What Are Some Characteristics of Thomas Jefferson?

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Thomas Jefferson is one of the Founding Father of the United States. He was an accomplished but quiet man. Jefferson was known for promoting his thoughts and ideas through his writing, rather than with speeches.

Thomas Jefferson, best known as the author of the Declaration of Independence, was born to wealthy parents in Virginia. He attended college and then studied the law under a local, well-reputed Virginia attorney. (There were no law schools in the United States at the time.) A lawyer by trade, Jefferson also served as U.S. minister to France and U.S. secretary of state, and he was vice president under John Adams.

According to the White House website, Jefferson was tall and awkward. He was uncomfortable speaking in public. He was an eloquent writer; he preferred writing letters and statements of support to publicly voicing his opinion. In addition to writing the initial draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote an important bill establishing religious freedom that was enacted in 1786. Deemed the "silent member" of Congress, Jefferson much preferred instigating new ways of thinking and initiating conversations by writing letters to people. After serving his country, Jefferson retired quietly to his home, Monticello, where he worked to help found the University of Virginia.