Thomas Jefferson

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Thomas Jefferson
TCJJ.jpg
3rd President of the United States
Term of office
March 4, 1801 - March 4, 1809
Political party Democratic-Republican
Vice Presidents Aaron Burr (1801-1805)
George Clinton (1805-1809)
Preceded by John Adams
Succeeded by James Madison
2nd Vice-President of the United States
Term of office
March 4, 1797 - March 4, 1801
Political party Democratic-Republican
President John Adams
Preceded by John Adams
Succeeded by Aaron Burr
Born April 13, 1743
Shadwell, Virginia
Died July 4, 1826
Charlottesville, Virginia
Spouse Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson
Religion Deist[Citation Needed]


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was the third President of the United States of America and often credited as the author of the Declaration of Independence, though key portions of that document were simply taken from the Virginia Declaration of Rights.[Citation Needed] Jefferson was a prominent architect, inventor and scientist. His presidency had significant failures, but is best known for doubling the area of the United States with the controversial Louisiana Purchase from France.

Many liberal textbooks and online resources claim that Jefferson was a deist,[1] but Jefferson's own description of his views show more complexity.

In one of his writings now inscribed on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., Jefferson said:

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

Jefferson's Second Inaugural Address implied that, unlike deists, he believed in divine intervention: "I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old."

In an 1803 letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Jefferson declared that "I am a Christian," though his view of Christianity was different from most:

I then promised you that one day or other I would give you my views of [the Christian religion]. They are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed, but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others, ascribing to himself every human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other.[2]

However, dispite Jefferson's self-declared Christianity, many of his views would be considered incorrect or even heretical by most Christians. Most notably, he attempted to create the Jefferson Bible - an edited New Testament intended to retain Christ's moral and practical teaching, while disposing of supernatural or inconvenient elements.

Jefferson certinly believed Jesus to be a great teacher of morality, and believed the universe to be created by a God. Less clear is his views on subjects such as the divinity of christ, the resurrection, sin and salvation. The Jefferson Bible suggests he rejects these ideas entirely, but is not definitative.

Jefferson, along with James Madison, was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, an early political group that was opposed by the Federalist Party.

Jefferson died on July 4th, Independence Day, in 1826. It was the same day as the death of John Adams. While rivals during their time in government, they started writing personal letters to each other in later life.

References

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Deist_thinkers
  2. Jefferson, Thomas, April 21, 1803: Letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush[1]