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Thomas Jefferson

1743-1826. Third president of the USA and political philosopher. Born at Shadwell, Virginia, he was educated at the College of William and Mary (1760-62) and admitted to the bar in 1767. He was a member of the House of Burgesses (1769-76), the Continental Congress (1775-76, 1783-84), and the Virginia House of Delegates (1776-79), governor (1779- 81), minister to France (1785-89), secretary of state (1790-93), vice president of the USA (1797-1801), and president (1801-9). His administration saw the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and war with Algerian pirates. He retired to his home at Monticello in 1809. He was a founder of the Democratic-Republican party and advocated democratic simplicity, agrarianism, state rights, and separation of church and state. He considered the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Virginia Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1786), and the founding of the University of Virginia (1819) to be his greatest achievements. A Deist, he deleted the miraculous from his edition of the gospels, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.