Maria Cosway

Thomas Jefferson

thomas jeffersonThomas Jefferson (13th of April 1743 - 4th of July 1826) was the third President of the United States of America (1801-1809). He is considered one of the fathers of the nation and his portrait also appears on Mount Rushmore. He has been the principal author of the Independence Declaration on the 4th of July 1776.

He was son of a pioneer from Virginia, a royal official of the Crown. He studied at the William and Mary College were he graduated when he was 20. He knew Greek and Latin classical authors, he spoke Italian, French and Spanish, he was interested in mathematics and architecture, he was an excellent violin player.

In 1772 he married a twenty-three year old widow, Martha Skelton, and they had six children. Following his father's example, he became a Justice of the Peace, and then he became a representative for the Virginian assembly, in 1775 he was elected in the continental Congress. In 1779 was elected governor of Virginia and from 1784 to 1789 represented the US in France.

In this period he met Maria and Richard Cosway, with whom he kept a warm friendship for many years.

When he got back to his homeland, president George Washington gave him the responsability to take over the State Secretariat during the first federal government. Politically he always declared to be against polical parties and considered himself like the spokesman of planters and pioneers of the South and the West of the country.

Jefferson was elected President in 1801. Under his mandate, US bought from France Louisiana for 14,5 million dollars. Another fundamental episode under the Jefferson presidency has been the exploration of the north-west of the country, ordered to the officials Meriwether Lewis e William Clark, and known as the Expedition of Lewis and Clark, that gave a real start to the conquest of the West.

In 1805 he carried out the first American military operation outside the country, when the bombing of Tripoli occured against the acts of piracy in the Mediterranean, that were threatening the American commercial tradings. Besides this episode, Jefferson was such a convinced pacifist that he reduced considerably military expenses. In 1809 his second mandate arrived at the end. The last act under his presidency had been the approval of a law that prohibited the importation of slaves. He retired in Monticello, where he died on the 4th of July 1826, while the Americans were celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Independece, on the same day when his predecessor John Adams died. (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia)

Jefferson's code book takes its name from its inventor. The code is easy to use and still nowadays it can be considered quite safe. For some strange reasons, Jefferson never used it and his code book was forgotten till 1922, when the American army used it till the fifties.

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