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This one hour docent-led tour of the Library’s Jefferson Building and its exhibitions tells visitors about Thomas Jefferson’s life, his works, and his influence on this institution and the nation. Tour participants will also hear about elements of his personality and philosophy, historians’ differing views of Jefferson, and Jefferson’s legacy.

The Thomas Jefferson Building is located on First Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street. Check in 15 minutes before the tour at the Ground Floor Information Desk .

The Library buildings are fully accessible. A limited number of wheelchairs are provided at the Jefferson Building ground floor information desk.

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, in Shadwell, Virginia. He was a draftsman of the U.S. Declaration of Independence ; the nation's first secretary of state (1789-94); second vice president (1797-1801); and, as the third president (1801-09), the statesman responsible for the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson died in bed at Monticello (located near Charlottesville, Virginia) on July 4, 1826.

President Jefferson's first term in office was remarkably successful and productive. In keeping with his Republican values, Jefferson stripped the presidency of all the trappings of European royalty, reduced the size of the armed forces and government bureaucracy and lowered the national debt from $80 million to $57 million in his first two years in office.Nevertheless, Jefferson's most important achievements as president all involved bold assertions of national government power and surprisingly liberal readings of the constitution. 

Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence and the third U.S. president, was born on April 13, 1743, at the Shadwell plantation located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia — near the western edge of Great Britain's American Empire.

In November 1776, while a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Thomas Jefferson was selected to head a committee charged with the task of revising the laws of Virginia, subject to approval by the General Assembly. Although Americans were now at war with Britain, Jefferson believed it vital that Virginia’s legal code be changed in accordance with republican principles, and he devoted much of the next two years to this task.

Among Jefferson’s drafts for new legislation was the celebrated “Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom,” but there was another piece of legislation that Jefferson viewed as even more important: “A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge.” In Notes on the State of Virginia (written in 1781), Jefferson summarized his educational plan as follows:

The next stage of this filtering process, Jefferson goes on to explain, occurs when half the students supported at public expense in grammar schools are dismissed after six years, perhaps to become teachers themselves. The remaining students then receive scholarships to study for three years at the College of William and Mary. (For various reasons, Jefferson later became disillusioned with his alma mater and substituted the University of Virginia, which he founded in 1819, instead.)

This one hour docent-led tour of the Library’s Jefferson Building and its exhibitions tells visitors about Thomas Jefferson’s life, his works, and his influence on this institution and the nation. Tour participants will also hear about elements of his personality and philosophy, historians’ differing views of Jefferson, and Jefferson’s legacy.

The Thomas Jefferson Building is located on First Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street. Check in 15 minutes before the tour at the Ground Floor Information Desk .

The Library buildings are fully accessible. A limited number of wheelchairs are provided at the Jefferson Building ground floor information desk.

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, in Shadwell, Virginia. He was a draftsman of the U.S. Declaration of Independence ; the nation's first secretary of state (1789-94); second vice president (1797-1801); and, as the third president (1801-09), the statesman responsible for the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson died in bed at Monticello (located near Charlottesville, Virginia) on July 4, 1826.

President Jefferson's first term in office was remarkably successful and productive. In keeping with his Republican values, Jefferson stripped the presidency of all the trappings of European royalty, reduced the size of the armed forces and government bureaucracy and lowered the national debt from $80 million to $57 million in his first two years in office.Nevertheless, Jefferson's most important achievements as president all involved bold assertions of national government power and surprisingly liberal readings of the constitution. 

Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence and the third U.S. president, was born on April 13, 1743, at the Shadwell plantation located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia — near the western edge of Great Britain's American Empire.

This one hour docent-led tour of the Library’s Jefferson Building and its exhibitions tells visitors about Thomas Jefferson’s life, his works, and his influence on this institution and the nation. Tour participants will also hear about elements of his personality and philosophy, historians’ differing views of Jefferson, and Jefferson’s legacy.

The Thomas Jefferson Building is located on First Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street. Check in 15 minutes before the tour at the Ground Floor Information Desk .

The Library buildings are fully accessible. A limited number of wheelchairs are provided at the Jefferson Building ground floor information desk.

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, in Shadwell, Virginia. He was a draftsman of the U.S. Declaration of Independence ; the nation's first secretary of state (1789-94); second vice president (1797-1801); and, as the third president (1801-09), the statesman responsible for the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson died in bed at Monticello (located near Charlottesville, Virginia) on July 4, 1826.

President Jefferson's first term in office was remarkably successful and productive. In keeping with his Republican values, Jefferson stripped the presidency of all the trappings of European royalty, reduced the size of the armed forces and government bureaucracy and lowered the national debt from $80 million to $57 million in his first two years in office.Nevertheless, Jefferson's most important achievements as president all involved bold assertions of national government power and surprisingly liberal readings of the constitution. 

Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence and the third U.S. president, was born on April 13, 1743, at the Shadwell plantation located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia — near the western edge of Great Britain's American Empire.

In November 1776, while a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Thomas Jefferson was selected to head a committee charged with the task of revising the laws of Virginia, subject to approval by the General Assembly. Although Americans were now at war with Britain, Jefferson believed it vital that Virginia’s legal code be changed in accordance with republican principles, and he devoted much of the next two years to this task.

Among Jefferson’s drafts for new legislation was the celebrated “Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom,” but there was another piece of legislation that Jefferson viewed as even more important: “A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge.” In Notes on the State of Virginia (written in 1781), Jefferson summarized his educational plan as follows:

The next stage of this filtering process, Jefferson goes on to explain, occurs when half the students supported at public expense in grammar schools are dismissed after six years, perhaps to become teachers themselves. The remaining students then receive scholarships to study for three years at the College of William and Mary. (For various reasons, Jefferson later became disillusioned with his alma mater and substituted the University of Virginia, which he founded in 1819, instead.)

In an 1803 letter to Joseph Priestley , Jefferson stated that he conceived the idea of writing his view of the "Christian System" in a conversation with Dr. Benjamin Rush during 1798–99. He proposes beginning with a review of the morals of the ancient philosophers, moving on to the " deism and ethics of the Jews", and concluding with the "principles of a pure deism" taught by Jesus, "omitting the question of his deity". Jefferson explains that he does not have the time, and urges the task on Priestley as the person best equipped to accomplish it. [6]

Jefferson accomplished a more limited goal in 1804 with The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth , the predecessor to The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth . [7] He described it in a letter to John Adams dated October 13, 1813:

Jefferson wrote that “The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus Himself are within the comprehension of a child [8] ”. He explained these doctrines were such as were "professed & acted on by the unlettered apostles, the Apostolic fathers, and the Christians of the 1st century [6] ". In a letter to Reverend Charles Clay, he described his results:

This one hour docent-led tour of the Library’s Jefferson Building and its exhibitions tells visitors about Thomas Jefferson’s life, his works, and his influence on this institution and the nation. Tour participants will also hear about elements of his personality and philosophy, historians’ differing views of Jefferson, and Jefferson’s legacy.

The Thomas Jefferson Building is located on First Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street. Check in 15 minutes before the tour at the Ground Floor Information Desk .

The Library buildings are fully accessible. A limited number of wheelchairs are provided at the Jefferson Building ground floor information desk.



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