Key Dates


Thomas Jefferson
1801 - 1809
Third President

He was President from March 4, 1801 - March 4, 1809

Thomas Jefferson was born in Virginia before the United States became a country.

He was the country's first-known speleologist (cave explorer).

Thomas Jefferson didn't serve in the military.

He was a lawyer and plantation owner.

Thomas designed his famous home, Monticello. He had several unique features including a two faced clock that it could be seen from the inside of the house and from outside.

Thomas Jefferson could read Greek, Latin, French and English.

Thomas was 6' 2.5" tall.

Thomas Jefferson had two daughters who lived to adulthood (Martha-"Patsy" and May-"Polly.") There are books written about him also fathering illegitimate children with his slave Sally Hemings.

Jefferson served in the Virginia House of Burgess.

He also served as a minister to France and as Secretary of State.

Jefferson was not good at handling money. He bought books by the dozens and spent a lot of money on clothes. He was in debt several times during his life.

Thomas Jefferson was the first president to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C.

He was the second of seven Presidents who came from Virginia.

Jefferson originated the custom of shaking hands with the President of the U.S. Before his term people bowed to the President rather than shaking hands.

Thomas Jefferson owned slaves at one time. However, he also wrote the often quoted words "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal".

Thomas Jefferson was Vice President under John Adams.

His first election to President came by a vote of the House of Representatives because no one had won a majority of the votes. Jefferson had 73 electoral votes, Burr had 73 electoral votes, and Adams had 65 electoral votes. Burr had run for vice president, but did not withdraw from the presidential vote in the House of Representatives.

Thomas Jefferson had two vice presidents during his terms, Aaron Burr (1801-1805) and George Clinton (1805-1809).

He founded the University of Virginia.

Thomas Jefferson's right hand was crippled in 1786 from rheumatism.

The Library of Congress purchased his 6,500 volume book collection in 1815 to replace the collection that had been burned by the British. He received $23,950 for his books.

President Jefferson

During Thomas Jefferson's Presidency the US fought the Tripolitan War, 1800-1805, against the Barbary pirates.

Ohio became a state in 1803.

Jefferson was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase. The purchase of this land expanded the United States from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean and double the area of the U.S.

Thomas Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore this uncharted area.

Clark and Lewis sent to grizzly bear cubs to the White House. It is said that Jefferson could be seen walking on the White House grounds with the cubs.

President Thomas Jefferson died on July 4th. He died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. He died a few hours after John Adams.

Thomas Jefferson even designed his own tombstone and wrote the epitaph which didn't mention him being President of the United States. His epitaph read, "Author of the Declaration of American Independence, Author of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and the Father of the University of Virginia."

Quotes from Thomas Jefferson:
Agriculture is the most useful occupations of man.
(Thomas Jefferson, May 29, 1807)

When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, an hundred. (February 21, 1825).

It is more honorable to repair a wrong than to persist in it.
To the Cherokee Chiefs, Jan. 10, 1806

"The Constitution of the United States is the result of the collected wisdom of our country." Nov. 20, 1801.

About leaving the Presidency, Jefferson said, "Never did a prisoner released from his chains feel such a relief as I shall on shaking off the shackles of power."

Web Sites:

Explore Monticello - Learn about Thomas Jefferson's home and the grounds surrounding it.

Quick Facts

3rd President: 1801-1809

Born: Albermarled, County, Va. April 13, 1743.

Wife:Martha Jefferson

Inaugurated President:
First Term:
March 4, 1801
Second Term: March 4, 1805

Party: Democratic-Republican

Died: Charlottessville, Va., July 4, 1826, age 83.




  • The Presidents of the United States. 22 September 2004
  • Davis, Gibbs and Ilus. David A. Johnson. Wackiest White House Pets. New York: Scholastic Press, October 2004
  • James, Barber and Amy Pastan. Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies. New York: DK Publishing, 2002
  • Harnsberger, Caroline Thomas. Treasury of Presidential Quotations. Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1964
  • Kane, Joseph Natan. Facts about the Presidents from Washington to Johnson. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1964.
  • National Park Service Web Site on Presidential Trivia:

Additional Sources:


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This page was last modified: February 2, 2012