On this day: Thomas Jefferson most interesting U.S. President?

Many would say one of the greatest American Presidents. Here are a few reasons why he was one of the most interesting.

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Historians generally rank Thomas Jefferson as one of the greatest U.S. presidents. He was arguably one of the most interesting.

Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776).

Ahead of his time

Primarily of English ancestry, Jefferson was born and educated in Virginia where he practiced law. He mastered many disciplines which ranged from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and inventions. He was a proven architect in the classical tradition with a keen interest in religion and philosophy. He shunned organised religion, but was influenced by both Christianity and deism. Besides English, he was well versed in Latin, Greek, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton with whom he had six children of which only two daughters survived to adulthood.

The Sally Hemings scandal

After the death of his wife in 1782, he had a relationship with his slave Sally Hemings. A television miniseries, An American Scandal with Sam Neil and Carmen Ejogo explored their complicated relationship and their 38 year love affair.


Sally and her siblings were three-quarters European and half-siblings of Jefferson’s wife, Martha.

The historical question of whether Jefferson was the father of Hemings’ children is known as the Jefferson-Hemmings controversy. A 1998 DNA study found a match between the Jefferson male line and a descendant of Hemings’ last son, Eston Hemings. There is a near-consensus among historians that Jefferson fathered her son Eston Hemings and probably all her children.


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