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Thomas Jefferson

Third President of the United States
Born in 1743 - Died in 1826

Thomas Jefferson<BR>
Thomas Jefferson wanted the 13 colonies to become a nation. He was a good writer, so he wrote letters asking people to help the nation become free. He wrote letter after letter; 50,000 letters during his lifetime.

He was such a good writer that he was one of five men chosen to write the Declaration of Independence. He wanted to be able to think, so he rented a house and stayed there by himself for 17 days. He searched in his mind for just the right words. When he had finished it, he gave it to the Continental Congress, and on July 4, 1776 it was adopted.* The war for freedom; the revolution* had started.

Jefferson was born on the family farm in Virginia to a wealthy family. He had six sisters and three brothers; a large family indeed.

When he was a boy he enjoyed hunting, fishing, riding horses and canoeing. He also loved music and learned to play the violin.

His father was his teacher and his parents talked to him about the importance of serving others. His father died when Thomas was 14 years old.

When he was 17 he entered college and studied law. He would make a schedule for himself and study 15 hours or more a day. Because of his hard work, he was at the head of his class. He soon passed the bar exam* and became a lawyer in Virginia.

He married and built a home called Monticello (Mon-ti-CHELLO). Later his wife, Martha, died.

When George Washington was president, Jefferson was his secretary of state. Then he served as vice president under John Adams. Jefferson was elected the third president of the United States in 1801.

His wife died 19 years before he became president, so there was no "First Lady".* Sometimes his daughters served as hostesses.* Dolley Madison, the wife of his Secretary of State, was also a popular hostess in the White House.

He knew the country had to grow, so he completed the Louisiana Purchase which doubled the size of the nation.

After two terms as president he returned to Monticello and farming. He grew hundreds of different kinds of vegetables and fruit trees.

He knew education was important, so he planned the University of Virginia. He designed the buildings and marked where they should be built. He also chose the library books, and even hired the teachers. The school opened in 1825 with 40 students.

Photo by Christopher Hollis

Thomas Jefferson died 50 years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

This biography by Patsy Stevens, a retired teacher, was written in 2001.

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From Word Central's Student Dictionary
by Merriam - Webster

(Pronunciation note: the schwa sound is shown by ə)

Pronunciation: ə-'dopt
Function: verb
to accept formally as in "the assembly adopted a constitution"

Pronunciation: rev-ə-'loo-shən
Function: noun
a sudden, extreme, or complete change or a basic change in government;
especially : the overthrow of one government and the substitution
of another by the governed, rebellion

examination (exam)
Pronunciation: ig-'zam-ə-'nA-shən
Function: noun
a test to determine progress, fitness, or knowledge

First Lady
Function: noun
Usage: often capitalized
the wife or hostess of the male chief executive of a state or nation

Pronunciation: 'hO-stəs
Function: noun
a woman who acts as host; especially : one who greets

Research Links

Declaring Independence - Video

The Thomas Jefferson Papers
at the Library of Congress

Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776
from Eye Witness to History

Thomas Jefferson

My Own Book
put yourself in this story about the Louisiana Purchase

Thomas Jefferson Lesson Plan
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Louisiana Purchase Lesson Plan

The Declaration of Independence
video lesson
(Click on the topics "Interactive Media Files", be sure volume is turned up.)

Jefferson as President
video lesson
(Click on the topics "Interactive Media Files" )

Information about Thomas Jefferson
(Look in the box top left) at Humanities Web

Slavery at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

Presidential Coloring Pages

1776 (audio)
Jefferson and Technology (audio)
Two Monticellos (audio)
Engines of Our Ingenuity.

Thomas Jefferson
from Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography 1888

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Thomas Jefferson (First Biography)
by Cassie Mayer (selected pages) Order here

Thomas Jefferson (Photo-illustrated Biography)
by T. M. Usel (selected pages) Order here

Thomas Jefferson: A Life of Patriotism
by Ann-Marie Kishel (selected pages) Order here

Sterling Biographies: Thomas Jefferson: Architect of Freedom
by Rita Thievon Mullin (selected pages) Order here

Thomas Jefferson (Weekly Reader)
by Monica Rausch (selected pages) Order here

Thomas Jefferson : a picture book biography
by James Giblin, Michael Dooling (selected pages) Order here

Thomas Jefferson
by Rebecca Aldridge (selected pages) Order here

Thomas Jefferson: A Founding Father of the United States of America
by Lori Mortensen (selected pages) Order here

Thomas Jefferson: Let Freedom Ring!
by Sneed B. Collard (selected pages) Order here

Thomas Jefferson, Presidents and Their Times
by Trudi Strain Trueit (selected pages) Order here

"Thomas Jefferson, A Character Sketch"
(public domain) online book by Edward Ellis 1898

"Thomas Jefferson"
(public domain) online book by Thomas Watson 1900

Thomas Jefferson, Great American
by Matt Doeden (selected pages)

Thomas Jefferson, First Biographies
by Judy Emerson (selected pages)

Thomas Jefferson, Architect of Democracy
by John B. Severance (selected pages)

Thomas Jefferson, History Maker Bios
by Victoria Sherrow (selected pages)

Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States
by Heidi M. D. Elston (selected pages)

Thomas Jefferson
by Carol H. Behrman (selected pages)

Profiles of the Presidents, Thomas Jefferson
by Ann Heinrichs (selected pages)

Credits and Solutions

The portrait of Jefferson may be used without permission.
It is in the public domain and was found at the Wikimedia Commons.

Picture to color courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

* Word Match Solution

Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
Songs of Praise and Armored Penguin

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