Thomas Jefferson’s beloved Monticello is one of the most well-known properties in America. On it, Jefferson tested and refined his ideas about science, education, agriculture, and architecture.
- Thomas Jefferson was born in 1743 in central Virginia. His family was one of the most influential families in Virginia. His father died when Jefferson was only 14 and he inherited more than 5,000 acres of land and property.
- But Jefferson wanted to live on a mountain so at the age of 26, he began building his home in the mountains he played in as a boy. His home began as a one-room brick structure. Over 40 years, he slowly built and rebuilt the home he named Monticello.
- Monticello is a sprawling property with a variety of buildings and gardens. It was a prosperous plantation, growing tobacco and other crops. After Jefferson’s death, his daughter sold the property to pay debts. Monticello fell into disrepair and needed massive improvements.
- In 1923, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation purchased the property and has cared for it since. The home, now a museum, is a National Historic Landmark.
- Thomas Jefferson was the fourth president of the United States. He believed deeply in religious freedom, lifelong learning, and the ideals of the Founding Fathers. He was a quiet man, but a brilliant writer. He wrote most of the Declaration of Independence.
- Thomas Jefferson believed that men would be happiest in an agrarian society. His dream was for every family to have a farm with enough land to support themselves.
- Thomas Jefferson orchestrated the Louisiana Purchase, commissioned the Lewis and Clark expedition, and started the University of Virginia. He was highly educated, loved nature and fields, and served as the governor of Virginia. He was a lawyer, an architect, and a scientist. His curious mind was constantly seeking knowledge.
- He had a conflicted relationship with slavery. While he knew it was wrong and spoke often about its evils, his own family kept enslaved African Americans. Monticello was a plantation and Jefferson kept approximately 200 slaves there.
- Agrarian: relating to farming
- Expedition: journey
Questions and Answers
Question: Can I visit Monticello today?
Answer: Monticello is a favorite tourist destination and is open for tours and educational programs.
Visit Monticello’s website to see images and learn more about the plantation.