Happy Birthday, Thomas Jefferson!

Thomas Jefferson was a very remarkable man who started learning very early in life and never stopped.

  • At 5, began studying under his cousin’s tutor.
  • At 9, studied Latin, Greek and French.
  • At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.
  • At 16, entered the College of William and Mary.
  • At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.
  • At 23, started his own law practice.
  • At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
  • At 31, wrote the widely circulated Summary View of the Rights of British America and retired from his law practice.
  • At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.
  • At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence.
  • At 33, took three years to revise Virginia’s legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.
  • At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia succeeding Patrick Henry.
  • At 40, served in Congress for two years.
  • At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.
  • At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.
  • At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society.
  • At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of Republican Party.
  • At 57, was elected the third president of the United States.
  • At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase doubling the nation’s size.
  • At 61, was elected to a second term as President.
  • At 65, retired to Monticello.
  • At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.
  • At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president.
  • At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence.

President John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement:

This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.