Since the purpose of Founder of the Day is to shed light on the lesser known Founding Fathers, this is simply a brief overview of the life of Thomas Jefferson. He led a remarkable life which has contributed much to American History. It is recommended that you read more about him than is found in this short summary.
Thomas Jefferson first came to note among the other Founders when he published A Summary View of the Rights of British America. In it he discussed the right of people to govern themselves.
Shortly thereafter he was sent to the Second Continental Congress. The delegates selected him to be the primary author of the Declaration of Independence.
At the young age of 36, Jefferson was elected Governor of Virginia. His tenure here was tumultuous as the British invaded and he was forced to flee the state capital.
Jefferson returned to the Congress of the Confederation where he would sit on many committees for the young government. During this time he wrote many of the regulations which would become the Northwest Ordinance, regulating how new states would be introduced to the country.
In 1784 Jefferson would be sent to France as a representative of the United States of America. He was present for the beginnings of the French Revolution and the Storming of the Bastille. He saw the cause of the French people to be in line with the hopes of the American Revolution, though he grew concerned with the onset of the Reign of Terror.
When he returned to the United States, George Washington appointed him as the first Secretary of State.
During his time in the position, Jefferson opposed almost all of Alexander Hamilton's plans. Eventually, this led to his resignation from the post and return home.
Jefferson became the leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, one of America's first two political factions. He was very much in favor of states rights and supported the goals of France over that of England.
He would be elected Vice President under John Adamsand, four years later, became President of the United States.
In this position, Jefferson sent out the Lewis and Clark Expedition and oversaw the Louisiana Purchase. His Embargo Act, meant to keep America out of a war between France and England, backfired and hurt the United States' economy.
Jefferson would retire after his presidency and take up a correspondence with John Adams (from whom he had been estranged for years). Their letters form one of the best documentations of the revolutionary period.
Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years after the approval of the Declaration of Independence.
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