Most people know Thomas Jefferson as one of America’s founding fathers and a great statesman. Many people also know that he authored some historic manifestoes including the American declaration of independence. However, did you know that the great statesman was a shy and nervous public speaker? Did you also know that Jefferson was a scientist who invented several things including the swivel chair? Find out more fun facts about America’s third president below.
Thomas Jefferson’s Biography
Thomas Jefferson was born on the 13th of April 1743 in the town of Shadwell, Virginia. His father’s name was Peter Jefferson while his mother’s name was Jane Randolph. The late statesman also had a total of nine siblings comprising of three brothers and six sisters. Jefferson spent his formative years in Shadwell and studied under different tutors. They include Rev James Maury (who taught him history, science, and the classics), and William Small (who taught him maths, philosophy, and metaphysics).
Jefferson also studied law under the tutelage of George Wythe and obtained his law license in 1767. He thereafter delved into legal practice and mostly represented small-scale planters in land claims and title cases. He also represented several freedom-seeking slaves in the law courts. On the personal side, Jefferson built his much-beloved Monticello home on the top of a mountain in Shadwell. Additionally, he also got married to a lady named Martha Wayles Skelton in 1772. The marital union lasted for 10 years until Martha’s death in 1782. Jefferson and Martha had six children out of which only two, Martha and Mary, survived into adulthood.
Thomas Jefferson commenced his political career with a successful bid for the Virginia legislature (known as House of Burgesses) in 1769. He would go on to spend a total of six years in office during which he established himself as a strong advocate for political independence and religious freedom.
The lawyer-turned-politician also represented Virginia at the Continental Congress during which the declaration of Independence (penned by Jefferson himself) was adopted. The declaration proclaimed that all men are equal in rights regardless of their wealth, birth or status. It also stated that the government is the servant, and not the master, of the people; and thus announced that the 13 British colonies now regarded themselves as independent sovereign states.
After his historic stint in the Virginia legislature, Thomas Jefferson also governed the state from 1779 to 1781. He thereafter served as the US minister to France from 1785 to 1789. The former lawyer also became America’s first secretary of state, serving from 1790 to 1793. Jefferson would go on to become the third president of the United States of American from 1801 to 1809.
Thomas Jefferson’s Height
At his prime, Thomas Jefferson was described as a gangly young man with reddish-blond hair, hazel eyes, and a burnished expression. The Virginia native was 6 feet 2 inches tall which translates into 1.89 m. Jefferson ranks amongst the tallest presidents that America has ever had; he is actually number 4 out of 44. The tallest president America has ever had remains Abraham Lincoln who was 6 feet 4 inches tall (1.93 m). The shortest president America has ever produced is James Madison who coincidentally is Jefferson’s successor. Madison was 5 feet 4 inches tall (1.63 m).
Fun Facts about the 3rd U.S President
– He supervised the purchase of Louisiana which nearly doubled the size of the United States of America.
– He wrote his own epitaph, and designed his own grave marker, in his lifetime.
– Jefferson had a pet mockingbird known as Dick. Dick, as well as several other birds, retired with him to Virginia at the end of his White House stay.
– He popularized the eating of ice cream in America after being introduced to the delicacy during his time in France.
– He sold his personal book collection (numbering 6,707 books) to repopulate the Library of Congress after the British forces destroyed it in the war.
– The late statesman invented, and improved several things, including the pedometer, the polygraph, the moldboard plow, and the swivel chair.
– He is the founder of the University of Virginia. He not only provided financial and moral support but also helped to design some of the buildings.
– Jefferson was plagued by debts for most of his life and died owing $107,000.
– He was a prolific linguist and spoke several languages including French, Greek, Italian, Spanish, and German.