The Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society

Chronology of Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation

1743 Thomas Jefferson is born at Shadwell on April 13, 1743, the son of Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph

1746 Peter Jefferson becomes the executor of William Randolph’s estate and takes his family to live at Tuckahoe

  1. 1751  Peter Jefferson returns with his family to Shadwell

  2. 1752  Thomas Jefferson becomes a student of Reverend William Douglas of St. James Parish, Northam

  1. 1756  The Seven Years War comes to America as the French and Indian War

  2. 1757  Death of Peter Jefferson provides lands and property to Thomas Jefferson when he comes of age

  3. 1758  Jefferson attends the school of Reverend James Maury, Albemarle County

  4. 1759  British under General James Wolfe capture Québec

  5. 1760  Jefferson enters College of William and Mary and comes under the tutelage of Professor William Small

    George III ascends the throne of England

  1. 1762  Jefferson leaves the College and begins the study of law with George Wythe

  2. 1763  France gives up Canada under the Treaty of Paris, which ends the French and Indian War

  1. 1765  Patrick Henry proposes four resolutions, which were adopted by the House of Burgesses, against the Stamp Act

  2. 1766  Jefferson begins his Garden Book visits Annapolis, Philadelphia and New York

    Parliament repeals the Stamp Act
    Parliament passes the Declaratory Acts that it has total legislative authority over the colonies

  1. 1767  Jefferson admitted to the Bar records his first legal case begins work on Monticello

    Parliament passes the Townshend Acts putting customs duties on imports of glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea
    Death of Governor Fauquier

  2. 1768  Jefferson elected to the House of Burgesses from Albemarle County Lord Botetourt becomes governor of Virginia

  3. 1769  Jefferson signs the Non-Importation Resolutions not to import or consume goods from England to protest the Townshend Acts Botetourt dissolved the House of Burgesses delegates move to the Raleigh Tavern

    Jefferson begins construction of the South Pavilion at Monticello

  4. 1770  Shadwell destroyed by fire and most of Jefferson’s papers and books are destroyed including his legal papers

    Jefferson moves to Monticello
    Death of Governor Botetourt
    Lord North becomes Prime Minister of Britain
    Parliament repeals colonial duties (Townsend Acts) except for tea British Army soldiers kill five citizens, which the colonists term the Boston Massacre

  5. 1771  Jefferson reelected to House of Burgesses in the Virginia Assembly

  6. 1772  Jefferson marries widower Martha Wayles Skelton at the Forest their first child Martha is born

    British schooner Gaspée is burned in Narragansett Bay
    Samuel Adams forms Committees of Correspondence to coordinate opposition to British rule in Massachusetts

  7. 1773  Jefferson joins with brother-in-law Dabney Carr to form Committee of Correspondence in Virginia

    Dabney Carr dies and is buried at Monticello
    Parliament passes Tea Act
    Sons of Liberty stage the Boston Tea Party

  8. 1774  Jefferson’s second daughter Jane Randolph is born
    John Wayles, father of Jefferson’s wife Martha,
    dies and brings additional property, including Poplar Forest, to Jefferson Parliament passes Boston Port Bill (the first of the Coercive Acts) to close Boston to trade

The Virginia General Assembly calls for a day of “fasting, humiliation and prayer.
Governor Dunmore dissolves the Assembly
Jefferson elected to first Virginia Convention

First Continental Congress Meets in Philadelphia
Jefferson writes
A Summary View of the Rights of British America Jefferson retires from the practice of law
Louis XVI ascends the throne of France

  1. 1775  Jefferson elected to Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia contributes to Declaration on the Necessity of Taking up Arms Jefferson drafts response to Lord North’s Conciliatory Resolution Jefferson second daughter Jane Randolph dies

    Colonial Minutemen meet the British in the battles of Lexington and Concord
    Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys capture Ticonderoga Second Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia

    George Washington appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army
    British defeat the Americans in the Battle of Bunker Hill

  2. 1776  Jefferson’s mother, Jane Randolph Jefferson, dies Jefferson drafts the Declaration of Independence

    Washington places cannon on the heights above Boston forcing the British to evacuate
    Thomas Paine publishes
    Common Sense
    Washington crosses the icy Delaware River and surprises the Hessians in the Battle of Trenton

    Jefferson declines appointment to committee to negotiate a treaty with France
    Jefferson’s only son is born but soon dies
    Washington’s victory at the Battle of Princeton raise
    s American spirits

