If Thomas Jefferson ran for President today, he would likely get pummeled. His high-pitched voice would score low marks in the television age.
He must have known that his voice wasn’t his strongest quality. Jefferson disliked giving speeches so much that even as president he sent his “State of the Union” addresses to Congress - a practice continued by all subsequent presidents until Woodrow Wilson.
Known for his strong intellect, Tom Jefferson studied hard as a student. Because of his excellent writing skills, he took the lead in drafting the American colonies’ Declaration of Independence.
Who was this “silent member” of Congress (as he was once known)? How did this “man of contradictions” really view slavery? What influences did Jefferson draw upon as he crafted the Declaration? Who was his wife, Martha? Was Sally Hemmings really her half-sister?
In this story behind the politics, take a virtual trip to a Virginia mountain to see Monticello. While there, learn how the Jefferson family interacted with their slaves. View the original draft of the Declaration, handwritten by Jefferson and corrected by Ben Franklin and John Adams. See the traveling desk which Tom designed, and used, at his rented “Declaration House.”
Listen to the type of music Jefferson and his wife performed together. Read some of his opinions, about issues of the day, which he expressed in Notes on the State of Virginia. Find out more about the election of 1800 (which, comparatively, makes twenty-first-century politics seem tame). And ... discover that two drafters of the Declaration (Jefferson and John Adams) died within hours of each other on the 4th of July - fifty years, to the day, after the colonies announced their independence.
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