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Let’s take a close look at Thomas Jefferson and how he became so rich today.
What is Thomas Jefferson’s Net Worth?
Summary of Thomas Jefferson’s Net Worth
- Net Worth: $236.8 million
- Gender: Male
- Profession: American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher
- Date of Birth: April 13, 1743
- Nationality: United States of America
Thomas Jefferson served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809 and was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father.
Jefferson’s father left him 3,000 acres and several dozen slaves. The home he built on a plantation in Virginia, “Monticello,” was one of the architectural wonders of the time. Before he became president, he held a number of political positions and made considerable money, but at the end of his life was deeply in debt.
It is estimated that Thomas Jefferson has a net worth of $236.8 million at his peak.
Thomas Jefferson’s Early Life
Thomas Jefferson’s father, a surveyor and a successful planter left a large Virginia estate to his son. The eager youth spent two years at the College of William and Mary and then studied law.
For seven years Thomas practiced law and worked as a planter; during this time he also married and started a family of six children. He was elected as a member of the House of Burgess, the lower house of Virginia’s legislature, where he joined the Revolutionary Party.
The future president took a prominent part in calling the First Continental Congress in 1774, and from that time on sacrificed a huge portion of his life to his country.
Thomas Jefferson’s Career
Though a man of many talents (he knew five or six foreign languages, was well versed in mathematics and sciences, and achieved success as a “scientific planter,” a manufacturer, an inventor and an architect), Jefferson will always be remembered first, for his polished and persuasive intellectual writings, and second, for his deft political diplomacy.
Jefferson’s first important essay, written in 1774, was entitled “A Summary View of the Rights of British America.” Later he was chosen as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress, where his ease with words was soon recognized.
As relations with Britain became more and more strained, Americans debated the critical decision: should the colonies demand outright independence – a frightening idea to many – or should they seek a compromise with the British government?
In June 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia stepped forward and formally proposed that the colonies declare their independence from England.
Congress appointed Jefferson to head a five-man committee (Benjamin Franklin included) to weigh the decision and prepare a statement. He was given liberty to almost single-handedly draft the popular statement.
This “Declaration of Independence,” acclaimed by many as the most forceful political declaration ever written, was adopted by Congress (with some modifications) on the fourth day of July 1776. That same year Jefferson returned to the Virginia legislature, where he piloted the adoption of several major proposals.
Two areas of reform in which Jefferson showed particular interest were public education and religious freedom. Jefferson’s “Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge” led to eventual advancements in the American educational system, including the availability of public elementary education for all, state universities for higher education, and a system of scholarships for worthy but needy students.
Jefferson sought a separation of church and state and complete religious freedom. In Virginia, the Anglican Church had been the officially dominant church. His proposal, the “Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom,” passed Congress in 1786 amid considerable opposition. The same ideas espoused in this statute were later incorporated into the US Constitution and the bills of rights of other states.
After serving two years as Virginia’s governor, Jefferson “retired” from politics and settled down to write his only book, Notes on the State of Virginia, in which he outlined his philosophies, including his opposition to slavery. After ten years of marriage, Jefferson’s wife died. Though still young, he never remarried, devoting his life instead to his country.
Jefferson’s first proposal as a member of Congress was for the adoption of a decimal system of coinage. He reasoned that it would make monetary figuring much simpler – and he was right. But this motion was not yet approved.
Jefferson also introduced a bill that would prohibit slavery in all new states. However, the potential history-altering bill was defeated by a single vote. In 1784 Jefferson went to France on a diplomatic mission. When Benjamin Franklin’s distinguished term as French ambassador was over, Jefferson succeeded him. During his five-year absence, the United States Constitution was drafted and ratified.
The principal author was James Madison, but this document was not written without Jefferson’s input. Jefferson favored adopting the Constitution but strongly advocated adding a bill of citizens’ rights.
Thus he became, by mail, one of the intellectual drafters of our Federal Bill of Rights. Jefferson came home in 1789 to become President Washington’s first Secretary of State.
A clash soon developed between Jefferson and the politically conservative Treasurer, Alexander Hamilton. Supporters lined up behind their leaders, creating two factions – the Federalist party, headed by Hamilton, and the Democratic-Republican party (later the Democratic party), led by Jefferson.
In Jefferson’s first candidacy for President, he came in second to John Adams, and under the legal provisions of the time he became Vice-President. The unfortunate result was a deep, bitter ideological and personal split between the two men.
