Monday, April 13, 2015



Shadwell, Virginia (JFK+50) The author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, was born 272 years ago today, April 13, 1743.

Mr.Jefferson, who was born in Shadwell, Virginia to Peter and Jane Randolph Jefferson, graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1762.  He became a law clerk for George Wythe and won election to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1769.

As a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress, Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and after the revolution served as a state legislator and governor.  He was minister to France (1785-1789), the 1st Secretary of State, Vice-President and President of the United States (1801-1809).

President Jefferson was the first president of the Democratic-Republican Party.

Notable events during his two terms as president include the war with the Barbary pirates of North Africa, the purchase of Louisiana in 1803 from France, the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Embargo Act of 1807.

President John F. Kennedy paid tribute to Thomas Jefferson's intellect at a dinner in honor of Nobel Prize recipients at the White House.  JFK said...

"I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

Thomas Jefferson died at his beloved home, Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia, on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1826. 

Mr. Jefferson wanted to be remembered for only three of his many accomplishments.   He requested that these be engraved on his tombstone...

"Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and Father of the University of Virginia."

Gravestone of Thomas Jefferson
Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia
Photo by Christopher Hollis
 for Wdwic Pictures (2001)


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Seventy-two years ago today, April 13, 1943, in tribute to Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the United States, the Jefferson Memorial was dedicated here in the Nation's Capital.

The impressive memorial, dedicated on the anniversary of Mr. Jefferson's birth, was designed by architect John Russell Pope who also designed the National Archives Building.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who laid the memorial's cornerstone in 1939, gave the dedication speech.  

FDR concluded with the words:

"The words which we have chosen for this memorial speak Jefferson's noblest and most urgent meaning and we are proud indeed to understand and share it: 

'I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man'".

Jefferson Memorial
Photo by John White (2007)