    Jefferson begins his daily record of temperatures and weather Marquis de Lafayette joins Washington’s army
    British are defeated by the Continentals at Saratoga
    Jefferson appointed by the Virginia General Assembly to the Committee of Revisors

1771 Articles of Confederation adopted (not ratified until 1781)

1778 Jefferson’s third daughter, Mary, is born
Treaty of Alliance signed between United States and France War between Britain and France continues

  1. 1779  Jefferson elected Governor of Virginia for one year term War erupts between Britain and Spain

  2. 1780  Jefferson’s fourth daughter, Lucy Elizabeth, is born Jefferson elected to the American Philosophical Society Jefferson reelected governor of Virginia for one year term

  3. 1781  Lucy Elizabeth dies
    Banastre Tarleton raids Monticello in an effort to capture Jefferson and the General Assembly
    Jefferson takes family to Poplar Forest Jefferson resigns governorship
    Jefferson declines appointment to the commission to negotiate settlement with Britain
    Jefferson organizes manuscript later published as
    Notes on Virginia Cornwallis surrenders to Washington at Yorktown
    All thirteen states ratify the Articles of Confederation

  4. 1782  Jefferson’s fifth daughter, also named Lucy Elizabeth, is born Jefferson’s wife, Martha, dies at thirty-three

    Jefferson accepts appointment as peace commissioner, but appointment later suspended
    Lord North’s government falls
    Benjamin Franklin begins peace negotiations in Paris with the British government

    Britain cedes West Florida to Spain as part of the Treaty of Paris

  5. 1783  Jefferson elected to the Confederation Congress
    Jefferson drafts proposed Constitution for Virginia
    Treaty of Versailles signed in Paris ends the war
    William Pitt the Younger becomes Prime Minister of Britain

  6. 1784  Jefferson appointed as minister plenipotentiary to negotiate treaties of amity and commerce

    Jefferson goes to Paris with his daughter Martha, and James Hemings
    Jefferson’s fifth daughter, Lucy Elizabeth, dies
    Jefferson submits “Report of a Plan of Government for the Western Territory

  7. 1785  Jefferson replaces Franklin as minister to France Jefferson moves to the Hôtel de Langeac in Paris

    Jefferson publishes Notes on the State of Virginia in French Jefferson began using the Watt copying press to make copies of correspondence

  1. 1786  Jefferson travels to London to negotiate foreign commercial treaties

    While in London, Jefferson makes a five-day tour of English gardens with John Adams
    Virginia’s General Assembly passes Jefferson’s Bill for Religious Freedom

  2. 1787  Jefferson tours the south of France and northern Italy
    Jefferson sends a model of the Maison Carrée in Nîmes, France, for the new state capitol in Richmond
    Constitutional Convention (the Great Convention) meets in Philadelphia
    Jefferson attends opening of the Assembly of French Notables to discuss the financial difficulties in France
    Mary Jefferson travels to Paris accompanied by Sally Hemings to join her father and sister
    Jefferson sends bones of moose and other American animals to the Comte de Buffon
    First English edition of
    Notes on the State of Virginia published in London
    Jefferson receives U.S. Constitution and urges Madison to add a Bill of Rights

  3. 1788  Jefferson goes with John Adams to Holland to negotiate a loan for the United States

    Jefferson tours Holland and the Rhine River Valley Jefferson requests leave of absence to return home

  4. 1789  Jefferson attends opening of Estates General at Versailles and listens daily to the debates

    Bastille is stormed by angry mob triggering the French Revolution Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen adopted by the National Assembly of France abolishing the monarchy
    Jefferson returns to the United States on leave accompanied by his daughters Martha and Mary, and by James Hemings and Sally Hemings

    Jefferson writes a farewell letter to Maria Cosby, known as “A Dialogue between the Head and the Heart
    George Washington is inaugurated as first President of the United States

    Washington offers Secretary of State to Jefferson who reluctantly accepts

  5. 1790  Jefferson appointed Secretary of State and never returns to France Jefferson’s oldest daughter Martha marries Thomas Mann

Jefferson moves into house in New York City
Submits report on uniform system of weights and measures

  1. 1791  Jefferson tours upstate New York, New England and Long Island with James Madison

  2. 1792  Differences between Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton become public

  3. 1793  Jefferson resigns as Secretary of State
    Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI are executed in Paris

  4. 1794  Jefferson returns to Monticello and rejects offer to become special envoy to Spain

  5. 1795  Jefferson opposes Jay’s Treaty with Great Britain, intended to resolve commerce and boundary issues

  6. 1796  Washington rejects a third term as president
    Jefferson loses to John Adams in the presidential election Jefferson begins to rebuild and enlarge Monticello

