalon home.  Look over the government initiatives from the 18th through the 21st centuries and the section titled ‘Major Works’ for valuable information.

Source:              Yale Law School

Reading Level:   Advanced


Declaration of Independence

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson himself, the Declaration of Independence remains one of our country’s most cherished documents.  View a copy of the original or read the full transcription of Jefferson’s summary of our country’s philosophy.

Source:              National Archives and Records Administration

Reading Level:   Moderate

Thomas Jefferson: Philosopher of Freedom Thomas Jefferson: Philosopher of Freedom

Put aside the textbook tales for a candid look at the unpredictable life of one of our nation's greatest leaders.

Biography's Founding Fathers set Biography's Founding Fathers set

A great gift for any history lover, this set includes profiles of Washington, Jefferson and Franklin.

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