Scroll down to follow the timeline of Jefferson's political life

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

Jefferson’s service in France broadened his outlook on science and politics, and had a profound impact on his approach to art, music, architecture, food, and wine. While in Europe, he also greatly expanded his personal connections, including his friendship with the Marquis de Lafayette, whom helped draft the French Declaration of the Rights of Man.

A Revolutionary Abroad

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

Jefferson serves as the nation's second Vice President under President John Adams. One of the Constitutional duties of the Vice President is to also serve President of the Senate.

Jefferson's Parliamentary Manual for the U.S. Senate

In a highly contentious race, Jefferson is elected the 3rd President of the United States, serving two terms

The Election of 1800

Jefferson plans Lewis and Clark's exploration of the American West while negotiating with France for the sale of the Louisiana Territory to the U.S.

Louisiana and Lewis and Clark

After the Chesapeake Affair in June 1807, pitting the British warship Leopard against the American frigate Chesapeake, President Thomas Jefferson faced a decision regarding the situation at hand. Ultimately, he chose an economic option to assert American rights: The Embargo Act of 1807.

Embargo of 1807

Jefferson realizes “the Hobby of my old age” with the establishment of a new public university "based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind."

Founding the University