"I am miserable till I owe not a shilling"

How did Thomas Jefferson amass more than $107,000 of debt - the equivalent of over a million dollars today - during his lifetime? Read about Jefferson's economic ups and downs in this summary by historian Lucia C. Stanton.

The Business of Slavery at Monticello

Jefferson owned over 600 people in his lifetime and he often turned to leasing and mortgaging his enslaved workers for income. Learn more about Jefferson's approach to plantation management and the ramifications of his decisions on those who labored for his happiness. 

Jefferson Lottery

In a last-ditch effort to save Monticello from creditors, Jefferson devised a public lottery to raise money and clear his debts. 

After Monticello: the Dispersal Sale

Six months after Jefferson died, his executors were forced to sell his land, house, household contents - and 130 men, women, and children. Families who had served the Jeffersons for nearly 60 years stood on the auction block on a cold January day in 1827.