What Were the Contributions of Thomas Jefferson?

Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, served as the third president of the United States, oversaw the Louisiana Purchase, supported the American Revolution, and served as governor of Virginia during the Revolutionary War. His “Notes on the State of Virginia” outlined the state’s history, culture and geography.

During his Presidency, he reduced the country’s armed forces, streamlined government agencies, and reduced the national debt from $80 million to $57 million. He oversaw the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which explored and mapped out the land acquired through the Louisiana Purchase. In response to pressure to increase the country’s military presence and training, he established the U.S. Military Academy and then West Point in 1802. As Governor of Virginia, he established the state’s Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom.

After his second term as President ended, he retired to his plantation in Monticello, where he organized and designed the University of Virginia. He also chose its professors. When it opened in March 1825, it became the country’s first secular university.

His interest in and study of natural sciences affected the fields of mechanics, astronomy, meteorology, physics, civil engineering, surgical anatomy, geology, zoology, botany, economic entomology, aeronautics and palaeontology. He invented the plow, duplicated a writing machine, and revolutionized the construction of barometers, thermometers and wind gauges.