Interesting Facts About Thomas Jefferson: Staunch Anti-Federalist

Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) was the third president of the United States. The nation’s third president was a fun, funny, endlessly curious man. He was a man of many faces. Other than his obvious influence on American politics, he was intrigued by diverse cultures in the New World and embraced them in every way he was able. Jefferson accomplished a lot in his lifetime—his presidential tenure didn’t even make it into the three achievements inscribed on his gravestone.
Jefferson was mainly of English ancestry, born and educated in colonial Virginia. He graduated from the College of William & Mary and briefly practiced law, with the largest number of his cases concerning land ownership claims.
Thomas Jefferson was a wonderful student and gifted learner from a young age. He was tutored at home, only attending school for two years before being accepted at the College of William and Mary. While there, he became close friends Governor Francis Fauquier, William Small, and George Wythe, the first American law professor.
He had been the head writer of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was sent to the Second Continental Congress as a representative of Virginia. He was one of the five-man committee chosen to write the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was selected to write the first draft. His draft was mostly accepted and was later ratified on July 4, 1776.
As president, he presided over the Louisiana Purchase. Due to Jefferson’s strict constructionist beliefs, he was faced with a quandary when Napoleon offered the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million.
Jefferson wanted the land but did not feel that the Constitution gave him the authority to buy it. Nonetheless, he went ahead and got Congress to agree to the Louisiana Purchase, adding 529 million acres of land to the United States.
Below are TEN interesting facts about Thomas Jefferson and his time as president:
1. Jefferson was a strong believer in state’s rights. As George Washington’s Secretary of State he was often at odds against Alexander Hamilton. He felt that Hamilton’s creation of the Bank of the United States was unconstitutional as this power was not specifically granted in the Constitution. Due to this and other issues, Jefferson eventually resigned from his post in 1793.
2. He loved to write letters. We’re not talking emails, tweets or text messages here. Jefferson wrote about 19,000 letters during his lifetime. He also used a machine called a polygraph that made copies as he wrote.
3. Tied with Aaron Burr in the election of 1800. In 1800, Jefferson ran against John Adams with Aaron Burr as his Vice Presidential candidate. Even though Jefferson and Burr were both part of the same party, they tied.
At the time, whoever received the most votes won. This would not change until the passage of the twelfth amendment. Burr would not concede, so the election was sent to the House of Representatives. It took thirty-six ballots before Jefferson was named the winner. Jefferson would run for and win reelection in 1804.
4. He loved vanilla ice cream. He probably first tasted ice cream while traveling in France. He brought home a recipe for it, which is now in the Library of Congress.
5. He loved to play. As a boy, the freckle-faced Jefferson played with his friends on the land where he would eventually build Monticello. He would explore the woods, creeks and streams.
6. He opposed American neutrality. Jefferson had served as the Minister to France from 1785-1789. He returned home when the French Revolution began. However, he felt that America owed its loyalty to France who had supported it during the American Revolution. Washington felt that in order for America to survive, it had to remain neutral during France’s war with England. Jefferson opposed this which helped lead to his resignation as Secretary of State.
7. He was a great grandfather. He had 12 grandchildren, and many of them lived with him at the same time. He would organize races for the kids on the enormous lawn of Monticello. He also taught them how to play chess and a game called Goose, one of the first board games in the United States; it’s a bit like today’s game of Chutes and Ladders.
8. Thomas Jefferson was one of the most accomplished presidents in American History. He was a president, politician, inventor, author, educator, lawyer, architect, and philosopher. Visitors to his home, Monticello, can still see some of his inventions today.
9. Co-authored the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions. During John Adams’ presidency, the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed to curtail some types of political speech. Thomas Jefferson worked with James Madison to create the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in opposition to these acts. Once he became president, he allowed Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts to expire.
10. He kept pet mockingbirds. He loved their singing and often had at least four at a time. His favorite bird was named Dick.

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