Thomas Jefferson

April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826

Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father who was principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776). He was elected the second Vice President of the United States (1797–1801), serving under John Adams and in 1800 was elected third President (1801–09). Jefferson mastered many disciplines which ranged from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and inventions. He was a proven architect in the classical tradition. Jefferson's keen interest in religion and philosophy earned him the presidency of the American Philosophical Society. He shunned organized religion, but was influenced by both Christianity and deism. Besides English, he was well versed in Latin, Greek, French, Italian, and Spanish. He founded the University of Virginia after retiring from public office. He was a skilled writer and correspondent. His only full-length book, Notes on the State of Virginia (1785), is considered the most important American book published before 1800.