have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against
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.
Jefferson's Home, "Shadwell," burns, destroying his library
and much of his property, he begins to build "Monticello."
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.
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.
1st floor Lobby, New Book Area