Thomas Jefferson

Last week I wrote about Alexander Hamilton having a to-do list that was Non-Stop.  Well I think Thomas Jefferson was probably right up there with him.  Jefferson was Hamilton’s largest political rival as well as a prolific writer, diplomat, statesman and all around renaissance man.  Did you know that in addition to being the principle author of the Declaration of Independence he was also a noted architect, economist, paleontologist, astronomer and musician?  Really what couldn’t he do?

thomas-jefferson-9353715-1-402Fun facts about Thomas:

  • Tom LOVED books.  When the Library of Congress was burned by the British in 1814, Tom offered his personal collection of books to restart the library.   How many books in the donation?  6,487 – wow!
  • While Jefferson was an amazing writer, he was a horrible public speaker.  While giving speeches, it is said he was not able to speak well in front of a crowd and frequently mumbled or spoke so low that he couldn’t be heard.  As President, he issued written State of the Union messages rather than giving a speech.
  • Jefferson’s tombstone makes no mention of his serving as President of the United States.  His epitaph reads: “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 a diplomat, Tom’s ability to speak in 6 languages was certainly a plus!  He spoke English, French, Greek, Italian, Latin and Spanish.
  • Jefferson’s first election as President in 1800 was a tie with Aaron Burr.  It took 36 ballots in the House of Representatives (with deciding support from rival Alexander Hamilton) to name Jefferson President.  His second election versus Charles Pinckney in 1804 was an overwhelming victory with an electoral vote of 162 to 14.
  • Tom’s wife Martha died 10 years before he became President so his daughters or James Madison’s wife Dolly served as hostesses during his administration.

Want to know more about Thomas Jefferson?  Check out these sources:

Famous quote from Thomas Jefferson?  Who can pick just one from this guy?  How about a list of them?

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.
I cannot live without books.
I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Never spend your money before you have it.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.