Thomas Jefferson Quotes : Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, in Shadwell, Virginia. He was a draftsman of the U.S. Declaration of Independence; the nation’s first secretary of state (1789-94); second vice president (1797-1801); and as the third president (1801-09) and founder of the University of Virginia. Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, which motivated American colonists to break from Great Britain and form a new nation. He died on July 4, 1826.