Thomas Jefferson was one of the founding fathers of the United States and leading intellects of the American Revolution. As such, his life was documented rather well. What helped even more was the mountain of correspondence he produced in his lifetime, much of which serves as the basis for our knowledge of his opinions. Of course, there are also important documents he penned and his contemporaries' correspondence regarding the man.
One of the most noteworthy facts about Thomas Jefferson speaks to his character and much of why he was such a prominent figure of the revolution. He put freedom and intellect above tradition and blind loyalty. He was an avid supporter of revolutions in general. In fact, his support of the French Revolution was not very popular with other politicians of the time.
Thomas Jefferson was born in Virginia in 1743 to a father with roughly 5,000 acres of land and an aristocratic mother. He did not allow the privilege of his birth to go to his head. He spent his time thinking and writing. He was able to attend the College of William and Mary and study law. Like his contemporaries, he became interested in politics.
Jefferson's home with his wife is part of his legacy. He married Martha only about three years before the American Revolution and went to live in this home he called Monticello. It still stands beautifully today and is one of the most famous homes in America.
The Declaration of Independence was the result of a meeting of the minds, but the drafting of this historic document and a lot of the ideas contained within came from or were honed by Thomas Jefferson. The man did seek the guidance of others, such as Benjamin Franklin, when it came to the document's wording. Nonetheless, the document is largely attributed to Jefferson and is one of the most significant things he did in his life.
George Washington was the first official president of the United States and Thomas Jefferson was his Secretary of State. He was also elected vice president to President Adams, the second president of the United States. Jefferson became the third president in 1801 and served in that capacity until 1809.
During his presidency, Thomas Jefferson made a deal with Napoleon that would become known as the Louisiana Purchase. While his authority to conduct such a transaction is on shaky ground, it proved a great move for the country, much like Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
Thomas Jefferson died on the 4th of July, 1826, the same day as former president John Adams. Jefferson passed just a few hours before his friend.