On the Upbeat, Positively Carolan

Meet Amazing Thomas Jefferson

Born April 13, 1743, passed July 4, 1826, Thomas Jefferson was a remarkable individual who started learning very early in life and never stopped …

At 5 he began studying with his cousin’s tutor. At 9 he studied Latin, Greek and French. At 14 he studied classical literature and additional languages.

At 16 he entered College of William and Mary and could write in Greek with one hand while writing the same thing in Latin with the other! From age 19 he studied law for 5 years, and at 23 he opened his own law practice.

At 25 he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, the first democratically-elected legislative body in the British American Colonies.

At 31 Jefferson wrote the widely circulated Summary View of the Rights of British America and retired from his law practice. At 32 he was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress. And the next year, now 33, Jefferson was the drafter of the Declaration of Independence.

On January 1, 1772, Jefferson married Martha Wayles. They had six children in 10 years, but shortly after the birth of the sixth Martha passed at just 33 years of age.

After that he spent three years revising Virginia’s legal code and wrote both a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom. At 36 he was elected the second Governor of Virginia, succeeding Patrick Henry.

Jefferson in Paris (with Nick Nolte and Thandie Newton) is a great 1995 film.

From age 40 to 42 Jefferson served in Congress and was also American Minister to France. During this time, along with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, he negotiated commercial treaties with European nations. He was also a sought-after member of Parisian society, as well as enjoying interaction with his African-American slave Sally Hemings who he had brought from Monticello along with his daughters.

At 46 he served as the first Secretary of State under first President George Washington. And at 53 he served as Vice President, as well as being elected American Philosophical Society President.

At 55 he drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of the Republican Political Party.

Next, at 57, came election of Thomas Jefferson as the third President of the United States. And at 60 he negotiated the Louisiana Purchase, a coup that doubled the country’s size.

At 61 he was elected to a second term as President, during which he commissioned the Corps of Discovery Expedition (1804-06), led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, to explore the Louisiana Purchase territory and all the way from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean.

From tPolygraphhis time until his death, Jefferson made much use of a mechanical letter-copying device he called “the finest invention of the present age.”

At 65 Jefferson retired to his Monticello estate. Still, at 80 he helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine. (An 1823 U.S. foreign policy stating that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention.)

At 81 he nearly single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president. And finally at 83 he passed on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the same day as John Adams.




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