Scramblin' thru... the U.S. Presidents
"The Sage of Monticello"
"The Man of the People"
"The Father of the Declaration"
"The Apostle of Democracy"
Election of 1796
Election of 1800
Election of 1804
A Presidential Life in Review
Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and 3rd U.S. President from 1801 to 1809, was a key figure in America's early development. During the American Revolution, Jefferson served in the Virginia legislature and the Continental Congress and was Governor of Virginia. He later served as U.S. Minister to France and U.S. Secretary of State under George Washington, and, after losing the Election of 1796, was Vice President under John Adams. Jefferson, who thought the Federal Government should have a limited role in citizens' lives, was elected President in 1800. During his two terms, the U.S. doubled in size thanks to the Louisiana Territory. After leaving office, Jefferson retired to his Virginia plantation, Monticello, and helped found the University of Virginia. He died on July 4, 1826... the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Source: The History Channel
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Thomas Jefferson Fun Facts
It took Jefferson just 17 days to write the Declaration of Independence.
Despite his skills at writing, Jefferson had a fear of public speaking that resulted in him trying to avoid the spotlight at all costs. When he had to speak publicly, he mumbled and spoke in such a soft voice that made it very difficult for people to hear him. Jefferson started the tradition of delivering written State of the Union addresses, which lasted until the 20th Century.
Jefferson was actually a very spiritual person who believed in God and the moral teachings of Jesus Christ, even compiling and translating his own version of Jesus' teachings. However, he did not believe Jesus Christ was divine.
Jefferson had very bad posture and wore clothes that many felt were "unfitting" for a man of his stature. He was usually seen wearing a brown coat, red waistcoat, corduroy breeches, wool hose, and a pair of carpet slippers. Class, class, class!
Jefferson served as Secretary of State under President Washington. During his service, Jefferson fought Washington constantly on Washington's expansion of the powers of the President. (Ironically, when Jefferson was President, he was accused of overstepping his role when he purchased Louisiana.) Because of Jefferson's criticisms and backstabbing, Washington left office no longer considering him a friend.
Despite being political rivals, Jefferson and John Adams became good friends after their Presidencies. As the only two Presidents to sign the Declaration of Independence, both Adams and Jefferson died on the same day... July 4, 1826... the 50th Anniversary of the country's independence. Adams' dying words were "Thomas Jefferson survives." Jefferson, however, had passed a few hours earlier.
Jefferson loved to drink wine. During his eight years as President, he ran up a personal wine bill of $10,835.90. Adjusted for inflation, that translates to $146,985.23 in today's money (or $18,315.55 per year in office). Jefferson's drinking was one of the reasons why he was always in debt.
Jefferson was a gifted violin player. During his early life, he practiced for hours every afternoon. His days as a violin player ended in 1786 when he broke his wrist trying to impress a woman. His wrist never fully healed.
During one of his many trips to Paris, Jefferson first tasted what we would call "French Fries". He fell in love with the food and brought the recipe home. At a White House dinner in 1802, the menu included "potatoes served in the French manner". Num num num...
It took Jefferson over 40 years to complete his mansion at Monticello (Italian for "little mountain"). It had 33 rooms on four floors. Many of the rooms are octagonal, because he loved the shape.
Unlike Presidents George Washington and John Adams, who bowed to guests, Jefferson preferred to shake hands.
Jefferson loved archeology and paleontology, so much so that he had the bones of a mastodon sent to him at the White House where he laid them out in the East Room in an attempt to build the skeleton.
Jefferson wrote over 19,000 letters during his lifetime. (Can you imagine if he had a Twitter account today?)
In 1814, the original Library of Congress was attacked by British troops during the War of 1812 and all the books were burned. Jefferson offered his personal library of 6,487 books as a replacement. His collection was purchased for $23,950 (or $257,960.50 in today's money).
Jefferson had pet mockingbirds. He loved their singing and often had at least four at a time. His favorite mockingbird was named Dick.
Jefferson loved science, technology, and innovation. One of his favorite devices was a rotating bookstand that could hold five books at once. (Jefferson would definitely have waited in line for days to get an iPad.)
Jefferson designed his own tombstone and wrote his own epitaph, in which he stated: "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." As one can see, he left out the fact that he served as PRESIDENT!
In 2000, DNA tests confirmed that Jefferson fathered at least five children with his slave, Sally Hemings, something he had been called out on during the Presidential Campaigns of 1800 and 1804. Jefferson privately denied allegations in 1805.
Jefferson had bears brought back from Lewis and Clark's famous expedition and displayed in cages on the White House lawn. For years, the White House was sometimes referred to as the "President's Bear Garden".
Jefferson was the first President to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C. (Washington had been inaugurated in New York City for his first term and in Philadelphia for his second term; Adams had been inaugurated in Philadelphia.)
Jefferson is credited with several inventions, including the swivel chair, a pedometer, a machine to make fiber from hemp (pot), a letter-copying machine, and the lazy susan.
Seventeen U.S. Presidents did not have middle names. Jefferson was one of them.