U.S. Presidents / Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

1743 - 1826

Thomas Jefferson

…some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot…abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm…? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. First Inaugural Address


Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, spent his childhood roaming the woods and studying his books on a remote plantation in the Virginia Piedmont. Thanks to the prosperity of his father, Jefferson had an excellent education. After years in boarding school, where he excelled in classical languages, Jefferson enrolled in William and Mary College in his home state of Virginia, taking classes in science, mathematics, rhetoric, philosophy, and literature. He also studied law, and by the time he was admitted to the Virginia bar in April 1767, many considered him to have one of the nation's best legal minds.

Fast Facts

Thomas Jefferson
Shadwell plantation, Goochland County, Virginia
College of William and Mary (graduated 1762)
No formal affiliation
Lawyer, Planter
“Man of the People,” “Sage of Monticello”
January 1, 1772, to Martha Wayles Skelton (1748–1782)
Martha (1772–1836), Jane Randolph (1774–1775), infant son (1777), Mary (1778–1804), Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781), Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785)
Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia
Peter Onuf

Chicago Style

Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “Thomas Jefferson.” Accessed April 09, 2024. https://millercenter.org/president/jefferson.

Professor of History

Peter Onuf

Professor Peter Onuf is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia.