July 1 – September 1



“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against
every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” -Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson wrote this now famous sentence in a letter to Benjamin Rush in 1800, and it was not an empty sentiment. Jefferson’s life was a passionate reflection of the determination behind each oath. Scientist, author, farmer, linguist, lawyer, governor, negotiator, legislator, president of the United States, musician, inventor, architect – he was a shining example of what disciplined, dedicated and responsible use of unfettered intelligence could achieve. Jefferson disapproved of privilege based on social rank, believing instead in an aristocracy of “virtue and talents”. He worked all his life to provide the people of Virginia and his newly formed country opportunities for education and vigorously protected the freedoms guaranteed to all Americans in the new democracy.



1743 Jefferson is born on April 13.

1769 Jefferson is first elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, where he will serve until 1775.

4wideview1770 After Jefferson’s Home, “Shadwell,” burns, destroying his library and much of his property, he begins to build “Monticello.”

1772 Jefferson Marries Martha Skelton. Of the six children they will have, only two survive to maturity.

1774 Jefferson writes A Summary View of the Rights of British America

1775 Jefferson is elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress.

1776 Jefferson drafts the Declaration of Independence. He also drafts a new constitution for Virginia.

1779 Jefferson is elected Governor of Virginia.

1784 Jefferson is elected by Congress to become minister plenipotentiary to share (with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams) in the negotiation of treaties of amity and commerce with European nations.

1785 Jefferson is appointed Secretary of State.

1796 Jefferson is elected Vice President of the United States under John Adams.

Coner3panel1801 Jefferson in elected President of United States over Aaron Burr on the 36th ballot in the House of Representatives.

1809 After serving for two terms, Jefferson retires from the presidency and returns to Monticello.

1815 Jefferson Library becomes the foundation of today’s Library of Congress after replacing the Congressional Library, lost when the British burned the Capitol.

1819 Jefferson is instrumental in founding the University of Virginia.

1826 Jefferson, 83, dies on July 4. It is the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.


Panels include:

  • “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
  • Jefferson in His Time: Chronology
  • “I cannot live without books.”
  • Jefferson and the Library of Congress
  • Jefferson and Democracy: Virginia
  • Jefferson and Democracy: The Birth of the United States of America
  • The Declaration of Independence
    President Jefferson
  • Jefferson and Congress
  • Jefferson and the Exploration and Expansion of the United StatesThomas
  • Jefferson, Mapmaker
  • “I am for encouraging the progress of science in all its branches.”
  • “I am an enthusiast on the subject of the arts.”
  • Jefferson in a World of Deferences
  • Jefferson: Other Lands, Other Languages
  • “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”



LOCATION: 1st floor Lobby, New Book Area
Curator: Library of Congress