The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
(portrait -- 114k)

Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, was born in Shadwell, Albemarle County, Virginia. After completing his education at William and Mary, he was admitted to the bar and, in 1767, began practicing law. Soon afterwards he was elected to Virginia's House of Burgesses and, by 1774, gave up his law business. During the revolution, Jefferson was a member of the committee appointed to arrange a plan of defense for the rebelling colonies and, after June 1775, occupied a seat in the Continental Congress at Philadelphia. As a member of the Continental Congress, he served on the committee responsible for drafting the Declaration of Independence and is credited with authoring the first draft of that document. In 1779 and 1780, Jefferson served two terms as Governor of Virginia. With the conclusion of the war, Congress appointed Jefferson minister plenipotentiary to France. After George Washington's election to the presidency, Jefferson served as secretary of state from 1790 to 1794. Elected president in 1800, Thomas Jefferson served two terms and retired to private life in 1809.