Jefferson ran again for the presidency in 1800, and this time defeated Adams to become the third President of the United States. Like Washington, who also served two terms, President Jefferson maintained a moderate, cordial attitude toward his opponents that served as a valuable model of tolerance for citizens of the new nation. Jefferson was a tremendously capable and active administrator.
Most notable among his presidential accomplishments was the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the area of the United States and gained US control of the Mississippi River. This was the largest peaceful transfer of territory ever recorded and helped turn the nation into a world power.
Formerly a Spanish territory, and of no consequence to the United States, under the French flag and Napoleon’s aggressive expansionism, its strategic possibilities threatened American democracy. Jefferson and his delegates “stretched the Constitution till it cracked” to have the purchase ratified.
Landmarks of Jefferson’s first term included a war with Tripoli’s Barbary pirates, Ohio’s admission into the Union, the Lewis and Clark Northwest expedition, and measures he implemented to improve education and governmental management.
His second term was marked by a number of trade agreements, skirmishes with the British navy, the ongoing US struggle to remain neutral in the war between England and France, a peace treaty with the State of Tripoli, Aaron Burr’s trial for treason (he was acquitted, to Jefferson’s disgust) and the prohibition of the American slave trade.
At age 65, President Jefferson chose not to run for a third term. At last, he recorded, he felt free to cultivate the “tranquil pursuits of science. … Never did a prisoner released from his chains feel such relief as I shall on shaking off the shackles of power.”
Jefferson’s final eighteen years were peaceful, though far from dormant. He continued in the capacity of elder statesman and he turned to studying music, chemistry, architecture, farming techniques, philosophy, law and education.
He worked tirelessly to establish the University of Virginia, seeing a portion of his educational reforms put into practice forty-three years after he had first proposed them. Jefferson organized the University’s curriculum, hired the faculty, selected the texts, drew up plans for the buildings, and supervised construction.
He cheerfully met with the guests that streamed to his Monticello home. He finally reconciled with his old nemesis, John Adams, and the two carried on a remarkable correspondence up to the day they both died – on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1826.
Thomas Jefferson’s self-written epitaph included the two achievements for which he wished to be remembered: the founding of the University of Virginia, and authorship of the “Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom.”
He died almost destitute, having long since sold his library of over 6,400 volumes to Congress to replace those destroyed when the British burned the Capitol. Jefferson’s philosophies, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, were not original to him – John Locke, Voltaire and others had earlier promulgated the ideals of basic human freedom.
But Jefferson’s recommendations went considerably further. He perceptibly held his finger on the pulse of the “average” American, and he used magnificent phrasing to forcefully and concisely state what he sensed were the people’s demands.
It is generally agreed that the United States has been deeply affected by Jefferson’s ideas and attitudes even more than by his official acts. He may well be history’s preeminent spokesman for human liberty and individual rights. Along with George Washington, the man of action, Jefferson, the man of ideas, was an essential component in America’s struggle for freedom.
Thomas Jefferson’s Salary
Thomas Jefferson is rich, so you can assume that his salary is higher than that of an average person.
But he has not publicly disclosed his salary for privacy reasons. Therefore, we cannot give an accurate estimate of his salary.
Thomas Jefferson’s Income
Thomas Jefferson might have many sources of income such as investments, business and salary. His income fluctuates every year and depends on many economic factors.
We have tried to research, but we cannot find any verified information about his income.
Thomas Jefferson’s Assets
Given Thomas Jefferson’s estimated net worth, he should own some houses, cars, and stocks, but Thomas Jefferson has not publicly disclosed all of his assets. So we cannot get an accurate figure on his assets.
Thomas Jefferson Quotes
On America’s fight for freedom: “The God who gave us life gave us liberty… ” “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is the natural manure.” “We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed.” “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
On small government: “A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement [is desirable].”
On “government by the people”: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” “I have no ambition to govern men. It is a painful and thankless job.” “That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.”
On government’s weakness: “No government can be maintained without the principle of fear as well as of duty. Good men will obey the last, but bad ones the former only. If our government ever fails it will be from this weakness.”
On public education: “The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”
On slavery: “This abomination must have an end. And there is a superior bench reserved in Heaven for those who hasten it.”
Other famous sayings: “We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.” “It is the trade of lawyers to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour.” “A mind always employed is always happy. … ” “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
View our larger collection of the best Thomas Jefferson quotes.
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