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THOMAS JEFFERSON
3rd President of the United States

Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father who was principal author of the Declaration of Independence. He was elected the second Vice President of the United States, serving under John Adams and in 1800 was elected third President.

Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, which motivated the American colonists to break away from Great Britain and form a new nation. He produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

Extract from Thomas Jefferson's Argument
The Case of Howell vs. Netherland [ca. April 1770]

Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the author of nature, because necessary for his own sustenance.


THOMAS JEFFERSON and the Constitution

In 1789, after long deliberations and impassioned speeches, the United States Constitution was born. Of the forty signees of the U.S. Constitution, only six of them had also signed the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson had not signed the Constitution he was serving as Minister to France during the time of the Constitutional Convention. When he returned to the United States only six months after the Constitution took effect he was soon appointed as the Secretary of State in President George Washington's administration.

Jefferson did not write the Constitution but he was a supporter of a smaller government structure originally proposed in the Articles of Confederation and did not want its revision to mean a stronger, more centralized union. Later on he ascend to the presidency on principles that he advocated for restraint of federal powers.

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