Thomas Jefferson: Great American

Essay by SHSsoftballstar6High School, 12th gradeA+, October 2004

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As the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson's accomplishments and leadership ability virtually changed the course of history. While Jefferson is best known for his political career, his talents didn't end there. His interests were boundless, he was a philosopher, educator, naturalist, scientist, inventor, pioneer in scientific farming, musician, and writer, and he was the a one of the leading spokesmen for democracy of his day. Thomas Jefferson is considered a true renaissance man because of his wide range of talents and interests. He had changed the lives of people all around the world for generations after his death. His most significant contributions to the world have been through his architecture, his writing, and his political aspirations.

Thomas Jefferson was one of the most influential architects in American History. Among some of his greatest designs was his private plantation in Virginia, Monticello. He based the design of the house on drawings by 16th-century Italian architect Andrea Palladio but constantly modified the house as he learned more about architecture.

Another building Jefferson is credited for designing was the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. He based his design upon an ancient Roman building in southern France, the Maison Carrée in Nîmes. Thomas Jefferson also drew the architectural plans for the University of Virginia, including the Rotunda, which is based upon the Pantheon in Rome. Jefferson's neoclassical style influenced the architecture of other public buildings in the United States. However, architecture was not Jefferson's only talent, he was also a very influential writer.

A slave owner until the day he died, Thomas Jefferson expressed his views on slavery in his only book, Notes on the State of Virginia, (1785). The book began as a response to questions put to the distinguished statesman by a French diplomat concerning a wide range...