Thomas Jefferson's rise to fame began in 1774 when he wrote the "Summary View of the Rights of British America." This document made him a well-known voice in the argument for American independence from England.
In 1776, Jefferson was one of five people chosen by the Second Continental Congress to draft the Declaration of Independence. This helped him become well-known as one of the Founding Fathers of America. Jefferson also became well-known as an advocate for the separation of the church and state, an idea which he advocated in the Virginia Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, and which was incorporated into the Constitution. Jefferson was also known as an advocate for free public education, another idea that affected the entire nation.
One aspect of Jefferson's fame was negative in his own lifetime: his escape from British troops during the Revolutionary War. Many saw the event as a cowardly refusal of Jefferson to stand his ground against the enemy, and Jefferson's reputation suffered due to this for the rest of his life. Fortunately, most of his later fame was from positive events, such as his serving as the American minister to France, serving as the Secretary of State for President George Washington and becoming the third President of the United States.