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The Live and Times of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson portrait by Rembrandt PealeThomas Jefferson portrait by Rembrandt Peale

 Thomas Jefferson
April 13, 1732 - July 4, 1826
(Rembrandt Peale 1800)

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, was an American Founding Father who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. He was initially elected the 2nd Vice-President serving under John Adams. As President, Thomas Jefferson organized the Louisiana Purchase, almost doubling the size of the country.

Jefferson anticipated further westward settlements due to the Louisiana Purchase and arranged for the exploration and mapping of the uncharted territory. Jefferson appointed Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to be leaders of the Corps of Discovery (1803-1806). In the months leading up to the expedition, Jefferson tutored Lewis in the sciences of mapping, botany, natural history, mineralogy, and astronomy and navigation, giving Lewis unlimited access to his library at Monticello, which included the largest collection of books in the world on the subject of the geography and natural history of the North American continent, along with an impressive collection of maps.

In addition to the Corps of Discovery, Jefferson organized three other westward expeditions: The William Dunbar and George Hunter expedition on the Ouachita River (1804-1805), the Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis expedition (1806) on the Red River, and the Zebulon Pike expedition (1806-1807) into the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest. All three produced valuable information about the American Frontier. (wikipedia)


Check out the Louisiana Purchase State Park located nearly Brinkley, Arkansas, between Little Rock and Helena.
Are there monuments or parks dedicated to the Thomas Jefferson or the Louisiana Purchase in your area? These sites are not always along the route of the Jefferson Highway but are nevertheless evidence of the importance of Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase. 

The many portraits of Thomas Jefferson:
Check out this short video. An historian at the National Portrait Gallery describes the portraits of Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson-Charles Wilson Peale 1791Thomas Jefferson-Charles Wilson Peale 1791   Thomas Jefferson-Gilbert Stuart 1805Thomas Jefferson-Gilbert Stuart 1805   Thomas Jefferson-Rembrandt Peale 1805Thomas Jefferson-Rembrandt Peale 1805
Charles Wilson Peale
  Gilbert Stuart
  Rembrandt Peale

For more on the namesake of the Jefferson Highway, check your local library or search the Internet.