Author of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States
Author, signer and representative from Virginia, United States Declaration of Independence


Thomas Jefferson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 N.S. - July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801-1809), principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential founders of the United States. Major events during his presidency include the Louisiana Purchase (1803), the Embargo Act of 1807, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806). ..."


13 Apr 1743, in Shadwell, Virginia


4 Jul 1826, in Monticello, Virginia


Autobiography: 1743 -- 1790, 6 Jan 1821
Electronic text at The Avalon Project, Yale Law School
Brief Biography of Thomas Jefferson
Life of Thomas Jefferson, by B. L. Rayner, 1834
Revised and edited by Eyler Robert Coates, Sr.

Web Sites

The Thomas Jefferson Papers
American Memory Collections at the Library of Congress


First Principles, by Charley Reese, 24 Mar 2007
"Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural speech, listed what he called 'the essential principles of our government and consequently those which ought to shape its administration.' ... Jefferson said that should we wander from these principles in error or alarm, we should retrace our steps to regain the road that leads to peace, liberty and safety."
Honoring Jefferson, by Joseph Sobran, 1 Jul 2004
"A master of several languages and many sciences, Jefferson sought to reduce political philosophy to simple terms every American could understand. The Declaration distills the political philosophy of John Locke, which Jefferson regarded as the consensus of reasonable men of his own generation."
Jefferson on American Liberty, by Gary M. Galles, Mises Daily, 4 Jul 2002
"Jefferson once asked a seminal question: 'Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?' Our founding documents were designed, in part by Jefferson's hand, to answer that question for America. ..."
The Latest Defamation of Jefferson, by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, 31 Mar 2006
"Jefferson was the apostle of states' rights, enunciated in his famous Kentucky Resolve of 1798; Lincoln waged the bloodiest war in American history to destroy the Jeffersonian states' rights doctrine. Jefferson authored America's Declaration of Secession from the British empire, known as the Declaration of Independence."
Related Topic: Abraham Lincoln
Thomas Jefferson's Sophisticated, Radical Vision of Liberty, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jul 1995
"Jefferson ... affirmed that all people are entitled to liberty, regardless what laws might say. If laws don't protect liberty, he declared, then the laws are illegitimate, and people may rebel. While Jefferson didn't originate this idea, he put it in a way that set afire the imagination of people around the world."
Related Topic: Property Rights
Albert Jay Nock: A Gifted Pen for Radical Individualism, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Mar 1997
Biographical essay, including his early life, editorship of The Freeman, and notable books and essays
"Then Nock focused on book-length biographical essays. The first was Mr. Jefferson (1926), which skipped the most famous events of the Founder's life to focus on the development of his mind. Nock drew extensively on Charles Beard's The Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy. Claude Bowers's Jefferson and Hamilton, published the same year, sold more copies at the time and did more to revive the reputation of Jefferson, who had been a forgotten man since the Civil War. But it is Nock's book that remains in print."
Bureaucracy and the Civil Service in the United States, by Murray N. Rothbard, Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1995
Historical account of the evolution of the United States Civil Service and attempts to reform it, from its beginnings through the early 20th century
"... Jefferson is a classic case of corruption of principle from being in power. The first Jefferson Administration ... was certainly one of the finest libertarian moments ... Expenses were lowered, the army and navy were sharply reduced, the bureaucracy was cut, the public debt retired, and the federal excise tax, and the Alien and Sedition Acts, were repealed."
Give Me Liberty, by Rose Wilder Lane, 1936
Originally published as an article titled "Credo" in the Saturday Evening Post; describes her experiences in and history of Soviet Russia and Europe, contrasting them with the history of the United States, emphasizing the individualist themes
"Jefferson saw that the whole West—that is to say, the eastern half of the Mississippi valley—would be lost unless the United States could get a port on the Gulf. All that he wanted was a port, just one little bay. Two American commissioners in Paris, with no authority whatever to do so, bought the whole of Louisiana from Napoleon. It belonged to Spain, but Napoleon sold it, his armies could settle the matter with Spain. And two Americans bought it, paid fifteen million dollars for it. Jefferson was aghast when he heard the news. He came within an inch of repudiating the purchase."
Independence Day Propaganda, by Anthony Gregory, 4 Jul 2011
Argues that the American Revolution, albeit of a libertarian flavor, had several unsavory shortcomings
"Thomas Jefferson deployed the Marines on an ultimately failed mission in the Barbary war, attempted to suspend habeas corpus and create a department of education, imposed a brutal embargo on English goods that decimated the economy and destroyed privacy rights, and conducted the Louisiana Purchase in bold defiance of the Constitution."
No More Great Presidents, by Robert Higgs, The Free Market, Mar 1997
Discusses the results of a 1996 poll of historians asking them to rank U.S. presidents, focusing on those ranked Great, Near Great and Failure, and offers his own ranking
"The one exception, Jefferson, confined his presidential bellicosity to authorizing, with Congressional consent, the naval engagements against the Barbary pirates. (Of course, he had been a revolutionary official during the War of Independence.) ... Other early presidents who were not entirely reprehensible in office include Jefferson and Jackson, though each committed grave derelictions."
The American Heritage of "Isolationism", by Gregory Bresiger, Future of Freedom, May 2006
"... when ... Thomas Jefferson, took office in 1801, he, too, paid homage to Washington's foreign-policy advice. Jefferson, despite his differences with the Federalists, promised no 'entangling alliances.' Isolationism, or non-interventionism, was, for a short time, the established policy of the United States."
The Rocky Road of American Taxation, by Charles W. Adams, Mises Daily, 15 Apr 2006
Adapted from the author's For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization
"When Jefferson ran for president in 1800, his anti-federalist tax platform endeared him to the hearts of the people and assured his victory. ... when Jefferson tells us rebellions are good tonic for government, in his frame of reference he was talking about tax rebellions."
Thomas Paine-Passionate Pamphleteer for Liberty: A Singleminded Private Individual Aroused Millions to Throw Off Their Oppressors, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jan 1996
Biographical essay, highlighting Paine's writings in Common Sense, American Crisis, Rights of Man and Age of Reason
"Although Federalist critics savaged President Thomas Jefferson for defending Paine, he courageously invited his friend to the White House. When Jefferson's daughters Mary and Martha made clear they would rather not associate with Paine, Jefferson replied that Paine 'is too well entitled to the hospitality of every American, not to cheerfully receive mine.'"
Would-Be Rulers without Clothes, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, May 2008
Examines Hillary Clinton's assertion about "wanting" a universal health care plan
"It's what Thomas Jefferson meant when he wrote, 'All men are created equal' in the Declaration of Independence. He certainly did not mean that people are equal in intelligence, talent, energy, ambition, physical strength, and so on. And he couldn't have meant that they should merely be equal before the law, because that would be a low bar indeed; we can imagine a society in which the law treats everyone rather poorly but nonetheless equally. ..."


Mr. Jefferson, by Albert Jay Nock, 1926
Table of contents: Youth - Beginnings - 1784-1789 - 1784-1789 (continued) - Washington, Hamilton, Adams - Eight Years of "Splendid Misery" - Recommencements - Advesperascit