Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13 1743, He was an American Founding Father, who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and a belief in human rights. Jefferson passed one of the first bills on religious tolerance in his state of Virginia; Sought to improve education and was a noted polymath with a wide range of interests. He was elected the second Vice President of the United States (1797–1801), serving under John Adams and in 1800 was elected the third President (1801–09). Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, which motivated American colonists to break from Great Britain and form a new nation. He produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.
Jefferson owned several plantations which were worked by hundreds of slaves. Most historians now believe that after the death of his wife in 1782, he had a relationship with his slave Sally Hemings and fathered at least one of her children. Historical opinion of Jefferson has generally been exalted over the years. In recent times he has been criticized by some historians for his record concerning slavery, however presidential scholars overall continue to rank Jefferson among the greatest presidents.
As President Jefferson pursued the nation’s shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies respectively. He also organized the Louisiana Purchase almost doubling the country’s territory. As a result of peace negotiations with France, his administration reduced military forces. He was reelected in 1804. Jefferson’s second term was overwhelmed with difficulties at home, including the trial of former Vice President Aaron Burr. In 1803, Jefferson began a controversial process of Indian tribe removal to the newly organized Louisiana Territory, and, in 1807, signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves.
During the last hours of his life, he was accompanied by family members and friends. On July 4 at 12:50 p.m., Jefferson died at age 83 on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and just a few hours before the death of John Adams. The sitting president, Adam’ son John Quincy, called the coincidence of their deaths on the nation’s anniversary “visible and palpable remarks of Divine Favor”
Jefferson’s remains were buried at Monticello, under a self-written epitaph:
“HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON, AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE, OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA.”