This Fourth of July marks 240 years of Independence for the United States of America and a man at the other end of that 240 years is none other than Thomas Jefferson. Most of us know him as the writer of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States, but he is so much more to that. He is a truly remarkable man and here are some things that everyone should know about Jefferson this Fourth of July holiday.
1. His mother put him in high social standing not his father.
Jefferson's father was a planter and land surveyor, but his mother had high social standing behind her name, Randolph. It was because of this that Jefferson was more than a commoner.
2. Jefferson inherited his land.
Jefferson's land where he built his home, Monticello, was inherited by him from his father. The total land inherited was close to 5,000 acres of land.
3. Jefferson was know for being shy.
Thomas Jefferson felt better behind a pen than he ever did speaking. He was a "silent member" of congress and used this to his advantage when writing the Declaration of Independence.
4. He took Benjamin Franklin's place as minister to France.
This was his last real job before being elected Vice President. In this job is where he came into conflict with Alexander Hamilton.
5. He was the first Secretary of State.
He was the very first Secretary of State under the administration of George Washington. This means that Jefferson set the precedents of the office.
6. He was (as I mentioned in #4) elected Vice President under the Adams administration.
Jefferson was a candidate for President in 1796, but lost by three votes. The way the constitution was at this time meant that he would become Vice President because he got the second most votes. (Imagine if that was the case today and we has a Clinton/Trump administration.)
7. He almost lost the presidency to Aaron Burr.
Many don't know much about Aaron Burr, but he was Thomas Jefferson's first VP and had a huge conflict with Alexander Hamilton.When Jefferson and Burr tied for the presidency the House of Representatives has to settle it. Though Hamilton disliked both Burr and Jefferson he was in favor of Jefferson as President.
8. He married his third cousin.
He did this because it was common and also there was little choice because families were not spread out. This means that beside his distant cousin Jefferson had little choice in his social class.
9. He is one of the most misquoted people.
He is quoted as saying many profound and quotable phrases but many he never said. Also, a lot of what he did say is a lot more profound than many understand.
10. He was very relaxed.
He was said to have greeted people at The White House in a robe and slippers. He also frequently shook hands with his constituents. He was a very approachable man.
11. He was kind of a jack of all trades.
Jefferson was very intelligent. He was an architect, a musician of several instruments, an inventor, and he knew several languages. Plus, many other skills and hobbies.
12. He Had Several Children
Thomas Jefferson had several children, but the majority were bastard children. He had five children with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings.
13. He Popularized Macaroni and Cheese.
It is a rumor that Jefferson invented macaroni and cheese, but it is not true. He brought back a pasta machine from Italy, and he made the dish popular by serving it to dinner guests. There is actually even a recipe here:
14. He had a patriotic death.
Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of Thomas Jefferson. His friend and fellow former President and founding father, John died 5 hours later the same day. There is a thought that Adams said something along the lines of "At least Thomas Jefferson still survives."
15. He was humble.
He picked the inscription for his gravestone and it never mentioned President. Below is a picture: