Jefferson's career in public service spanned over forty years, bookended by his pro bono work as a lawyer in the Colony of Virginia arguing for natural rights and ending as Chairman of the Rockfish Gap Commission that resulted in the creation of the University of Virginia. Scroll down to follow the timeline of Jefferson's political life.

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Member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. Jefferson's instructions to the Virginia Delegation to the Continental Congress, protesting British policy, entitled "A Summary View of the Rights of British America," bring him to national attention.

Jefferson serves as pro bono attorney for Samuel Howell, a mixed race man seeking his freedom, in an unsuccessful lawsuit.

Howell vs Netherland

Serves as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress. In June 1776, he drafts the Declaration of Independence.

Declaration of Independence

Serves as the first Secretary of State in President Washington's Cabinet.

Vice President of the United States, serving under President John Adams.

Jefferson's Manual

Jefferson is elected President of the United States, serving two terms