The third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) is best known as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and one of the nation’s founding fathers. During his years in the Virginia legislature, Jefferson also wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, an accomplishment that he highlighted in his epitaph along with his primary authorship of the Declaration and his founding of the University of Virginia.
Throughout the 2016-2017 academic year, Garfield Presidency Scholars will take part in the activities below, which explore Jefferson’s life and presidency.
- Reading five books on Jefferson: “Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation: A Biography,” by Merrill D. Peterson (1970); “Notes on the State of Virginia,” by Thomas Jefferson (1781); “The Jefferson Bible,” by Thomas Jefferson (1820); “American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence,” by Pauline Maier (1997); and “American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson,” by Joseph J. Ellis (1996)
- A trip to Virginia in October, emphasizing Jefferson’s formative years, the centrality of Virginia to his education and character and his mountaintop estate of Monticello as his intellectual and family locus
- A dozen two-hour student-led sessions about Jefferson’s life, ideas and career
- A trip to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., in April, centering upon Jefferson’s activities during the Revolutionary and Founding periods