Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

  • Ranked #5.: Jefferson was brilliant and put a lot of thought into government and the republic of the United States. His political influence carried the country for nearly a quarter century.
  • Summary: A true Renaissance man, his interest included architecture, botany, animal husbandry, meteorology and mechanical engineering. He was an inventor of many things which included but was not limited to the swivel chair, the adjustable table and the dumb waiter. Jefferson was mild mannered, easy going and agreeably tempered. On the other hand he could also be cold and aloof. He was easy to talk too and was open as well as reachable. He was constantly intellectually curious about almost anything. His lifestyle had ridged structure and orderliness. Within small groups, he was brilliant in conversation. Yet in large groups he was uneasy and spoke very softly, often out of earshot of his audience. He enjoyed music and developed into a fairly good fiddle player.
  • Bio: Jefferson was 6’ 2” and thin. As a child, he had an abundance of freckles and was somewhat awkward looking. He typically dressed into whatever was comfortable, paying very little attention to fashion. He was so casual that while President he once received the Minister of England dressed in the equivalent of a pair of pajamas, a bathrobe and slippers. The minister was appalled, and I would assume that Jefferson gave not a single crap about it.
    His health was generally sound, although he suffered from serious migraine headaches that would debilitate him. It was thought that these were stress-related and at times, they could last weeks. As he aged, he fractured both wrists at different times, which left him impaired during his final years.
    His biggest contribution to the birth of America was that he was the main author of the Declaration of Independence. At the age of 33, he worked together with John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and others to draft the document. At the time, Jefferson was considered to be the most gifted with a pen in his hand compared to the others, so he was the choice to do the writing.
    After the war, he became the minister to France and would eventually become America’s first Secretary of State under George Washington. He would eventually resign from that post, as he disagreed with policies being established at the time.
    Jefferson was an enthusiast of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights. By the time he became President, he had literally ushered in a new political party named the Democratic-Republicans, whose core values matched the man. Jefferson’s influence was so strong that he more or less hand-picked his successors for the office of the presidency for the next 20 years after his two terms. He was the President who established hand-shaking as opposed to bowing when greeting guests.
    While most Presidents would consider their time in office the most important part of their professional careers, Jefferson seems to have wanted to downplay his tenure as President. As a result, he gave strict instructions for his gravestone to be labeled with the following:
    Here was buried
    Thomas Jefferson
    Author of the Declaration of American Independence
    of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom
    & Father of the University of Virginia
  • Pros: Jefferson nearly double the side of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase. during his administration, exports went from $66.5 million annually to $102.2 Million. He was an extremely influential president that started a dynasty of presidents starting with him, then James Madison and James Monroe. This making up a quarter century of political influence.
  • Cons: Jefferson owned slaves and was considered a hypocrite; turning his own words against him when he wrote in the Declaration of Independence that, "All men are created equal." Jefferson also failed with dealing with Great Britain and France when they were at war as he attempted to keep the US neutral. This would eventually lead to a war with Britain
  • Born: April 13, 1743, Shadwell plantation, Goochland County, VA
  • Died: July 4, 1826 (aged 83) Monticello, near Charlottesville, VA
  • Term: March 4, 1801 to March 3, 1809 (two terms)
  • Political Party: Democratic-Republican
  • Religion: No formal affiliation
  • Education: College of William and Mary (graduated 1762)
  • Marriage: January 1, 1772, to Martha Wayles Skelton (1748–1782)
  • Children: Martha (1772–1836), Jane Randolph (1774–1775), infant son (1777), Mary (1778–1804), Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781), Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785)
  • Career: Lawyer, Planter
  • Vice President: Aaron Burr | George Clinton