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Thomas Jefferson

 


"Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."

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Attribution: Letter to P. S. du Pont de Nemours—The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Paul L. Ford, vol. 10, p. 25 (1899) This sentence is one of many quotations inscribed on Cox Corridor II, a first floor House corridor, U.S. Capitol.

Date: April 24, 1816

Thomas Jefferson

1743–1826

3rd President of the United States (1801–9), author of the Declaration of Independence. Born April 13, 1743, at Shadwell in Goochland (now in Albemarle) County, VA. After graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1762 he studied law. As a delegate to the Second Continental Congress (1775–76), he served as a member of the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. Except for minor alterations by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin and some others made on the floor of Congress, that document was wholly the work of Jefferson. In 1779, Jefferson succeeded Patrick Henry as governor of Virginia. In 1800 Jefferson tied with Aaron Burr in the presidential election but was elected after a long deadlock by the House of Representatives. Jefferson was the first President inaugurated in Washington, D.C., a city he had helped to plan. After 1809, Jefferson retired at Monticello. During these years he was able to help found of the University of Virginia. President of the American Philosophical Society (1797–1815), Jefferson was a scientist, an architect, and a philosopher-statesman, vitally interested in literature, the arts, and every phase of human activity.

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