Thomas Jefferson

In office: 1801-1809

Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

Thomas Jefferson, main author of the declaration of independence of 1774, was the third president of the United States of America and the most important one in history.

As Virginia’s delegate at the continental congress Jefferson formed a first outline of the declaration of independence in 1774 which was then passed two years later.

In 1790 he became the first secretary of state with George Washington as the president. He resigned from that position 3 years later due to conflicts with the finance minister Alexander Hamilton. Out of the two different political views the two parties were formed whereas Jefferson led the republicans and around Hamilton the federalist came together.

Having lost the election against Adams automatically made Jefferson vice president, a position he did not accept, however, due to the dispute between him and Adams. When voted president in 1800 Jefferson was leader of the Republican Party which was later called Democratic Republican Party and is knows as Democratic Party since 1828.

He was president from 1801 until 1809, having been re-elected in 1805.

With Jefferson as the President the so called “Louisiana Purchase” took place when the US bought Louisiana from France for 15 million dollar and almost doubled their territory by doing so. Another climax of his presidency was the Lewis and Clarke expedition in which the area from the Mississippi all the way to the Pacific Ocean was explored with the main goal of letting settlers move further west and colonize the rest of the continent. Furthermore shipping in new slaves from Africa was declared illegal.

After his presidency Jefferson was still of important political and intellectual influence and was, among others, involved in building the University of Virginia.

Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson

By the time Thomas Jefferson started his political career, Martha was 22 year old, widowed and mother of a beautiful boy, who died in his early childhood.

They were married on January First, 1772 and everything seemed to be just perfect, especially when their little daughter Martha was born in the same year.

Within the following 10 years 5 more children were born, but only 2 of all children survived: Martha (nickname Patsy) and Marcy (nickname Maria or Polly).

All the pregnancies weakened Martha very much and Thomas Jefferson stayed with her and supported her. In 1781 Martha had to escape from the British Invasion and her little girl, only a couple weeks old, died shortly after.

Only one year later Martha gave birth to another girl and never really recovered from all the strength the pregnancies caused and died in September 1782.

Thomas Jefferson did not make his private life public. When he became president in 1801 he had been a widow for 19 years already. In 1802-1803 his daughter Patsy appeared as the lady of the President’s house and it was her, who gave birth to the first child born in the White House (James Madison).

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