Thomas Jefferson was born on this day in 1743 at his father’s plantation on the outskirts of the Virginia settlement.
|He wrote the Declaration of Independence, before serving the new United States as minister to France, secretary of state, vice president and president.|
|Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, and he was an astronomer, farmer, inventor, musician, naturalist and philosopher.|
|But it’s his legacy as a hypocrite — fighting for freedom from Britain while owning slaves — that is the subject of two new books.|
|“Most Blessed of the Patriarchs” was written by Annette Gordon-Reed, a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner, and Peter S. Onuf, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Virginia. Jefferson’s “aspirations were inextricably linked to his limitations,” the authors say.|
|Jefferson was most likely the father of all six children of one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, historians say.|
|She’s the focus of Stephen O’Connor’s debut novel, “Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings,” which includes fictional interviews with Hemings’s family members.|
|Jefferson’s words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...” were adopted on July 4, 1776. He died precisely 50 years later, not long after a slave adjusted the pillow on his deathbed.|