  7. 1797  Jefferson’s daughter Mary marries John Wayles Eppes
    Adams is inaugurated as president and Jefferson as vice president

  8. 1798  Adams passes the Alien and Sedition Acts, which Jefferson opposes in the Kentucky Resolutions

  9. 1799  Washington dies and is buried at Mount Vernon

  10. 1800  In the presidential election, Jefferson and Aaron Burr tie in the Electoral College

    The campaign severs the friendship of Jefferson and Adams Jefferson prepares the Manual of Parliamentary Practice

  11. 1801  The House of Representatives decide the election in favor of Jefferson

    Jefferson is elected to the Académie des Sciences in Paris Jefferson pardons James Callender
    Meriwether Lewis becomes Jefferson’s private secretary
    Tripoli declares war on the United States for failing to pay tribute and Jefferson sends four Navy ships to the Barbary Coast

  12. 1802  Jefferson responds to an inquiry by the Danbury Baptist

Association affirming the separation of church and state

  1. 1803  Jefferson agrees to purchase the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon nearly doubling the size of the new nation

    Jefferson conceives of an expedition under Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore and map the new territory
    Robert Fulton’s experimental steamboat sinks in the Seine

  2. 1804  Jefferson easily reelected to the presidency
    Maria Jefferson Eppes dies leaving Jefferson with one surviving daughter
    Alexander Hamilton is killed in a duel with Aaron Burr
    The Lewis and Clark Expedition leaves from St. Louis

  3. 1805  Jefferson begins his second term as president

  4. 1806  After reaching the Pacific Ocean, the Lewis and Clark expedition returns to St. Louis

    Jefferson lays out the foundation plan for a dwelling at Poplar Forest

  5. 1807  A British warship attacks the American “Chesapeake” and removes American sailors the United States is not prepared for war and Jefferson imposes an unpopular embargo in retaliation
    Jefferson provides his manuscript collection of statutes for W. W. Hening to use in his compilation of the Statutes at Large

  6. 1808  Jefferson’s Act Prohibiting the Importation of Slaves into the United States (March 2, 1807) becomes law

    James Madison is elected president

  7. 1809  Congress passes Non-Intercourse Treaty restricting trade with Britain and France

    Jefferson returns to Monticello and construction is finished

  8. 1810  Jefferson drafts a brief for the Batture case

1812 Jefferson and Adams resume their friendship in a historic correspondence that lasts until their deaths

United States declares war against Great Britain

1814 British troops invade Maryland defeat American forces in Battle of Bladensburg occupy Washington

British burn most of the public buildings in Washington, including the Capitol and the President’s House (later, the White

Jefferson becomes trustee of Albemarle Academy

  1. 1815  Treaty of Ghent ends the War of 1812
    Jefferson sells his library to replace the Library of Congress destroyed by the fire

  2. 1816  Jefferson receives a charter from the General Assembly to create Central College the Board of Visitors include James Madison and James Monroe

  3. 1817  Jefferson prepares a Bill for Establishing a System of Public Education similar to his plan in 1778

    The General Assembly approves a centrally located state university Jefferson develops plans for a “academical village”
    The cornerstone is laid for Pavilion VII at the new Central College in the presence of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe

  4. 1818  A conference at Rockfish Gap selects Charlottesville as the site for the new state university

    Jefferson endorses promissory notes for Wilson Cary Nicholas Jefferson collects his private notes and opinions in the Anas

  5. 1819  The General Assembly accepts Central College as the location for the new University of Virginia

    Jefferson named to the Board of Visitors for the new University William Cary Nicholas becomes insolvent and Jefferson is responsible for his endorsed notes
    The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, which is unknown to the public until 1895

  6. 1820  The Missouri Compromise allows admission of Missouri and the free state of Maine future states carved from the rest of the Louisiana territory north of 36 o 31' N will be free.

  7. 1821  Jefferson writes his “Autobiography” for his family

  1. 1823  Jefferson supports the Monroe Doctrine closing the Western

    Hemisphere to European expansion

  2. 1824  Marquis de Lafayette visits the United States and has dinner in the Rotunda at the new University with Jefferson and guests that includes James Monroe

  3. 1825  Classes begin at the University of Virginia

John Quincy Adams is elected president and the new Democratic and Whig parties emerge

1826 Jefferson prepares will and codicil
Jefferson dies July 4, 1826 and is buried at Monticello beneath an obelisk which reads:

Here was buried Thomas Jefferson
Author of the Declaration of American Independence of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom

and Father of the University of Virginia.